Diabetes: How Genes May Affect Your Reaction to Metabolic Stress

By Laura Brooks on 12/01/2008
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Metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes are a product of genes and lack of a healthy eating lifestyle. Now brand new research shows a link between a person's genetic profile and his or her metabolism.

Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München examined genetic and metabolite data from volunteers, pinpointing the various genetic markers responsible for the metabolism of sugars, carbs, and lipids in the body. Different gene expressions demonstrated a corresponding variation in metabolic function patterns.

"These are at least partly comparable to the different varieties of hair color which are due to genetic variations," explains researcher Karsten Suhre. Redheads, for example, are more sensitive to  sunlight than brunettes.  "For example, differences in hair color are apparent to the observer at first glance. However, in the case of metabolism it takes much more effort to identify the role which the respective gene variant plays in the metabolism of the affected person," Karsten Suhre explained.

While one group is able to react relatively robustly to "metabolic stress", e.g. in the form of a short-term nutritional deficiency or a high-fat diet, another group may have more or less pronounced physical impairments, the precise extent of which can now be ascertained in follow-up studies.

(Medical News Today)

By identifying such genetic variations linked to the differences in metabolic function, new genetic testing methods may aid in assessing risk for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases as well as an individual's potential sensitivity to medications. In doing so, physicians may be able to minimize risk to their patients and maximize health benefits by personalizing medical treatment in the future.

2 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Wow, that’s cool. Makes sense, too.

  • Erica says:

    Your post is very well written and informative! I was just diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and am still learning about it. I didn’t even realize it runs in our family until after I told my mom about my dianosis. My great grandmother had it and my aunt has had it for years and I didn’t even know it.

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