Effect of a vegetarian-like diet on blood coagulation and other health parameters in blood types A and O: an evaluation of the "Blood Type Diet
Background. Research suggests that non-O blood types are at an increased risk of thrombosis and related health complications in cardiovascular disease (CVD). This is due in part to higher concentrations of von Willebrand factor (VWF), an important factor involved in blood clotting. Objective. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a vegetarian-like diet on blood coagulation and other health parameters in adults with type A blood compared to type O blood over a four week intervention. Given the lack of previous research on blood type and diet, it was hypothesized that no difference in blood coagulation would be observed. Design. This study was a randomized, parallel arm, dietary intervention using healthy, omnivorous adults with blood types A and O. A total of 39 subjects completed the study. Subjects were randomized into two groups: a vegetarian-like diet group made up of 12 type As and 12 type Os and an omnivorous control diet group made up of 11 type As and 12 type Os. At weeks 0 and 4, fasting blood was drawn and analyzed for prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), von Willebrand factor (VWF), total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and CRP. In addition, subjects were weighed and filled out a FFQ at weeks 0 and 4. Results. After adhering to a vegetarian-like diet for four weeks, type Os had a significant increase in PT (+0.24±0.32 sec/ p=0.050), whereas type As saw no significant change. There was a trend of weight loss for type Os in the vegetarian-like diet group (-1.8±2.6 lb/ p=0.092) and significant weight loss for type As (-0.9±2.1 lb/ p=0.037). Both blood types O and A experienced significant decreases in BMI (-0.3±0.4/ p=0.092 and -0.2±0.3/ p=0.037, respectively). No change was seen in APTT, VWF, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, or CRP. Conclusion. Type Os saw an increase in PT, perhaps indicating a reduction in risk of thrombosis and its related health complications. Type As were less responsive to the dietary intervention and may require more rigid dietary guidelines or a longer time on such a diet to see the benefits.