Genetic variations may hinder weight loss efforts

While losing weight may significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, some individuals may have a harder time than others accomplishing this. According to a new study from Finnish researchers, certain genetic variations may make it difficult to burn fat and achieve healthy blood sugar levels.

The study, which was published in the online journal BioMed Central, looked specifically at the ADIPOQ gene. This gene is responsible for the encoding of adiponectin, which is a type of protein that plays a role in the regulation of a number of metabolic functions. In the past, low levels of this protein have been associated with a higher body mass index, obesity and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Earlier studies have shown that adiponectin plays a key role in converting excess body fat into energy. Additionally, scientists believe that it helps control blood sugar levels while increasing insulin sensitivity.

Using this information, the researchers speculated that variations of the ADIPOQ gene may result in metabolic problems by limiting the production of adiponectin. They analyzed the DNA of 507 participants and tracked their medical records for up to 11 years.

The study showed that individuals who have one of several common variation of the ADIPOQ gene are significantly more likely to have an elevated body weight and lower levels of adiponectin in their system. Additionally, participants with the variations were found to be at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes during the study period.

The researchers said that their findings confirm the association between low levels of adiponectin and metabolic risk. Additionally, the study showed that genetic factors may play a large role in an individual's ability to burn excess fat, lose weight and modify their type 2 diabetes risk.