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Do These Genes Make Me Look Fat?

You may be doing all the right things to lose weight, but could your own genetic makeup be against you?


Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight? It is something the whole family may want to get involved in as recent numbers indicate that, over the last 3 decades, the number of obese children ages 6-11 has quadrupled, the number of obese 12-19 year olds has more than doubled, and 65-80% of US citizens over the age of 25 are either obese or overweight.

What’s the problem with being overweight?

Carrying a few extra pounds is not a problem in itself, but being overweight is implicated in many serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and gall stone attacks. Also, more than a third of hypertension (high blood pressure) cases, and approximately 10% of breast and colon cancers can be attributed to obesity.

So for a healthy, and longer, life being at your optimum weight is a good goal for the New Year. However, diet alone may not be enough to help you if your genes are stacked against you.

Why your genes can keep you fat

Labrix laboratories in the United States have recently introduced the Find Why Weight Control Panel. It is a simple cheek swab DNA test that looks at 5 genetic variants known to affect weight control. This helps you, and your doctor to evaluate these variants and helps to identify lesser-known, yet potentially profound, obstacles to weight loss.

You could speak to your doctor is you feel this may be what is holding you back, and these are the variants that Labrix have identified in the following genes:

• FTO (Human fat mass and obesity associated gene): this regulates metabolism and when you are full

• MC4R (Melanocortin 4 receptor): regulates the feeling of having eaten enough, and how often you want to eat

• ADRB2 (Beta adrenergic receptors): identifies your sensitivity to carbohydrates and stress

• FABP2 (Fatty Acid Binding Protein 2): a key gene that indicates efficiency of fat absorption and insulin regulation of sugar

• SH2B1 (SH2B adaptor protein 1): regulation of insulin and leptin systems, again identified with weight control.