Our genes are a template for how our bodies work. Most people on keto diets tend to consume a high amount of saturated fats. The diet works only when the stored fat is properly broken down and used for energy. Certain variants of the APOA2 gene tend to interfere with this saturated fats metabolism and hence, carriers of such variants may not get the desired benefit from this diet.

There seems to be an endless debate about whether saturated fats are good or bad for your health.

The truth is, all of us need a little bit of fat for some body functions like hormone production or maintenance of cell integrity.

But, what is considered 'too much' for your body is determined by certain gene variants you carry.

Let's explore this concept with a diet that's been constantly gaining popularity for weight loss and prevention and treatment of certain health conditions:

The ketogenic diet

The basis of this diet is ketosis, which refers to the metabolic process in which the body converts stored fats into energy, releasing ketones in the process.

Hence, the conventional keto diet, which calls for high consumption of fats may work only if the stored fat is metabolized efficiently.

Several genes contribute to how your body reacts to saturated fats.

APOA2 gene is one of them that determines how well you tolerate saturated fats and how well you can transport cholesterol.

Depending on the variant of this gene you carry, you may need to modify the keto diet a little bit, in order to maximize its benefits to your body.

From the evolutionary perspective, certain human societies, such as those in the colder northern regions are likely to have subsisted on the large intake of fats for hundreds of generations.

As a result, they could have developed adaptations that enable them to metabolize this macro ingredient in food quite efficiently.

If you have inherited those genes, then your body is better able to cope with fats intake.

APOA2 gene and Saturated fats

APOA2 gene produces a protein apolipoprotein -II, which plays a role in fat metabolism and obesity.

Individuals with the sensitive variant of this gene are more prone to increased BMI (6.8 times greater BMI), waist circumference, and body weight in response to high levels of saturated fat (more than 22g of saturated fats per day).

This was an observation in comparison to the people with the non-sensitive variant of the gene consuming the same amount of saturated fats.

It is vital for the carriers of the sensitive variant to limit their saturated fat intake.

However, there was no difference among individuals with both versions, in terms of weight and BMI when saturated fat intake was low (less than 22g per day).

One possible mechanism that could help explain the above gene-diet interactions  is that, the sensitive variant of this gene produces lower levels of the protein, APOA2 (regulates the satiety response),  resulting in low satiety and  greater appetite among individuals with higher saturated fat intake.

This appetite may preferably be for foods rich in saturated fat and this higher fat intake would lead to greater weight.



Other genes like FTO, PPARG also impact the metabolism of saturated fats.

How does this impact your ketogenic diet success?

Carrying even 2-3 variants that affect saturated fats metabolism can pose a challenge to cholesterol control and weight loss.

It is thus vital for such individuals to alter their diet with lesser intake of saturated fatty acids.

Replacing saturated fatty acids with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and poly-unsaturated fatty acids can be a good start.

Sources of MUFA

Sources of PUFA

Simple ways to reduce saturated fats in your diet

Do you have your DNA raw data file from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, FTDNA, LivingDNA, etc.?

Upload your DNA raw data to Xcode Life to know your genetic variants for saturated fat metabolism.

Updated 30 June, 2020

Increasing nitric oxide (NO) has become the new secret weapon for athletes and bodybuilders. It is used as the primary ingredient in various dietary supplements to support the flow of blood and oxygen to the skeletal muscle and also use them to facilitate the removal of exercise-induced lactic acid buildup which reduces fatigue and recovery time.

Whilst exercise and diet can impact your Nitric Oxide levels, your genes also play a role. Specifically, your NOS3 gene can suggest whether you should be supplementing your diet with Nitric Oxide boosting foods and supplements. Or whether you have a natural advantage in terms of Nitric Oxide levels produced by your body, hence giving you a power based training advantage.

Simple ways to increase your nitric oxide:[hr height="30" style="default" line="default" themecolor="1"]

  1. The most common way to increase nitric oxide is through exercise. As the heart pumps with more pressure to supply the muscles with blood, the lining in your arteries releases nitric oxide into the blood, which relaxes and widens the vessel wall, allowing for more blood to pass through,a process known as Vasodilation.
  2. Another way is through diet, by including foods rich in arginine, citrulline, folic acid, nitrates and nitrites that help stimulate Nitric Oxide production. Arginine can be found in nuts, fruits, meats and dairy, and it produces citrulline inside the body. Citrulline is recycled back into arginine by certain enzymes, producing even more nitric oxide. Foods containing antioxidants such as garlic, soy, vitamin C, E and Co-Q10 and alpha lipoic acid help in the normal functioning of the enzymes needed for the conversion and thus help to produce more nitric oxide. Beets, greens, kale, legumes are some of the foods containing folic acid.
  3. Your genes may also impact your NO levels. If you carry certain type of NOS3 gene, you may have higher natural levels of NO, which may in turn result in increased testosterone and growth hormone, beneficial for power based activities.
  4. Losing weight will help improve your nitric oxide levels.
  5. Getting adequate sunlight may also trigger the skin to produce more nitric oxide.

[idea]Other factors such as aging, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high cholesterol, fatty diets, and lack of healthy foods may result in nitric oxide deficiency. Thus, increasing your nitric oxide levels can help increase your energy, vitality and overall wellness.[/idea]

Genetics and NOS3 gene[hr height="30" style="default" line="default" themecolor="1"]

The NOS3 gene produces the Nitric Acid Synthase 3 enzyme, which facilitates the production of nitric oxide (NO). The type of NOS3 gene that you carry influences the production levels of NO. Increased enzyme activity may result in higher production levels of NO. Although the NOS3 gene has been associated with athletic endurance performance and elite power athletic status, research into the NOS3 gene has shown that the one version of this gene has been found at a higher frequency in Polish power based athletes. Studies into Spanish power athletes also showed similar results.

Discover your genes and align your training with your genetic type. Try Xcode’s fitness genetics test which can tell you what versions of the genes are in your DNA.Write to us at info@xcode.in

Stretching is one of the most fundamental components of a fitness or exercise regime.

Performing stretching exercises before any fitness activity allows the body to become more flexible and less prone to injury. Stretching after exercise is also equally important. It allows the muscles to get back to their normal form and helps reduce muscle soreness and pain.

Flexibility is attributable to the protein collagen that surrounds cells. In fact, 25-30% of whole body protein is collagen! There are different types of collagens, each regulated by different genes. Collagen type V is important for flexibility. The more the flexible you are, the less you need to stretch before and after exercise. However, the presence of flexibility can lead to reduced exercise performance since more energy is required for muscle stabilising activity.

Flexibility is an indispensable aspect of fitness as it reflects the propensity for exercise-associated muscle injury. Your degree of flexibility and risk for tendinopathy as determined through genes are helpful in deciding the type and duration of your pre and post stretching exercises which would make your fitness regimen more comfortable for you to follow.

Are you feeling full yet??

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Satiety can be defined as the ‘feeling of fullness’ after eating a meal. For example, have you ever wondered how you fill up with a bowl of oat meal but even three doughnuts leave you feeling hungry? The reason is the comparative satiety levels from the consumption of these foods.

Let us consider in more detail what happens during a meal. At the beginning, eating is rapid, with few pauses between bites. As the meal progresses, eating slows, there are more pauses between bites, and other behaviours such as fidgeting, grooming, or resting increase. A state of satiety is reached when the meal ends. This state is usually associated with a pleasant sensation of fullness or satisfaction. However, unpleasant sensations of nausea and bloating can be associated with satiety following excessive food intake. Of interest is that even when eating has stopped altogether, the introduction of a new food can restart eating.

Genes are involved in the regulation of metabolic rate and energy expenditure which in turn influences body fat accumulation. Some individuals carrying a variation in this gene tend to have “Difficulty in Feeling Full” and are likely to overeat, and overeating in the long run in turn can increase the likelihood for health conditions like obesity.

A genetic test to identify this mutation in an individual followed by appropriate dietary recommendations to overcome this difficulty in feeling full (if mutation is present) will help an individual attain optimal satiety levels.

Stress is one of the routine terms used by most of us, in the present day. Right from a 5 year old to a 50 year old, everyone is accustomed to some type of issue that causes stress. Stress has extreme after effects. But, do we really want to partner with Stress our whole life?

Stress is either physical or mental. Physical stress occurs when our body experiences severe strain. Worry, fear and anxiety the main reasons of mental stress. Both forms of stress have serious effects. It is highly important to detect and manage stress in the early stages in order to lead a healthy life.


Factors that brings out the stress spark

Once you’ve decided to get rid of stress, it is important for you to find out the factors that prompt it.



A poor diet

Eating unhealthy food or eating very small portions than what is actually required, influences stress as the body does not receive the right amount of nutrition.



Poor physical work

People, who don’t shake it right, suffer severe stress.




A recent research states that people with a negative attitude experience more stress than the ones who think positively.




Improper sleeping patterns and lack of interest in other activities that render relaxation, causes stress.
Now that you’ve looked at the factors of stress, it is crucial for you to understand how to manage and eliminate stress.



Managing Stress

Stress levels differ from person to person. With the past experiences you’ve had with stress, figure out how much stress you can really handle. Once you find this out, keep track of it.


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Learn to manage time. Do the right things at the right time. Do not push yourself to some unrealistic promise of completing loads of work in a very short span of time.

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Eat healthy with the right portions. Do not skip meals. Acquire maximum nutrition.

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Adopt stress relieving techniques like yoga to maximize relaxation and stay stress free.

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Make exercising a habit. It prompts positive thoughts and surrounds you with a good energy.

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Develop healthy sleeping patterns.

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Start doing things that interest you apart from your routine work.

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Eliminating stress is unthinkable. But, you can manage it for sure.



How To Keep Your Bones Healthy?

Bones are a very important part of our body as they protect our organs. Strong bones are necessary to be physically fit and healthy. When we are young, our bones are stronger and harder. But, as we age and reach our 40s, they gradually lose their density. This problem especially affect women as they are prone to suffer from Osteoporosis. Though Osteoporosis has no initial symptoms, an X-ray can show the amount of damage done. But, not many realize the condition until they have a fracture.

Why are bones necessary?

The factors that affect Bone Health

How to prevent Osteoporosis and build Strong Bones?

Your bones are vital for the nourishment of your body. It is necessary to take care of them to prevent osteoporosis that may occur over time. A balanced diet, regular exercise and good habits can prevent the loss of bone calcium.

Gene-Environment Interaction

Our traits are basically divided into genetic and environmental. Genetic factors are the ones a person is born with, and a large chunk of these factors are inherited from the previous generations. Environmental factors include chemical, physical, nutritional, infectious and behavioural factors. Many prevailing diseases such as diabetes and cancer are caused by the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Both the factors will play a part in influencing the diseases. Some may be more influenced by the genetic factors while others will be largely affected by the environmental factors. But, most of the diseases are always associated with the genetic makeup and many inherited diseases can be influenced by environmental conditions.

Some genetic effects are seen only in certain environmental conditions

If you have a genetic predisposition to antisocial behaviour, you may not demonstrate the trait until you experience abuse or neglect in your childhood. If you have had a stress-free and normal  childhood, you will never express this specific genetic trait. The expression of a specific trait towards which you are genetically predisposed  can be prevented by protective environmental factors. If you have a predisposition to alcohol abuse and live in an alcohol-prohibited environment, it may not express itself. Thus, protective genetic factors have a comparatively less significant  effect if environmental exposure is strong.

Few environmental effects are visible only under certain genetic conditions

Response to environmental exposure depends on the genotype, which is a term that defines your genetic make-up for a specific trait/disease. If you have had stress in your early life, it may cause depression in later years. This is only when certain genotypes are present. A person’s genotype can also determine their response to specific medications and their side-effects through various biochemical mechanisms. There is an entire branch of science that studies this called Pharmacogenomics.

Sometimes, genetic effects can influence your environment too



If we can identify our genes and characterize their interactions with the environment, we can have intervention strategies to target them. Therefore, when studying the genetic make-up of individuals to determine their natural predisposition towards certain traits and diseases, it is very important to take into consideration the environmental factors like diet, lifestyle, work environment etc, to be able to characterize their inclination towards these traits and their risk for developing specific diseases.



Obesity along with diabetes and high blood pressure, are considered as lifestyle diseases

since they can, to a large extent, be prevented from occurring by adopting a healthy way of life.

In obesity excess body weight, in the form of stored fat, has harmful effects on a person’s health. The obesity condition further raises the probability of other diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and arthritis. Overeating, physical activity and genetic predisposition are most often implicated in obesity. Change in dietary habits and physical exercise are the primary mode of reducing or eliminating obesity.

Obesity-linked genetic variations in the presence of other routine habits such as smoking, physical inactivity and unhealthy food intake may greatly raise the risk of a person developing heart diseases (cardiovascular diseases, CVD). However, further studies are required to clarify the link between diet and genetic variations associated directly with heart diseases.

Three of the nearly 50 genes implicated in obesity are FTO and apolipoproteins APOA2 and APOA5.

Gene Description Genetic Variation (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, SNP)
FTO Fat mass and obesity- associated gene rs9939609, rs11219980
APOA2 Increases liver enzyme (lipase) activity -265T>C
APOA5 Increases triacylglycerol uptake -1131T>C

Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have established the role of FTO, lack of physical activity, body mass index (BMI) and obesity. One study reported that a variation of the FTO gene, rs9939609, may increase the risk of higher BMI (by nearly 0.4 points) and obesity (by 20%) in children and adults.

FTO may affect body fat storage through appetite since it is highly expressed in adipose tissue and in brain (hypothalamus) areas that regulate food intake. Children (8–11 years old) who carry the FTO gene variation rs9939609 were shown to be less responsive to satiety signals and overeating. A recent study with adults having genetic variation of FTO, and other genes, also found a noteworthy connection between the presence of rs9939609 and reduced responses to hunger and satiety.


[three_sixth][info_box title="" image="" animate=""]Genetic studies have demonstrated that physical activity decreases the FTO gene variation (rs1121980) associated increase in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC).[/info_box][/three_sixth]

[three_sixth][info_box title="" image="" animate=""]APOA5 is a triglyceride lipoprotein involved in fat metabolism and the presence of APOA5 gene variation (-1131T>C) has been associated with increased total fat intake, triglyceride levels and BMI.[/info_box][/three_sixth]

Several studies have reported the association between APOA2 and saturated fat, obesity, insulin-resistance (IR) and diabetes. People with the (?265T>C) APOA2 gene variation ate a diet high in saturated fat (~10% of total calories) and had a higher mean BMI.A gene-diet interaction study, in European and Asian populations, observed a link between the presence of APOA2 gene variation, high saturated fat diet, increased BMI (by 6.8%), obesity and insulin resistance.

A healthy diet and regular physical activity are essential in obesity treatment or prevention of obesity in those who have a genetic risk of obesity. A healthy diet is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fiber but low in salt, fat and sugar. Some patients may need additional medication support to reduce hunger and fat absorption.


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