PCOS – Is it in your genes?

PCOS – Is it in your genes?

We all know that the most common reason behind PCOS is hormonal disorder due to your lifestyle. But do you know a major portion of the PCOS risk is determined by your genes? Yes, you read it right, as a certain part of the PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) condition can be inherited over the subsequent generations. To study this, scientists from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, performed detailed research. They found that almost 24% of the females suffering from PCOS had mother affected with the same condition and other 32% of the female group had sister suffering from PCOS1. This highlighted the relation of the genetic factors with PCOS condition.

Well, you will be amazed to know that there is as such no single gene responsible for PCOS. Instead, there are a wide variety of genes and underlying biochemical pathways which seems to be responsible for it. If you are wondering how come genes are responsible for PCOS, then read ahead of the brief explanation about the same.

We know that PCOS is a condition with hormonal disorder contributed by multiple factors (hormones, enzymes, receptor, and other biomolecules). These factors are nothing but protein encoded by genes (i.e. your genes contain certain information which is processed biologically to make these proteins). Hence, any alteration in genetic information can result in a defective protein. These proteins play a crucial role in maintaining your body homeostasis by participating in various biological pathways, which gets affected due to defective protein.

The main genes contributing to PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) are those encoding for factors critical for production, transport, and regulation. This includes factors involved in insulin metabolisms such as signaling pathway initiating binding of insulin to its receptor, insulin-like growth factor and more. Apart from this, there are genes which also encode for:

  • Androgen Binding Receptor (ABR): Wherein the androgens (Hormones which are responsible for male-like traits and reproductive activity) bind to its receptor and initiate a further signaling cascade.
  •  Follicular Stimulating Hormone Receptor (FSHR): The follicular stimulating hormone which plays an important role in follicular development during the reproductive cycle binds to FSHR. Any alteration in the gene encoding for FSH hormone or FSHR can affect the subsequent biological pathways leading to PCOS signs and symptoms.
  • Fat Mass Obesity (FTO): It is also known by the name alpha-ketoglutarate dependent dioxygenase. As the name only suggests this gene is associated with body mass index (BMI), obesity, PCOS and tendency for type-2 diabetes.
  • Cytochrome P450 (CYP): This gene has many variants like CYP1B1, CYP1A1, CYP17A and many more. Alteration in the CYP1B1 gene is responsible for increasing the synthesis of oestradiol. Oestradiol is one of the main estrogen hormones among females which plays a role in maturation and maintenance of the reproductive system. Similarly, CYP1A1 is known to increase the enzyme activity which participates in pathways responsible for the formation of reactive intermediates from environmental pro-carcinogen. Likewise, CYP17A plays roles in the bioavailability of estrogen. Thus, any alterations in these genes can severely affect the hormonal balance leading to conditions like PCOS.

As mentioned above there exist more such genes which are evaluated to understand your tendency towards PCOS. The science where your genetic predisposition is studied and the subsequent conditions are managed by dietary intervention is known as Nutrigenomics. It involves a simple genetic test using either your saliva or blood sample to asses certain genes associated with the PCOS condition. A detailed genetic report is generated which is explained to you by the nutrigenomics counselor. The counselors evaluate both your genetic report and dietary habits to provide a personalized diet and exercise guidelines. The basic idea behind this type of management is using food as medicine to manage your conditions. The principle of managing health condition with the help of dietary habits has been postulated back in 400B.C by Hippocrates, who said: “Let Food Be Thy Medicine”.  Since the nutrigenomics based diet and guidelines are prepared by studying and evaluating your genes, it gives you a highly personalized solution. This helps to manage the condition in a more targeted manner with long term effect and improved lifestyle.

How Nutrigenomics Is Transforming PCOS Treatment

How Nutrigenomics Is Transforming PCOS Treatment

There is no doubt about the array of treatment available for curing PCOS condition. But the question arises- Are these treatment effective? Do traditional methods have a long-lasting effect? Well, the answer to these questions is debatable as different people respond differently to various treatments. For long, scientists were trying to understand this relation of differential response to provide a better-personalized solution for PCOS treatment.

Meanwhile, questions were raised like – Is there any tailor-made solution specifically for people to overcome PCOS? Well, the answer was soon found in the new field of science known as ‘Nutrigenomics’. For long, it was known that what we eat and our genes govern how we respond. It was Hippocrates, who mentioned, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” in early 400 BC. The quote emphasizes the importance of nutrition to cure diseases. In light of these many studies have been carried out to understand the interplay of genes and nutrition to provide a personalized solution for PCOS treatment.

Role of Nutrigenomics in PCOS

Nutrigenomics is the field of science which helps in treating the condition by providing you a tailored diet and exercise recommendation according to your DNA/genes. Let’s understand this with a very basic example of PCOS management. You will find that few people response actively to a particular diet or treatment method while others don’t. The reason for this lies in their genes. There are certain changes in the genes of these individuals which controls the biological components involved in PCOS management. These changes are nothing but a certain mutation in the genes also called single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). These mutations can have both positive and negative impact. In nutrigenomics, scientists study these mutations in your body with the help of simple genetic test.

The genetic test gives a deeper insight into the factors contributing to PCOS. Here are a few factors which are considered during nutrigenomics based PCOS treatment:

  • Factors contributing to oestrogen metabolism
  • Impact external environmental factors on genes
  • Understanding of detoxification pathways
  • Any associated risk of diseases if persists
  • And more

 

Depending upon the results of your genetic profile, the nutrigenomics counsellors then devise personalized diet and exercise guidelines. The question may arise that how come nutrigenomics based diet and exercise recommendations differ from the normal ones. Well, the normal diet charts and exercise recommendations are too generalized, whereas nutrigenomics based recommendations are highly personalized i.e. it will be highly targeted towards your body type. The counsellors first take a detailed session to understand your daily lifestyle, your weaknesses, and strengths. The experts then prepare a comprehensive plan that suits both your body and normal regime, making it easy for you to follow the entire plan.

Way Ahead

We all are aware of the various myths associated with PCOS treatment. The evolution of nutrigenomics science breaks apart those myths with its sound results. Moreover, it is often said that we should not follow anything without credible backing. However, you will glad to know that the nutrigenomics based recommendation have been scientifically backed by many research globally. So, take a step ahead to transform yourself into a healthy being because – We Are What We Eat.

Common Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

Common Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

Are you suffering from mood swings, irregular period or acne? Even worse, you might be facing difficulties in getting pregnant or thinning of hairs. Well, though these are few signs and symptoms of PCOS, it is better to dive in the concept to get deeper insights. It will help you judge your condition better and seek immediate help if needed.

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which is a hormonal disorder among the females. This syndrome is majorly observed during the reproductive age of females.  They often have excessive production of male hormone also known as an androgen which contributes to male like characters such as male pattern baldness, excessive hair growth, etc. Moreover, in women with PCOS the ovaries have excessive follicular development and are observed to release eggs irregularly leading to altered menstrual cycle.

Though there are many speculations, the exact cause of PCOS is not very well known. That’s why early detection with the help of common signs and symptoms of PCOS can be very crucial. It can help in reducing the conditions which can have long term impact such as excessive weight gain condition leading to type 3 diabetes and cardiac-related issues.

Common Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) can have seemingly unrelated signs and symptoms. As it alters your hormonal levels, you may experience a wide range of symptoms and some of them are:

  • Hair loss or excessive hair growth (Hirsutism)
  • Excessive acne and oily skin problems
  • Recurrent pregnancy loss (miscarriages)
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Depression or mood swings

The Reason Behind Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Thought the exact cause behind PCOS is yet to be understood clearly, there are certain common factors which has been identified by scientist such as:

  • Your Genes: It is reported that if you have a family history of PCOS, there are chances you may also suffer from the same. Well, you may question why so? The answer to it lies in your genes. There are many genes which play a functional role at the metabolic level. Any alteration or mutation in these genes can lead to PCOS. Therefore, taking a DNA test can be of great help to treat the signs and symptoms of PCOS in the long term.
  • Altered female hormone: Improper lifestyle or unhealthy eating habits can contribute to altered levels of oestrogen hormone. This in a way directly impacts the ovulation cycle leading to irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Altered insulin levels: High levels of insulin in your body can make your cells resistant to it. This leads to an increase in the production of male hormone i.e. androgen which results in complications like Hirsutism, infertility and more.
  • Inflammation: In many females, it is observed that inflammation is a major sign or symptom of PCOS. The reason for this is it stimulates the ovaries to produce excessive androgen which is a male hormone leading to various complications.

Health Complication Found to be Associated with PCOS

It is very much clear from the earlier discussed points that how severe PCOS can be. It can lead to various health complications and few of them are:

  •  Increase tendency towards gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure issues during pregnancy
  • Premature birth, infertility, and  pregnancy loss
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anxiety and eating disorders or depression
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Liver inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Atypical uterine bleeding

Way Ahead

If you find any of the above common signs and symptoms of PCOS, please do consult your doctor. They will help you in understanding the condition in more details and will provide you the best PCOS treatment. Though there are many options available to treat PCOS, one of the most reliable and natural way of overcoming PCOS is through lifestyle changes by properly understanding your body. For this, you can opt for a DNA based test wherein the genes associated with various metabolic conditions in PCOS are assessed thoroughly. Moreover, once you get your genetic report the nutrigenomics counsellors share you a comprehensive diet and exercise based recommendations. Following these recommendations can have a drastic and significant impact on your condition, making you live your life normally without any worries.

 

FATE TO BE FAT!

FATE TO BE FAT!

Congratulations — for reaching your target weight!

But wait! Now what? Is the journey finished? Obviously a big No!

Keeping your weight off and preventing the inching menace of weight regain should be your new mission. You must have seen many people who lost Kg’s of weight soon gain it back.

So, hold yourself up before jumping out for a cheesy pizza. Learning how your body metabolism changes and how it reacts to the new body changes can help in devising new ways of dealing the menace. On ground level there are certain genes which play crucial role in determining your weight regain tendencies.  So buckle up to know yourself more!

Your Hungry Brain…Most of the time when you are feeling hungry, it’s your brain which puts you in such a state. There exists a complex brain circuit which signals hungriness. The hypothalamus region of the brain plays crucial role in mediating your hunger. Once you lose weight by controlling you’re eating habits you are putting your body under starving state, to this our body responds in a different way. As soon as our body knows we are starving its starts storing food in the form of glycogen and subsequently fats to generate energy. The starving state reduces the overall body energy expenditure. The multiple signaling cascades later influences the perception of food intake and increases the hunger feeling.

Satiety Hormone…The loss of weight majorly influences hormonal balance, one such hormone is “Leptin” – also known as Satiety hormone. Due to less energy requirement the metabolic signaling pathway of brain involving leptin gets affected. Leptin levels increases in obese condition whereas post weight loss the leptin levels increases inducing increased satiety and hunger.

It’s in your genes…Post weight loss journey some people tend to gain weight drastically & the answer to this lies in your genes! Your genes govern who you are! Certain genes also known as Fat genes such as FTO & ADRB2-2 play crucial role in weight regains. FTO gene is involved in appetite regulation, energy expenditure. Energy intake and also contributes to heritance of1% BMI. FTO variation in response to fat intake contributes to higher satiety & higher obesity tendency.

Keeping your hunger in check can sort the weight regain issue. Taking food rich in protein and fibers, having less calorie dense food, proper sleep, reduced stress and regular physical activity (as simple as walking) can be a mantra to stay fit & fine. You can play around with certain tactics to trick your brain when hungry. Weigh regularly, have good diet, try to find healthy alternative food, keep cheat days to satisfy your cheesy cravings, binge fruits and in case of any help always seek an expert advice.

The science of nutrigenomics works on the principles of combinational understanding of genes and nutrition, can use for getting best results. Understand your body more by understanding your genes! Let your genes decide what is good for you and complement the bad with good nutrition. The most important thing at last is to change your mindset. From “losing weight” one should more focus to “avoid gaining weight”. Make the process slow rather than being drastic and remember “Being Consistent” is the key.

CLOCK Gene Test For Weight Loss

CLOCK Gene Test For Weight Loss

“Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food”- Hippocrates cited this back in 490 B.C. Science today is pounding over this concept of food based intervention for weight loss specifically tailored to person’s genetic makeup. The research shows that diet shaped according to person’s metabolism may be more effective than non-specialized calorie reduction in helping him or her lose weight i.e. via Nutrigenomics.

Nutrigenomics is the tailoring of one’s diet to their DNA. Personalised Genetic Testing is the key point here, as ONE SIZE FITS ALL concept is not applicable when it comes to your body. Thus, one should revoke the common notion of “WE ARE WHAT WE EAT” and follow the path of “EAT FOR WHO WE ARE”.

“To understand nutrition and health, we need to understand how our unique biology works to keep our body in balance.” This is assessed through our Biological clock also known as CIRCADIAN RHYTHM – The Hero of 2017 Nobel Prize. It involves assessment of individual’s CLOCK gene responsible for timing one’s metabolic activity. Internal biological clocks allow for anticipation of the requirements from body systems at different times of the day and the ability to adapt to changes in external lifestyle factors.

The importance of integration of lifestyle factors, such as timing of eating, activity and sleep with our internal biological clocks is revealed in situations of circadian misalignment that lead to suboptimal health and disease states in the longer term. This concept up lights the path paved towards weight loss. CLOCK gene, affects both the persistence and period of circadian rhythms. Genetic Testing for this gene can help in identifying the CULPRIT for your weight gain. So, buckle up to TIME YOUR FOOD INTAKE AND EXERCISE, TO TIME YOUR WEIGHT LOSS.

Nuclear Bunker: It’s Time to Focus on Your Body Clock!

Nuclear Bunker: It’s Time to Focus on Your Body Clock!

Efforts have been made to decode the working of the biological Body Clock, which often reiterates the age-old nature versus nurture debate. But today’s scientists have conceded that neither nature nor nurture solely can illustrate the molecular mechanism which governs our health. In most of the cases, the predisposition to a health condition is merely due to the presence of a certain gene or a mutation (alteration at the DNA level). This understanding of genes has allowed us to focus on the multifaceted gene-based approach for various health concerns.

Many studies targeting body clock have shown that a disrupted body clock can increase risk towards various health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, depression etc. A healthy body clock can positively influence the entire health make up. Keeping this in mind a famous project called “Nuclear Bunker” was conducted by BBC–“The Horizon” in association with Ella Al- Shamahi. Where in an army commando Aldo Kane was locked in the nuclear bunker for about 10 days!

So let’s gauge the journey of his 10 days locked up period & how it influenced the body clock….

Locked In A Nuclear Bunker….

You must be thinking why to lock in a bunker that too a nuclear one! Well, it was necessary to keep the commando away from the daylight which directly affects our body circadian rhythm (Biological Body Clock). This way his body clock was controlled using artificial lights available in the bunker.

The Scientific Funda of Body Clock….

The discovery of Body Clock has been marked with Nobel Prize in 2017 to the scientist Jeffrey Hall and Michael Roshbash. Every one of us has a body clock which allows us to march in a 24-hour cycle. This body clock is located near hypothalamus region of our brain (located at the base) which works in response to the day sunlight received. In response to this daylight, different hormones and signals are transmitted throughout the body which regulates this 24-hour rhythm of waking, eating, sleeping, working and continuing the same at fixed timings.

The studies also revealed a gene known as Clock Gene located on Chromosome 4 in human, which regulates the body clock.

Coming back to Nuclear Bunker Experiment….

The study was carried out in 3 phases –

Phase 1 – Where Aldo was left in a bunker and was allowed to follow the normal routine work in absence of daylight.

Phase 2“Going Dim”, Earlier Aldo was able to control the lights but in this phase, he was kept on Dim light mode thus inducing a shift in the body clock.

Phase 3“Jet Lag Mode”, flying through two time zones disrupts the sleep until the next few days due to disruption in body clock. Here Aldo was kept in continuous Jet lag with no break by waking him up before his normal timings.

The observation throughout the Experiment…

Initial phases he was able to keep 24 hr. cycle rather than exceeding for 12 hr. or 36 hr. cycle. This tells that in such excluded environment it was his body clock which kept things to tick on time!

But as soon as he was shifted to phase 3 where there was no daylight, his body entered a “Free Running” stage where his body struggled to keep note of time. Whereas putting back into the normal condition recalibrated his body clock to normal again.

The relevance in today’s lifestyle….

This experiment paved way for the scientist to know more about the CLOCK Gene- The driving force behind your Body Clock. Working according to your body clock can help your body transform into a healthy you! Know your body clock through Clock Gene test & start eating and exercising according to it to experience rapid transformation.

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