The term ‘secretor’ or ‘non-secretor’ refers to the ability of an individual to secrete ABO blood group antigens in bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, tears, serum and the gastrointestinal mucus secretions. The function of ABO antigens remain an enigma, however it has recently been suggested that blood groups and secretor status are part of innate immunity against infectious disease. Non-secretors have an increased risk for urinary tract infections, candida, autoimmune disorders and heart disease.
A person who is a ‘secretor’ will secrete antigens according to their blood group, i.e. a group O individual will secrete H antigen, a group A individual will secrete A and H antigens etc. Obviously a ‘non-secretor’ or weak secretor will have no or little antigen present in their bodily fluids.
A majority of Caucasians (80%) are secretors. Although non-secretor status seems to be common among Chinese, Japanese, Polynesians, Australian aborigines and African-Americans.
Decreased antigens may affect bacterial attachment and persistence on mucosal epithelia. Consistent with this theory is the observation that non-secretors have an increased risk for urinary tract infections, candida and dental cavities. Furthermore, non-secretors have changes in their immune system function and have higher rates of autoimmune disorders. Non-secretor status is also associated with increased levels of clotting factors and heart disease. By determining secretor status, a predisposition to certain conditions can be assessed and preventative therapies can be introduced.
- Autoimmune diseases
- Coeliac disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Dental cavities
- Urinary tract infections
- Peptic ulcers