DNA Testing and Weight Loss
“Good” or “bad” as they may be, genes determine far more than our hair and eye color and are considered the blueprint for life-controlling protein synthesis, cellular reactions, and cellular communications. As science evolves and continues to uncover genetics associated with health concerns, the field of genetic medicine or “genomic medicine” continues to gain momentum. Little more than an aspiration just over a decade ago, genomic medicine continues to grow among providers, researchers and patients alike and tools that were once a part only of research are becoming a mainstay in clinical assessments.
One area of continued research is genetic influences on weight. With obesity reaching epidemic numbers in the US, it’s no wonder genomic research has spent efforts here. Several genes and their associated variants have been identified as influential to obesity, with the most well-known and influential gene at this time being FTO. Research has demonstrated that individuals with FTO variants may rarely feel full or satisfied after meals, have difficulty controlling cravings, have a strong desire for calorie-rich foods, and have a higher likelihood of childhood onset obesity as well as a stronger propensity to become obese from consuming saturated fat. Identifying this genetic variant in individuals can help direct a targeted, successful plan for weight loss and maintenance.
While some experts may argue that identifying genetic variants that predispose people to obesity may lessen people’s motivation to participate in healthy weight loss plans and afford them to blame their struggles on destiny, research debunks this concern. A recent study from the Health Behaviour Research Center at University College London found that obesity gene testing helps to reduce self-blame rather than putting people off from weight loss.
FTO variant testing, in conjunction with four additional genetic variants that may predispose individuals to obesity, is available through your local MRC Center. A simple, non-invasive cheek-swab, this test is designed to shed light on an individual’s genetic background, allowing clients to create a weight loss plan that will help overcome possible predispositions and help them achieve lasting results. Contact your local center today to order your test kits for the DNA Weight Loss Panel.
- Cheung MKM et al. FTO biology and obesity: why do a billion of us weigh 3 kg more? Frontiers Endocrin. 2011;2:1-9
- Frayling TM, et al. (2007) A common variant in the FTO gene is associated with body mass index and predisposes to childhood and adult obesity. Science 316: 889–894.
- Kara et. al. A link between FTO, ghrelin, and impaired brain food-cue responsivity. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. July 15 2013.
- Lu Y et al. Obesity genomics: assessing the transferability of susceptibility loci across diverse populations. Genome Med. 2013;5:55.
- Rankinen T et al. The human obesity gene map: the 2005 update. Obesity. 2006;14:529-644
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