Genetics and weight loss are more related to one another than you might have initially been led to believe. While environment certainly plays an important role, studies now indicate that certain individuals may be more predisposed to others in regard to weight gain and a higher body mass index (BMI).
As this can be a complicated subject, we will only delve into the basics by addressing a handful of relevant questions. What is the relationship between your DNA and weight loss? How might specific genes play a pivotal role? Are there any proven genetic obesity treatments? If you suspect that your family background may be at least partially to blame, the details below should be helpful.
An Overview of Genetics in Relation to the Metabolism
We can think of our DNA (genetic material that we are all born with) as representing a “fingerprint” how we are set to develop later in life. While this is excellent news for some individuals (such as who have no trouble maintaining a healthy weight), others seem to have the proverbial cards stacked against them from the very beginning.
Although the exact link between fat genes and weight loss is not yet fully understood, scientists have already identified several genes that seem to play a role. One in particular is known as MC4R. This gene tends to affect children; causing them to feel constantly hungry. As a result, the tend to overeat (a condition known as hyperphagia). The problem here that more than 50 genes have already been shown to display a tentative impact upon obesity. In other words, studies are still ongoing.
Genetics and Weight Loss: Thinking Outside of the Box
We should also highlight how seemingly unrelated genes might cause some individuals to gain weight. A theoretical example will help to prove this point. Perhaps you feel stressed due to work-related issues. As a result, you choose to binge on unhealthy foods. Some feel that this response may have a genetic root. After all, others may instead abstain from eating during periods of emotional duress.
Additionally, some genes have been shown to be responsible for conditions that can indirectly lead to weight gain later in life. Diabetes is a well-known example in this case. Research clearly illustrates that children with diabetic parents are more likely to inherit this trait (although the exact mechanics are still being uncovered).
Is Using DNA to Lose Weight an Option?
This is a relatively logical question when we consider the information that was presented above. At the time that this article was written, there were no universally proven genetic weight loss treatments. However, rare conditions such as leptin receptor deficiencies might be improved with recently approved drugs including Setmelanotide. It is also not currently possible to “alter” one’s DNA in order to increase metabolic rates or decrease appetite. Still, some scientists feel that DNA based weight loss options may become viable treatments in the not-so-distant future.
Can Some Genetic Disorders Cause Weight Loss?
While there seems to be a causal relationship between specific genes and weight gain, what about the other side of the coin. Might certain genetic conditions cause significant weight loss? Scientists have already identified one disorder known as Congenital Generalised Lipodystrophy (CGL). This diseases normally presents itself in childhood and in some cases, it causes the loss of nearly all body fat. However, this is quite rare and modern testing can identify children who are born with the specific gene.
Unravelling the Genetic Mystery
It can be easy for some individuals to blame a high body mass index on genetics alone. Although there is little doubt that genes are involved, environmental, social and emotional factors are equally (if not more) important. For instance, even those who are predisposed to obesity are often able to avoid the associated symptoms by eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis.
There are also a host of powerful medical treatments to consider. Countless individuals have already experienced success with the help of the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon. Note that this is only one option. Furthermore, there is little doubt that ongoing research will shed even more light upon the subject. If you feel that family history may be playing a role, speak with a physician. He or she will be happy to explain genetics and weight loss in more detail.