Friday, May 30, 2014

How Do Genes Affect My Weight?

Occasionally, I like to pass along information that comes across my desk.  I've been asked to consult with Igniteplay and Spaplay with regard to genetic testing and how this information may help coaches, such as myself, develop highly tailored, genetically accurate, training, weight loss, and nutrition plans for individuals.  I'm an information guru.  The more information I have about a client, the better I am able to coach them.  DNA testing is yet another tool in our arsenal to fight disease.  Read the except (from author, Lisa Andres) and let me know your thoughts.  Information about the test, ThinnerGene, is available below.  

How Do My Genes Affect My Weight?

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Variations in our genes make us unique.  These variations can influence our weight by affecting how our body responds to exercise and to certain nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates and fats. They can also affect how we respond to training and how well we perform at power and endurance sports.  

Will Exercise Help You Lose Weight?


There are a number of genes that influence your weight by affecting how your body responds to exercise. One example is the FTO gene.  If you have one type of variation in this gene, then being physically active, especially through aerobic activity, will be critical for helping you achieve a healthy weight.,, If you have another variation of this gene, then exercise, although important for maintaining your health, is less likely to impact your weight.    

Will a Specific Diet Help You Lose Weight?
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Variations in your genes can also influence your weight by affecting how your body responds to different types of macronutrients like proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The PPARG gene, for example, affects how our bodies store and break down the fats that we eat.  People with a particular variant of this gene are less likely to be overweight if they eat a “Mediterranean” style diet.  Mediterranean style diets are high in a particular type of fat called MUFA which is found in foods like olive oil, avocado and nuts. However, people with a different variant of this gene, do better with a diet that is low in ALL fats.   

Are you a Power or Endurance Athlete?
Your predisposition to being a power or endurance athlete is influenced in part by your genes. One gene that appears to be involved in athletic performance is the ACE gene. The ACE gene has many functions including controlling blood pressure. Variations in this gene can also influence power and endurance.  

Athletes with  specific variation of the ACE gene tend to have increased power performance, and gain increased strength from training.  They are, therefore, more likely to be power athletes like sprinters and short distance swimmers.   Athletes with a different variation, on the other hand, tend to have increased endurance, higher VO2max and greater metabolic response from training. They are, therefore, more likely to be endurance swimmers, long distance runners, triathletes, and elite high altitude climbers.
How Can Testing Your Genes Help You?
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Testing for different gene variations can give you insights into what diet, exercise and training plan might be best for you.  When undergoing testing, it’s beneficial to have a consultation with a health & wellness provider like Kathy Kent who can help you put your results into action.   We are currently developing ThinnerGene, a DNA test that will look for gene variations that can influence your weight by affecting your body’s response to exercise and macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The results of this test will include a diet and exercise program customized to your genes.   To get advanced access to this test signup here.


About the Author
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Lisa Andres, MS, CGC, MBA is an American Board Certified Genetic Counselor with  over 20 years of experience in healthcare and health technology. Lisa started her professional career counseling patients and families about their genetic risk.  Since then Lisa has worked in biotechnology, clinical trials and with medical device and software companies. Currently Lisa is CEO and founder of IgnitePlay. Igniteplay makes healthy living and losing weight easier and more fun.  IgnitePlay is currently developing ThinnerGene, a DNA test, that will tell you what weight loss program will make it easier for you to lose weight. They have also created SpaPlay, a game that makes it fun for people to lose weight and get healthy.

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