How Your Blood Type Determines Your Health
The Blood Types: O, A, B, and AB
We all know there are four different blood types and a negative or positive Rhesus factor, but that’s about it. Many don’t even know their own blood type, yet there are so many facets about our blood type that determine our health. Let’s take a look at a few.
First of all, the four different blood types are O, A, B, and AB. The O, A, and B types were not discovered until 1900, and before that medical doctors were clueless why some people died from blood transfusions. The AB type wasn’t discovered until 1902. So blood types are fairly new to the medical world and still being studied leading to more and more amazing discoveries!
As recent as 2012, two new discoveries in blood types have been recognized. Studies are now being conducted on the “Langereis blood type” and the “Junior blood type”, both of which are rare, but important discoveries.
The A, B, and AB types carry sugars that physically reside on the exterior of the red blood cells. These are called antigens and play an important role in our immune system and general health. Antigens are also what causes problems and even death in blood transfusions when mixing the wrong blood types! If the wrong antigens are introduced into your blood, your immune system attacks them as foreign invaders. Too many of the wrong antigens, and death occurs!
You may have heard of the “Eat Right For Your Type” eating plan by Dr. D’ adamo. His work over the past several decades has help many understand the fundamental role of blood type plays in one’s overall health.
The ABO Blood Type Groups
Notice that Blood Type AB carries both the A and B antigens, so naturally it can accept blood transfusions from A, B, and O (O has no antigens). That is why AB is the universal recipient – it can receive transfusions from any of the blood types! Blood type O-, on the other hand, is the universal donor since it has no antigens and they have no affect on other types. However, there is a slight issue with the Rhesus factor for O+.
In 2007 researchers found a way to transform types A, B, and AB into type O for transfusions, although the Rhesus factor still remains an issue for transfusions.
So far, so good… Now what about the health benefits?
Blood Type – Health Benefits
You inherit your blood type from your parents and there is nothing you can do to change that. The antigens and Rhesus factor live on the surface of your red blood cells and they interact with your immune system in ways that change your risk for many common diseases. Here’s a few insights:
Blood Type AB – Memory Problems!
Possible risks of cognitive impairment as described in the journal Neurology. Cognitive performance test showed that blood type AB had problems learning or recalling lists of items, especially for the elderly. Mary Cushman, MD, a professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Vermont noted that type ABs are more likely to develop thinking problems later in life, but the exact mechanisms contributing to that issue aren’t clear.
Blood Type AB & A – Stomach Cancer!
Another risk for AB type is stomach cancer, which is about 26% higher than blood types B or O, as documented in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Also, Blood Type A has a 20% higher risk than types B or O.
This may be due to the bacteria H. pylori that blood types AB or A have a heightened immune system reaction to and increases their cancer risk according to Gustaf Edgren, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden.
Blood Type O – Ulcers
Edgren’s research also showed that type O has a higher risk of Ulcers than other types. “This blood group somehow modifies the body’s immunological response to the bacteria, but we don’t know exactly how,” Edgren says.
Blood Type AB & B – Heart Disease!
Blood Types AB and B are at the highest risk for heart disease by about 23%. Lucky type O is the lowest according the the Harvard School of Public Health. Both type AB and B show higher rates of inflammation and that may have a direct connection to the higher risk of heart disease.
Blood Type AB, A, & B – Pancreatic Cancer
Types AB, A, & B are about 37% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than type O, as suggested from research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Again, the gut bacteria H. pylori is a prime suspect for the higher disease rates among non-O blood types!
Blood Types – The Future!
There is a definite link between blood types and disease risk. Although, this is just the beginning of the discoveries yet to come. You can’t worry about the things that are out of your control. But you can take steps to improve your odds and live a healthier and happier life. Eating right for your type, exercising, and being mindful of your health will keep you ahead of any illness.
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