Blood type and Lifestyle

Blood type is a marker of individuality and blood type distinctions also show us areas of commonality. People with the same blood type posses certain neurochemical similarities in the ways they respond to stress.

The mind and the body are physiologically connected - the ways we think, feel, dream and imagine are manifested in our complex chemical pathways, infused throughout the hardwiring of our systems is our blood type.

Blood type influences behavior and plays a role in mental health and disease. The immune system, digestive system, circulatory system, endocrine system and all other systems are autonomic (work on automatic), but they are linked to the brain. On the cellular level, blood type has an influence on our entire system.

Studies since the 1920’s have looked at the relationship between blood type and temperament, and revealed overwhelming evidence of a clear neurochemical marker for blood type differences that translates into physiological qualities. The very mechanisms that control behavior, temperament, and mental health are influenced by blood type. In the 1970’s attention was given to the connection between blood type and personality traits. Many characterizations are based on the simple observation and cataloging information about thousands of individuals over many years, revealing some clear trends that are meaningful. These conclusions were later confirmed by genetics research and lab studies.

Each blood type, O, A, B & AB, have strengths and weaknesses in common, with propensities that have influence on health and wellness. All individuals have a breaking point. In times of stress, the effects of our blood type genes on the system’s neurochemistry behave as a fault line just beneath the surface. The fault line may remain inactive when we are healthy, but become inflamed and explode when we are ill or stressed beyond our limits. Understanding what triggers our fault lines, eases the pressure and helps us keep them in their inactive state, which keeps us from harming ourselves unintentionally.

Common characterizations of blood types:
O’s tend to be extroverted, strong, expressive, outspoken, stable, practical, decisive, live in the present, leader, pragmatic, patient, logical, confident, responsible, organized, objective, rule-conscious.

They tend to have a compact and muscular body build. Qualities that consistently show up in O’s is a zest for physical activity, indifference to what others think or want, competitiveness and a bold, assertive quality.

A’s tend to be introverted, intense, demanding, perfectionist, sensitive, cooperative, creative, restrained, reserved, calm, prone to anxiety, sensitive to the needs of others, listeners, detail oriented, analytical. A’s tend to have either a lean and delicate body build or a soft round body build with a high proportion of fat tissue. This seems to indicate that A’s tend toward the extremes, especially in males. The personality traits of A’s with soft, round bodies tend to prefer privacy, mental intensity and being detail oriented.

B’s are free thinkers, resilient, creative, original, independent, lack ambition, pragmatic, organized, self-sufficient, highly emotional, feeling, flexible, spontaneous, subjective, easygoing. The bodies of type B’s is all over the place.

AB’s are introverted, sensitive, distant, passive, balance of extrovert and introvert, alienated, feeling, intuitive, emotional, passionate, trusting, empathetic, independent. AB body types tend to be lean and delicate, rather than soft and round, by virtue of being more compact and muscular.

Of course, dysfunctional relationships in families can cause children to grow up not behaving true to their authentic self; the person they were created to be. With their self confidence crushed, their natural tendencies are stunted. The truth of who they are is not able to come forth and be appreciated by themselves or the people who know them.

Generally speaking, blood types have been archetyped. Type O represents the early hunter-gatherer. Type A is the farmer who cultivates the land and raises animals for food instead of hunting them. This blood type marks the emergence of agriculture and permanent human settlements. Type B is the nomad, because it developed along with the spread of populations to new environments around the globe. Type AB became the enigma, because we don’t know why this more recent blood type came into existence.

Every characteristic has a basis in our genetic memory. Anthropological studies have proven irrefutably that certain archetypal personality and behavior traits throughout our evolutionary history are directly linked to survival. The ways we behave can be explained by our evolutionary patterns. Aggression, attraction and cooperation behaviors promote the continuation of the species. However, they have been refined over time by changing environments and cultural influences. It is intellectual evolution.

Personality traits have a strong correlation with the chemical attributes of each blood type that have important implications for mental and physical health.

Though our instincts and intelligence have secured our place at the top of the food chain, we are vulnerable to predatory attack by microscopic organisms. The increasingly volatile and changeable environments we experience challenge our ability to survive. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens are evolving more indomitable strains, while the resurgence of diseases that were thought to have been eradicated, converge on bodies that are experiencing the inevitable aging process that wears down our physical systems and threatens our mortality. Every encounter with our mortality is a trigger for stress. Our ancestors experienced intense, but intermittent stress from encounters with dangerous predators, territorial disputes or the ongoing hunt for food. We were designed to respond to life’s stressors appropriately, but too much stress for too long causes psychological imbalance, physiologic breakdown and disease. The response mechanisms that are designed to protect us have become dangerous to our health and wellness under daily chronic stress. The piling-on of stressors on a continual basis places an unnatural strain on our systems that we were not designed to handle.

The external circumstances may be exactly the same, but based on blood type biochemistry, the reaction and their ability to adapt to stress are going to be completely different. They produce stress hormones in large or small amounts, that are released at appropriate times, or not. The rhythm can be off. What is the relative balance of their nervous systems? Feelings are chemical reactions in the body. What types of feelings are being produced? What are their safety valves? For O blood type their safety valve is exercise, while A’s destress with deep breathing, meditation and movement that does not adding stress to their stress. What is the total load of ALL stressors, emotional and physical? Maladaptation occurs when the body has passed it’s breaking point and entered the stage between health and disease. If nothing changes during the maladaption stage, disease sets in permanently. Like machines, the body has an optimal working load, but if you redline an engine by driving it above its rated maximum rpm, it will break. The body is no different.

The blood type gene works with the genes that control our stress responses. There are clear differences in the ways humans respond to stress, how much stress they can handle, and how quickly they recover from stress, based on blood type. The neurochemical differences in blood type affect how you present yourself to the world, the way you behave in relationships with others and how you perceive situations and your emotional response to those situations. Blood type may help to shape the kind of person who shows up.

If you are enjoying health and balance, these factors may live in the background and not show up at all. However, if you are in chronic stress and maladaptation, your immune system is compromised, you have chronic infection, and poor nutrition caused by incomplete digestion and malabsorption, then blood type may become the fault line that erupts and you can’t be the authentic, creative, energetic and joyful person you were created to be. Choosing a lifestyle that is right for your biochemistry (blood type) gives you control over your destiny and enables you to express your personality as a vital, positive characteristic of your individuality. These distinctions can be of practical value in achieving the health and prosperity the are your highest goals.

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for “fight or flight” responses, while the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxing the nervous system after the danger has passed. The proper, balanced functioning of both systems is critical for good health. Both branches of the nervous system communicate with the endocrine system and internal organs to help maintain proper function and respond to a wide range of potential challenges. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are antagonists, which work best when in balanced opposition to one another. The key is BALANCE.

When the sympathetic nervous system has continued dominance over the parasympathetic nervous system on a continual basis, for prolonged periods of time, that is called chronic stress physiology. Since many of the body’s systems that are associated with health and healing are driven by the parasympathetic nervous system, prolonged stress will inevitably lead to breakdown, because healing and repair of tissues can only happen in a state of physiological relaxation. A normal stress response involves the synchronized action of the endocrine system; hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. Under chronic stress, these glands become exhausted and malfunction, causing hormonal imbalance and disease.

The adrenal gland releases cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. When these powerful chemicals are released into the blood stream, it increases heart rate and blood pressure. It also decreases digestive capacity and increases mental alertness for instinctual (not logical, wise or creative) thinking. They shift the body’s resources toward fight, flight, exercise or some physical activity. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone, which breaks down muscle tissue and coverts proteins from the tissue into energy. Exposure to cold, starvation, injury, infection, pain, excessive amounts of exercise, emotional and mental stress will be met by cortisol. Excessive or prolonged release of cortisol disrupts the balance of a number of internal systems, causing inflammation, increased tendency to allergies, slow wound healing and muscle loss. Chronically high cortisol levels lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, insomnia, increased bone fractures, faster aging, muscle loss, immune weakness, cognitive dysfunction.

Each blood type has a very unique chemical profile.
A’s tend to over respond to minor stress, which is measured by increases in cortisol.
O’s produce the least amounts of cortisol and adrenaline in response to stress.
B’s fall closer to A’s.
AB’s fall closer to O’s.

A’s tend to have a higher basal level of cortisol in their blood all the time, which means that they are walking around with their physiology in a higher state of adrenal stress than other blood types. For this reason, they don’t benefit as much as the other blood types when they practice exercise to reduce stress, because for them, exercise increases cortisol and stress on the body instead of releasing stress. For them, exercise is not a “valve”.

O’s require a lot more to knock them off kilter in the face of stress. However, once they are pushed to the point of dramatic response, it takes the longer to recover. O’s tend to excrete higher levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which enables them to respond quickly and efficiently to danger, but their recovery is more difficult because it takes them longer to break down catecholamines; neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. The reason for this is that O’s have the lowest activity of the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which is responsible for breaking down or deactivating adrenaline and noradrenaline. It’s all about the chemistry that is unique to this blood type. When type O’s experience prolonged stress, it affects the levels of adrenaline clearance, causing adrenal-neurological exhaustion. This causes stress induced anger and aggression.

B’s are closer to A’s, in terms of stress hormones, producing higher than normal levels of cortisol. In other areas, B’s tend to be closer to type O. B’s have a unique stress profile. B’s tend to me emotionally centered on a fairly consistent basis, but they are far more sensitive to stress-related imbalances and respond very quickly to stress-reducing techniques. They are gifted in the powers of visualization and relaxation, which help them recover from stress much more quickly than type A’s.

AB are more like 0’s in their response to stress.

Exercise and stress:
Participating in an activity that helps your blood type recover from stress and resist many of it’s harmful effects, will moderate stress and help you de-stress, however if you exert yourself beyond your level of tolerance, exercise can actually act as a stressor.

The factors that determine your tolerance for exercise include nutrition, hydration, rest, prior training, level of fitness and stress in other parts of your life. But your blood type is the most important factor influencing your level of tolerance for different types of exercise.

Allow me to illustrate.
Type O and type A decide to run 3 miles together, four days a week. Type O experiences increased energy level, improved fitness and an antidote for his stressful job. He feels more balanced and better able to cope. Type O heads off to work feeling energized and ready to take on the world. Type O’s have a distinct, genetically programmed instinct for overcoming stress. The type O biochemistry permits explosions of intense physical energy, because stress goes directly to their muscles. They experience stress and their body takes over. Type O’s get charged up and they are meant to release the build up of cortisol through vigorous and intense physical exercise. The type O system is built for it! The impact of stress is direct and physical, so regular intense exercise elevates their spirits, enables them to maintain weight control, emotional balance and a strong self-image. O’s respond well to heavy exercise in nearly every way. To get the desired metabolic effect, they have to get their heart rate to 70% of their maximum for at least 30-60 minutes, 3-5 times per week. Beneficial exercises for O’s include, high impact aerobics, swimming, running/jogging, weight training, treadmill, stair climbing, martial arts, contact sports, calisthenics, cycling, brisk walking, dancing, roller skating or roller blades. The type O genetic memory is strength, endurance, self-reliance, daring, intuition, innate optimism, focus, drive and a strong sense of self-preservation. Type O’s are hardy, strong and fueled by a high-protein diet. Type O’s become depressed and despondent, overweight and lethargic when they don’t participate in heavy physical exercise. Type O’s excel in intense, high pressure, competitive, leadership positions.

Type A feels better immediately after running, because the endorphins that were produced create a euphoric feeling, but within a couple hours he feels sluggish and has poor concentration. His heart rate during the run was higher and his heart worked harder to achieve the same level of performance as his type O running partner. In foot races or football, the people with type O blood will have greater endurance and speed than you. The harder you train, the worse your performance will be. That’s just how you are wired. After the run, it takes longer for type A’s heart rate to return to resting levels. This may not be as obvious when you are young, but over time, it wears on the body and when symptoms become obvious, there is a problem emerging. Type A is struggling; feeling light headed if he stands up to abruptly, having trouble sleeping soundly at night. What’s happening here? Type A’s biochemical response is a distinct, genetically programmed instinct to overcome stress. It can’t be controlled or reprogrammed. It is what it is.

A’s first reaction to stress is alarm and they respond intellectually. They become anxious, irritable and hyperactive. As the stress continues, their immune system grows weaker. The tightened sensitivity of their nervous system gradually frays your delicate protective antibodies, making your immune system too weak to fight infection and the bacteria that are waiting for an opportunity to invade you. Adopting quieting techniques, like yoga or meditation, will counter the negative effects of stress with focus and relaxation. Type A’s do not respond well to continuous confrontation. They need to practice the art of stillness as a way to calm the mind and sympathetic nervous system. If type A’s remain in chronic stress, it can produce heart disease and cancer. Exercises that calm, centering and focus are the remedy; Tai chi (Chinese boxing), yoga, hiking, swimming, martial arts, dance, low impact aerobics, stretching, golf, walking, bicycling. Mentally engage with your body during physical activity, instead of disembodying; going outside yourself or checking out. Heavy competitive sports and exercise will exhaust your nervous system and make your immune system susceptible to illness or disease. When stress is to great, you become anxious, take everything personally and become paranoid. Your system is more tightly wired, bottling up negative emotions to get along with others, but eventually you explode. Soothing, contemplative relaxation exercises are the antidote to this. Type A’s are poorly suited for the intense, high pressure of leadership positions.

The longer type O and type A run together, the more the more type A experiences stress. His cortisol levels are higher, causing him to age faster. His DHEA levels are decreasing. Type A has overtrained. Instead of helping him manage stress, his exercise program has pushed him into stress induced maladaptation. If he stops running now, it can take months for his hormone profile to return to normal. Because type A starts with higher cortisol levels to begin with, his increased cortisol levels caused by intense prolonged exercise have interfered with his well-being and is making him sick.

So lets say that type B and AB join the run. Type B starts out with higher cortisol levels, like A, but after a few weeks he is well-conditioned and energized by the run. What makes the difference is that type B is also doing yoga to help him recover from the stressful effects of intense exercise. Type AB initially feels energized by running, like type O, but after a few weeks type AB decides to cut back and run only 2 times a week. He takes stretching classes the other two days.

For type O and B, training and conditioning results in producing fewer stress hormones in response to exercise, but for type AB, not so much and for type A, not so at all. However, type O’s who are in the exhaustion stage due to accumulated stress should not continue to participate in intense exercise until they eliminate sources of unnecessary stress in the rest of their life.

For type A, the health costs of high cortisol levels is devastating. High cortisol is a link to many killer diseases - cancer, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, mental disorders, senility and Alzheimer’s disease. High cortisol is not the result of these diseases, but the cause.

To receive a free pdf listing biocompatible foods according you the unique chemistry of each blood type and other factors, please send your request in an email to johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com. I will send it out to you promptly. Thank you for your interest. I look forward to serving you.