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Genes involved in Obesity management

Updated: Mar 4, 2022


Overweight or Obesity!!! A dreaded word for many and the root cause for many health related problems.

Obesity or excess weight is one of the common challenges many people are facing today. Obesity is a medical condition wherein the body has accumulated so much fat leading to a negative impact on a person’s health, causing a plethora of serious medical problems like increased risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension and much more. Data shows that the percentage of the population that is overweight and obese is rising to epidemic proportions all over the world and India is no exception to this. India is on the verge of becoming the Diabetic capital of the world.

Statistical insights also bring out the seriousness of the problem of obesity in India. Prevalence of obesity in India is 40.3% with south zone having highest at 46.51% and east zone lowest at 32.96%.

Over the last decade there have been enormous advances in explaining the genetic basis of obesity. We have learned a lot regarding how interactions between genetic and environmental factors, including nutrient exposures and dietary behaviors, can influence the development of obesity. Given the many factors that influence obesity, as well as the dynamic nature of this health problem (weight gain, weight loss, weight maintenance, variability in body composition), genes play a vital role in deciding the outcome.

In this blog we provide some insights into the different traits and some of the important genes associated with obesity.


Fat Absorption, Metabolism & Storage

Your genotype decides your propensity level to convert stored fats for energy production efficiently including visceral fat deposition. Genetic variations can influence an individual’s tendency for accumulating body fat upon consumption of certain types of dietary fats. A lower ability to convert stored fat for energy and increase the risk for visceral fat deposition (fat in the abdomen) can elevate an individual’s risk for developing obesity and other associated conditions.

Genes involved - ADRB2, APOA2, APOA5


Ability to Maintain Weight Loss

Your genotype decides your ability to maintain weight loss post a weight loss intervention. While losing weight is difficult for many people, it is equally challenging to keep the weight off. A significant number of people who lose a large amount of weight tend to regain it 1 to 3 years later. Certain genetic variations can influence the ability to maintain body weight post weight loss.

Genes involved – ADIPOQ, FTO, PPARG


Body Mass Index

Your genotype decides your propensity level of developing Obesity and the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Body mass index of more than 30, indicates obesity. Obesity can further lead to osteoarthritis, heart disease, blood lipid abnormalities, stroke, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, reproductive problems, gallstones, and certain cancers.

Genes involved – FTO, LEPR, MC4R, PPARG


Inflammation

Your genotype decides the inflammatory response your body exhibits post an exercise session. Exercise tends to damage muscle cells, thereby eliciting an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response repairs the muscle and aids in its growth and adaptation. If there is an up-regulation of the body's inflammatory enzymes, it can possibly lead to greater inflammation and hence greater muscle soreness.

Genes involved – CRP, IL6, Near TNFA


Satiety Response

Your genotype decides your propensity level for Satiety Response. Certain genetic variations can influence the ability to feel satiated after consumption of a meal, which can lead to overeating for individuals with a poor satiety response.

Genes involved – FTO


Emotional Eating Dependence

Your genotype decides your propensity for Emotional Eating Dependence Some people have a strong emotional connection with food. Such people can turn to food for comfort consciously or subconsciously, when facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed, or even while feeling bored. Emotional eating can lead to excessive calorie intake, thereby damaging any weight loss efforts.

Genes involved - DRD2, MC4R


Snacking Pattern

Your genotype decides your propensity level for Snacking and snacking pattern. Variations in certain genes are involved in poor snacking pattern, resulting in overeating. Such people have an increased urge to snack on foods throughout the day even though they feel full.

Genes involved – MC4R


Type II Diabetes

Your genotype decides your propensity of developing Obesity related Type II Diabetes. Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as Type II Diabetes, is a condition that impairs the body's ability to process blood glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into the cells, to be stored or used for energy.

Genes involved – ADIPOQ, CDKAL1, FTO, TCF7L2


CardioVascular Diseases

Your genotype decides your propensity level of developing Cardiovascular diseases linked to obesity. Cardiovascular disease is a general term used to refer to conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It is associated with the build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the arteries that supply mainly the heart or the brain. Certain genetic variations influence the risk of developing Cardiovascular diseases.

Genes involved – ADIPOQ, PON1


Weight Loss Response to Exercise

Your genotype decides your propensity level of weight loss response to exercise. One such gene which is an essential element of the human circadian rhythm and metabolic regulation is the CLOCK gene. Variations in the functioning of this gene may affect the homeostasis of different metabolic pathways, which in turn can influence the weight loss process. It decides if you can lose weight easily by undertaking an exercise regimen or should put an increased focus on diet to maximize weight loss.

Genes involved – CLOCK


HDL Response to Exercise

Your genotype decides your propensity level for increase in blood HDL (good Cholestrol) levels in response to exercise. An individual’s diet plays an important role in maintaining healthy HDL and LDL levels in the blood. Exercise or physical activities also play an important role in increasing the production and efficiency of certain enzymes that enhance HDL levels. However, the extent of HDL level improvements for the same level and amount of exercise vary among individuals based on genetics.

Genes involved - ACTN3, APOA1, IL6, LPL


Fat Loss Response to Exercise

Your genotype decides your propensity level for Fat Loss Response to Exercise. It decides body’s efficiency in using fat as an energy source during workouts. How efficiently people respond to exercise in terms of breaking down of triglycerides, transportation of free fatty acids, and subsequently, oxidation of these fatty acids depends on their genetics.

Genes involved - ADRB2, ADRB3, PPARD, PPARGC1A


No other area is under so much focus as Obesity. Obesity is the basic cause of a number of other comorbidities like diabetes, cardiac issues, cancer etc... When considering weight loss it is very important to understand why it is very difficult for some people to easily lose weight while others face lots of difficulties? The reason is hidden in your genes. Different individuals have differing tendencies of converting calories into fat. Some individuals may convert carbohydrates into fat; others may convert fat in food into body fat or, worse still, both. All this is governed by the genes of every individual. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, and other adiposity traits have identified more than 300 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

Knowledge of an individual’s Genes helps us unlock the potential of information hidden in ones genes for preparing a personalized and sustainable weight management program which will include the following:

  • A gene-based personalized nutrition plan

  • Dietary goals for relevant vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and foods

  • Requirements for nutritional supplementation, where required

  • Personalized exercise recommendations

References:

  1. Ioannis Arkadianos1, Ana M Valdes2, Efstathios Marinos3, Anna Florou1, Rosalynn D Gill4 and Keith A Grimaldi - Improved weight management using genetic information to personalize a calorie controlled diet, Nutrition Journal 2007, 6:29

  2. John R. Speakman - Obesity: The Integrated Roles of Environment and Genetics, WALTHAM International Science Symposium: Nature, Nurture, and the Case for Nutrition

  3. Telma Angelina Faraldo Corrêa, Bruna Jardim Quintanilha, Marina Maintinguer Norde, Marcela Augusta de Souza Pinhel, Carla Barbosa Nonino, Marcelo Macedo Rogero - Nutritional genomics, inflammation and obesity , Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2020;64/3

  4. ICMR BULLETIN, Genetic & epigenetic approach to human obesity, Vol. 45, No. 1-12 January-December 2015

  5. Andres Acosta, Michael Camilleri, Andrea Shin, Paula Carlson, Duane Burton, Jessica O’Neill, Deborah Eckert, Alan R. Zinsmeister - Association of melanocortin 4 receptor gene variation with satiation and gastric emptying in overweight and obese adults, Genes Nutr (2014) 9:384

  6. Rajan Kumar Singh, Permendra Kumar, Kulandaivelu Mahalingam - Molecular genetics of human obesity: A comprehensive review, Comptes Rendus Biologies Volume 340, Issue 2, February 2017, Pages 87-108

  7. Agatha A. van der Klaauw1 and I. Sadaf Farooqi - The Hunger Genes: Pathways to Obesity, Cell 161, March 26, 2015

  8. Tuomo Rankinen, Aamir Zuberi, Yvon C. Chagnon, S. John Weisnagel, George Argyropoulos, Brandon Walts, Louis Pe´russe, and Claude Bouchard - The Human Obesity Gene Map: The 2005 Update, OBESITY Vol. 14 No. 4 April 2006






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