Half of Americans have gene that affects how body burns sugar

Jan 26, 2007

A recent study by a Saint Louis University researcher confirms findings that about half of the U.S. population has a version of a gene that causes them to metabolize food differently, putting them at greater risk of developing diabetes.

Edward Weiss, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Doisy College of Health Sciences at Saint Louis University, looked at a relatively common version of a gene called FABP2, which is involved in the absorption of fat from food.

Those people with the variant gene processed fat differently than those who don't have it. They burned more fat, which may have hindered their ability to remove sugar from the blood stream and burn it. Diabetes is characterized by too much sugar in the blood.

"This study adds to what was previously known about this gene variant by showing that after consuming a very rich milkshake, people with the variant gene process the fat from the drink differently than other people," Weiss says.

That is not to say that half of U.S. residents are destined to get diabetes, he adds.

"While the variation of the gene appears to contribute to the diabetes risk, it does not cause diabetes by itself," Weiss says.

"Many other genes, some known and some unknown, are involved in a person's overall risk of developing diabetes. Those are things a person can't control. But there are risk factors for diabetes that a person can change -- lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise."

Source: Saint Louis University

Explore further: Biomaterial coating raises prospect of more successful medical implants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Obama recommends extended wilderness zone in Alaska

5 hours ago

US President Barack Obama said Sunday he would recommend a large swath of Alaska be designated as wilderness, the highest level of federal protection, in a move likely to anger oil proponents.

NASA craft set to beam home close-ups of Pluto

5 hours ago

Nine years after leaving Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft is at last drawing close to Pluto and on Sunday was expected to start shooting photographs of the dwarf planet.

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys

7 hours ago

The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales and other creatures ...

Uganda seizes massive ivory and pangolin haul

7 hours ago

Ugandan wildlife officers have seized a huge haul of elephant ivory and pangolin scales, representing the deaths of hundreds of endangered animals, police said Sunday.

Recommended for you

Among gut microbes, strains, not just species, matter

9 hours ago

A large community of microorganisms calls the human digestive tract home. This dynamic conglomerate of microscopic life forms - the gut microbiome - is vital to how people metabolize various nutrients in ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.