Let’s be honest. No one wants the fat gene. No one gets excited about having the low energy gene either. But if these traits come up in your myDNA Nutrition and Fitness report, should you despair? No. Here’s why…
Discovering you have one of the ‘less favourable’ gene variants is actually a good thing. It means you also get to find out which foods and exercises will work best for YOUR body.
Maximise your potential
What you draw in the genetic lottery is entirely down to your parents. Everyone has two copies of each gene: one inherited from their mother; one from their father. And you can’t change it. Your DNA is set for life.
Your DNA does influence your health and fitness, but through DNA analysis you can learn how to maximise your strengths and overcome any weaknesses.
A myDNA nutrition and fitness report explains the likely affect your genes will have on your health and fitness. But it also tells you what’s been scientifically proven to improve the health and wellbeing of others who share your specific gene type. In other words… what you can do about your DNA.
The fat gene
Let’s start with the gene many people fear: FTO.
Commonly called the fat gene, FTO is linked to body size, fat storage and obesity. Certain FTO variations can make you more likely to reach for the biscuits. But will the fat gene automatically make you fat? No chance.
On average, people with a variation in their FTO gene tend to be a bit heavier than those who have the ‘normal’ version of the gene. But this is an average – not a guarantee.
Some people show no obesity risk factors in their genes but they’re still overweight. Others show an increased risk yet they’re supermodel skinny.
It’s your lifestyle, what you eat and your environment – together with your genes – that determines the number on your bathroom scales. So if you have a less-than-ideal FTO result (and a surprising number of us do*), eating more protein combined with regular exercise may help you fight it and keep hunger at bay.
Results that stick
In fairness, the FTO gene doesn’t entirely deserve its bad reputation either; there are many genes that combine to affect your risk of obesity.
For instance, the MTIF3 gene is another that could be making your jeans feel tight. People with certain MTIF3 gene variations are more likely to be bigger than others, but they’re also more likely to maintain any hard-earned weight loss over time. There’s some great motivation!
Make the switch
Feeling flat? It could be your PPARGC1A gene (that’s the one that helps regulate our energy). Naturally, the more energy you have, the easier exercise is going to be – and the longer you can do it.
If you’re someone with low endurance, you’re not alone – more than one in seven of us share this result*. While this genetic variation is rare in endurance athletes, it’s actually quite common in power-lifters. So perhaps you should forget about setting marathon records, and try keeping up with the best at CrossFit?
You’ve got the power
Do you feel the need for speed? That’s the ACTN3 gene, which builds a protein that allows your muscles to work faster and harder.
If you don’t produce ACTN3 protein, you probably won’t win many races and may get sore or injured after intense training. This isn’t ‘weakness’ – it just means your body is better suited to low-intensity training, like swimming, a brisk walk or yoga.
Find what works for you
These are just four of the 14 genes that myDNA tests to compile each personalised nutrition and fitness report.
You can’t change your DNA if you don’t like it, but understanding your unique genetic makeup on the inside makes it a lot easier to change and improve what’s on the outside.
* myDNA nutrition and fitness reports include the percentage of the Caucasian population (the largest ethnic group in Australia) that shares your gene variation.