Do You Have an Obesity Gene?

Have you heard that being overweight might be caused by an Obesity Gene? I know, it seems that these days we are always being told by the scientific community that a particular condition is caused by a defective gene or gene sequence...once the faulty gene is identified...and a way found to switch it off...then hey presto...no more problem.

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It is a reasonable assumption to assert that disease states have a genetic component. Every person's genetic code carries errors and therefore certain susceptibilities but to take personal responsibility and environment out of the equation and assume that all dysfunction and disease is based purely on inherited characteristics is fuzzy logic. Your inherited biological characteristics don't necessarily have to determine your future. For example, we know that Japanese women living a traditional Japanese lifestyle in Japan have a less than 1% chance of developing breast cancer...but if you take these Japanese women and transplant them into the North American lifestyle their chances soon begin to match the national average in the United States...a tragic 13%.

With acquired chronic diseases such as Heart disease, Cancer and Diabetes, the killer combination is inherited characteristics and environment which includes associated lifestyle choices.

So is there such a thing as an obesity gene? Are some people more susceptible to being overweight and the process of fat gain?

Some researchers think so.

Some people get the flu every year...some people never do

Some people suffer from regular gastric upsets...some people never do

Some people become totally incapacitated with arthritis...some people never do

Some people gain weight...some people never do



Way back in 1962 a particular gene dubbed the 'thrifty gene' was suggested by geneticist Dr. James Neel. The thrifty gene theory was a way of explaining why some people gain weight and develop type II diabetes easily while others do not.

The thrifty gene theory simply states that some people have a genetic trigger that slows their rate of fat burn...and may even stop it...to help prevent starvation.

It is also thought that if you have inherited the thrifty gene then you are far more likely to over-release insulin into your blood stream when you consume high carbohydrate food and drink. This can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain.

Dr Neel hypothesized that indigenous people...

  • Native North Americans
  • Native Hawaiians
  • Australian Aborigines
  • New Zealand Maori...
  • and others possessed genes that helped them to survive from feast to famine. Food was not always plentiful...but sometimes would come in abundance.

    If you put these same genetic types into a 'modern' westernized lifestyle with excessive availability of calories on a daily basis...every day is like a feast...and the famine never arrives!

    So this theory postulates that certain genetic types may not be properly adapted to the lifestyle that they are living in.

    To be entirely truthful, you could say that nobody is adapted to the typical western diet and never will be as it is for the most part over subscribed to calories and void of sufficient nutrition...the type of nutrition that keeps chronic disease and fat gain from robbing you of your optimal health



    Moving forward to more relatively modern times...1993...some interesting research shone further light on obesity and genetics and identification of a possible obesity gene.

    Dr David E Comings...at the time the Director of Medical Genetics City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute in Duarte California and his research colleagues identified a potential obesity gene called the D2 receptor or DRD2. They found that it plays a role as a major gene that determines obesity and height. They also added that this gene may also be a risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes...also known as adult onset diabetes.

    Now, let's move all the way into modern times...2008

    This was reported by the TimesOnline May 5th 2008

    British Team Discovers Obesity Gene

    "A genetic variation that raises the risk of obesity has been discovered by a British-led research team, offering insight into why some people put on weight while others with similar lifestyles stay slim.

    People who inherit two copies of the variant, which lies close to a gene called MC4R, weigh an average of 1.5kg (3.3lb) more than those with none, according to the international study of 90,000 people published in Nature Genetics....

    People who have the most damaging versions of both genes tend to be between 3.5kg and 4.5kg heavier than those with the "slimmest" possible genetic profile"



    Interesting...but hardly earth shattering in terms of the average increase in weight in those individuals with the genetic variant.

    So what should we make of all this? Is there a genetic obesity link?

    Well...yes to some degree it seems so.

    Could this explain the epidemic of overweight and obese people that we are seeing in industrialized nations all over the globe?

    No...I don't believe so. While the presence of an obesity gene may predispose some people to weight gain, it is the environmental triggers or switches that are the problem. At the root cause of the obesity epidemic is...

    1. a combination of continually very poor food choices
    2. Poorly adapted metabolic body types
    3. very limited daily physical activity and...
    4. an unwillingness to change

    year after year of poor nutrition would seriously impact most peoples ability to overcome points three and four. If you are eating poorly you don't feel like being physically active and your mood effects your will power and ability to make effective decisions that will help you. It is a very vicious cycle.

    The presence of an obesity gene...the predisposition that some people may have that allows them to gain weight more easily than others may put some people at a disadvantage in the weight gain battle...but only if they...

  • continually eat the wrong foods
  • eat too much wrong food for their genetic metabolic body type and...
  • refuse to partake in some regular physical activity.

    Incorporate some simple Fitness Tips into your daily routine!

    How to Lose Weight | Weight Loss Tips | Losing Weight
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