There are many factors that play a role in your risk for heart disease and diabetes. These factors include diet, physical activity, smoking, weight, age, sex, ethnicity, and so on. Genetics is a factor that plays a role.
Researchers from Britain's Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit have identifies a ‘lean gene' that is linked to reduced body fat, but increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Heart disease and type II diabetes are typically associated with being overweight, so finding a gene that links leanness to heart disease and diabetes is of interest. This may help explain why some individuals that are a healthy weight still struggle with high cholesterol and elevated glucose levels.
Britain researchers examined the genetic code of more than 75,000 individuals looking for genes linked to body fat percentage. They identified a strong relationship between the IRS1 gene and reduced body fat.
Investigations revealed that the IRS1 gene was linked to unhealthy levels of cholesterol and glucose. The gene was also linked to less subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin), but it was not linked to a reduced level of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the more harmful fat that surrounds organs.
This research suggests that individuals with the IRS1 gene do not store subcutaneous fat well and therefore store fat around the organs, which may put them at greater risk for health complications.
Overall, individuals who maintain a healthy body weight will be at reduced risk for heart disease and diabetes. However, interesting to see the research coming to light as genetic codes are better understood. We'll never be able to escape our genes!
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Published On: July 18, 2011