Understanding Secretor Status
It’s tremendously important to know your secretor status – whether or not you secrete your blood type into your body fluids. Identifying the outcome of this important gene can dramatically enhance the results of personalized medicine.
Although it is quite common to speak of one’s blood type as ‘A positive’ or ‘O negative’ from a nutritional perspective scientists may instead be referring to their patients a ‘A non-secretor’ and ‘O secretor.’
The ‘negative-positive’ description denotes our Rh (Rhesus) blood group and is commonly tested for when we donate blood. The Rhesus blood group system is incredibly important with regard to transfusions and problems that can result between a pregnant women and her fetus. However, other than these specific indications, the Rhesus system is not very significant with regard to diet personalization. Why?
The Rh marker (called an antigen) is a true ‘blood type’ meaning that it is found only on our red blood cells and nowhere else. The ABO blood type antigens on the other hand are found through the body. Determining your secretor status allows your physician to understand just how much ‘blood type expression’ is found in your body’s tissues. About 80% of the population has a gene that allows them to secrete their ABO blood type into their secretions in free or unbound form. These individuals are known as ‘secretors.’ In general the ability to put our blood type antigen into our tissues is an advantage, since this provides a degree of ‘insulation’ against foods that react with our blood type antigens and microbes that can latch onto our blood type antigens as part of their infection cycle. In both cases the free blood type antigen can act as a ‘decoy’, attracting the offending food or microbe to it rather than the ‘real’ blood group antigens that reside on the cells.
About 20% of the population lacks the so-called secretor gene (FUT2) and thus cannot manufacture free, unbound blood type antigens. These individuals are known as non-secretors. These subcategory of individuals is very interesting from a disease susceptibility vantage. Non-secretors often have more consistent problems with low-level infections, such as yeast (Candida) and Streptococcus. Because much of our internal microbial environment is determined by our blood type antigen (which is often used as a source of food by our intestinal bacteria) non-secretors often have an imbalance in their bacteria flora, a condition known as dysbiosis. Non-secretors are also known to suffer from many forms of autoimmune disease, especially Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease of the intestines. Blood type A non-secretors often suffer from an overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach, a situation that can lead to serious problems, such as Barrett’s Esophagus, a chronic inflammation of the esophagus and upper stomach. Although it would appear that being a non-secretor has no up-side, some preliminary research appears to indicate that non-secretors may have a lower rate of several common digestive tract cancers.
At the Center of Excellence in Generative Medicine, we determine secretor status by testing to determine the presence of the secretor gene .In combination with your ABO blood group, secretor status can refine your diet to a high degree of accuracy. Combined with our other methods of assessment, blood type and secretor status provide the basis for our unique SWAMI software and opens the door to the promise of personalized medicine.