By: Dr. Mackie Mescon, Naturopathic Doctor at Spring Integrative Health
Genetics influence things like our eye color and hair color, but our genes can also influence how our bodies process and store energy (food), how sensitive we are to the types of foods we eat (such as proteins and fats), and how our bodies respond to different types of exercise.
At Spring we can use genetic testing specific to weight loss that helps us tailor a patient’s weight loss plan to meet their specific goals. We use testing that looks at 38 specific genes. Six of these genes help determine the body’s resistance to losing weight, which helps us create a more realistic plan to weight loss, whether that includes a stricter diet, more exercise, or longer duration program. One these genes helps us identify the body’s susceptibility to insulin-resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with diabetes, trouble losing weight, and sensitivity to high carb, low fiber diets. Certain botanicals and nutrients can be used to affect insulin sensitivity in addition to exercise and nutrition.
And then there is the question of exercise; how much and what type is best for each individual body? Genetic testing can identify 22 genes that relate to an individual’s response to cardio versus strength training exercise. Seven of these genes help determine if an individual is likely to do better on a high fat or high protein diet as part of a weight loss program.
Lastly, we learn about the MTHFR (or, Methyltetrahydrofolate reductase) gene, which determines how our bodies use folate, also known as Vitamin B9. Folate is important for clearing inflammatory markers like homocysteine, which can increase risk for cardiovascular disease. Folate is also important for building healthy DNA and supporting energy metabolism reactions in the body. Understanding how the body processes folate, and then supporting folate levels as indicated, can help reduce inflammation and improve metabolism, therefore supporting weight loss.
Genetic testing to support weight loss is an optional add on to our current weight loss and detoxification packages here at Spring. If you are curious about how genetic testing can apply to your own weight loss journey, please ask your ND! We will all be happy to help answer your questions and guide you on the path of genetic testing for weight loss support.