Circadian Rhythms: Genes at the Core of Our Internal Clocks

Circadian rhythms are the natural biological rhythms that shape our biology.  Most people know about the master clock in our brain that keeps us on a wake-sleep cycle over 24 hours.  This is driven by our master “clock’ genes. It turns out that we…

Digesting Carbohydrates: Amylase variants

Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth with an enzyme called amylase.  Saliva mixes with your food as you chew it, and the amylase in saliva begins breaking down carbohydrates into simple sugars.  Amylase is also produced by the pancreas and used for further breaking…

Detoxifying Phthalates:  Genes and Diet

There have been several recent studies about phthalates that have piqued my interest. I decided it was time to look into the science behind the stories and see if there really is anything to the scare-tactic type headlines about phthalates. Below are my notes…

How our genes shape our gut microbiome and our weight

Several studies have come out recently showing that those who are overweight have a different gut microbiome composition than those who are lean.  There have also been interesting mouse studies showing that transplanting feces from obese mice into lean mice causes the lean mice to…

Microbiome + genetics + emulsifiers = obesity

Recently, I listened to an interview (from 2015) of a scientist who did a study on emulsifiers and found that they can lead to low-grade inflammation in the gut, especially in mice with certain immune system genes knocked out. I find the interaction between our…

Adiponectin levels, food choices, and genetics

Adiponectin, a hormone discovered in the 1990’s, is secreted by adipose (fat) tissue.  It is an anti-inflammatory protein, protective against the effects of low-grade inflammation that are associated with obesity. Although it is made in adipose tissue, those who have more fat tissue usually have lower…

Weight Loss Genetics – DHEA

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is one of our body’s most abundantly produced steroid hormones. It is secreted by the adrenal glands, gonads, and in the brain. DHEA acts as both a precursor hormone to testosterone and DHT,  and as a neurotransmitter. Like other hormones, we tend…

Weight Loss Genetics – PLIN1

The perilipin 1 gene codes for the protein that covers lipid droplets in fat cells.  This coating protects the lipid droplets from the enzymes that break down fats for use as energy in the body.  Increased perilipin is associated with obesity.  Mice bred to be…

PPARG: A genetic variant that can protect against obesity and type-2 diabetes, but only if you eat the right diet.

The PPARG (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma) gene has been associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and risk for type-2 diabetes. This gene is involved in the regulation of fatty acid storage and in glucose metabolism. PPAR-gamma is activated by omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and regulates…

FTO: The ‘fatso’ gene.

The FTO gene is nick-named the ‘fatso gene’ because of its association with obesity. (Please don’t think that I’m fat-shaming a gene – researchers really call it that!) This article digs into the current research on the FTO gene and then will give you…