FUT2 and the microbiome

fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2) is a DNA variation with ” Intestinal microbiome analyses have also revealed differences in the microbiota structure based on FUT2 status, with non-secretors showing reduced microbial richness compared to secretors[2017]. “Heritability analysis of the microbiota has demonstrated the importance of host genotype in defining the human microbiota “[2018]

The gene coding for your blood type lies on chromosome 9q34. However, a separate gene (called FUT2) actually interacts with your blood type gene, and determine your ability to secrete your blood type antigens into body fluids and tissues. …
A Secretor is defined as a person who secretes their blood type antigens into body fluids and secretions like the saliva in your mouth, the mucus in your digestive tract and respiratory cavities, etc. Basically what this means is that a secretor puts their blood type into these body fluids. A Non-secretor on the other hand puts little to none of their blood type into these same fluids. As a general rule, in the U.S. about 20% of the population are Non-secretors (with the remaining 80% being Secretors).

Importance of Secretor Status, DR. PETER J. D’ADAMO

In other words, both your blood type and your FUT2 status may also have impacts on your microbiome. This adds more layers to what is “normal” for you as an individual. For nursing mothers, they alter their milk microbiome for their infants [2019].

  • These are the first results indicating that the O blood group and FUT2 secretor status are protective factors against Crohn’s Disease in Asians. [2019]
  • Secretor Status Is Strongly Associated with Microbial Alterations Observed during Pregnancy. [2015]
  • ” Additionally, we demonstrate that both secretor status and blood group antigen expression especially affect the Lachnospiraceae family of bacteria within the gut microbiome, with lower abundances noted in nonsecretors and higher abundances in secretors of various blood groups. We further note specific differences in blood group A-secretors demonstrating that the genus Blautia is lower in the group A-secretors compared with the non-A-secretors and that this reduction is accompanied by higher abundances of members of the Rikenellaceae, Peptostreptococcaceae, Clostridiales, and Turicibacter” [2017]
  • Faecal microbiota composition in adults is associated with the FUT2 gene determining the secretor status.[2014]
    • ” Several other genera, including the mucus-degrader Akkermansia , showed a trend towards a lower relative abundance in the non-secretors “
    • “Enzymes for the degradation of the ABO glycan structures have also been identified in Bifidobacterium species and the mucus degrading genera RuminococcusClostridium and Akkermansia , which were among the significantly abundant bacteria in the secretors in this study “
Secretor genotype (FUT2 gene) is strongly associated with the composition of Bifidobacteria in the human intestine.[2011]

Wait there’s more!

  • ” Recent report showed that NOD2 genotypes have an influence also on human microbiome ” [2014]
  • FUT2 may be a factor for autism [2019]
  • Fut2 induces epithelial fucosylation and exacerbates airway inflammation in asthmatic patients  [2020]
  • The FUT2 (fucosyltransferase-2) gene determines blood group secretor status. Being homozygous for the inactive “non-secretor” rs601338(A) allele confers resistance to certain infections (e.g. NorovirusRotavirus) and susceptibility to others (e.g. Haemophilus influenzaStreptococcus pneumonia). Non-secretors also have an increased risk of type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.  [2018]
  • Our results identify an association between FUT2 secretor status and self-reported kidney disease, and confirm a recently reported association with susceptibility to mumps infection.  [2018]

On the flip side:

From larger studies, we found these earlier reports were not replicated.

  • ” Despite previous reports, the taxonomic composition of the microbiota does not appear to be strongly associated with ABO or secretor status in 1503 individuals from the United Kingdom.  ” [2016]
  •  Thus, FUT2 genotype and inferred phenotype are not associated with human fecal microbial composition and imputed function. [2018]

Bottom Line

My reading is that the impact is at the species or strain level often. We need more and better studies to come to firm conclusions. The two negative studies had weakness in not accounting for several possible factors and in contrary to multiple previous studies.

The real interesting aspect is in selecting probiotics. Depending on your secretor status, you may wish to avoid those that are not seen with your secretor status.

If you have done 23andMe, this is how you can check your status. I am a  A/A on rs601338:  non-secretor of blood type, lower amounts of bifidobacteria, resistant to norovirus.

I had just added FUT2 secretor and FUT2 non-secretor to the “symptom list” for people that have uploaded.

Both Holigos™ products currently available contain 2’FL. This key ingredient nourishes your good bacteria and your intestinal wall and has been clinically proven to increase the abundance of bifidobacteria in FUT2 non-secretors.

Also, in a trial involving more than 1,400 people, the vast majority are either satisfied or very satisfied with their experience and find the product easy to take. Several FUT2 non-secretors have tried Holigos™, one of whom, also suffers from IBS-D and celiac disease. She told us that after using Holigos™ for 3 weeks, she felt a significant improvement in her symptoms. She explained, “My IBS symptoms have somehow calmed down a great deal, which of course makes me feel a lot better, more energized and indeed stronger.” As described by this user, if you are a FUT2 non-secretor, Holigos™ provides you with the specific nutrient you need to support your journey to good digestive health.

We recommend our Digestive Health product for non-secretors without severe gastrointestinal issues but with low abundance of bifidobacterial.

The FUT2 gene and non-secretors (Holigos web site)

As a personal FYI, Holigos has made major difference for a family member that is also a non-secretor of blood type.