Genomics and Weight Loss: Case Study
How do you help your patients lose weight to improve their health? This is a challenge for many, and the one-size-fits-all approach often falls short.
Genomics can provide the added insight you need to help them succeed in obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight.
Weight is a very complex issue, involving genes along with emotional, spiritual, hormonal, behavioral, inflammatory, environmental, nutritional and lifestyle components. Most weight loss efforts fail to provide long-term success due to lack of addressing all of the issues impacting individuals. By combining genomics with your clinical skills, you gain insight into the backbone of each person’s blueprint, the DNA that makes them unique. With this personalized blueprint, strategies can be created that specifically support each person’s unique genetic and biochemical makeup.
Here is a case history from our clinical archives.
Clara is a 32 year-old female who has been overweight since her adolescent years. She has tried many different weight loss programs, and while she has lost weight on a few, it never has been sustaining.
More recently, she was diagnosed with diabetes, and was started on Metformin to help manage her blood sugar more effectively. She was also told to limit her intake of sugar and exercise regularly, so she started on another diet, redoubling her efforts at limiting caloric intake and exercising at the gym.
After a few months of this approach, restricting calories to 1200 cal/day and doing both aerobic and resistance exercise with a trainer for 60-90 minutes 5-6 days a week…she found herself GAINING weight. Frustrated and at her wit’s end, she looked for another way and came to our clinic for a comprehensive genomic medicine approach.
Her evaluation revealed multiple factors, including numerous genomic SNPs in multiple nutritional and biochemical pathways including those influencing glucose and insulin regulation, inflammation and stress response, body weight and exercise.
She was able to gain several key insights that were instrumental in letting go negative self-blame, and moving toward a more accepting view of herself and her unique makeup.
In this comprehensive approach, we identified underlying predispositions and pathways affected by her unique genomic profile:
- She has numerous gene SNPs that greatly predispose her to obesity, and for her to achieve and maintain a healthy weight would require much more effort than someone who was less predisposed. A comprehensive dietary strategy was implemented in phases, addressing both macronutrient needs as well as supporting her unique vitamin and mineral requirements to provide her biochemistry with required co-factors for successful weight loss and improved health. To her surprise, she actually needed to eat more, just differently – in a way that was personalized to her.
- A predisposition for emotional eating, combined with an exaggerated stress response, was a primary driver of her eating habits and showed her why she needed to address these as a top priority. She found a combination of emotional therapy and stress management techniques that worked for her, guided by the information gleaned from her genomic test.
- Her exercise routine was actually creating inflammation, hampering the weight loss. This was counter-intuitive for her, and it was only through seeing her genomic testing results that she was willing to change her approach to exercise as a weight loss tool. Using her DNA profile, she worked with her trainer to develop an exercise program that better met her needs.
- An additional step was addressing other sources of inflammation. She was predisposed to a heightened and prolonged inflammatory response, and this required a multi-step approach to reduce triggers in her food, her emotional responses, and her environment. In concert, her diet was adjusted to include more foods that would specifically target the gene SNPs and reduce her endogenous inflammatory response, as well as provide the nutrient co-factors needed.
- Her diabetes was not simply the result of consuming excess simple carbohydrates and sugars. A comprehensive analysis showed SNPs in many pathways, including glucose regulation and insulin response, that impacted her diabetes and also needed to be addressed.
- VM2525 Complete Nutrigenomic supplement was used to fill the gaps between her micronutrient needs and her intake through her diet, as well as provide additional support for her gene SNPs in key pathways of glucose and insulin regulation, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
Clara’s Ultimate Wellness genomic test results proved to be invaluable, providing key insights as to how her DNA plays a role in her weight and her health.
For optimal outcomes, genomic testing must be used as part of a comprehensive health model. Integrating her Ultimate Wellness genomic test results into a our GENESIS Matrix® whole-person approach, we prioritized action steps for achieving her health goals, . She was relieved to have answers, and soon another type of weight started to lift – that of feeling guilty she was not “strong” enough to do this on her own.
She successfully lost 22 pounds the first month, then continued a sustained weight loss of 2-4 pounds per month to reach her goal; once achieved, she was able to maintain her weight for over a year. She experienced resolution of her underlying diabetes and overall a much improved sense of well-being.
Best of all, Clara has a blueprint personalized to her unique makeup, and she now understands what she needs to do over the long term for her optimal health.
Ultimate Wellness Genomic Test evaluates the complex interplay of genes, diet and environment that can guide a personalized approach to healthy weight.
Learn more about using genomics in your practice to help patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight in our Genomic Medicine Certification Program.