A Follow-up Investigation to the Pork Study Using Live Blood Analysis
Many cultures have a tradition of sausage-making with pork. There are numerous preparations of pork sausages, from raw pork stuffed into casings with herbs and spices, to cured and smoked sausages that need not be cooked again before eating. There are also certain traditional foods such as sauerkraut that are traditionally consumed with pork sausage in Northern Germany and Poland.
In this small pilot study, we investigate the effect on the blood of consuming pork sausage as observed through dark-field live blood analysis. We also compare the effect of consuming sauerkraut along with pork sausage. This study is a follow-up investigation to the pork study that I conducted in 2011 and published in Wise Traditions, which compared effects on the blood after eating fresh pork chops (marinated and unmarinated), bacon, prosciutto and also lamb (Rubik, 2011).
METHODS AND PROCEDURES
Pork sausages used in this study were all from the same batch produced by a local farm that also raises pastured hogs. The sausages consisted of raw, ground, pastured pork meat with salt and spices stuffed into casings. The sauerkraut used was a commercial cultured product that consisted only of raw, lacto-fermented cabbage with salt.
Live blood analysis involves visual examination of a small droplet of freshly drawn capillary blood from the fingertip placed under a coverslip on a microscope slide and observed under a light microscope, typically dark-field, at high magnification (8,000x) using video enhancement and photographed using a digital camera. The blood is scored for a number of variables including blood coagulation factors using a Likert scale. This method offers a qualitative view of the blood cells and plasma that is part of the “biological terrain” as it is termed in integrative healthcare. It is described in greater detail in previous reports published in this journal (Rubik 2009; 2011).
The subjects were three normal healthy adults consuming the traditional diet recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation for over two years and having a clean healthy biological terrain as observed in live blood analysis after an overnight fast. They were two females, ages 42 and 68, and one male, age 42. These participants were also different from those who had participated in the previous pork study (Rubik, 2011).
Subjects fasted overnight and came into the laboratory for testing on two different days. A baseline blood test was first done. Then each subject consumed a single pork sausage (raw weight about 2.6 ounces or 76 grams) that was slowly cooked by pan sautéing until slightly browned and well done, using a very small amount of bacon fat to prevent burning. On the second visit, after the baseline blood test, each subject consumed the same type of cooked sausage along with about four ounces of sauerkraut (uncooked) at room temperature. Subjects were allowed to drink water during the meal and subsequently for the next five hours, but ate no other food whatsoever. Five hours after eating, subjects returned to the laboratory for the post-meat blood test.
PILOT STUDY RESULTS
A few blood photographs are shown here in Figures 1 to 4 that show blood of the most sensitive subject, female, age 42. Figure 1 shows her blood before consuming a pork sausage. This blood looks healthy, with separate red blood cells (RBCs) that are uniformly round, and with no debris or clotting factors seen in the plasma. Five hours after consuming a pork sausage, Figure 2 shows that the RBCs are stuck together in rouleaux (rolls of coins). Thirty minutes after consuming this sausage, the subject reported fatigue and brain fog and wanted to lie down.
FIGURE 1: Platelet sample from female, age
42, before consuming pork sausage.
FIGURE 2: Platelet sample from female, age 42, five
hours after consuming pork sausage.
The blood of the same subject before consuming pork sausage with sauerkraut is shown in Figure 3, which again looks normal and healthy. Five hours after consuming a pork sausage with sauerkraut, the blood is similar, as shown in Figure 4, with no rouleaux or clotting factors. Moreover, the subject reported that she felt “stable” after consuming this meal.
The other two subjects did not report any adverse reactions after consuming the pork sausage, nor did their blood show such distinct differences before and after consuming the sausage, with or without sauerkraut.
Figure 5 shows the mean values of all three subjects’ blood coagulation factors before and after consuming the pork sausage alone. Although greater amounts of rouleaux, RBC aggregates, fibrin (clotting protein), spicules (clotting protein), and platelet aggregates (clotting factor) are seen after consuming pork, these results are not as dramatic as after consuming an unmarinated pork chop (Rubik, 2011).
Figure 6 shows the mean values of all three subjects’ blood coagulation factors before and after consuming the pork sausage with sauerkraut. The differences shown are insignificant.
CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION
How does pork sausage affect the blood? There is no clear-cut answer from the results observed in these three subjects. Rather, individual differences were seen. One subject in particular responded adversely to pork sausage in this study as seen in the blood (Figure 2 compared to Figure 1), and self-reported symptoms of fatigue and brain fog. When RBCs are present in rouleaux as seen in Figure 2, peripheral blood circulation is impaired. However, the effect on the other two subjects’ blood was less apparent.
How does consuming pork sausage with sauerkraut affect the blood? For the subject most adversely affected by sausage, the blood looked about the same before and after consuming the two foods together. The blood of the other two subjects did not show much visible change from consuming pork plus sauerkraut. So there appears to be a protective effect from consuming the sauerkraut in the subject most affected by the pork sausage.
Overall, the results of this study are not as clear cut as in the previous pork study; for example, in comparing marinated to unmarinated pork (Rubik, 2011). That is, pork sausage does not appear to have such a dramatic, adverse effect on the blood of all subjects as did unmarinated pork. The number of subjects in this study (N = 3) is too small for the study to be definitive, since the effect size was small. Moreover, only one type of pork sausage was tested here. We cannot generalize these results to all types of pork sausage because the recipes and methods of preparation vary widely.
FIGURE 3: Blood sample from female, age 42,
before consuming pork sausage with sauerkraut.
FIGURE 4: Blood sample from female, age 42, after
consuming pork sausage with sauerkraut.
Nonetheless, in the single subject who did have adverse reactions to pork sausage, consuming sauerkraut with the sausage alleviated the problem. This may indicate that the traditional Brat mit Kraut appears to be a wise food combination that calls for further investigation.
This study was supported in part by a small grant from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
FIGURE 5: Mean blood coagulation factors pre-pork sausage consumption.
FIGURE 6: Blood coagulation factors pre-post pork sausage with sauerkraut.
Rubik, B (2009) Pilot Research Study: Live Blood Analysis of Adults Comparing the Weston A. Price Foundation Diet and the Conventional Modern Diet. Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts; Winter 2009, 35-43.
Rubik, B (2011). How Does Pork Prepared in Various Ways Affect the Blood as Assessed by Live Blood Analysis? Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts; Fall 2011, 24-32.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2013.
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