Emma Nutrition

Simplifying the science through cooking and education. When I'm not on Mummy duties…

Genetic testing and weight loss

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Have you ever wondered whether your weight is high or low due to genetics? Why you put on weight just by looking at a biscuit while your skinny friend eats all day and never gains? Could it be due to your genes? Might your parents and your grandparents be responsible for your waist size? Genetic testing weight image

Possibly! Or possibly not! Let me explain…

Weight gain is a very complicated science. If it were simple it wouldn’t be a multimillion dollar industry! People wouldn’t put themselves through extreme diets, punishing bootcamps or psychological guilt over and over again. So often I hear how simple it is to lose weight “just eat less calories than you burn”, “less input;more output” etc etc. While exercise or moving our bodies can reduce weight, it is not as simple as burning off last nights chocolate indulgence. Exercise also builds muscle which burns more energy and makes us look slimmer, it massages our internal organs promoting them to function better and increases mitochondrial production (energy at the cellular level) that has a host of important roles. It really is not a simple process.

What if I told you I can test your fat genes? Would you jump at the chance? What if I told you I could test your gastrointestinal system, your cardiovascular system, sex hormones, lipids, adrenals and more? It is possible to test all of these and quite simply too. It is not cheap though and would probably set you back well over £3k to test them all, possibly more. Last night Dr Dawn Harper presented a TV show on Channel 4 called Fat Family Tree. I’m not sure who made the decision to call it that…anyhow it claimed to “use cutting edge genetics to decode the genes of an overweight family for whom all other attempts to shed the pounds have not worked. Working out how the family’s genes have put them at risk of excessive weight gain is the first step to devising a diet to help them beat their genes. Based on the latest scientific research, the show’s ‘gene-busting’ diet also promises failsafe diet tips that could help all of us shed the pounds.”

There is excitement in the scientific world about gene polymorphisms. Many findings are clinically significant and useful. For example the study looking at the impact of weight loss and a sodium-reducing diet or the MTHFR gene studies that show how some people can’t change naturally occurring folic acid into the active form that the body requires to carry out its biochemistry and therefore store fat, have a higher predisposition to heart disease, diabetes, miscarrige and depression.

Which tests are available?

  • Digestive and stool analysis
  • Hormone profiles – women and men
  • Adrenal stress index
  • Metabolic profiles
  • Allergy profiles
  • Antibody profiles

    What can I do about it?

    Here are some examples of what you can do about it if you have had a test, have been following a healthy plant based diet, exercise regularly and are still not losing weight or putting on weight easily:

    High Adiposity Index: Remove unhealthy gut bacteria, replace with probiotics, reduce refined carbohydrates, address gastrointestinal issues.

    Gastrointestinal issues: remove pathogens (parasites, fungus, yeast etc), address intolerances, correct nutritional deficiencies, normalise transit time, supplement with enzymes, review inflammatory markers.

    Inflammatory markers: support immune function, remove pathogens, address food sensitivities if present.

    Cardiovascular markers: reduce cholesterol, increase magnesium, coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E, reduce blood pressure, review hormone status.

    Hormonal imbalances: address fatty acid deficiencies, increase B vitamins, review Krebs cycle energy production, increase Magnesium and Zinc, detoxify, address carbohydrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity, balance hormones, check MTHFR gene.

    MTHFR gene you need to take a folic acid supplement. This study showed that minimum of 400mcg per day would help although it is thought that the form of the supplement needs to be as folinic acid not folic acid

    Ultimately you want to be counselled accordingly so that you do not waste money on irrelevant testing. There are many tests you can have done. Some use blood, others use saliva or stool or urine. Where you are based, what your other symptoms are all play a part in the bigger picture. It is wise to also remember that regardless of your test results these do only show your predisposition to something; you may have a mistake in a gene coding that causes a predisposition or puts you at higher risk of something but it generally doesn’t give you a magic bullet solution. A higher risk means simply that and should encourage us to be more vigilant in how we treat our body. A good practitioner will help you to analyse your body, your health history and offer advice as to which type of intervention may be more successful for YOU!

    Should you wish to ask any questions or order any tests you can go here:

    Genova diagnostics – tests. Use the code A70GQ

    Invivo clinical – tests.

    Nutri-Link – use the code WOOL.E2 for 10% discount on supplements. Folinic acid available from this company.


  • Author: EmmaNutrition

    Emma Wight-Boycott MSc mBANT is a natural health expert with a passion for simplifying the science. Emma works with post natal mums, weekend runners and those with digestive issues to find the source of their health issues and rediscover their health mojo.

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