Having an idea of how your body might respond to a certain weight loss intervention in advance might impact how you would approach shedding unwanted pounds.

Research published today suggests that a person’s response to a weight loss program may be based in part on epigenetics.

Writing in The FASEB Journal, the University of Navarra’s Amelia Martí, Ph.D., and her colleagues pinpoint five epigenetic biomarkers observed in overweight or obese adolescents that were associated with increased weight loss at the beginning of an intervention.

The researchers followed adolescents participating in the 10-week, multidisciplinary EVASYON weight loss program, examining the participants’ global methylation status at baseline and upon program completion.

Then, dividing the group by high vs. low treatment response, the researchers used MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to validate relevant CpG sites and surrounding regions. They found five regions—located near AQP9, DUSP22, HIPK3, TNNT1, and TNNI3—that showed differential methylation levels between high and low responders to the weight loss intervention.

“It is crucial to find new markers for obesity treatment,” Dr. Martí said in a statement. “Here, we describe five putative epigenetic biomarkers that could help to predict the response to a weight loss intervention in obese adolescents.”

Added FASEB Journal editor in chief Gerald Weissmann, M.D.: “If you’ve ever wondered why some people seem to do so well on a diet and exercise plan and other fail so miserably, then now we know that the way that genes express themselves (via epigenetics) plays an important role.…This report moves us a step closer when we will be able to prescribe a weight loss program tailored to more than just the lifestyle and conditioning level of the patient, but also to his or her particular genetic and epigenetic profile.”

“Differential DNA methylation patterns between high and low responders to a weight loss intervention in overweight or obese adolescents: the EVASYON study” was published in The FASEB Journal May 30.

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