Weight Loss & Your Genes

Wondering what your 23 and Me data indicates about your genetic susceptibility to gain weight?  I’ve dug into the research to see which genes are associated with obesity — along with specific life hacks that take into account your genetic variants.

We don’t all have the same genetic variants that cause weight gain. Thus, you need to optimize your weight loss plan for the genetic variants that you carry.

No snake-oil, no quick fixes – just science that you can apply to fit your genes

Start here:


Recent articles on Weight Loss and Your Genes:

Turning up the internal heat for weight loss- UCP1 genetic variants- The dream for overweight people: just turn up the internal heat and naturally burn off the extra fat.It turns out that genetically some people do have more active 'internal heat' and they actually are burning off more energy all the time.
BPA: How Your Genes Influence BPA Detoxification- BPA, a chemical found in some plastics, has been linked to a variety of effects on people including obesity, insulin resistance, and epigenetic effects on the fetus.  It is everywhere in our food supply. In fact, a CDC report showed that 92% of people...
Early to bed, early to rise – helps with weight loss and diabetes- Meal timing and light at night are modern issues that impact diabetes and obesity risk.
Circadian Rhythm Connections, Part 2: Weight Loss and Meal Timing- There are five key elements to weight loss from a circadian point of view: Timing of Meals; Light Exposure; Sleep; What to Eat, When; and Genetic Variants.  All of these can come together in our modern world to give you a propensity to gain...
Growing up ‘big boned’: MC4R gene and obesity- There are several key players in our body’s regulation of hunger, satiety, and energy expenditure. Leptin and ghrelin are two pivotal hormones involved in our desire to eat. Within that leptin pathway, another key regulator of our body weight is MC4R. This explanation is...
Hacking BDNF for weight loss (Patreon only)- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a fascinating growth hormone that does a lot in our brains. So what does BDNF do? Quite a bit! It is involved in supporting neurons and neuronal growth in the brain; it also plays a role in long-term memory...
Leptin Receptors: Genetics and Hunger- Ever wished your body could just naturally know that it has had enough food and turn off the desire to eat? Do you wonder why other people don’t seem to struggle with wanting to eat more? or why most animals aren’t getting fat? It...
Metabolism, obesity, inflammation… hacking your endocannabinoid system for weight loss (Patrons only)- Cannabis and marijuana may be the first thing that comes to mind when learning about the body’s cannabinoid receptors.  And yes, cannabis acts upon the receptors, activating them and causing the pleasant effects on mood as well as the increase in appetite. But there...
Weight Loss: Optimizing your diet based on your genes- Diet gurus, talking heads on TV, government food pyramids, and your friend who lost 20 pounds… What do they all have in common?  They all know the perfect diet that will whip you into shape and make you feel good. If that diet doesn’t...
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...
UCP2 Gene: Weight Loss Lifehacks- Turning up the heat on your metabolism is the job for UCP2. The UCP2 gene codes for an uncoupling protein that works in the mitochondria (energy powerhouse) of our cells, producing heat through the uncoupling of the protons. It is found in a variety...
Weight Loss Genetics – MC4R Revisited- I was catching up on podcasts this weekend and listened to a fascinating one by Dr. Rhonda Patrick.  She does the Found My Fitness podcast and had recently interviewed Dr. Panda.  The interview was on circadian rhythms and time restricted feeding.  In a nutshell, time...
Weight loss genetics – GNB3 C825T- I’m geeking out this week and diving deep into the genetics of weight and obesity. One fairly well-studied variant, rs5443, confers a 2x to 3x risk of obesity and is found in the GNB3 gene. So what is the GNB3 gene?  The G protein β-polypeptide...
Weight Loss Genetics – Obesity Virus?- When looking at the obesity epidemic around the world, one thing becomes clear: it is complicated!  For years we have been told to eat less and exercise more.  And while that is good, healthy advice, it doesn’t seem to be curing the epidemic.  According to...
Weight Loss Genetics – Ghrelin- This is the beginning of a series of articles looking at the genetic SNPs involved in weight loss. One of the first things to come to mind when wanting to lose weight is controlling appetite.  Everyone who has been on a diet understands the...
Adiponectin levels, glucose regulation, and your genes- Adiponectin, a hormone secreted from adipose (fat) tissue, is involved in glucose regulation.  Studies show that low levels of adiponectin correlate with insulin resistance and diabetes.  Interestingly, although adiponectin is secreted from adipose tissue, levels of the hormone are generally lower in obese individuals....