As of January, 2022, the CDC reports that 37.3 million Americans of all ages have diabetes. That’s about one out of every 10 people. And 96 million adults have prediabetes. Diabetes is a serious epidemic and a threat to health around the globe. But type 2 diabetes can be delayed, or prevented, with lifestyle changes such as losing weight and getting more physically active.
Awareness and education are critical. But is there more to know? Is there a connection between blood type and diabetes? Can what we eat help manage or even prevent diabetes? Are there supplements that are beneficial for people with diabetes? Here we explore these questions and more.
Types of diabetes explained
While there are rare and lesser-known types of diabetes, the two most common kinds are type 2 and type 1.
Type 2 diabetes, adult or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, affects about 90% of people with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is most often seen in obese people over age 40. It can usually be controlled with diet, weight loss and exercise. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body fails to use it properly. It can develop gradually over a period of months or years without someone knowing anything is wrong. While type 2 diabetes used to be most common among adults, it is fast becoming a serious problem for children as well.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood and lasts throughout life. It can only be controlled by use of injected insulin and daily food monitoring. It is characterized by the destruction of cells responsible for insulin. There is growing evidence that, although there is a considerable genetic link, type 1 diabetes may — at least initially — be an autoimmune disease.
Is there a connection between blood type and diabetes?
While any blood type can develop diabetes, Blood Type As carry a higher risk. They are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than any other blood type. They also have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular complications from diabetes, which is due to the higher levels of clotting factors in their blood.
Blood Type As and Blood Type ABs have a higher association with type 1 diabetes. The reason may be because certain lectins (proteins found in foods we eat) bind themselves to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as well as to the A antigen. This may cause activation of antibodies and result in inflammation and destruction of the cells. This would explain why Type As and ABs (who both carry an A antigen) are at higher risk.
Food as medicine: The Blood Type Diet
The Blood Type Diet can be effective in treating and preventing type 2 diabetes, which develops over time and is usually the result of a poor diet. It is associated with being overweight and having high cholesterol, high triglycerides and elevated blood pressure. Interestingly, diabetes is often observed in Blood Type As who eat a lot of meat and dairy products and Blood Type Os who have eaten dairy, wheat and corn for many years. Fortunately for those with type 2 diabetes, it is possible to reduce symptoms, manage the condition and even prevent it by sticking to The Blood Type Diet and its appropriate blood-type-specific exercise regimen.
While there is currently no effective natural treatment alternative for injectable insulin replacement therapy for those with type 1 diabetes, adhering to The Blood Type Diet can be effective in managing the disease.
Several interesting studies have shown that certain food lectins may help the pancreas regenerate insulin-producing beta cells in those with type 1 diabetes. These include lectins from fava beans and silver dollar mushrooms. Blood Type As and Bs may want to add fava beans to their diets and Blood Type Os and ABs may find adding silver dollar mushrooms to be beneficial.
For more background on diabetes and specific steps to take, Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book Diabetes: Fight It With The Blood Type Diet is a great resource. The book has information for each blood type and each condition, including prediabetes — with protocols for prevention and treatment, and comprehensive four-week plans that cover foods, vitamins, supplements, herbs and exercise to help you control your blood sugar.
Can supplements help?
When it comes to supplements, a high-potency vitamin B complex may help those with type 2 diabetes counter insulin intolerance when used in addition to a blood-type-specific healthy diet and exercise plan.
For those with type 1 diabetes, quercetin, an antioxidant derived from plants, has been shown to help prevent many of the complications stemming from lifelong diabetes, such as cataracts, neuropathy and cardiovascular problems. Dr. D’Adamo’s Quercetin Plus supplement was originally formulated for use in his own clinic.
To help naturally balance blood sugar levels, Glycoscia is formulated from three well-researched botanicals and the flavonoids quercetin and resveratrol. Glycoscia supports the body’s natural ability to maintain healthy blood sugar levels — lessening the spikes and dips that result in cravings and out-of-control eating.
Anyone with diabetes should be carefully supervised by a qualified medical provider. If you intend to use any natural medicine for diabetes, it is important to also work with a nutritionist who is skilled in the use of phytochemicals. You may have to readjust your insulin dosage.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Blood Type Diet, the best place to start is with Dr. D’Adamo’s best-selling book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, which includes information on several diseases, including diabetes; a detailed look at the anthropological history of all four Blood Types; extensive lists of Beneficial, Neutral and Avoid foods for each type; delicious recipes and a 10-day jump-start plan.
To read more about any of the topics in this article and to learn more about diabetes and blood type, consult:
Eat Right For Your Type, by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, revised and updated 2016, pages 294-295.
Eat Right For Your Type Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia, by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, pages 250-256.