Your DNA tells about your obesity from the day you’re born

According to WHO, Malaysia has the highest rate of obesity and overweight among Asian countries. One of the most common complications of obesity is diabetes and the prevalence of the diabetes has increased from 11.6% to 17.5% from the year 2006 to 2015.1

It is even more surprising to know that more than 50% of diabetes are undiagnosed! Other complications such as heart disease, stroke and cancers, are also associated with obesity.

DNA test can be performed to detect the genetic predisposition for obesity and any genetic risk factors that are associated with the weight increment: –

For example, COMT gene is related to the secretion of hormones involved in reward-motivated behavior and trigger to overeat.2 Studies have also shown that ADRB3 and PPARG genes have been associated with increased body mass index, larger abdominal circumference and higher LDL cholesterol.3,4

People with NPC1 gene mutations appear to be more likely to develop adiposity traits and obesity.5 Other than that, LEPR gene mutations cause deficiency in leptin receptor which leads reduction in feeling of fullness. This causes excessive hunger and prompt weight gain without proper control. The leptin receptor deficiency can also begin in early childhood, causing abnormal eating behaviors such as fighting over food, hoarding food and secretive eating.6

However, DNA is not your final destiny. Healthcare providers can motivate you to adopt healthy eating and exercise patterns as well as provide personal recommendations based on your DNA profile. This could potentially prevent associated diseases, heading off diabetes, heart problems and cancers.

References:

  1. Malaysia and WHO call for more investment in primary health care the 21st century. (2019, April). Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://www.who.int/malaysia/news/detail/08-04-2019-malaysia-and-who-call-for-more-investment-in-primary-health-care-the-21st-century
  2. Kring, S. I., Werge, T., Holst, C., Toubro, S., Astrup, A., Hansen, T., Pedersen, O., & Sørensen, T. I. (2009). Polymorphisms of serotonin receptor 2A and 2C genes and COMT in relation to obesity and type 2 diabetes. PloS one, 4(8), e6696. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0006696
  3. ADRB3 gene – Genetics Home Reference – NIH. (2020, May). Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/ADRB3
  4. PPARG gene – Genetics Home Reference – NIH. (2020, May). https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/PPARG
  5. Liu, R., Zou, Y., Hong, J., Cao, M., Cui, B., Zhang, H., … & Liu, W. (2017). Rare loss-of-function variants in NPC1 predispose to human obesity. Diabetes, 66(4), 935-947.
  6. Leptin receptor deficiency – Genetics Home Reference – NIH. (2016, July). Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/leptin-receptor-deficiency

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