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The next gene in our series of articles taking a closer look at those that make up the DNAFit reports is IL6R. This gene is closely related to IL6, which we discussed a few months ago, as it encodes for Interleukin-6 receptor, which is what IL6 binds to – influencing the action of IL6 within the body. There are two different alleles associated with this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); the C allele and the A allele. Typically, those with at least one C allele tend to have higher levels of IL6R. This was shown in a 2004 study, whereby in a group of 70 subjects, those that were C allele carriers had significantly higher levels of IL6R. This is important because higher levels of IL6R within the blood tend to mean higher levels of IL6 too. For example, a 2007 study found that those with the CC genotype had almost 1.5 times higher levels of IL6 compared to AA genotypes, whilst AC genotypes had about 1.1 times higher levels.

So why might this be important to know? Well, if you can cast your mind back to the article on IL6, you might remember that IL6 is something that causes us to become fatigued. We know this from a number of studies conducted by Robson-Ansley and colleagues. In one of these studies, published in 2007  it was seen that heavy training loads in triathletes caused an increase in IL6 for an extended period of time, which might in turn reduce immune function. An earlier study by the same lead author published in 2004 found that giving runners IL6 caused them to run slower and feel more fatigued.


If we know that elevated IL6 might be bad news, and we know that the C allele of IL6R might contribute to this, we can use this information to enhance our recovery. In the DNAFit Fitness Report, we look at how quickly an individual can recover in between training sessions – and one of the genes we look at here is IL6R. If we can see that you’re likely to have higher levels of IL6 following exercise, we can recommend longer recovery times between your hardest training sessions, in order to prevent you from overtraining and potentially becoming injured. We can also give you recommendations on what nutrients to consume, including omega-3, which can potentially lower levels of IL6 within the blood.


Overall, we can see that different genotypes of IL6R, summarised in the table below, can have different responses to the same training session, especially in regards to IL6, which might increase the time needed to recover.


IL6 Genotype

Effect on Recovery


Associated with lower levels of inflammation after hard training sessions, leading to a quicker recovery time.


Associated with a moderate level of inflammation after hard training sessions, which might require a longer rest period before the next training session.


Associated with higher levels of inflammation following exercise, and so might require longer rest periods between training sessions.


Gene in focus Training Recovery Fitness Gym Workout Inflammation


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