The APOE Gene and a New Study About It! – By Dr. Alan Christianson:
Dr. Alan Christianson here. Have you ever heard that line “your results may vary”. You know it is true in a lot of things. You know it is really true when it comes to your diet and your health. Just the other day I was talking to a women about a fascinating story.
A really fit conscientious gal trying so hard. Her husband had gone Paleo a few months ago. So they did that as a couple which is a good way to do it often. He lost a lot of weight. He improved his health. His cholesterol dropped and he was doing really well. So she was doing the same step by step. She was doing the same exact diet. You know a lesser amount to match her size. Exact same foods he was eating. Over that time frame she put on twenty two pounds. You know a rather petite women that is kind of a pretty big deal for size. Her cholesterol skyrocketed and she was developing pain in her abdomen. So we checked her out and it we saw that she was heading towards diabetes. She was getting fatty liver disease and yes she was at risk for cardiovascular problems as well. So the exact same diet.
We looked at a gene of hers, called the APOE gene. I am going to tell you guys about that. Turns out the diet was not a good fit. It was for her husband and it is for many people but it was not for her. Over the course of a month being on a diet that is a better fit for this gene we saw her drop weight. Her cholesterol go down and her liver function improve over the course of a month. So what the heck is this? Its how different people are really.
Well there are little shuttles that move cholesterol throughout your body and they are called Chylomicrons. You know kind of a weird word but think of it like a cart in a mine, you know on a set of tracks. A little cart that comes out. Some people have big Chylomicrons and some people have smaller Chylomicrons. Based on the size of those you may or may not do a really good job of moving fats throughout your body.
There is one gene that has the worst Chylomicrons per fat mobilization and it is called the 44 variation of this APOE gene we are talking about. People who have that its pretty wild. They have a 20 fold increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and it is probably much better if they are on an extremely low fat diet.
On the opposite end from the 44 there is one called the 22 gene and people with this one need to have the lowest carb diets. They can not metabolize carbs but they can break down fats all day long like nobodies business. They do fine with that. So those two are kind of extreme. They are each about 2% of the population but there is a group next to those that is about 12% of the population each. So about a quarter of us or a little more then a quarter of us either really need to be low fat or really need to be low carb.
The data is so strong that they have shown that even things like heart disease risk that it is very different for this group and that group. Especially in terms of what their dietary needs are. This group on a high fat low carb diet has higher high heart disease and this other group is the exact opposite. Alcohol response. This group does not do well with it and for this other group it is healthy for them.
So what happens so much in medical research is that a 1000 people are put on one regime. Maybe they are all put on a low fat diet. Some may do well. Some may do worse and some may see no big results. So you average all that together and it looks like well everyone did kind of okay but individual results may vary. Well when you break down the groups some did badly and some did great. So this is one of many ways in which it is so critical to understand your individual needs.
So APOE gene. There are actually very easy tests available through most referencing labs. There are some good panels that we like to do that cover a lot of other genes to make a full picture about your diet, your nutrients and your lifestyle and it is always a blast to individualize that.
So stay on top of your health. Be informed. Be educated and do what works for you. Dr. Alan Christianson here and I will be back with you real soon.