News and Research: ACTN3, sports performance, injuries

Genetic variants in the ACTN3 gene and injuries


Effect of ACTN3 Genotype on Sports Performance, Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage, and Injury Epidemiology: May 2020

Quick background: The ACTN3 gene codes for a protein needed for fast twitch muscle fiber – the type needed for quick, explosive movements.  A common SNP (rs1815739) causes this gene to be non-functioning.  (Read more here and check your data)

This new review article brings together information on both athletic performance and injury. It recaps the older studies that show that people with the functioning ACTN3 gene are more likely to be elite sprinter or power sport athletes – and those with the non-functioning ACTN3 genotype are more likely to be endurance athletes. It also includes information on how the functioning ACTN3 gene increases muscle mass more quickly in response to training.

What’s interesting here The article goes on to explain all the research on injuries in people with the non-functioning ACTN3 muscle type.

Quite a few studies show that athletes with the non-functioning genotype are more prone to muscle injuries and needed a longer time for recovery.  If you carry the ACTN3 non-functioning genotype, you may need to fully recover and not ‘push it’.

Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between the research hidden in scientific journals and everyone's ability to use that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.