I’m a non-secretor!
My teeth were such a mess when I was a kid. My baby teeth were brown and rotten by the time they fell out. And then as a teenager, I had eleven mercury filling placed in the space of a month. Until recently, I never really questioned the sorry state of my teeth very closely. I just blamed it on the fact that I was addicted to sweets and couldn’t be bothered brushing my teeth regularly.
But in the last few months, I learned some very interesting new facts about people whose teeth are prone to cavities…
It all started when I went to the doctor for my annual physical in the Spring. She drew my blood, I learned about my abysmal ferritin levels which you can read about here, and I asked her if she could shed some light on my last lingering mercury symptom–a fungal rash called tinea versicolor that appears on my skin intermittently and gets very pronounced if I eat sugar.
Being a holistic doctor, she had lots of good suggestions–wearing breathable fabrics, washing my clothes daily etc–but I was disappointed to hear nothing new. Not only had I heard all of these suggestions before, these were all practices I carried out to a T in my everyday life and still this damn fungus lingered.
“There is one thing you could look at,” she said. “People who have no luck with all this stuff, sometimes they get a result when they try the blood type diet. Do you know your blood type?”
I didn’t and so she added it to my list of blood tests and I went home and Googled “blood type diet”. Soon I started to read some very interesting books by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, the naturopathic doctor who has written extensively about the blood type diet.
So it turns out that my blood type is A+. D’Adamo says that people with blood type A should eat a mostly vegetarian diet with very little red meat and a strong emphasis on whole fruits and vegetables, beans and healthy grains. I looked at the diet sheets and saw a pretty near approximation of the diet I cobbled together myself through trial and error while I was sick with mercury poisoning. (Just as a contrast, people with blood type O are supposed to be eating tons of red meat and poultry and hardly any grains at all–a diet I’ve been told numerous times to try to curb my yeast issues, but never ever considered trying, it felt so wrong for me–now I know why.)
I started incorporating some more of the type A dietary suggestions into my diet as I read these books, and instantly felt a noticeable change–I felt less hungry. I wasn’t tempted to overeat because the foods I was eating felt satisfying. They also were helping to heal the lining of my gut.
One of the big issues that D’Adamo talks about in his books is the little-known fact that different sets of foods are known to irritate the digestive system of each of the four blood types. As a type A, for example, I’m supposed to stay away from potatoes, because a particular chemical in them reacts negatively with my blood type–harsh news for an Irish spud-eater like myself, I’m still coming to terms with it 🙂
As I read more of D’Adamo’s material on blood type, I kept coming across this distinction he made between what he called ‘secretors’ and ‘non-secretors’. There was a test, apparently, that could tell you if you were secreting your blood type antigen into your bodily fluids (a good thing that would help you stave off bacteria and other nasties) or if you were a non-secretor who genetically lacked that first line of defense.
Reading about non-secretors here and here, I got a sinking feeling in my gut. This beleaguered minority were more prone to dental cavities because their saliva lacked the antigens that helped kill oral bacteria. And they had a devil of a time fighting off candida and other fungal infections that secretors killed off effortlessly.
“I know I’m one of those,” I said to myself as I ordered the secretor status test. “I just have to be.”
At the same time, I was really hoping that I wasn’t. Being a non-secretor isn’t something you can change. You can’t cleanse it out of you. There isn’t a supplement or drug you can take for a year that’ll flip you from being a non-secretor to a secretor. It’s a genetic flaw. It’s for life.
And of course I have that flaw. I’m a non-secretor.
It really bummed me out when I got the result of that test. Up to now, I’ve really believed in my bones that everything wrong with my health is fixable. It’s a pretty reasonable of me to believe this, given my track record of fixing a really large number of seriously intense symptoms with chelation. I’ve been getting stronger, better, healthier, faster, with every hurdle I’ve overcome and now, splat, it’s not a hurdle, it’s a genetic brick wall I’ve run into.
Can you tell I don’t like this non-secretor thing even a little bit?
Yeah, it sucks.
Tune in next week for more whining, plus the outcome of my visit with Dr. D’Adamo at his clinic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn…