Overcoming genetic risks with healthy lifestyle choices

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It is often said in the context of lifestyle diseases that “genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” This means that an unhealthy lifestyle can easily trigger diabetes and heart disease among people who are genetically predisposed to them. Now a study has shown that even if one is genetically prone to diabetes or heart disease, one can reduce the risk with a healthy lifestyle.

The study has found that people who are genetically more prone to get diabetes and heart disease can reduce their risk with lifestyle modification – consumption of healthy food and physical activity.

Participants in the study conducted in Chennai – considered India’s diabetes capital – who followed a low-fat diet reported higher levels of good cholesterol or HDL despite carrying a gene shown to increase risk of diabetes in earlier studies. Researchers looked at two gene variants – MC4R and TCF7L2 – known to increase risk of metabolic disorders among study participants who were part of an ongoing study called Chennai Urban Rural Epidemiology Study (CURES).

“We examined if the association between MC4R and TCF7L2 genes, and cardio-metabolic traits is modified by dietary factors and physical activity,” explained Dr Vimal S Karani, a member of the research team. “We found that individuals who consumed a low-fat diet had higher levels of good cholesterol despite carrying the risky gene variant.

Read full, original post: Healthy lifestyle can even overcome genetic risk of heart disease: study

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