“Your friend has incurred a huge loss of blood. We will have to transfuse Type – A.”, the doctor said to my father, when I was standing right beside him. Confused. What did he mean by ‘Type – A’? Does blood have types? Just like our grades in school, does Type – A mean the best blood type? I was too young to gulp anything beyond the fact that the color of our blood is red and is supposed to come out every time we get hurt on our body.
In my later years of schooling, is when I finally came to know that:
- The blood running through your veins right now is a collection of red blood cells, leukocytes (white blood cells) various proteins, and other molecules.
- Your blood type depends on the red blood cells – precisely the surface of the cells. For example, the ABO component can be dictated as if you have cells with the A antigen, you have type A blood. B antigens, you have type B. If you have both, you’re in the AB group. Someone with neither of these antigens is type O.
- Rhesus (Rh) is a collection of 50 different antigens, but the D antigen is by far the most important and relevant to transfusion. This molecule is a large transmembrane protein, meaning it is embedded in the cell membrane and sticking out on both sides. Just like antibodies can see the sugars that determine the ABO group, they can detect the presence of the D antigen if it’s not supposed to be there. The presence of D antigen is the difference between someone who is A positive and A negative.
Who found them?
In 1817, James Bundell, a physician in London, performed the first successful transfusion of human blood to a patient for treatment of a hemorrhage. Whereas in 1900, Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian physician discovered the blood types.
Some of the important blood group systems are:
1. ABO, 2. Rhesus, 3. Kell, 4. Duffy, 5. Kidd, 6. Lutheran, 7. Lewis, 8. P, 9. MNS, 10. I.
(All of the above if mismatched can cause hemolytic transfusion reaction)
Does blood type influence personality or should they follow a particular diet?
In 1996, Dr. Peter D’Adamo, naturopathic physician who is also an author wrote Eat Right For Your Type. According to D’Adamo, a single drop of blood contains a biochemical makeup as unique to you as your fingerprint. Individuals of certain blood types may be at a higher risk for certain diseases. Some nutrients which are beneficial to one blood type may be harmful to the cells of another. Here’s a quick overview to your blood type:
Type – A :
- A born leader yet conservative, responsible, cautious, sensitive to the needs of others, good listeners, detail oriented, analytical, creative, inventive and punctual.
- Better if followed vegetarian diet, particularly important for sensitive Type As to eat their foods in as natural a state as possible: pure, fresh and organic.
- Don’t eat when you’re anxious; eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Type A’s can derive significant benefit from calming, centering exercise, such as yoga and tai chi.
Type – B:
- Blood type B ‘the balanced one’: thoughtful like A’s and yet ambitious like O’s. They are empathetic, unpredictable, passionate, confident, impulsive, easily understanding others’ points of view, yet often hesitating to challenge or confront.
- Peter D’Adamo found that while their immunity is strong, they are more prone to slow-growing viral infections like lupus, MS and chronic fatigue.
- They may also have problems with hypoglycemia and blood sugar, especially if they eat the wrong foods. Foods that encourage weight loss are green vegetables, eggs, beneficial meats, and low fat dairy.
- do best with moderate physical exercise requiring mental balance, such as hiking, cycling, tennis, and swimming.
Type – O:
- Blood type O ‘the universal donor’: Ambitious, confident, sociable, creative and popular.
- This blood type has a very well-developed ability to digest meals that contain both protein and fat. This blood type fares best on intense physical exercise and animal proteins and less well on dairy products and grains, says Dr. D’Adamo.
- Ideal exercises for Type O’s include aerobics, martial arts, contact sports, and running.
Type – AB :
- Blood type AB ‘the universal Recipient’: Only about 2 – 5% of the population is blood type AB.
- Blended by both A and B, they’re shy and outgoing. They are responsible and trustworthy.
- Are sometimes looked at as having 2 personalities, because they tend to keep their true selves hidden from strangers. They have many friends, but also require time alone.
- They are stronger and more active than type A’s, but need to pay attention to stress levels so that they don’t compromise their immunity.
- A combination of the exercises for types A and B works best. Foods to focus on include tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables. People with type AB blood tend to have low stomach acid. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoked or cured meats.