Genetics
Aug 22, 2023

Is my body made for a marathon?

“Do you know what type of sports your body is made for? Do you feel frustrated that you don’t like cardio? Genetics can tell you which and why.”

Is my body made for a marathon?

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Summary:

  • Some find running so fun and can run for miles with ease, but others never do, no matter how much they train.
  • Metabolism is believed to be the key to your performance in sports. Genes associated with liver metabolism, energy efficiency, cardiorespiratory function, and muscle injury are the usual suspects.
  • They are gifted, indeed! A study curated genes in four categories and compared the genetic profiles among football players, endurance athletes (“cyclists or runners”), and non-athletes.1 In terms of the cardiorespiratory function, this study reported that elite athletes, regardless of the training type, have more optimal genetic profiles than non-athletes in the ADRA2A and ADRB2 genes.1
  • Runners seem to be even more gifted! In the study1, “endurance” athletes have more significant differences than non-athletes, in those genes (ACE,NOS3, ADRA2A, ADRB2, and BDKRB2), than football players do (ADRA2A and ADRB2).
  • Not only the cardiorespiratory function, but also professional athletes have more genetic profiles that are protective against muscle injuries (ACE, AMPD1, and MLCK).1 In another study of 100 elite runners, the AMPD1 variant was significantly associated with injury risk.2
  • There is also a very recent, more comprehensive, and unbiased study.3 In this study, people who have never been professionally trained before were trained for an 8-week endurance training programme and their cardiorespiratory fitness(VO2max) was measured.
  • This study identified 19 novel genetic variants associated with improved cardiorespiratory fitness following the endurance training in non-athlete participants.3
  • You won’t be better at running if you have these genetic variants! Especially participants who showed a decreased fitness had risk variants in five genes (BDNF, BRINP3, KL, MAOA, and MICB). 

Find out more with myDigitalTwin:

  • If “performance” type of training or “endurance” type of training suits you better.
  • If you are more prone to have sports-related injuries.

You will receive the information based on the most recent unbiased study.

Sources:

  1. Varillas-Delgado D, Morencos E, Gutiérrez-Hellín J, et al. Genetic profiles to identify talents in elite endurance athletes and professional football players. PLoS One.2022;17(9):e0274880. Published 2022 Sep 16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0274880
  2. Varillas-Delgado D, Gutierrez-Hellín J, Maestro A. Genetic Profile in Genes Associated with Sports Injuries in Elite Endurance Athletes. Int J Sports Med.2023;44(1):64-71. doi:10.1055/a-1917-9212
  3. Chung HC, Keiller DR, Swain PM, Chapman SL,Roberts JD, Gordon DA. Responsiveness to endurance training can be partly explained by the number of favorable single nucleotide polymorphisms an individual possesses. PLoS One. 2023;18(7):e0288996. Published 2023Jul 20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0288996
  4. Chung HC, Godron DA, and Roberts JD. “How your genes may determine whether you can be an endurance athlete.” The Conversation. 2023 Aug 2. https://theconversation.com/how-your-genes-may-determine-whether-you-can-be-an-endurance-athlete-210426
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