Influence of ABO blood group on sports performance.
Ann Transl Med. 2017 Jun ;5(12):255. PMID: 28706923
BACKGROUND: Despite being a recessive trait, the O blood group is the most frequent worldwide among the ABO blood types. Since running performance has been recognized as a major driver of evolutionary advantage in humans, we planned a study to investigate whether the ABO blood group may have an influence on endurance running performance in middle-aged recreational athletes.
METHODS: The study population consisted of 52 recreational, middle-aged, Caucasian athletes (mean age: 49±13 years, body mass index, 23.4±2.3 kg/m2), regularly engaged in endurance activity. The athletes participated to a scientific event called"Run for Science"(R4S), entailing the completion of a 21.1 km (half-marathon) run under competing conditions. The ABO blood type status of the participants was provided by the local Service of Transfusion Medicine.
RESULTS: In univariate analysis, running performance was significantly associated with age and weekly training, but not with body mass index. In multiple linear regression analysis, age and weekly training remained significantly associated with running performance. The ABO blood group status was also found to be independently associated with running time, with O blood type athletes performing better than those with non-O blood groups. Overall, age, weekly training and O blood group type explained 62.2% of the total variance of running performance (age, 41.6%; training regimen, 10.5%; ABO blood group, 10.1%).
CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study show that recreational athletes with O blood group have better endurance performance compared to those with non-O blood group types. This finding may provide additional support to the putative evolutionary advantages of carrying the O blood group.