The Alpha Tocopherol Transfer Protein (TTPA) gene is associated with the synthesis of alpha tocopherol transfer protein, a fat soluble anti-oxidant that is secreted by the liver, together with low density lipoproteins into the bloodstream. Variants of this gene are associated with an increase or decrease in the level of Alpha Tocopherol Transfer Protein, which corresponds to an increase or decrease in the level of vitamin E in the body. When alterations in the gene for alpha tocopherol transfer protein lead to vitamin E deficiency, it is associated with infertility, neurological disorders and muscular weakness.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that is essential for a healthy immune system, skin and eyes. As it is a good anti-oxidant, it can lower the risk for cardiovascular disease. In humans, 40 mg/kg of vitamin E is normally present, with 77% in the adipose tissue, 20% in muscle and only 1% in the liver. People on a low fat diet are also at an increased risk for vitamin E deficiency.
In a study by researchers from the Vanderbilt and NorthWestern University, 652 children and their mothers were studied for the first two years. Mothers with low levels of alpha tocopherol were shown to be associated with increased risk of having babies with asthma.
In a study conducted on 500 people from the Mediterranean population, people with the A variant of the gene were shown to be significantly associated with lower plasma levels of vitamin E.
In a similar study conducted on 449 people, there was an association between alpha tocepherol, when supplement users were excluded. This study indicates that the lowered production of the protein that leads to lower alpha tocopherol levels can be modified by intake of vitamin E supplements.
How can this information be used?
It is important to choose an appropriate diet based on the genetic profile
For people with A variant (Decrease in plasma Vitamin E levels)
For people with T variant (Normal plasma Vitamin E)
“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.”