Sports Performance: Genetics Part 3
Injury Susceptibility, recovery, power and endurance are all key components when it comes to sports. By using the DNA Sport test from DNA Life we have the opportunity to gain insight on an individual athlete and how their genetic makeup impacts these factors. This test allows parents, coaches, and physicians to see certain polymorphisms that are implicated with increased risk factors for injuries as well as inflammation and oxidative stress. A sample of the report is shown below:
There are various areas our genes impact and each gene tested impacts an athlete’s response and susceptibility. We can use these results to help our young athletes perform better by focused nutritional support, optimal recovery times, and exercise repetitions.
This is a transcription factor that regulates lipid and glucose metabolism in the liver, skeletal muscle, and heart. On top of that, PPARA is also involved in energy homeostasis. This is activated under nutrient-deficient conditions and is required for ketogenesis. When this is activated it promotes the uptake of fatty acids.
The wild type GG has no impact on power but has a high impact on endurance. The heterozygote GC has a moderate impact over power and endurance. The homozygote CC has a high impact on power and no impact on endurance. The G allele is linked to endurance performance. Those with the GG allele also have higher percentages of slow-twitch muscle fibers compared to the CC genotype. If an individual has the G allele, they should focus on endurance sports training, and the C allele athletes should focus on power. For more information, please refer to Gene Cards, The Human Gene DataBase.
This gene plays a role in the regulation of cardiac, pulmonary, vascular, endocrine functions, and the central nervous system. There are two types of polymorphisms associated. ADRB2 ARG 16Gly A>G and ADRB2 GLN27 Glu C>G. A>G is driven by the sympathetic nervous system. The AA wildtype shows a high endurance impact, the heterozygote AG shows a moderate impact and the homozygote GG shows no impact. For those who have the A allele, they tend to have a better VO2max and lower blood pressure before, during, and after exercise. Athletes with an A allele should focus on endurance training. The C>G individuals have been associated with endurance performance and the ability to lose weight by exercising. The CC wild type has a high endurance impact, the CG heterozygous has a moderate endurance impact, and the GG homozygote has no impact. Athletes with a C allele should focus on endurance training. For more information, please refer to Gene Cards, The HumanGene DataBase.
This is involved in metabolic rate, mobilizing fuels during exercise, and is involved in growth. This encodes for TRH receptor. The wild type CC and the heterozygote CT both show no impact when it comes to power. However, the homozygous TT has a high power impact. Athletes who have a TT genotype are typically known for having lean body mass and have strength and power advantages. For more information, please refer to Gene Cards, the Human Gene Database.
These are a family of alpha-actins that maintain the cytoskeleton. It is present in fast twitch (type 2) muscle fibers and has low expression in the brain tissues. These Are also found at the Z-line of the muscle and help to maintain the structure of the sarcomere. The RR is the wildtype and has a high impact for power but no impact on endurance. The RX heterozygote has a moderate power impact and no impact on endurance. The XX homozygous has no impact on power but a moderate impact on endurance.
Athletes who possess the RR genotype have an advantage for strength, sprinting, and power activities. It is recommended that they participate in strength and power exercises. Athletes with the RX genotype balance power and endurance well but they have a slight advantage on power. The XX genotype has balance power and endurance exercises but they do best when focusing on endurance. For more information, please refer to Gene Cards, The Human Gene DataBase.
VDR encodes for the vitamin D receptor and is expressed in most organs. This activation takes place in the intestines, bones, kidneys, and parathyroid glands. The wildtype is TT and has no power impact. The heterozygote is TC and has no power impact. The homozygote is CC has a moderate power impact. With these genotypes, we see at CC carriers have a better baseline when it comes to strength and muscle torque. These athletes should focus on strength training and bone-loading exercises. Additionally, ensuring that their nutrition has adequate amounts of calcium. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.
Caffeine is known for being a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant. Its most common use is to reduce fatigue, or to provide energy. When it comes to athletic performance, small doses of caffeine have been shown to improve sprint and endurance performance. The wild type AA has a moderate impact, the CA heterozygote has a high impact and the CC homozygote has a high impact. The C allele has been known to have a reduction in the ability to metabolize caffeine. If you have the C allele, it is best to take in caffeine before the start of a race to see the effects. If you have an AA genotype, you should take caffeine less than an hour before a race to see any kind of benefit. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.
Circadian rhymes influence sports and exercise and several athletes tend to have a morning preference or evening preference when it comes to exercise. For those who have the wild type TT, they tend to prefer morning exercise. The TC heterozygotes do not show a preference and then homozygote CC prefer evening workouts. Those who have a CC allele have reduced sleep and usually start their mornings slow due to fatigue. The T genotypes prefer the mornings as they perceive less effort when performing exercise in the morning. For more information, please refer to Gene Cards, The Human Gene DataBase.
Inflammation has a large impact on genetics and how they are expressed. Additionally, a large factor of recovery is inflammation. To better reduce the risk of inflammation in an individual, we use a food sensitivity test to ensure our patients are properly fueling their bodies and not adding any additional inflammation that is not needed. A sample of the food sensitivity test we use from Vibrant America is shown below:
Another test we often use after reviewing genetic results is the ION and CRP test from Genova. This test measures micronutrients so we are able to assess where individuals need more nutrition and their inflammation markers in their bodies. A sample of both of these tests can be seen below:
Based on the genetic overview regarding the genes that are involved in athletic performance, it is clear that our genetic influence our athletic abilities. However, these genes have the ability to be expressed differently if we are cautious of how we are training athletes and the nutritional guidelines they follow. By doing both these things we can improve athletic performance and reduce injury. Another great way to increase athletic performance is to have regular adjustments from a chiropractor. Athletes greatly benefit from regular adjustments as they help to reduce inflammation and increase joint mobility. The article Chiropractic Treatment and The Enhancement of Sport Performance proves further detail.
To get started on learning more about your body and possible underlying conditions you may have, get started by filling out this metabolic assessment form below:
I have a high genetic risk factor for inflammation. This makes complete sense and growing up I was quick to get injured in sports and took longer than most to recover. I wish I knew that I had a genetic predisposition to inflammation back then as it would have allowed more grace with my coaches and possibly different training techniques, leading to more success as an athlete on the field, rather than on the bench icing various parts of my body. Coaches and parents of athletes should take advantage of this test and the technology we have. It can truly help athletes shine. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Miners A. L. (2010). Chiropractic treatment and the enhancement of sport performance: a narrative literature review. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 54(4), 210–221.
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