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Know Your Genes: ACE “The Endurance Gene”

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Endurance
Carbohydrate sensitivity
Power
Hypertension
Salt Sensitivity

The Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) gene is associated with the synthesis of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE), a key enzyme necessary to convert angiotensin I to angiotensin II, which regulates blood pressure.  A 287 bp Alu repeat element in this gene has been shown to be associated with the level of ACE. The absence or deletion of this repeat is associated with higher levels of enzyme, which increases the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II.

During physical exercise, people with the deletion are associated with higher blood pressure as higher levels of the enzyme cause higher levels of angiotensin II. This is associated with a lower maximal heart rate and lower maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max).

When this repeat element is deleted, it will not be detected  on a particular genotyping array, so a proxy SNP in Linkage Disequilibrium with the candidate gene is utilised. The rs4343 proxy SNP is utilised in our panel as it has a significant association with the insertion/deletion of the ACE gene. People with the G variant are associated with deletion of the repeat.

Association with Running Ability:

A study conducted on elite runners showed that those with the G variant (rs4343) of ACE gene were associated with faster sprinting time compared to people with the A variant. In another study, people with the A variant were found to be associated with better endurance.

Association with Salt Sensitivity and Hypertension:

In terms of hypertension/ salt sensitivity, the ACE enzyme plays a key role in the regulation of blood pressure based on salt intake. People with the A variant of the gene were shown to be associated with elevated blood pressure on increased intake of salt.

Association with Carbohydrate Sensitivity to Obesity:

With respect to carbohydrate sensitivity, a study conducted on obese individuals, a high daily carbohydrate intake was found twas shown to be associated with higher likelihood of obesity among people with GG genotype than among people with the AA genotype. People with the GG genotype tolerate carbohydrates less well when compared to those with the AA genotype.

Genotype 

Phenotype

GG
  • [Advantage] More likely to have higher level of ACE enzyme
  • [Advantage] Less likely to be salt sensitive
  • [Limitation] More likely to be obese on a high carbohydrate diet
  • [Limitation] Less likely to tolerate carbohydrates
  • [Advantage] Less likely to be hypertensive on salt intake
  • [Advantage] Better Sprinting ability 
GA
  • Moderate level of ACE enzyme and moderate salt sensitivity
AA
  • [Limitation] More likely to have lower level of ACE enzyme
  • [Limitation] More likely to be salt sensitive
  • [Advantage] Less likely to be obese on a high carbohydrate diet
  • [Advantage] More likely to tolerate carbohydrates
  • [Limitation] More likely to be hypertensive on salt intake
  • [Advantage] Better endurance ability  

 

How can this information be used?

It is important to choose an appropriate diet based on the genetic profile

 

For people with G variant

  • Less likely to tolerate carbohydrates in the diet- Should restrict the amount of dietary carbohydrate consumed
  • Better sprinting ability- It will be ideal to carry out high intensity exercises for shorter duration. 

 

For people with A variant

  • More likely to be salt sensitive with increased risk of hypertension- Lowering the quantity of salt consumed will lower the risk of hypertension.
  • Better endurance ability will aid in endurance activities like playing tennis, basketball and dancing.


References
:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554644/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12513040
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2745746/
Find out which variation of the gene you carry and more at www.xcode.in

Nutrigenetics, fitness genetics, health genetics are all nascent but rapidly growing areas within human genetics. The information provided herein is based on preliminary scientific studies and it is to be read and understood in that context.”

Amrita Surendranath
Amrita Surendranath
Amrita has a Masters in Human Genetics which fuelled her passion for genes and their diktats. She loves converting genetic research into exciting scientific news with a punch. 10 years on, her interesting insights have covered a range of topics that include cancer, diabetes, nutrition, fitness and more. A pulse on what’s interesting aids in decoding laboratory data into useful science that could empower people into molding healthier lifestyles.