A recently published study analyzes genetic influence on serum carotenoid concentration and its impact on obesity-related characteristics.


The increasing global prevalence of obesity has driven extensive research on lifestyle and genetic methods to control excess weight gain. Dietary intervention is the primary environmental variable used to tackle excess weight. It has been suggested that increased intake of carotenoids, which carry antioxidant traits, decreases the risk of obesity. Previous research aimed at determining the obesity-related actions of dietary carotenoids have left genetic factors relatively unexplored. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports on the impact of carotenoid-related genetic influences on obesity and other associated characteristics.

Researchers measured alpha and beta carotenoid serum concentrations in 670 individuals aged 6 to 17. The study also assessed several obesity-associated traits including insulin resistance, body mass index, waist circumference, amount of fat, high-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, blood pressure, and glucose and insulin levels in a fasting state. In addition, family data for all participants was incorporated to understand the genetic heritability of carotenoids. Results were adjusted for age and sex, and participants were screened to ensure they were not diabetic.

The results indicate that carotenoid concentrations are significantly influenced by genetic factors. Negative correlations were identified between genetic traits for carotenoid levels and body mass index, waist circumference, fat mass, and triglycerides concentration. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was positively correlated with carotenoid associated genetic factors. Further analysis narrowed down the results to recognize a specifically significant correlation between beta carotenoid, body mass index, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The environmental factors remained relatively insignificant. The study determined that there is a strong genetic influence on carotenoid levels in the serum, strongly affecting obesity related characteristics in children aged 6-17.

The study presents evidence for genetic influence over serum carotenoid concentrations, and suggests that common factors influence obesity characteristics in children. This information adds to a body of research on environmental factors. A genetic outlook may benefit future research aimed at targeting the genetic variation contributing to obesity. This may result in a much-needed treatment with fewer adverse effects for individuals at risk of developing, or currently facing, obesity.


Written By: Shrishti Ahuja, BSc

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