Insulin Resistance and Associated Genes

Insulin Resistance and Associated Genes

Insulin resistance is a very complex condition wherein a multitude of factors play a key role. There are intricate metabolic pathways and traits involved which govern the condition. Besides this, environmental and genetic factors are also a key component in the advent of insulin resistance conditions. For long, studies have been carried out to gain better insight into the health implications and underlying genetic factors. The genome-wide association studies have provided a lot of advancement in unveiling the genes behind the insulin resistance condition. There is no doubt that such huge studies would have brought multiple gene variants in the forefront that guide conditions like insulin resistance. However, in this article, we will highlight only some of the most common genetic variants having a profound impact on the condition.

Genes like TCFL2, PPARG, FTO and more are widely known to be involved in insulin resistance conditions. For this, the genes are present with one of three common types of allele variants. These mutations (or variants) in the genes alter their normal functioning leading to an imbalance in metabolic functioning and especially in pathways like insulin, glucose, and lipid metabolism. Let’s gain a better understanding of individual genes and subsequent mutation leading to insulin resistance conditions.

TCFL2 (Transcription factor 7 like 2) gene

TCFL2 gene encodes for a transcription factor which plays a key role in regulating the blood glucose balance. Any alteration in the gene encoding this factor can hugely impact this glucose homeostasis in the body of an individual leading to increase susceptibility towards insulin resistance. This mainly occurs when there is C to T variation in the gene. Therefore, individuals with TT genotypes for the TCFL2 gene will have a high risk of insulin resistance. This is known to occur mainly in response to saturated fat and not carbohydrate ingestion. An individual with a bad variation in TCFL2 also faces difficulty in weight loss. Hence, such individuals are suggested to undertake a hypo calorie and low-fat diet along with the requisite exercise regime.

FTO (Fat Mass and Obesity) gene

FTO gene is known to play a crucial role in regulating appetite, energy intake, and expenditure. Alteration in the gene encoding for FTO is known for predisposition to health conditions like insulin resistance and obesity. This mainly occurs when an individual carries T to A variation in the FTO gene. As a result of this, people with an A allele suffer from increased BMI (Body Mass Index), body fat percentage, waist circumference. Besides this, individuals with such mutations are known to be highly susceptible to insulin resistance and diabetes due to high fat intake.

PPARG (Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor) gene

PPARG gene encodes for the protein receptor which plays a role in fat metabolism within a cell. This protein is produced abundantly within fat cells and is important for the production of new fat cells. Any mutation in the gene can lead to reduced BMI and obese conditions due to reduced efficiency of the protein. This gene has three variants due to C to G alterations. Individuals with genotype CC are considered to be highly sensitive to the type of fat intake which leads to obesity and insulin resistance. Whereas, the genotype with G variations are considered to be good as they have low sensitivity towards the fat.

Like TCFL2, FTO and PPARG there are other genes such as ADBR, VDR, FABP2, HLA DQ, and more which govern the increased sensitivity towards insulin. This over a period of time if ignored can lead to diabetes or insulin resistance. That’s why knowing your genes with genetic testing, helps you know about your condition better. This way an individual can chart out their lifestyle and associated habits to prevent the predisposition to any such health issues. This becomes very critical in conditions like insulin resistance associated with PCOS, wherein females suffer hormonal imbalance leading to impaired metabolic performance.

Understanding the Link Between PCOS and Insulin Resistance

Understanding the Link Between PCOS and Insulin Resistance

Do you know PCOS and insulin resistance are interlinked? Statistics reveal that 30-40% of females with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also suffer from insulin resistance. The question is why both these conditions are interlinked? What are the symptoms that dictate the presence of insulin resistance among women with PCOS? In this article, we will try to address some of these questions and gain better insight into the link between PCOS and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a condition wherein the body cells do not respond to secreted insulin, which leads to increased levels of glucose. If ignored for a long time, it can also lead to pre-diabetic conditions or type 2 diabetes. In some cases, insulin resistance can be the major root cause of PCOS and vice versa. The condition is also known to aggravate the symptoms of PCOS. Just like PCOS treatment, insulin resistance requires lifestyle modification and medication support. Moreover, to detect the condition early, every female with PCOS must be screened for insulin resistance.

Gaining some deeper insights

Insulin is produced in our body by the pancreas, a gland present in the abdomen region. The secretion of insulin takes in response to a hike in glucose levels in the blood. The sugar molecule enters into our blood after 15-20 minutes of intake of carbohydrates rich food. The presence of insulin helps the cells in our body to take up the glucose molecules and convert them into energy for further metabolic use.

Under insulin resistance conditions, the cells in our body do not respond to secreted insulin leading to a rise in blood glucose levels and low energy production. This condition later leads to diabetes as our body starts to deal with increased levels of glucose differently.

Understanding the link

It is a well-proven scientific fact that over a time PCOS condition increases the risk of developing diabetes. Despite the known fact that PCOS symptoms arise far earlier than that of insulin resistance, it is also believed that insulin-resistance might also play a crucial role in the onset of PCOS condition, rather than the other way around.

The increased level of insulin is one of the major factors behind inflammation and other metabolic conditions associated with PCOS. Though scientists know that there exists some connection between these two conditions, the actual cause of the link between two is yet to be unfolded.

Well, if you are thinking that insulin resistance affects all women with PCOS similarly then you are wrong. It does not have the same effect on all women, in some cases, it may lead to severe complications while in other cases it might not affect at all. As per some studies, it is suggested that obese condition is associated with insulin resistance which in turn impacts the functioning of hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain. These two glands are very crucial for the production of androgenic hormones, which increases in such conditions leading to PCOS. Imbalance in hormonal levels is often responsible for conditions like infertility, ovarian dysfunction, irregular menstruation and hirsutism among females with PCOS.

Likewise, changes in hormones due to insulin resistance often interfere with proper implantation of the embryo, supply of appropriate nutrient & energy to the fetus and much more, which impacts the overall growth of embryo leading to miscarriages and infertility. Moreover, having insulin resistance during pregnancy also increases the risk of gestational diabetes, which is very common among women with PCOS.

The associated symptoms

Symptoms of insulin resistance are similar in women who have PCOS and those who don’t. Women with PCOS need to be aware of these symptoms because of the strong correlation between the two conditions. The first common symptom observed changes in the appetite of the females. The insulin hormone is also a great appetite stimulant, which can be considered a major reason among women in PCOS for frequent cravings. This, in turn, leads to the secretion of other associated biomolecules which increases the craving for carbohydrate-rich food. This if continues in the long term leads to excessive weight gain and obese conditions. Moreover, it also increases the future risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and arthritis. A second common symptom of insulin resistance is a pre-diabetic condition. Here you will face a frequent hike in glucose levels post intake of carbohydrate-rich food. This often leads to tingling like feeling in feet, blood pressure imbalance, frequent urinations, thirsty and more.

The above-mentioned points highlight the importance of undertaking treatment for insulin resistance and PCOS. The brief understanding shows a certain relation between both these conditions. Though some scientific evidence is available, further research studies are needed to comprehensively explain the link. Researchers across the globe are working in this direction. Until then, follow the doctor’s recommendation along with a comprehensive diet and exercise plan. Since both the conditions are lifestyle-associated conditions, bringing significant improvement in lifestyle can help overcome the menace of PCOS.

PCOS And Celebrities- Breaking The Stigma Of PCOS

PCOS And Celebrities- Breaking The Stigma Of PCOS

 Though efforts have been made to create awareness about PCOS, there still exist some gaps where the stigma of PCOS is broadly prevalent. The question is what are the reasons that women suffer from such stigma? Is it a lack of awareness or misinformation in society or anything else? Well, the following article will help you get the answer to these questions. The article highlights some of the celebrities who have suffered from PCOS and have come to the limelight to be a beacon of hope. They have not only opened up about their condition but have also paved a path of hope for other women’s suffering from PCOS.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is known to affect one in five women in India. Though considered to occur mainly in girls of childbearing age, the risks are equally prevalent from the start of menstruation till menopause. In our earlier article Future risk of PCOS due to ignorance, we highlight the outcomes of ignoring PCOS symptoms and its timely cure. You will come to know that women suffer from a high risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression and much more.

Celebrities Step Up To Bring a Real Impact 

Though PCOS is a common lifestyle disease, many women still are unaware of it. The main reason for this is the common symptoms of PCOS which can be often misunderstood. As per some experts, up to fifty percent of females suffering from PCOS are not effectively diagnosed with it. This is the reason most women end up diagnosing PCOS at a very late stage specifically in conditions like infertility. Different conditions intensify this difficulty. PCOS indications, for example, the overabundance of facial hair, skin break out, weight increase can make ladies feel disgraceful, humiliated and obscured. PCOS patients frequently question their mental self-portrait and conviction, which may keep them from discussing what is befalling their bodies.
PCOS condition is one of the most vital, underserved, under-analyzed and under-financed conditions influencing the wellbeing of females. Therefore, we need the strong support of media, government organizations and financing institutions to improve awareness and outreach of PCOS knowledge among women.

So when celebrities venture up to recount to their tales about PCOS, they can have a genuine and profound effect in decreasing the stigma of PCOS. Let’s discuss some of the common celebrities highlighting their PCOS journey in the most amazing way.

Harnaam Kaur 

Now an Instagram star, Harnaam once suffered from the stigma of PCOS in her early stage of diagnosis. But soon after becoming a Sikh at 16, she embraced her culture and tradition and allowed her hair to grow long. But unlike normal females, she faced the issue of excessive hair growth due to the high level of testosterone hormone, a common symptom of PCOS. However, Harnaam very well embraced her condition and took a step ahead to speak up about it. She has now become a spokeswoman for a multitude of positive movements helping women with PCOS.

Sara Ali Khan

Who doesn’t know the budding star of the Bollywood – Sara Ali Khan. Recently in an interview on ‘Koffee with Karan’, Sarah revealed her struggle with PCOS. Without thinking about any stigma she shared her story of being obese (96kgs). However, she embraced the condition and worked hard to overcome it by following a healthy lifestyle. She significantly changed her diet and exercise routine which later on helped her lose the extra kg. Today we all are aware of her charm and attractive personality which leaves behind the struggle of PCOS.

Sonam Kapoor

Another well-known actor of Bollywood who came in limelight to share her story of PCOS is Sonam Kapoor. She has been a National Award Winning actress and has shared her story very frankly to break the stigma associated with PCOS. In many interviews, she explained about her journey of fat to fit. She has revealed the struggles of PCOS she faced and how she dealt with it, along with other associated issues such as starvation, depression, excessive weight gain and much more. She even revealed that she had excessive hair growth on her face and suffered from diabetes. However, with proper lifestyle and guidance for PCOS management, she was able to control the menace of PCOS.

Victoria Beckham

A well-known fashion designer and amazing singer – Victoria Beckham has always been at the forefront to stand-up against the stigma of PCOS. She never kept her illness of PCOS a secret and has shared about its effects on her fertility. In many interviews, Beckham has shared her journey of overcoming the ill effects of PCOS. She transformed her life by following a healthy lifestyle such as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Daisy Ridley

Are you a fan of Star Wars? Then you must be knowing the famous actress Daisy Ridley. The actress has not stepped backed and has made a profound impact by sharing about her PCOS journey on social media. She took this step on her Instagram where she shared about the severe acne symptoms she suffered during PCOS. You will find that even she advocates healthy lifestyle for effective management of PCOS condition.

The only learning we can take from these live examples is to sideline the stigma of PCOS and make a shift towards a healthy lifestyle. In our earlier blogs, we have shared why and how changes in your diet and exercise pattern can help in reversing the menace of PCOS. Just remember that you are not alone in this struggle. There are many such women’s and many of them have successfully overcome the struggle of PCOS. You can too! To know more about it you can even contact our counselors and seek free pre-test counseling. Give a kick-start to a healthy life and say no to PCOS struggles.

Future Risk of PCOS Due To Ignorance

Future Risk of PCOS Due To Ignorance

In recent times the awareness about PCOS conditions has evolved rapidly. However, there is still a gap in addressing issues like future risk of PCOS due to ignorance. Though people know why it is important to take initiative at the early stage of PCOS, they should also know what if they won’t.

PCOS is a gynaecological condition occurring due to hormonal imbalance and lifestyle mismanagement. According to various studies it is found that in India almost 1 in 5 female of childbearing age suffers from PCOS. In this article, we are highlighting the consequences of PCOS due to ignorance or late diagnoses.

Insulin resistance and diabetes risk: It is found that almost 60% of women with PCOS face obesity issues. The reason for this is not only BMI but also higher levels of insulin in the body. Till now many studies have been done which support the correlation of insulin resistance and PCOS. It is known that any alteration in insulin secretion will have a negative impact on the androgen secretion stimulated by luteinizing hormone. This is the reason that risks of type 2 diabetes also known as gestational diabetes are quite high among women with PCOS.

Hypertension and cardiovascular disease: The major reason for increased cardiovascular disease among women with PCOS is considered to be contributed by high insulin levels and impaired glucose intolerance. The dysfunctioning of the pancreatic beta-cell is often associated inversely with SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) concentration which contributes to disorder in hormonal levels (Hyperandrogenism). There have been researches that suggest two common mechanisms by which insulin resistance leads to high cardiovascular risk in PCOS women. The atherogenic action is found to be the first mechanism while the negative impact due to adverse lipoprotein profile is considered to be the second common mechanism. Studies suggest that in women with PCOS serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein are altered negatively. Moreover, the levels of healthy high-density lipoproteins are suppressed leading to increased risk of disease.

Endometrial cancer: As the interest in understanding the future risk of PCOS is increasing many research has been conducted in support of it. The risk of endometrial cancer forms one of the common future risks due to ignorance of PCOS or associated signs and symptoms. Few of the main reasons considered to be contributing to endometrial cancer risk are prolonged ovulation which is responsible for altered hormonal secretion, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, infertility and more. Studies suggest that long term effects of the condition like endometrial hyperplasia can lead to adenocarcinoma. Though the precise estimates of occurrence are not yet known perfectly, it is estimated that almost 18% of hyperplasia cases if ignored lead to cancer.

As discusses above the risk future risk of PCOS does not only limit to mentioned points. There has been a lot of research going on to understand the impact in depth to gain better insights. However, it is known that if proactive management of PCOS condition or its symptoms are ignored for long can even lead to ovarian cancer, breast cancer and more. Thus, there exists a great need for scientific support to understand the complexity of PCOS and its management. As it is said precautions are better than cure, following a healthy lifestyle with necessary nutrition support can help to an extent. Adopting these safe strategies is important to help women protect themselves from the adverse menace of PCOS and live a healthy & happy life.

How Adding Synthetic Hormones in Food Items Is Affecting Women’s Health?

How Adding Synthetic Hormones in Food Items Is Affecting Women’s Health?

To meet the hunger needs of the world’s growing population, farmers and cattle ranchers are implementing numerous techniques to increase food production. For instance, cows are injected with synthetic hormones like estrogen and testosterone to increase milk quantity. More milk means more dairy products like cheese, curd, butter, etc, which constitute the main part of the diet for most people.

However, due to the consumption of food consisting of these external hormones have certain adverse effects on humans, especially women. Here, in this blog, you will know those effects and what care you should take to avoid them:

  • Early signs of puberty

It’s not a surprising fact that girls all over the world are hitting puberty at an early age. When compared to the last generations, girls these days are getting periods sooner than expected. Though many factors contribute to this result, one of the main reasons is the higher intake of additives, chemicals and artificial hormones from the various food sources. Thus, when we consume milk and other dairy products, we are receiving hormones other than that are produced in the human body. Although the amount is fractional, continued intake of these synthetic hormones will impact body functionality, leading to certain irrevocable changes such as early puberty age.

  • Higher risk of breast cancer

Breast cancer is a common type of cancer in women. The risk of which is increased due to constant exposure to artificial factors such as additives and hormones. As these hormones are released in cattle’s entire lifetime, you are also subjected to the continued intake of the synthetic hormone. Whether in the form of meat or dairy products, your body will have more hormones (estrogen) which are produced both naturally and artificially.

  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

PCOS occurs when there is an imbalance in metabolic functioning due to altered hormonal levels. So, when your body had excess amounts of estrogen that has come in the form of synthetic hormones, it might lead to the imbalance, which ultimately results in PCOS. Due to this condition, your body develops extra hair on your skin, which is termed as hirsutism, which leads to excess weight gain, acne, and other symptoms associated with PCOS.

  • Pregnancy loss

The presence of synthetic hormones in our food intake is an indirect factor of pregnancy loss. You will find that women suffering from PCOS have higher chances of miscarriage than women who don’t. Now, you already read how synthetic hormones might result in PCOS that’s mentioned in the previous point. This rise of hormones in the body causes alteration in the metabolic pathways due to the imbalance created. This affects the natural reproductive cycle wherein different hormones play a critical role. The resultant imbalance impacts the ovulation and other associated stages in the maturation of egg leading to abrupt pregnancy loss.

Other effects:

It is said that these synthetic chemicals might also cause obesity and overweight conditions in women. Though the amount of external hormones is only fractional when compared to the naturally produced hormones, the continued exposure will show negative effects gradually.

Care you should take:

Reading the points above, you may think to stop consuming milk and other dairy products. However, it’s not plausible. Instead, you can do certain changes in your lifestyle such as maintaining a healthy diet, keeping a check on your weight, making exercise as part of your routine, etc. Doing this will lower the risks of negative effects caused by synthetic hormones in women.

Why PCOS is on rise in India?

Why PCOS is on rise in India?

In previous blogs, we have discussed about PCOS in India with relevant statistics which shows almost every one in five women suffers from its menace. Nationwide surveys have been conducted by various organizations and institutions to understand the frequency of the condition across various regions. The results are not happy and show a significant rise in the past few decades. This raises certain questions in the mind such as why PCOS is on the rise in India? What are the factors that we are not able to gauge? Is it just a lack of treatment or even awareness? To understand this better here we are trying to unfold the hidden reasons which could be contributing to the rise in PCOS.

Wide range of symptoms: PCOS is a multifactorial metabolic condition. In this, a number of factors play a role in giving rise to a wide range of symptoms. Whether it is excessive weight gain, hirsutism, irregular menses, insulin resistance or as simple as acne, you can find diverse symptoms among females. This often makes the diagnoses a little critical until they seem to be very severe, as most of these symptoms can be found even in normal females.

Lack of awareness: Another factor contributing to the rise of PCOS in India is the lack of awareness among females of childbearing age. As discussed, the symptoms of the conditions are so common that they are often overlooked until they become severe. Moreover, there is a lack of proper outreach to common people to create PCOS awareness. Though in recent times with the help of social media the outreach and understanding are rising, there still exist females unaware of perils of this condition. Conducting conferences, workshops by doctors, events, and outreach to local areas is crucial to increase the awareness among common people to subside the perils of PCOS.

Poor understanding of the disorder: Though PCOS was for the first time identified in the late 19th century, a thorough understanding of the condition is still lacking. Many researches have been going around the world indicating the multifactorial metabolic conditions leading to PCOS. However, efforts for finding the cure for the same are still undergoing. In recent times, solutions like focusing on lifestyle management, healthy eating habits, and regular exercise are suggested to defeat the disorder and there have been many positive outcomes of these healthy changes. But still, there exists a gap for effective medicines or therapy-based treatments for PCOS.

Environmental factors: One of the major reasons for developing the PCOS condition is exposure to poor environmental conditions. These include exposure to artificial hormones in food products, other artificial chemicals, rising pollution and unhealthy substance influencing internal metabolic pathways. In many genetic tests conducted for understanding the predisposition to PCOS, genes related to the detoxification process and those influenced by environmental factors have been found affected (mutated). This highlights the correlation of external factors with our genes in giving rise to PCOS condition. Considering the situation in India the additives, artificial hormones and more are widely used to increase production or give a distinct flavor to the food items. This has been increasing day by day to meet the need of the rising population. Though efforts have been made by government organizations by limiting the use of these substances into the food, the situation still remains worrisome.

If you look at the data highlighting PCOS stats in our previous blog ‘PCOS in India, you can very well understand the severity of the situations. To overcome this menace it is very important to create due awareness among females. In light of this, we at GENESUPPORT have launched the PCOS Awareness Campaign and PCOS Support Program wherein you can consult the counselor to get an effective solution. Whether it is you, your family member or friends, join us in this campaign by consulting our counselors to understand the condition better and getting answers to your queries from the experts. You can even seek diet and exercise based comprehensive guidelines to meet your goal of overcoming PCOS. So what are you waiting for? Let’s work together, to fight it together!

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