Weve all heard of that stupid book/diet that tries to tell you what to eat based on your blood type. Of course thats stupid and just a gimmic to get you to buy hundreds of dollars of
crap ‘supplements’ for your blood-type (oh for Petes sake…).
I totally didnt know this before I read this neat Nature review, but there are actually viruses out there that can use the histo-blood group antigens (A, B, O) as their receptors!
Apparently, Type O are the most susceptible to some kinds of norovirus infection, and Type B are the least.
Now, this might be something other kids learned in high school or something, but I dont know jack about blood groups. *shrug* So I was like “WTF! If norovirus uses blood-group antigens as a receptor, how can Type O (lacks A and B) be more susceptible??”
Like I said, this was totally news to me: ‘Type O’ doesnt mean your red blood cells are ‘naked’, it just means that there is a standard sugar, ‘O’. Some people have an enzyme that makes the standard ‘O’ a little different with an ‘A’ modification. Some people have an enzyme that makes a ‘B’ modification. Some people have both. But if you dont have either, you keep the standard sugar, ‘O’. It doesnt mean you lack the sugar entirely.
This makes perfect sense, in retrospect, but its not something I have thought about before!
So, noroviruses like the ‘basic’ antigens for receptors, not so much the modified ones.
But then I was all like “WTF! How can your blood type (glycans on red blood cells) have an impact on a virus that infects your gut??”
News to me: Some people express these antigens on the epithelial cells in their mouths/GI tract. Theyre called ‘secretors’.
So even if you are Type O (more susceptible), if you are a non-secretor, you are actually less susceptible!
And this is just super good news for those of you today who are Type B non-secretor. You dont get as many opportunities to poop your guts out as the rest of us. LOL! I dunno how/where/if you can be tested to see if youre a secretor or not, though.
(SUPER AWESOME online textbook that taught me this stuff: ‘Essentials of Glycobiology‘)