I blogterviewed Dr. Tom Greenfield, a naturopath to know more about nutritional genetics, naturopathy and blood type diet. First, I wanted to write a short lead about these expressions, but he totally answers every questions.
1. First please describe your work for us! I’m sure that Naturopathy is not widely known even among physicians.
As a naturopath I work with nature, not against it, which means my treatment aims to augment health, and does not suppress the patient’s vital force. The intention is to educate the patient to be self-sufficient in improving and maintaining their level of health; to prevent illness from taking hold by building vitality and ensuring a good quality of basic health, or building immunity.
Naturopathic treatment is founded on 3 basic tenets, or foundations of health: physical, biochemical and emotional/vibrational. These three aspects make up the whole person, who interacts with the environment. The idea is to assist the patient to achieve their maximum potential, based on their inheritance. Genetics plays a part in assessing the potential of an individual. The job of a naturopath is to assess which of the three health tenets may be showing weakness, and help the patient by supporting that aspect of their wellbeing, through whichever type of treatment is appropriate: physical (massage, manipulation, postural correction); biochemical (diet, fasting, supplements, herbal medicine); emotional (counselling, homoeopathy, acupuncture). These are seen in the context of the interaction between the person with their environment, and may involve detoxification or methods of protection from environmental hazards.
The way I work with patients is by obtaining simple genetic measurements, such as blood group, subgroups, dermatoglyphics and other biometrics, looking at medical risk factors associated with those polymorphisms, and then working with natural ways to reduce those risk factors. The method is based on research by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, author of the Eat Right for Your Type series of books.
2. What is the Blood Type Diet about?
The Blood Type Diet is the starting point for the concept of nutritional genomics in natural medicine. Nutrigenetics is about the application of genetics to human nutrition, and the Blood Type Diet is based on the premise that there is a haplotype, or set of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with each blood group through genetic linkage, that can increase or decrease the risk of specific diseases for individuals with that blood group. These health risks can be lessened through dietary choices. The concept has moved on since the publication of the book Eat Right 4 Your Type in 1997, and now includes other polymorphisms in addition to blood groups, such as dermatoglyphics. Genetic testing is currently expensive and requires investment in high-tech laboratory equipment, but using low-tech methods that can be obtained in the clinic, the physician can obtain a large amount of information about their patient based on extensive medical research dating back to times before genotyping.
3. Are the Right 4 Your Type products registered by the FDA? Are there any publications on the subject?
Very few natural medicines are FDA-registered due to the huge cost of testing pharmaceuticals in clinical trials. The Right 4 Your Type products are blood group specific or blood group compatible natural medicines produced by North American Pharmacal (NAP). The NAP website ( http://www.4yourtype.com/ ) contains information about the products and their suitability for individuals of particular blood groups. For example, due to the preference of certain commensal bacteria for various carbohydrates which make up the blood group antigens secreted by the intestinal mucous membranes, there are 4 different probiotic supplements available according to blood group, each containing different bacterial strains. Clinical experience taking blood groups into consideration has identified ways that individuals of particular blood groups may do better on certain natural medicines, and this is incorporated into the NAP formulations.
4. Please tell us more about salutogenesis, how and when did you first meet this expression?
“The Salutogenetecist” was the title of a lecture given by Dr. Joe Pizzorno at the Institute for Human Individuality conference on nutritional genomics in 1995. Dr. Pizzorno is one of the world’s leading authorities on science-based natural medicine, president emeritus of Bastyr University and author of many books on naturopathic medicine. Dr. Pizzorno founded Salugenecists inc. (see http://www.salugenecists.com/ ), the name of the company being based on the word ‘salutogenesis’, a term coined in 1979 by Aaron Antonovsky. Salutogenesis is therefore the opposite of pathogenesis (the cause of disease). Dr. Pizzorno took the meaning of the term one stage further to include the genetic origins of health in the context of natural medicine, the pharmacogenetics of the natural pharmacy.