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Questions About Specific Health Issues

Type AB Negative and Grain Allergy


I have AB negative blood-type and many of the grains are supposed to be all right for my diet. However, after living overseas for some years I apparently developed an allergy to wheat gluten. When the tests were done some years ago I had 3.3 IgG/ml for wheat gluten, titer of 1:5. Because of some digestive problems I was told to cut out of my diet not just wheat but rye, barley, spelt, and oats as well. Must I really go that drastic route, in your opinion?


It is interesting, that many times, an intolerance to a food lectin will develop after a bout of intestinal flu or some other form of gastroenteritis. This has been speculated to be the result of the intestinal inflamation "stripping away" the lining of the intestinal tract, uncovering the base tissue. Normally the gut lining is protected by mucous (the quality of which is determined in large part by your ABO blood type).

It points to the old naturopathic wisdom of fasting during acute cases of gastro-intestinal disease. What you might be able to do is to try taking an amino-sugar called "NAG" or NAP's "Deflect" products. NAG stands for "N-acetyl glucosamine" This is not glucosamine sulphate, but many Health Food Stores and catalogs carry it. NAG bings to the agglutinin in wheat (predictably enough, called WGA "Wheat Germ Agglutinin") so that it cannot react with your digestive lining.

In other words, the NAG (or Deflect product for your type) is sort of like a "duck decoy"; the wheat lectin binds to it instead of you! Interestingly, glucosamine sulphate ("The Arthritis Cure") has some of the same effects, in the sense that many of the aspects of arthritis (both Rheumatoid and Osteo)require "assistance" from some of these lectins to become active. In the case of Rheumatoid, the antibody requires assistance from wheat lectin to become effective. This perhaps explains why many people with arthritis get better after 30-60 days on a wheat free diet.

One interesting observation concerning grain intolerance and auto-immune disorders was recently discussed in the literature. Apparently, in many auto-immune illneses, the antibodies that an individual produces against their own tissues have a structural difference from normal antibodies that are produced against microbes. Normal antibodies have as part of their 'constant' region long chains of the sugar galactose. In many auto-immune disorders, including rhuematoid arthritis, these antibodies are defective; the galactose chains being replaced with long chains of the amino sugar n-acetyl glucosamine. These antibodies are called 'galactose deficient antibodies' (GDA). It has been hypothesized that in circumstances of auto-immune disease with the presence of (GDA), a low-wheat diet may help neutralize or disarm these antibodies, as it is thought that GDA antibodies may not be effective at attacking body tissue without activation by lectins found in wheat (remember, wheat lectin binds to n-acetyl glucosamine.)

1. Tsuchiya N, Endo T, Matsuta K, Yoshinoya S, Takeuchi F, Nagano Y, Shiota M, Furukawa K, Kochibe N, Ito K. Detection of glycosylation abnormality in rheumatoid IgG using N-acetylglucosamine-specific Psathyrella velutina lectin. J Immunol. 1993 Jul 15;151(2):1137-46.

2. Soltys AJ, Hay FC, Bond A, Axford JS, Jones MG, Randen I, Thompson KM, Natvig JB. The binding of synovial tissue-derived human monoclonal immunoglobulin M rheumatoid factor to immunoglobulin G preparations of differing galactose content. Scand J Immunol. 1994 Aug;40(2):135-43.

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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