Exploring Blood Types
Guide to the Foundation of Health
Ian D. Bier, N.D., Ph.D., L.Ac.
When I first walk into the room to see a patient, I know nothing about their health history, or why they have come to the Institute. Before I begin my examination, I tell them that my only request is that they not tell me anything whatsoever about their health. No symptoms, no medical history, no family history – they are to keep me completely in the dark.
Why do we do it that way? Our purpose is to discover the individual as they are at that moment. No matter what symptoms or prior diagnoses brought the patient into the clinic, we are always interested in determining the underlying cause. As naturopaths, one of our primary principles is Tolle Causum; our profession is always trying to find the cause. To accomplish this we choose to know nothing about the patient during the initial exam. In this way a symptom, or what the patient or another doctor may think is the issue, does not distract us from what may be the actual underlying cause.
This concept is the basis for our work and how we use the blood type system. Blood type is a guide and a foundation, however it is always important to understand and treat the whole person. The individual is the sum total of their blood type, sub-type, all of their other genes, and all of their choices and experiences. Since I’m writing this in Naturopathic News and Review, I know I’m preaching to the choir: this understanding is what draws many of us to this medicine. However, I find that when the blood typing system is discussed, some doctors who don’t use it regularly think that all we do is run some specialized laboratory tests to arrive at all the answers on how to treat the patient. That misunderstanding has caused many doctors to misinterpret the purpose and utility of the system.
Eating and living incorrectly for your blood group is always a cause, however it is rarely if ever THE cause. When talking to patients I often use the example of identical twins. I studied a lot of twin research for my Ph.D. dissertation, and I’m fortunate enough to have a living example to observe – my wife and her sister. Identical twins are born genetic duplicates; blood type, sub-type and all other genes start life out as the same. What is fascinating about identical twins is that they are indistinguishable when they are young, but start to differentiate as they become older. Personality of course is different, however as they age their physical features change as well. They start to look less alike, get different symptoms and illnesses, one is even usually taller then the other. Genetic potential, including blood type, is only one aspect of a person. Our environment always interacts with that foundation, and therefore changes the picture. My blood type is crucial, but a more knowledgeable young version of me would have made different choices and arrived at the Institute as a patient in a very different condition then I did, and therefore have been treated differently.
Therefore, the first thing that we do is explain to the patient that our goal is to treat them as the unique individual that they are. First, we will determine their blood type and sub-type to come to an understanding of their body’s foundation, which is an unchangeable characteristic of who they are. However then we must examine them to determine what weaknesses and strengths may be in their body. Together, that information will help provide a picture of where they are at this point in their life.
IAN D. BIER is a Naturopathic Doctor, a Licensed Acupuncturist, and has a Ph.D. in Human Services with a focus on Therapeutic Nutrition. He is a graduate of Bastyr University, and completed a residency in Family Practice at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. He is a researcher and author of scientific papers, book chapters, and a lecturer in the areas of nutritional medicine and research, and has peer-reviewed for the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the American Public Health Association, and the National Institutes of Health. He has been a patient and student of Dr. James L. D’Adamo, the originator of the Blood Type Diet concept, for over 15 years and continues to work with him at the D’Adamo Institute in Portsmouth, NH.