krvThere are four main blood groups (types of blood): A, B, AB and O. Your blood group is determined by the genes you inherit from your parents.

  • blood group A has A antigens on the red blood cells with anti-B antibodies in the plasma
  • blood group B has B antigens with anti-A antibodies in the plasma
  • blood group O has no antigens, but both anti-A and anti-B antibodies in the plasma
  • blood group AB has both A and B antigens, but no antibodies

Does your blood group determine or predict your risk of major cancers, infertility, stomach ulcers, cholera, malaria, anxiety, depression as well as your personality? Clinical trials that were done from different research institutes of several countries confirmed a correlation between blood group and diseases.

For many years, the idea that blood groups had any medical significance beyond blood transfusions was neglected by scientists. Despite our health, the type of blood group may also affect our diet, which means that your blood type determines how your body responds to certain food. Growing number of studies is revealing how our blood groups may make us more prone to lethal illnesses, or even protect us from them.

The Harvard University researchers concluded people with blood group AB were 23 per cent more likely to suffer from heart disease. Group B blood increased the risk by 11% , and type A by 5%.
It is believed people with type O blood may benefit from a substance that is thought to assist blood flow and reduce clotting. These people are protected somehow from heart diseases, but they are at greater risk for bleeding and blood transfusions after heart surgery.

People with group O are resistant to malaria or other tropical diseases. Blood type O conveys protection against malaria because RIFIN, a protein secreted by parasites, bonds weakly with type O blood cells while strongly linking to type A.

There is evidence that type A blood is associated with higher levels of ‘bad’ type of cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), which is more likely to fur up the arteries.

AB blood is linked to inflammation, which also plays an important role in artery damage.

Researchers at Pennsylvania University discovered this benefit in a study involving 20,000 people. They found that most people who have a gene called Adamts7 face a significantly raised risk of suffering a heart attack. But in people with blood group O who have the Adamts7, there is no raised risk. This discovery may help to develop new therapies for people at risk of heart attacks. Such drugs may mimic the beneficial effect of the O blood group gene.

Our blood group is determined by genes inherited from our parents. Millennia of evolution have split human blood into four types: A, B, AB and O — around 44 per cent of Britons are type O, 42 per cent are type A, 10 per cent type B and 4 per cent are AB. What distinguishes each type are their antigens (the immune defence systems) on the surface of the red blood cells. Each blood group type evolved to provide defences against lethal diseases. But each has its own weaknesses, too. People with type O blood are at less risk of dying from malaria than people with other blood groups. But they are more vulnerable to cholera and stomach ulcers caused by viruses and bacteria. Japanese scientists claimed blood groups produced different personalities. According to Japanese scientists; Type Bs are cheerful but focused; Os are outgoing but stubborn; and ABs are arty and unpredictable. 

Other related studies revealed that blood type A tend to be more cooperative, sensitive, clever, passionate, whereas blood type B more balanced: thoughtful like A’s and yet ambitious like O’s.  

Nevertheless, there is serious science behind the idea that blood groups can hold the secret to fighting deadly diseases. In the Fifties, research at four London hospitals found the risk of developing gastric cancer was much higher for people with blood group A than for those with blood group O. But people with group O had a greater risk of peptic ulcers. Those findings have been confirmed by investigators at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, which studied more than a million people over a period of 35 years.

Head of research at Karolinska Institute, Dr .Gustaf Edgren found people with group A may be more susceptible to gastric cancer risks such as smoking, alcohol and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Type O people may be more susceptible to a bacterium that can cause peptic ulcers, Helicobacter pylori.

Blood group also impacts the risk of diabetes mellitus. Those with blood group B have been found to be at a 35% increased risk of becoming diabetic as compared to those with blood group O.

Type of blood group also influence the risk for neurodegenerative diseases. Recent studies showed that people people with blood type AB may be more likely to develop memory loss in later years than people with other blood types. This is as a result of high level of factor VIII of AB group compared with other blood groups. Factor VIII is a protein that helps blood to clot. High levels of factor VIII are related to higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

On the other hand,  people with O group are protected from Alzheimer and other dementia disease, because of higher amount of grey matter that offers protection from dementia related diseases. Also U.S. scientists showed that a woman’s blood group can affect her chances of becoming pregnant. 

The study of more than 560 women undertaking fertility treatment found that those with blood type O were up to twice as likely to have a lower egg count and poorer egg quality, which could affect the chances of conceiving.

Women with blood group A seemed to be better protected against their egg counts falling over time. But the exact reasons for a link between blood group and ovarian reserve was not clear.

Blood groups have been linked to other reproductive troubles. A study at Harvard University found that women with AB or B group blood have a raised risk of developing ovarian cancer.

There are also fears that AB blood may double or even treble the risk of pregnant mothers suffering from the potentially lethal blood pressure condition pre-eclampsia. This finding could be harnessed to identify women at higher risk. Other research has found that people with type AB and B blood have a much higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Meanwhile, people with type O might be less at risk of cancer, but research shows they are also more vulnerable than others to norovirus, the potentially lethal vomiting and diarrhea bug.

And men with type O might be more prone to piling on the pounds, claimed Danish researchers. They have found that type O males who are exposed routinely to pollution at work have a significantly raised risk of obesity compared with men of other blood types.

In general, such a weight of medical evidence might prompt us to question why we are not told of the health threats we might face due to our blood type.  Researchers in the U.S. have become increasingly involved in this type of research, particularly in trying to harness the power of blood types to fight infectious diseases. But the interest in UK is sparse.

Some think of the ‘blood group diet’, which is based on the idea that different blood types process food differently. To lose weight, people with group A are told to follow a vegetarian diet, while group O should eat meat and avoid consuming dairy and wheat.

In short words there is no need to rely just on blood type when it comes to being vulnerable to and predict many diseases. Other factors plays an important role such as healthy diet, physical activity, stopping smoking.

All of these discoveries may help to develop new therapies for people at risk of different diseases and their genetic (set of genes) may offer a great potential to think for novel therapies despite conventional ones.

It seems that scientists are eager to explore the role of blood group in health, personality and diet and also they will try to harness this power to develop appropriate therapies for wide range of diseases in the future.