Metabolic Typing

Nutritional Metabolic Typing

by Joanne Laabs

Member, Huntingdon Health & Wellness Association

 Although it may come from an unexpected source, it is doctors of holistic dentistry who have pioneered some of the deeper understandings we’ve gained in the area of nutrition over the last few decades.  One of these areas involves ‘metabolic typing’, which is a simple testing process that helps individuals understand their unique food requirements, enabling them to simplify and improve weight control, prevent serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and live day-to-day with a greater degree of energy and mental alertness.  At the foundation of this dietary approach to wellness lies maintenance of a healthy blood pH level, which impacts every aspect of the body’s ability to function at its highest level.

People often ask why practitioners of oral medicine would become involved in nutrition.  The late John R. Lee, MD, said, “It is clear, I think, that the oral cavity is a mirror of the state of health for the rest of body.  The more progressive dentists understand this.”  In essence, it is the dentist who sees into the point of entry for foods in the human body and from this perspective views the first visible signs of nutritional imbalance.

Over 50 years ago, Dr. Weston A. Price performed groundbreaking research on the impact of diet on health, including oral and physical development.  He and his team visited remote, isolated cultures on the various continents and analyzed the condition of the teeth and physical development of individuals who had maintained ancient, indigenous diets.  These results were compared with those of people on typical western diets, wherein processed sugars and refined white flours had become staple foods.   Across the globe, wherever Dr. Price found indigenous cultures that had been exposed to western trade and dietary influences, he found dental decay, oral and physical malformations, nutritional deficiencies, and western diseases.  Today, the well-known and highly respected Weston A. Price Foundation continues to promote sound nutritional principles and is a wonderful resource for those seeking answers to today’s unexplained health problems.

In the past few decades, a series of nutritionally oriented dentists have broken ground on how individuals can learn to adapt a natural diet that suits their bodies’ individual needs.  It’s been found that each native culture adapted the ability to digest and assimilate those particular foods unique to their environments.  For example, Eskimo populations came to rely heavily on a high protein, fish-based diet, while early agriculturists of the Middle East adapted to a high concentration of grains, fruits & vegetables.  Fast-forwarding to the United States of today, we have a combined population that has mixed ethnicities many, many times over many generations.  This makes it difficult to know, instinctively, those foods to which our individual bodies will best respond.  In addition, we are faced with a vast range of processed, refined, and genetically engineered foods developed within just a few decades, to which our bodies have not had time to adapt.

Some interesting approaches to dealing with the complex problem of discovering which foods are appropriate for each individual have emerged recently.  One of them, based on blood typing by Peter d’Adamo, has received a great deal of attention.  He has been able to correlate blood type with one’s genetic heritage to help determine an appropriate diet.

What has been learned, however, by biochemists and holistic dentists focused on the concept of individual nutritional needs is that blood type alone isn’t necessarily reliable.  This is easily understood when we consider the genetic changes that occur over the centuries and millennia as people of differing cultures intermix.

Harold Kristal, DDS, has brought noteworthy contributions toward understanding individual metabolic types.   Working extensively with James Haig, NC, he’s developed metabolic type testing and dietary protocols for assisting those who want to improve their wellbeing from a nutritional basis.  A network of practitioners who perform individual metabolic type testing can be found on their website at

By undergoing metabolic type testing, individuals learn whether their metabolism is driven by their oxidative system (involving conversion of food to energy at the cellular level) or their autonomic nervous system (involving neuro-endocrine control of energy levels).  Within each of these groups, individuals fall under subsequent categories that cause their blood to lean toward either acid or alkaline pH levels.  The goal in gaining this information is to tailor diet and supplements in a manner which will bring the person into a balanced blood pH level, which is critical to optimal bodily function and prevention of disease.

While some people will thrive optimally with a daily nutritional intake emphasizing protein and fats, others require greater proportions of carbohydrates.  This type of information explains why many of the fad diets seen over the years are helpful for some and quite problematic for others.  Those who eat according to metabolic type, in conjunction with healthy choices in the diet, consistently report higher energy levels, improved mood, and mental alertness.

One of the more remarkable aspects of individual metabolic typing involves the information it provides relative to individuals at risk for specific diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.  The testing itself involves a glucose-protein challenge drink and monitoring one’s changes in factors such as respiration, blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose levels, and energy levels.   Preventive health measures can be taken in response to individual information gained from test results.  Reversal of existing disease processes for individual clients is routinely reported through Dr. Kristal’s newsletters.

Locally, metabolic testing is performed in the offices of Jeffrey Hartman, D.M.D.  Additional information can be found by contacting his office at 643-9414, checking Dr. Kristal’s website at, or through Dr. Kristal and James Haig’s book, The Nutrition Solution – A Guide to Your Metabolic Type.

The Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association makes no medical claims or recommendations.  Check with your doctor about your specific health care needs.  For more information on the Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association contact Jennifer Micija, president, at 814-667-2097 or