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April 2015 - D'Adamo Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 04


Molecules and Metabolism

By Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo
Sugar Imbalance
Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo

Sometime at the beginning of the millennium, biology moved from the 'age of chemicals' to the 'age of molecules.' These molecules often work in web-like networks, mostly because life likes redundancy. The more ways things interact and support each other, the more likely everything works better.

Strangely, our understanding of obesity and metabolism still lies squarely in the age of chemicals, exemplified by the old saw, 'if you want to lose weight, just eat less.' This is not only ineffectual, but is also harmful --laying the blame solely on the lifestyle choices of the person, and often implying a lack of control and even gluttony on the part of the sufferer. 

Certainly some fault can be laid at the doorstep of Big Agribusiness.  Most prepared foods are just empty calories, cleverly (and I might add scientifically) designed to work on our worst addictive impulses. Everything seems to get a dose of extra sugar these days, sometimes even table salt. The industrial switch from more natural sugars to high fructose corn syrup was a big factor as well.  But as we will see, the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in the Western World is not just the result of excess calories, but also a perfect storm of genetics and environment, nature and nurture.

In this article I'd like to introduce you to a few concepts that may help you understand just how widespread the health effects of sugar dysregulation are, and what you can do about it.

Although there are a lot of factors and intermediaries involved, the metabolism of sugar is really a very simple fork in the road. Glucose is the biologically useful form of sugar: It can be converted to energy, or stored as fat for future use. Most problems result when the body uses Yogi Berra's advice about what to do when you come to a fork in the road ('take it') gets confused, and does the wrong thing.

If stored as fat, the fat must be converted back into glucose before it can be burnt. Lacking fat and a source of glucose in the diet, the body will even resort to converting protein into glucose, although this is inefficient and more-or-less only done in emergencies. Most of our sweeteners --such as sucrose (table sugar) are combinations of glucose and other sugars (in the case of sucrose, glucose and fructose.) The body can even make glucose from other sugars.

The molecular part of the sugar story centers around the amazing differences in the outcome of this very basic relationship, especially when we look at it organ by organ. Although the pancreas is the majordomo of sugar metabolism, secreting the hormones that regulate glucose metabolism, ironically it is not typically an organ that suffers tissue damage from sugar imbalances.

Here are a few that do and some intelligent supplementation you can use to protect them from these ill effects:

Sugar effects on the brain

Glucose is virtually the sole fuel for the human brain, except during prolonged starvation and if you've ever witnessed a 9 year old on a sugar rush, you know what sugar can do to the brain. This is because the brain lacks fuel stores and hence requires a continuous supply of glucose. But research out of UCLA, suggests that prolonged exposure to sugar forms free radicals in the brain's membrane and compromises nerve cells' ability to communicate. The combination of sugars and dietary lectins can also unbalance two hormones (leptin and ghrelin) that control appetite -- probably the best reason to 'eat right for your type.'

Dr. D'Adamo's Suggested Protocol:

  • Regulate hormones leptin/ghrelin (appetite)
  • Block brain free-radical damage
    • Histona contains Magnolia (a herb shown to possess antioxidant effects in the nervous system)
Sugar effects on the eyes and nerves

Poor glucose control can lead to the buildup of another sugar in eye and nervous tissue known as aldose. Aldose buildup acts like a sponge, drawing water into the tissue, causing the cell to swell and become damaged. Aldose buildup is why diabetics often suffer from macular degeneration and neuropathy.

Dr. D'Adamo's Suggested Protocol:

  • Block excess aldose accumulation in tissue
    • Quercetin has been be helpful in modulating in aldose accumulation
Sugar effects on the heart

Excessive sugar consumption (especially sucrose and fructose) can dramatically increase triglycerides in the blood (a real problem for blood type O).  In one study, subjects who got 17 to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% high risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8% of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21% or more of their calories from added sugar.

Dr. D'Adamo's Suggested Protocol:

Sugar effects on the muscles

Many types of cells, but especially muscle cells, respond to dietary fatty acids by producing signaling molecules known as PPARs (pee-pars). PPARs don't themselves have a direct role in metabolism, but they control and regulate many genes that do. Muscle tissue is rich in PPARs types that regulate fatty acid storage and glucose metabolism.  Poor regulation of PPARs in muscle tissue can lead to free radical stress and muscle pain, a generally unrecognized reason why obese individuals may be disinclined to exercise.

Dr. D'Adamo's Suggested Protocol:

  • Modulate PPARs
    • Glycoscia contains the herb Salacia oblonga and the nutriceutical resveratrol, both have been shown to optimize PPARs
    • Histona contains Magnolia (an herb shown to optimize PPARs) and Scutellaria (an herb shown to promote health immunity)
Sugar effects on the liver

In addition to its detoxification role, the liver is the major metabolic machine of the body. Much of the responsibility lies with a powerful molecule known as AMPK. AMPK role in energy metabolism is so important, that it has been given the nickname 'the fuel gauge of the cell.' Just like the fuel gauge of a car, AMPK monitors and helps control the amount of energy available to drive the cell's metabolism. AMPK also controls many of the aspects of cellular debris removal. Thus, maintaining healthy AMPK function is essential to having a well-tuned metabolism.

Dr. D'Adamo's Suggested Protocol:

  • Optimize AMPK
    • El Dorado is a formula designed to optimize AMPK function
Sugar effects on the kidneys

The tiny structures that do the work in your kidneys are called nephrons. Each nephrons contains blood vessels and a glomerulus, which filters the blood. A raised blood sugar level can cause a rise in the level of some chemicals within the kidney. These chemicals tend to make the glomerulus more 'leaky,' which then allows protein (albumin) to leak into the urine. Raised blood glucose levels may also cause some proteins in the glomerulus to link together. These 'cross-linked' proteins can trigger a scarring process in the glomerulus, making its job much more difficult.

Dr. D'Adamo's Suggested Protocol:

  • Optimize filtration/ protect glomerulus
    • Bromelain is an enzyme derived from pineapples that has been shown to help protect the kidneys
Sugar effects on the intestines

In certain individuals, sometimes called 'hyper-assimilators,' a percentage of the undigested carbohydrate from a meal will reach the lower intestine and be broken down into additional simple sugars, which will then also be assimilated and either stored as fat or burned as energy. These individuals are known to have higher levels of a class of enzymes called glycosidases. The hyper-assimilator phenomenon may explain why calorie regulation is an effective weight loss strategy. Some people have 'extra-thrifty' digestions, and the amount of calories we'd need to restrict from the diet in order for these folks to lose weight is both impractical and unsustainable.

Dr. D'Adamo's Suggested Protocol:

  • Block hyper-assimilator tendencies
    • Glycoscia contains the herb Salacia oblonga which has been shown to block the excess breakdown of carbohydrates in the intestines


Finding the Sweetness in Life

By Martha D'Adamo
Martha D'Adamo

As I began working on this issue of the newsletter, I found myself thinking about the role that sugar has played in my life.  I was a 1950's era child, raised on processed foods, and sugar played a starring role in my life.  Sugar was a reward; something to strive for; the great comforter and the ultimate nurturer.  At the time, there wasn't the awareness of the detrimental role that sugar plays in our physical and emotional well-being.

Luckily, I became aware of the destructive side effects of sugar as well as the level of addiction to it that I have.  The triggers for me are emotional:  I am tired, so I want sugar; I am sad, so I want sugar; I am happy, so I want sugar.  It's like I am hard wired to sugar cravings based on my emotions.

Eating right for my type has addressed the overall cravings, but they still pop up from time to time.  Don't get me wrong – I do indulge, whether it is a piece of flourless chocolate cake, or a piece of chocolate, chocolate chip cookies (made with spelt), but I try not to have sugar when I feel that I "need" it or I "have" to have it, as it leaves me victim to the sugar cravings rather than dealing with the emotional basis of the desire.

I've developed a couple of ways to deal with this, and I want to share them with you.

  1. Be mindful.  How am I feeling?  Happy, sad, angry?  What's driving me to want sugar, and what haven't I addressed in my life that I'd rather suppress with sugar?
  2. Find the sweetness in life.  Where am I missing the proverbial "sweetness" in life?  Have I kept myself so busy that I haven't enjoyed connection with others and authentic expression in my life?  These experiences provide as much if not more nourishment for body and soul.
  3. Eat some good quality protein.  Sometimes having a piece of turkey or left over beef (free range, grass fed, of course) helps to minimize the physical desire for sugar, and it also helps me to see that I've let myself get run down.  (Choose your proteins based on your blood type!)
  4. Get moving.  I find that when I exercise regularly, whether it is some formal form of exercise or simply walking, the cravings diminish.

It's good to remember that sugar isn't just in cookies, cakes, desserts, and candy; it lurks in dark places, like salad dressings, marinades, sauces, many condiments, cereals, dried fruits and yogurt.  So when you can, make your own or if you are out, ask for sauce on the side.  We have a lot of great tools, particularly the Eat Right for Your Type cookbooks, which can help with food preparation and sugar management.  And thanks to Peter's keen formulating skills, we have a trio of products that help to minimize sugar cravings as well as maintain healthy blood sugar levels in the body:  Glycoscia, El Dorado and Deflect (O | A | B | AB).

Here's hoping that we find the sweetness in life in our experiences and relationships, and not our food.



Helpful Tips: 5 Healthy Sugar Alternatives

Refined sugar is considered as addictive as a drug and potentially as detrimental to your health. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes anywhere between 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugars in one year! It is clear that collectively we have a serious habit to kick.

Sure, there are plenty of sugar-free sweetener alternatives on the market but those chemically created artificial sweeteners are even more toxic than refined sugar. Ending your sugar addiction doesn't mean that you have to stop enjoying a hint of sweetness – it just requires that you find healthier alternatives. Below are five all-natural, blood-type friendly options.

Sugar Sub - Agave

Agave Syrup
This honey-like sweetener is made from the sap found in the core of the agave plant. It's sweeter than table sugar, so you can use less to get the same results, while at the same time boosting your recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals: It has trace amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Agave nectar also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, so it won't cause a spike in blood sugar levels.

(Neutral for all blood types and secretor types)

Sugar Sub - Honey

Raw Organic Local Honey
There is so much to buzz about! Honey contains trace amounts of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, free-radical fighting antioxidants and, some studies show, may help to alleviate seasonal allergies. If you're trying to lose weight, there's good news for you; honey's low glycemic index helps keep sugar levels in check – and it's 50% sweeter than refined sugar, so you'll be satisfied with less.

(Neutral for blood types A secretor & non-secretor, B secretor & non-secretor, O secretor and AB secretor, avoid for O non-secretor and AB non-secretor)

Sugar Sub - Maple Syrup

Pure Maple Syrup
Most people only think about using maple syrup when enjoying pancakes. But this morning staple can also be used as a sugar substitute in baking. Research shows that maple syrup also has some health benefits including promoting cardiovascular health and boosting the immune system.

(Neutral for blood types A secretor & non-secretor, B secretor & non-secretor, O secretor, and AB secretor; avoid for O non-secretor, and AB non-secretor)

Sugar Sub - Molasses

During the refining of sugar cane and sugar beets, the juice squeezed from these plants is boiled to a syrupy mixture from which sugar crystals are extracted. The remaining brownish-black liquid is molasses. Molasses is a popular sweetener in baking and can also be used as a syrup on pancakes and waffles. Its health benefits include a high iron content, as well as vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium, and more antioxidants than any other natural sweetener.

(Beneficial for A secretor and neutral for all other blood types and secretor types)

Sugar Sub - Stevia

Stevia is the powdered extract of the plant, Stevia Rebaudiana, an herb indigenous to Paraguay and Brazil. While this zero-calorie sugar substitute tastes just like table sugar, it won't cause a spike in blood sugar levels. When using stevia, consumers should note that it is 200-400 times sweeter than sugar and use far less when baking or stirring into coffee or tea. Health benefits include phytochemical compounds that help control blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. 

(Neutral for A secretor & non-secretor, B non-secretor, AB secretor & non-secretor, and O secretor; avoid for B secretors and O non-secretors)


Blood Sugar Balancing Green Smoothies that are Right For Your Type

3 Healthy Blood Sugar Balancing Green Smoothies

Type O

Spring Green Smoothie

Type A

TropiKale Smoothie

Type B/AB

Savory Strawberry Smoothie



  • Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until thick and smooth.
  • Thin with additional liquid to preferred consistency.



  • Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until thick and smooth.
  • Thin with additional liquid to preferred consistency.



  • Soak chia seeds overnight, they may appear gelatinous, but this will thicken your smoothie and add a creamy consistency.
  • Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until thick and smooth.

    Thin with additional liquid to preferred consistency.

Find more delicious, simple to prepare recipes in the Eat Right for Your Type Personalized Cookbooks