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Gene in Focus - Part 30: ADRB3

Posted 420 Days Ago in: Genetics, Nutrition


This week we are investigating ADRB3, a gene which appears in our fat sensitivity panel. This gene encodes for beta-3-adrenergic receptors, which are located mainly is fat tissue. They play a role in breaking down fat for use as energy, and a small change in this gene, known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), is thought to determine how well we can tolerate saturated fats.

Those with the C allele of this SNP are not quite as good at breaking down fat for use as energy, and so often have higher body fat levels, as well as a greater body mass index (BMI). A study from 1995 showed this quite nicely. A group of Finnish subjects were studied, and those with the C allele tended to have, on average, a higher hip to waist ratio, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. They also were more likely to have insulin resistance, a precursor to the development of type-II diabetes. Similar results were found in a 2012 study, this time looking at Russian subjects; again, those with a C allele of ADRB3 showed a significantly higher body fat percentage, as well as markers of insulin resistance. Not only that, but this gene has been found to play a role in how well people lose weight as response to a diet and exercise programme. In a study in obese subjects published in , those with the C allele lost less fat than those with the TT genotype.


Based on the results of these studies, and others like it, we can predict that those with the C allele of ADRB3 should consume less saturated fat as part of their diet, as they are uniquely sensitive to the negative effects of this type of fat, including fat gain. That’s why this gene appears in our fat sensitivity panel; those with the TT genotype will likely be reported as less sensitive to saturated fat than those with the C allele.


ADRB3 Genotype



The C allele is associated with reduced fat cell breakdown, and is also associated with a higher BMI and increased energy intake, especially for fats. C allele carriers may also find it a bit harder to lose fat.


Associated with the normal sensitivity to fat, and the normal amount of fat loss in a diet.


Gene in focus ADRB3 Saturated fat Nutrition Diet Fat sensitivity Genetics


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