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Healthy diet may be able to combat gene-related heart disease in Asian Indians – University of Reading

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Healthy diet may be able to combat gene-related heart disease in Asian Indians

Release Date 30 November 2017

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Asian Indians who are genetically more likely to get diabetes can still combat cardiovascular disease with a healthy diet according to new research out today.

A team from the UK and India looked at whether lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet may overcome a genetic predisposition that could leave them prone to cardiometabolic disease.

Their findings, published in PLOS ONE, revealed that participants in the study who following a low fat diet had higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) despite carrying a variation in the TCF7L2, a gene that has been consistently shown to be associated with diabetes in several populations.

Dr Vimal Karani, a lecturer in Nutrigenetics from the University of Reading, UK, said:

“Recent evidence suggests that lifestyle factors influence the relationship between genes and cardio-metabolic traits in several populations; however, the available research is limited among the Asian Indian population.

“We found that individuals who consumed a low fat diet had higher levels of good cholesterol despite carrying the risky gene variant. Likewise, those who consumed a low PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) diet had higher levels of good cholesterol despite carrying the same TCF7L2 gene variant.

“These findings suggest that even if the individuals are genetically predisposed to a cardiometabolic disease, they can still overcome the genetic predisposition by consuming a healthy diet.

The study looked at a random sample of 861 diabetes patients and 821 controls from an Asian Indian population in Chennai, India from the Chennai Urban Rural Epidemiology Study led by Prof V Mohan, Director of Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, Chennai, India

Dr Karani said:

“What we need to look at now are ways to identify the effect of different fatty acids on good cholesterol, and whether high fat intake may reduce good cholesterol.

“Establishing these can lead to public health recommendations and personalised nutrition advice for this Asian Indian population in order to reduce the burden of cardiometabolic diseases.”

The research was funded through the Drummond Memorial Fund from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF). A spokesperson for the BNF said:

"As part of its management of the Drummond Memorial Fund, the British Nutrition Foundation is delighted to be able to offer small support to the best newly-appointed university lecturers and research fellows in human nutrition to undertake pilot work needed to generate the important data that can be used as the basis of a more substantial and influential research."

Full citation:
Bodhini D, Gaal S, Shatwan I, Ramya K, Ellahi B, Surendran S, et al. (2017) Interaction  between TCF7L2 polymorphism and dietary fat intake on high density lipoprotein cholesterol. PLoS ONE 12(11): e0188382. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188382 

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