I don’t come across health conditions that I have never heard of very often but have recently been educated by Beatrice, one of my elixir customers, about “non-secretors.” This is a term I hadn’t even heard of, despite extensive weekly health research.
Beatrice was considered fragile as a child as she didn’t have the same energy as other children and would complain of soreness in her body. She had recurring bladder infections and was over-treated with antibiotics. She suffered a damaged bladder and weakened immune system.
As a teen, she had her appendix taken out and as a young woman she had her gallbladder removed. After several years of various illnesses which included pleurisy, chronic mononucleosis, digestive disorders, weight gain, extreme fatigue, body pain, insomnia etc., she was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus, CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and fibromyalgia. Later in life she developed osteoarthritis throughout her body.
In doing her own research, she discovered the method of ‘eating for our blood type’ and followed a diet of eating beneficial foods for her blood type. This helped her. A homeopathic (or naturopathic) doctor suggested she get a lab test to determine if she was a non-secretor. And the test confirmed the suspicion.
In researching this condition, she found that the Live Right for your Blood Type book made many dietary suggestions which she has incorporated. She also heavily relies on the Eat Right for Your Blood Type Encyclopedia. I wrote about this way of eating in my last article.
It is estimated that within the general population, 80 percent of people secrete ABO blood type antigens in bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, and gastrointestinal secretions, where 20 percent do not. The ability to secrete ABO blood group antigens in bodily fluids is determined by a gene called FUT2 (Fucosyltransferase 2). In individuals with the functioning FUT2 gene, fucose sugar molecules are added to certain carbohydrate structures, which enables ABO antigens to be expressed in bodily fluids like saliva, tears, and mucus. Secretors include individuals with at least one functional copy of FUT2, where non-secretors have two non-functional copies of FUT2.
Those who do not secrete the antigens are believed to have a greater susceptibility for developing certain health issues including but not limited to: increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections, gastrointestinal Issues caused by pathogens including helicobacter pylori which is linked to stomach ulcers and certain types of stomach cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, increased risk of dental cavities, bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections, norovirus (a gastrointestinal illness), and several other conditions.
In non-secretors, the effectiveness of certain medications or treatments may be affected including the potential benefit of probiotics to the gastrointestinal tract. Some studies have suggested a potential link between non-secretor status and certain psychological conditions like an increased risk for anxiety and depression. There is a strong connection between gut health and mental health which I have written about in a previous article.
If you think your secretor status may be impacting your health, consult your health-care providers (GP, naturopath, homeopath) for diagnosis and treatment recommendations tailored to your individual needs as well as doing your own research with reputable sites.
The status (secretor or non-secretor) can be determined by specialized tests that assess the presence of ABO antigens in saliva or other bodily secretions. Genetic tests that look specifically for the FUT2 gene variants can also identify secretor status. FUT2 testing may not be commonly given so one may need to request it if this genetic predisposition is suspected. Research on this subject is ongoing so please consult up-to-date scientific literature and medical advice for the most current information.
It's important to note that being a non-secretor is not necessarily a 'bad' thing; it's just one of many genetic variables that can influence your health. Lifestyle factors, other genetic traits, diet, exercise and overall health status play a far larger role in determining your susceptibility to various diseases. If you know that you are a non-secretor, you may be more vigilant about certain health-care decisions.
In regards to dietary guidelines for non-secretors, due to the potential for increased susceptibility to certain infections, maintaining a strong immune system is strongly advised. This means adopting a diet rich in vitamins and minerals while avoiding junk food, sugar, fast food, alcohol and smoking etc.
It's important to note that research on the implications of secretor status is ongoing. Understanding of how this genetic trait influences various aspects of health is still developing, and new findings are continually emerging.
Claire Nielsen is a health coach, author, public speaker and founder of www.elixirforlife.ca. The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health and medical advice. Please consult a doctor, health-care provider or mental health practitioner if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses and/or treatment.