New Gene Release: UCP3

Uncoupling Proteins

If you have already received your FitnessGenes DNA Analysis results, UCP3 should sound somewhat familiar. That’s because it’s not the first gene from the UCP family that has been researched and released by the FitnessGenes Science Team.

UCP2, a ‘sibling’ of UCP3, is a gene linked to metabolic rate. The gene codes for a protein that is involved in ‘uncoupling’ – a process that controls how much energy, in the form of ATP, we produce from the food we eat. The variations of this gene have been associated with having either a fast or a slow metabolism.

A fast metabolism is actually considered as inefficient, because there is a high uncoupling rate, which causes energy to be lost as heat rather than used effectively. Having a slow or efficient metabolism is therefore advantageous for endurance-based sports, as you are efficiently converting calories into energy.

Your metabolic rate is essential to know if you are looking to build muscle or lose fat, as it could influence your optimal calorie intake and meal frequency.

The Role of UCP3

Whilst UCP3 also influences your metabolic rate, it also plays a role in several other processes. Most notably, fatty acid oxidation and ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) production in skeletal muscle fibres.

When expression of the UCP3 protein is high, this promotes the oxidation of fatty acids, resulting in the production of energy. As fatty acids are energy dense, especially when compared to carbohydrates, being able to efficiently access these stores is seen as another advantage for endurance based athletes.

On the other hand, for those who have a low UCP3 expression, studies have found that this may cause an increase in BMI*, possibly as a result of fatty acids being stored rather converted to energy.

UCP3 and Genetics

As with most genetic variations there are three possible genotypes of UCP3: GG, AG and AA.

And it is the A allele that has been shown to provide an endurance advantage. For example, in one study of elite Russian endurance athletes, the A allele was found at a significantly higher frequency when compared to non-athletes.

 So is it all bad news if you carry the GG variation? Not necessarily! In a further study into weight loss, obese diabetic patients experienced a larger reduction of BMI* and fat mass when following the same calorie restricted diet as A carriers.

The studies around this gene are all really interesting, so make sure you take a further look into them after checking your result!

Your UCP3 Result

So which variation of UCP3 do you carry? To find out, and to read more of the research conducted on this genetic variation, log in to the members area – the report is now live!

Yet to order you FitnessGenes DNA Analysis? Get insights into your fitness genetics by ordering your Genetic Training System now!

It is important to note that although BMI is used frequently in studies as a measure of obesity risk, it is not the most accurate body composition indicator. A higher BMI does not necessarily indicate a higher percentage of body fat or poorer health.

Written by Alex Auld

Thursday, March 24, 2016