Ask Dr. D'Adamo

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Questions About The Diets

Non-Secretor Bum-Out?


It seems that there are no health advantages to being a non-secretor! Do you have any guesses why 20 percent of the population would be burdened with this condition?


You're right. It appears the vast majority of difficulties are associated with a non-secretor allele. Whether or not this is a purely detrimental influence, I cannot say at this point. There are a couple positives: You tend to have less lectin-related food problems, and your white blood cells tend to be more aggressive when combatting some types of cancer. On the other hand, there are a lot of metabolic problems associated with a non-secretor. Whereas non-secretors may make up between 15 to 20 percent of the population, they probably account for up to 70 percent of the people I see in my clinic -- principally because of metabolic problems, gut permeability issues, and chronic infectious disease susceptibilities.

Interestingly, what appears to be the natural selection of the non-secretor gene may have been a rather left-handed health benefit. It appears that non-secretor children who carried the gene for diabetes tended to die in utero or in very early life. Sadly enough, this may have been a benefit to our ancestors. For, in the opposite situation, with the child having lived but having been chronically ill, they would have represented quite a drain on the resources of the community. Perhaps it acted as a type of suicide gene.

Though one of the nice things about knowing you're a non-secretor, or that you're Type A or Type O, is that despite all the bad news, at least you know it! Since the really bad news would be to not know that there was bad news! [laughs] I only wish I knew more bad news about the other blood types.

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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