Stretch marks are telltale signs of pregnancy or drastic weight gain.

However, we all know someone who has come out of her pregnancy without a mummy tummy or stretch marks. What makes some people prone to stretch marks while others seem to have considerably less?

Can we now unravel the secret behind why someone is less likely to get stretch marks? Do you want to find out more about your stretch marks genes?

Stretch marks, also called striae distensae, are common and range in prevalence from 50 to 80%.

Initially, they have a reddish appearance but later turns white.

These are linear bundles of collagen that lie parallel to the skin’s surface and scar the striae.  

A genome-wide association study was carried out on 33,930 unrelated 23andMe customers who were of European descent.

This study included 13,068 cases and 20,862 controls.

The men in the study were found to be less likely to have stretch marks (25% among men against 55% among women).  

ELN gene codes for the highly elastic protein elastin that helps the skin return back to its original position after stress.

In simple terms, elastin is the reason why your skin gets back to normal after it is stretched or poked.

The influence of this gene on skin elasticity has been studied extensively in the autosomal dominant condition cutis laxa, which is caused due to mutations in the elastin gene.

The symptoms of this condition are loose and sagging skin, with a higher risk of aortic aneurysm.

Specific variants of the ELN gene are associated with a lowered expression of elastin, which is shown to increase the risk for stretch marks.

FN1 gene codes for fibronectin, which is an extracellular matrix protein that binds to integrins and collagen which maintain the integrity of the skin.

When skin biopsies were conducted on people with stretch marks, there was a lowered expression of fibronectin.

Specific variants of the FN1 gene are associated with a lowered expression of elastin, which is shown to increase the risk for stretch marks.

Genetic variants present in other genes like HMCN1, SRPX, and TMEM18 are also associated with the risk of stretch marks.

What can you do with this information?

There is a complex relationship between genes and the environment.

Factors like the use of creams or lotion, diet and lifestyle also playing a role in the outcome.

Therefore, the information obtained from your skin genetic report can be used to tailor diet and lifestyle to lower risk of stretch marks.

Most people follow a skin care routine for better skin.

However, the Gene Skin Report can reveal several such aspects that people are generally unaware of like the risk of skin diseases or need for certain nutrients vital for skin health.

How can you find out your genetic risk for stretch marks?

Upload your 23andme raw data, Ancestry DNA, or FTDNA raw data to Xcode Life to find out if you have the genetic variants associated with increased risk of stretch marks.

Xcode Life's Gene Skin Report provides information on stretch marks, acne, varicose veins, vitamin C needs, and more than 25 such traits.

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Hand-grip strength: An Introduction

We often take things for granted in our life such as our body and the body parts that are involved in performing some basic functions.

For example, we use our hands and legs to perform many day-to-day activities, but we never pay attention to them unless or until we lose the ability to use a hand or a leg due to an injury.

Focusing on the hand, have you ever given a thought about your hand’s grip strength?

Handgrip strength is a vital force that is required to pull, push, or suspend objects.

It is a part of hand strength or physical strength that is utilized by animals or humans, especially athletes such as rock climbers.

Rock climbers require muscle power and the force that is generated by hands, which makes the handgrip strength extremely critical for their sport.

Hand-grip strength from one person to the other varies based on the ability of the hand to grip objects in many different ways or positions.

Hence, the handgrip is classified into three types:

Crush grip

This grip is usually required by the hand to perform functions involving a handshake or gripping an object against the palm and wrapping the fingers around the object.

Did you know a stronger variant of this grip can be used to break objects?

Pinch grip

In this grip, the fingers are on one side of the object, and the thumb is on the other side of the object, so the object will not be in contact with the palm.

This grip is comparatively weaker and is usually required by the hand to grab an object.

Support grip

This grip requires muscular strength and muscular endurance so that the hand can generate a proper grip and hold on to objects for a long time.

Training methods to improve Grip strength

Any normal and healthy individual has some amount of grip strength in his/her body.

But,  some athletes and professionals need to have a higher grip strength due to the activities they perform daily.

This needs them to increase or improve their grip strength, and this is possible by using different types of grip training methods.

Grip strength training requires a form of exercise that is different than what is necessary for muscular training.

All parts of the hand must be exercised to have a steady hand with a strong grip.

For closing grip strengthening:

Thick bar and Thick Grip

Working on a thick grip bar that is over 2 inches and performing activities such as deadlifts, pullups, or the farmer’s walk can help train the support grip.

Plate Pinches

This exercise involves grabbing plates smooth-side out and pinching them.

Sledgehammer lever

This activity includes levering a sledgehammer using the wrists to train the fingers and wrists.

Plate curls or wrist curls

This involves grabbing a plate and doing wrist or regular curls with them by placing the fingers on the bottom and the thumb on the top.

This helps train the wrists, fingers, and the thumb for a pinch grip.

Hangboard

This can be used for a full-crimp grip, a half-crimp grip, and an open hand grip, all of which are required for climbing.

For opening grip strengthening:

To strengthen one’s opening grip, the extensor muscles (that are the opposite of the flexors of the hands) need to be trained to achieve the right balance between opposing muscle groups.

These extensors are significant in grip because they contract to support finger flexion.

To train these muscles, you can shove your hand into substances like rice and try extending it or placing an object like rocks in a coffee can and put your hand in the box and try to reach it to pick up the coffee can.

This is a great way to train the extensor muscles in your hands.

High-resistance rubber bands

These are now sold by many companies and are a great way to strengthen your extensor grip. 

Wrist extension exercises(also called as reverse wrist curls) are useful to stimulate the finger extensor fibers.

Another exercise that is good to improve the opening grip is fist pushups, done on the backside of the first finger bone that would increase the pressure put on the extensor muscles.

For Stabilization

Handstands wherein the gripping strength is used to stabilize the hand to prevent the body from falling towards the front, and the extensor muscles prevent the body from falling backward.

Exercise using metal rods help to strengthen and stabilize one’s hand grip indirectly.

Fingertip pushups are useful to improve stabilization as they would use the opening as well as closing grip muscles to keep the fingers from sliding and help focus bone density in hand.

Exercises to improve hand-grip strength

Hand-grip strength tends to reduce as individual ages.

Men’s grip strength starts to deteriorate post 55 years of age.

However, some exercises can be done to improve hand-grip strength, such as:

To improve grip strength, one must go through all these types of exercises and training and spread them out throughout the week.

Hand-grip strength: What’s the genetic link?

Handgrip strength has genetic links and is used as a market for the degree of one’s frailty and helps predict a wide range of morbidities.

Some genes and SNPs increase one’s susceptibility to good or poor handgrip strength.

RSIDGeneRisk Allele
rs72762373DEC1A
rs2273555GBF1A
rs4926611GLIS1C
rs78325334HLAC
rs2288278HOXB3A
rs374532236MGMTT
rs10861798SYT1G

Gene 1: DEC1

The A allele of SNP rs72762373 is associated with better hand-grip strength as compared to the G allele.

This SNP is present in association with the DEC1 gene, the exact function of which is still unknown.

Gene 2: GBF1

The A allele of SNP rs2273555 belonging to the GBF1 gene is beneficial for a better hand-grip strength because this allele is associated with higher levels of strength, muscle mass, and muscle fiber size.

Gene 3: GLIS1

The C allele of SNP rs4926611 belonging to the GLIS1 gene is associated with a better hand-grip strength compared to the T allele of the same gene.

Gene 4: HLA

SNP rs78325334 is located on chromosome 6 in association with the HLA gene.

This SNP has been linked to handgrip strength, and the presence of the C allele is a risk whereas, the T allele is beneficial to the same.

Gene 5: HOXB3

SNP rs2288278, located on chromosome 17 in association with the HOXB3 gene, is associated with handgrip strength.

The presence of the A allele is beneficial to people for better handgrip strength as compared to those who have the G allele.

Gene 6: KANSL1

rs80103986 is an SNP that is associated with the KANSL1 gene.

The presence of the A allele is beneficial and gives a better hand-grip strength as compared to the T allele.

Gene 7: MGMT

The presence of the T allele of SNP rs374532236 belonging to the MGMT gene is beneficial for hand-grip strength.

Gene 8: SYT1

A allele of the SNP rs10861798 belonging to the SYT1 gene is beneficial for hand-grip strength whereas, the G allele is a risk for the same.

The SYT1 gene is responsible for the release of neurotransmitter release at the synapse, which means that it is essential for the muscle movements and nerve signals.

In SNP rs958685, the A allele is beneficial for a better handgrip compared to the C allele.

Handgrip strength and heart health

Handgrip strength can be used to measure the risk of an individual with the onset of cardiovascular disease in adults.

Research studies have shown that a better handgrip is associated with healthier heart function.

An 11-pound decrease in grip strength is linked to:

The association between gip strength and heart disease was a strong irrespective of age, exercise, smoking, and other factors.

Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease, said Dr. Darryl Leong.

You might also be interested in: The Secret To A Healthy Heart Lies In Your Genes: Analyze Your DNA Raw Data

Dietary recommendations to improve hand-grip strength

Apart from the training methods and exercises mentioned to improve grip strength.

Diet plays a significant role in increasing the hand-grip strength.

Dietary protein intakes are proven to increase muscle strength in older adults, as the muscle strength increases the hand-grip strength, which is a part of it also tends to increase.

Protein, in combination with a healthy diet, can be useful in maintaining muscle strength.

Importance of measuring Hand-grip strength

Hand-grip strength is one of the characteristics used to identify adult malnutrition.

Clinically hand-grip strength is used to measure the risk of functional impairment of hands in older adults. 

Do you have your DNA raw data from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, FTDNA, MyHeritage?

Upload your DNA raw data to Xcode Life. Our Gene Fitness Report analyses endurance, power, heart capacity, weight loss or weight gain with exercise, and more than 15+ such traits.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510175/
  2. https://www.ebi.ac.uk/gwas/variants/rs2288278
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5939721/
  4. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/JAHA.118.011638
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5984956/

What are varicose veins? 

Varicose veins are swollen, enlarged veins that commonly occur on the legs and feet and appear bluish-black through the skin.

They occur because of improperly functioning, blocked valves that either cause accumulation or pooling of blood, or flow of blood in the wrong direction, thereby causing the legs to swell up.

About 23% of all adults are believed to suffer from this condition, and in severe cases, it can be painful too.

The condition usually does not need treatment in its initial stages, but if the pain, swelling, or pain in the legs is causing extreme discomfort, it might need medical attention.

How do the veins look? 

Varicose veins are large, swollen, and twisted veins in the legs and appear bluish-black through the skin.

They look different from spider veins that are smaller, red, purple, or blue blood vessels and are also visible through the skin.

However, as mentioned earlier, they have differences that tell them apart:

Appearance

Spider veins are thin, more delicate, appear redder along with purplish-blue color whereas, varicose veins are much larger, thick and tortuous and appear bluish-black, and also often bulge from the skin.

Symptoms of pain and discomfort

Spider veins never have symptoms such as pain or discomfort but can cause itching, burning sensation, or lead to secondary skin infections.

Varicose veins, on the other hand, are often more painful,  cause heaviness, swelling, throbbing, night cramps, and fatigue in the legs.

Other concerns

People with spider veins seek treatment mainly for cosmetic purposes, and in many cases, the tiny blood vessels burst and bleed when the skin is rubbed too hard.

If this bleeding occurs under the skin, it can cause bruising too.

However, it rarely leads to swelling of the affected area.

In the case of varicose veins, people are often troubled by its many secondary troubles such as ulcers, changes in the skin, frequent swelling in the legs, etc.

What are hemorrhoids, and how do they differ from varicose veins?

Haemorrhoidal tissue is present in everyone and is made up of arteries, veins, and connective tissues surrounded by muscles.

When this tissue gets enlarged or swollen, it is referred to as hemorrhoids.

They are more common than we think, but people are often as uncomfortable talking it as they are living with it.

This tissue is found in the rectal area, and this condition is most commonly diagnosed when there is pain or bleeding while using the restroom.

Hemorrhoids are of two types:

  1. Internal hemorrhoids
  2. External hemorrhoids

Varicose veins, on the other hand, are quite similar to hemorrhoids, but they are primarily found in the weight-bearing areas of the body, i.e. the legs.

They appear engorged, swollen, ropy, and bluish-black through the skin.

Though they can occur anywhere in the body, they primarily occur in the legs and feet.

What causes varicose veins?

The leading cause for varicose veins as damaged or blocked veins in the legs.

In the human body, the veins are blood vessels that are responsible for returning the blood to the heart.

The veins of the legs need to do so by working against gravity. Veins contain small valves that prevent the back-flow of blood and allow the blood to return upwards towards the heart.

However, if these valves do not function properly, are weak or damaged, the blood flows backward and begins to pool in the legs.

This causes varicose veins.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

How do you know if you are suffering from varicose veins?

Some common symptoms include:

What are the risk factors for varicose veins?

Some reasons predispose one to develop varicose veins.

These include:

Increasing Age

An increase in age increases the risk of developing varicose veins because of the gradual wear and tear of the valves that occur as we grow older.

Obesity

An increase in weight and obesity increases the pressure on the veins in the legs, increasing the risk of varicose veins.

Pregnancy

The increase in blood volume, along with hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, increases a woman’s risk of developing varicose veins.

Gender

Women are more prone to varicose veins as compared to men.

Hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause cause the veins to dilate due to hormones.

Using hormonal pills such as birth control pills increase the risk even further.

Profession

Individuals who stand a lot as part of their job – traffic police, teachers, etc., are more prone to developing varicose veins over a period of time.

Family history

Having a family member with varicose veins increases an individual’s risk of developing the condition.

Why are women more prone to varicose veins? 

Women are at a higher risk of developing varicose veins due to the hormones progesterone and estrogen, which causes the veins to dilate.

During pregnancy, these hormones cause dilation of smooth muscles, including the uterus and event the veins in the legs, causing the veins to get larger.

This dilation of the veins causes the valves inside them to get damaged, and they are unable to function properly to help the veins return the blood to the heart.

This leads to the pooling of blood and varicose veins.

Another situation that can arise during pregnancy is that the increase in the blood volume during this time puts immense pressure on the veins of the legs leading to varicose veins.

The increase in blood volume during pregnancy can be up to 30% than the usual volume in her non-pregnant body.

How is bodybuilding associated with varicose veins?

Bodybuilding is a physical activity that involves controlled and progressive strength training to develop muscular definition in the body in individuals who are interested in bikini, fitness, or other similar aesthetic competitions.

One thing that we see among bodybuilders is the vascularity or the superficial blood vessels.

It often appears like they have thin skin with bulging veins.

This is mainly due to the extreme reduction of subcutaneous fat that brings about muscle definition.

There are many different ways that bodybuilders attain vascularity; this has always been controversial.

However, this vascularity is not the same as varicose veins. But, bodybuilders are very highly prone to varicose veins.

The reasons for this are:

What are the treatment options for varicose veins? 

The treatment options include treating the cause as well as the many symptoms.

However, no extended hospital stays or extensive surgical procedures are needed to treat them.

The current treatment options for varicose veins are:

Self-management

This involves self-care measures such as regular exercises, weight management, wearing light, and loose, breathable clothes, keeping your legs elevated while sitting or sleeping, avoiding long periods of sitting and standing.

These can be done to reduce the symptoms of pain and discomfort.

Wearing compression stockings

This is a very commonly used clothing that you see many people with varicose veins wear.

These are tight stockings that are worn on the legs and help to squeeze the legs that support the veins and muscles of the leg to move the blood smoothly towards the heart, thereby preventing pooling or accumulation of the blood.

More severe cases of varicose veins are treated using methods like sclerotherapy laser treatments, Ambulatory phlebotomy, high ligation, and vein stripping, catheter-assisted procedures using radiofrequency, and endoscopic vein surgery.

Varicose veins and sun exposure

The symptoms of varicose veins may worsen on exposure to sunlight.

This facilitates the cooling down of the body as the veins widen to bring blood to the skin’s surface.

However, in the case of varicose veins, the enlarging of the already faulty valves ends up heightening swelling and pain in the legs.

Varicose veins and menstrual cycle

Do you experience extra pain in your varicose veins just before your periods?

The surge in the progesterone a week or two before your menstruation results in the loosening of veins to aid better blood flow.

But this imposes a strain on the valves in the veins present in the legs to adapt to the excess blood flow.

As a result, varicose veins emerge, or the existing ones worsen.

Compression stockings are the best way to manage the pain if your varicose veins flareup during the premenstrual stage.

Exercises that work your calf muscles also help pump the blood better without it pooling in the veins.

Obesity and varicose veins

We all are aware that an increase in weight and obesity are high-risk factors for many heart and cardiovascular diseases.

An increase in weight is also a prime causative factor for varicose veins.

An excess amount of weight, more than that your body is built to carry puts immense pressure on your legs and the veins in them.

To support the excess body weight, the veins begin to dilate. The larger the vein diameter, the valves get stretched and damaged.

This results in improper functioning of these valves, leading to pooling of blood in the legs, leading to swelling and pain in the legs.

Some people also suffer from fatigue, restlessness, and itchiness in the legs.

One can prevent the development of varicose veins by maintaining a healthy weight.

Those who are obese and already suffer from it can prevent their condition from worsening by reducing their weight and ensuring regular physical exercise.

Laser treatment

One of the popular treatment options for this condition is laser treatment.

In this method of treatment, the heat from the lasers is used to damage the veins in the legs and leading to scar formation.

This scar formation blocks the veins, and in a year or two, these blocked veins disappear.

There are two types of laser treatments that are done for varicose veins:

  1. Simple laser treatment
  2. Endogenous laser treatment

The recovery time after these laser treatments is typically short, and one can return to a routine in a day to a week.

Sclerotherapy

This is a standard treatment method used to treat both varicose veins and spider veins.

This procedure involves injecting a salt solution directly into the veins.

This irritates the veins and causes them to collapse and stick together and the blood to clot.

Gradually over some time, this results in the formation of scar tissue, and the vein disappears.

This method of treating has been in practice since the early 1900s.

Phlebotomy 

This is also a commonly used treatment.

In this procedure, many tiny cuts are made in the skin to remove the varicose vein.

It is done under local anesthesia and does not require a hospital stay.

However, this procedure needs to be accompanied by other methods for more effective results.

Compression socks 

Compression socks are a special kind of stockings that are meant to be worn on the legs to ensure healthy blood circulation.

For this reason, they are beneficial to relieve symptoms in conditions such as chronic venous insufficiency, spider veins, and varicose veins.

When these stockings are worn, they are said to improve the symptoms because of the pressure that they apply on the ankles and legs, which compresses the superficial arteries and veins, thereby helping the blood flow to the heart and prevent backflow without any problems.

It is advised to wear these compression socks in the morning, before lowering your feet to get out of bed.

Your doctor will prescribe the best stockings for your condition.

Varicose veins: What’s the genetic link? 

Varicose veins tend to run in families. Heredity is one of the most important risk factors for developing varicose veins.

RSIDGeneRisk Allele
rs2911463 PIEZO1A
rs3101725SLC12A2C
rs11135046EBF1T
rs7773004HFEG
rs9880192GATA2C

rs2911463

This SNP is associated with the PIEZO1 gene that is located on chromosome 16.

The presence of the A allele increases the risk of the individual to develop varicose veins.

The PIEZO1 gene is associated with encoding a vascular mechanosensory channel, and a disruption in this channel has shown to cause disorganization of the vascular system.

rs3101725

This SNP is associated with the SLC12A2 gene located on chromosome 5.

The SLC12A2 is associated with maintaining the vascular tone and cell volume in the body.

The presence of the C allele increases the individual’s risk of developing circulatory disorders such as varicose veins.

rs11135046

This SNP is located on chromosome 5 in the EBF1 gene.

The T variant of this gene increases the risk of varicose veins.

rs7773004

This SNP is located with the HFE gene on the short arm of chromosome 6.

The HFE gene is also known as the human Homeostatic iron regulator.

The presence of the G allele in relation to the SNP rs7773004 increases the risk of developing primary varicose veins.

rs9880192

SNP rs9880192 is located on the RPN1 gene on chromosome 3.

The C allele increases the risk of developing varicose veins.

How to get rid of varicose veins using natural remedies?

There are many natural remedies and tips that one can try to relieve the symptoms. Some of these are:

Foods that contain flavonoids may also help.

Flavonoids-rich foods are:

What is butcher’s broom?

Butcher’s broom is a medicinal plant, whose roots are popularly consumed to relieve blood circulation problems like poor circulation in the legs, chronic venous insufficiency, leg cramps, swelling, heaviness, and pain. 

It is usually taken by mouth and is also said to be helpful for gallstones, kidney stones, and atherosclerosis.

In the case of varicose veins, consuming butcher’s broom is said to cause narrowing or constriction of blood vessels, thereby preventing the pooling of blood.

How to manage varicose veins?

Here’s what you can do:

Exercise for varicose veins 

Regular physical activity is said to be essential for a long and healthy life.

Regular fitness regime and exercise are also said to be useful to prevent its development and relieve symptoms in those with the condition.

Though there is no conclusive evidence that exercise improves the condition, it is said to have some visible effects.

Performing physical activity regularly improves blood circulation in the body, especially the legs, and prevents blood from pooling in the legs.

Also, exercising helps you to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity, which is a high-risk factor for this condition.

Some common exercises that are both light and useful exercises that you can do for are:

How to manage varicose veins during pregnancy?

A large number of women experience varicose veins during their pregnancy.

An increase in the blood supply and hormones are jointly responsible for this.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body has about 20% more blood than her non-pregnant body, which causes all the blood vessels to dilate, including the veins in her legs.

Due to this dilation of blood vessels, the valves that prevent the backflow of blood get stretched and damaged, thereby leading to the pooling of blood and subsequently, the condition.

Also, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, further cause dilation of smooth muscles, including those of the blood vessels, which further aggravates the condition.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6490943/

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Egg allergy: An introduction

People can be allergic to many foods like seafood, nuts, and even eggs.

Egg allergy is the most common type of allergy, especially in children, and can occur a few minutes to a few hours after consuming eggs.

It is rarely fatal, and usual symptoms include rash, hives, nasal congestion, and vomiting.

Egg allergy occurs because the body thinks that the egg proteins are harmful, and the body’s immune cells attack them by releasing histamine and other chemicals that trigger off an allergic reaction and give rise to the symptoms.

Both the egg whites and the yolks have the potential to cause allergy, but usually, it is the egg whites that cause it.

What are the symptoms of egg intolerance? 

The symptoms of egg allergy can appear immediately or even be delayed and look after 48-72 hrs of consumption.

The symptoms vary from person to person, and so does the intensity of the symptoms. Common symptoms of egg intolerance include:

How do you treat egg intolerance? 

To treat the condition, it needs to be diagnosed first.

To diagnose egg allergy, your physician will begin eliminating the other possible causes of your symptoms.

Conventional diagnostic methods or tests to determine egg intolerance are: 

The best way to treat egg allergy or intolerance is to avoid eggs of all types.

In many cases, people are tolerant of well-cooked egg-products such as baked dishes.

However, the most commonly used method to treat the allergy and alleviate the symptoms is the use of anti-histaminic, that reduce or cause the symptoms to subside.

In case of a severe reaction or emergencies, it is best to visit your doctor, who will most likely administer a shot.

How do you outgrow egg allergy?

Food allergies can be outgrown, but it largely depends upon the type of food and the degree of severity of the allergy.

When an individual has a food allergy, his/her body’s immune system mistakes the food as something that is harmful and immediately releases antibodies like IgE.

Every time the individual consumes the food, the body releases these antibodies, and allergic symptoms appear.

One can be allergic to many foods, even common ones like milk, soy, egg, and wheat/gluten.

However, children with these food allergies usually outgrow them as they enter their teens or early adulthood.

If children who are allergic to eggs can eat baked or cooked egg dishes, they will eventually outgrow their egg allergy as they grow up.

To confirm whether a child or adult has outgrown their food allergy, a test called the ‘food challenge’ is recommended wherein the child is given small quantities of the food in a controlled setting.

A small amount of the food is given first, followed by doubling the quantity every 15-30 minutes.

However, this is not done in case an individual has a history of anaphylaxis to the food.

Who are at risk of developing egg allergy?

The leading cause for egg allergy is the individual’s body’s immune system reaction that considers the foods as harmful.

However, there are a few risk factors that increase one’s chance of developing an egg allergy:

You might also be interested in: A Guide To Analyze Your DNA Raw Data For Allergy

Egg allergy: What’s the genetic link?

SNP rs16823014 of the ABCB11 gene is associated with egg allergy measurement.

The G allele is the more commonly found in the population than the A allele.

However, the presence of the A allele increases one’s risk of developing egg allergy.

There is a significant association between egg allergy and  rs250585, which is located on chromosome 16.

The C allele is more commonly present in the population than the T allele.

However, individuals with the T allele are at an increased risk of developing egg allergy.

SNP rs6498482 is associated with the ERCC4 gene.

The T allele is more commonly found in the population.

However, the presence of the C allele increases the risk of egg allergy in individuals.

RSIDGENERISK
rs16823014ABCB11A allele is associated with the risk of egg allergy
rs250585COG7T allele is associated with the risk of egg allergy
rs6498482ERCC4C allele is associated with the risk of egg allergy

How to prevent egg allergy?

Alternatives to someone with egg allergy 

Eggs are excellent sources of proteins and vitamins.

They are highly recommended to be included in your daily diet.

Eggs are also routinely used in baking products and baked dishes because they act as binders.

However, what can people with egg allergies do?

Well, there are many egg alternatives that one can choose from such as:

While there are many alternatives to eggs to be used as binders in baked dishes, how can one replace the egg from the breakfast table?

Here are some high protein alternatives of eggs:

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/snp/rs250585#frequency_tab

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Upload your DNA raw data to Xcode Life. Our Gene Allergy Report analyzes pet allergy, penut allergy, hay fever, lactose intolerance, and 12+ related conditions.

PON1 gene and Antioxidant Needs

An introduction 

PON1 gene in humans is located on the long arm of chromosome 7.

This gene was the first discovered gene of the paraoxonase multigene family along with the PON2 and PON3 genes.

The PON1 gene codes for the enzyme serum paraoxonase/arylesterase 1 or PON1 that has esterase and paraoxonase activity.

The PON1 enzyme is composed of 354 amino acids and is synthesized by the liver.

PON1 associates itself with High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) in the circulation.

The PON1 gene shows many polymorphisms in the coding and promoting regions.

Polymorphisms in the PON1 gene have an association with coronary artery disease and diabetic retinopathy. 

PON1 association with antioxidant needs

PON1 plays a major role in oxidative stress and inflammatory response by virtue of its association with HDL cholesterol in the body.

HDL facilitates the secretion of the PON1 enzyme, which in turn prevents the oxidation of HDL and stimulates cholesterol efflux from the cells.

These together offer an atheroprotective function to HDL.

What are antioxidants? 

As the name goes, these substances and compounds inhibit oxidation in the body. 

Antioxidants are natural compounds that help neutralize free radicals in our bodies.

Free radicals are substances whose elevated levels can be harmful to the body. 

The elevated levels have an association with diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and aging.

What is the function of antioxidants? 

Our body cells constantly produce free radicals as a reaction to internal body and environmental pressures and stresses.

The cells in our body are responsible for the production of these free radicals. 

These are unstable molecules, and thus can cause slow cell damage.

Since these free radicals are reactive oxygen species, the antioxidants naturally counter them.

Antioxidants are neutralizers of these free radicals and can be obtained by consuming foods that are rich in them.

In individuals who are healthy and disease-free, there is a balance of antioxidants that counter the effects of the reactive free radicals.

What’s the genetic link?

SNPAlleleRisk
rs854560TBeneficial of antioxidant needs
rs662CRisk of antioxidant needs

SNP rs854560 is a polymorphism that is present on the PON1 gene associated with antioxidant needs.

The variants of this SNP affect levels of the PON1 enzyme and have an association with coronary diseases and diabetes. The T allele is the more favorable form of the SNP and codes for methionine, which leads too elevated levels of paraoxonase.

This is beneficial to the body.

However, the A allele codes for leucine; this leads to reduced paraoxonase activity, which is harmful to the body.

SNPAlleleRisk
rs854560AA2x Higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Diabetic retinopathy
rs854560AT2x Higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Diabetic retinopathy
rs854560TT1.8x Higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Diabetic retinopathy.

SNP rs662, also called as Q192R is a polymorphism of the PON1 gene.

The C allele codes for arginine, whereas the less common T allele codes for glutamine.

The presence of the TT allele can imply lower or decreased levels of PON1 enzyme activity. Higher the PON1 enzyme activity, the lower is the risk for heart disease.

The TT allele also increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 2.3x and also increased the risk of vascular dementia, kidney disease, ischaemic heart disease, and male infertility.

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References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5327813/
  2. https://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs662

Updated on June 09, 2020

ALPL gene: An introduction

The ALPL gene codes for the tissue non-specific isoenzyme called Alkaline Phosphatase (TNSALP).

This enzyme is responsible for the growth and development of bones and teeth.

It is also found in other organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Over 300 mutations have been observed in this gene in people with hypophosphatasia, an inborn error of metabolism.

Such mutations lead to the formation of a defective TNSALP which prevent effective mineralization of the bones and teeth.

When these ALPL gene mutations eliminate the activity of TNSALP, it results in severe forms of hypophosphatasia.

This condition has either an autosomal recessive or autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance.

What is vitamin B6 deficiency? 

Vitamin B6 is composed of three closely related compounds – Pyridoxine, Pyridoxal, and Pyridoxamine.

These compounds metabolize to form Pyridoxal phosphate that acts as a coenzyme in many important reactions in the body.

Vitamin B6 is responsible for the formation of heme (an iron-containing compound which is a part of hemoglobin molecule ), synthesis of nucleic acids, lipid, carbohydrate, and amino acids.

When the body is unable to get the required amount of vitamin B6, it leads to a deficiency of the vitamin.

We meet our daily requirements of vitamin B6 from the food we eat, and therefore, a dietary deficiency is quite rare.

But, one can be deficient in vitamin B6 due to other secondary causes.

What are the symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency? 

Primary vitamin B6 deficiency is rare in the general population.

But, secondary causes such as digestive troubles, kidney or liver troubles can still lead to vitamin B6 deficiency. 

The common signs and symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency are:

Sore and glossy tongue

This is one of the first signs that appear in an individual with vitamin B6 deficiency.

The tongue becomes sore, red, swollen, and smooth (due to loss of tongue papillae). This condition is known as glossitis

Sore lips

Another characteristic feature of vitamin B6 deficiency is cracked, swollen, and red lips along with cracked corners of the mouth.

This makes it difficult to perform regular activities such as talking, eating, and yawning.

Tingling sensation and pain in hands and feet

Vitamin B6 deficiency causes peripheral neuropathy, which is characterized by tingling or burning sensation in the hands and feet. 

Lethargy and Fatigue

Vitamin B6 deficiency commonly causes lethargy, tiredness, and fatigue in the body.

Reduced immunity

Vitamin B6 deficiency is also associated with weakened immune function, making the individual more susceptible to infections.

This happens because vitamin B6 is involved in the production of WBCs and antibodies.

Mood swings

Vitamin B6 is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Thus its deficiency leads to irritability, anxiety, and mood swings.

Causes of vitamin B6 deficiency

Vitamin B6 deficiency can be of two types: 

But, dietary vitamin B6 deficiency is very rare as many foods that we regularly eat contain adequate amounts of vitamin B6. 

ALPL gene and vitamin B6: What’s the genetic link?

rsidgene namerisk allele
rs1780316ALPLT
rs1697421ALPLT

SNP rs1780316 is located on chromosome 1 and is associated with the risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.

A trial study conducted on stroke prevention showed that rs1780316 has genetic associations with plasma B12, B6, and folate levels in people with ischemic stroke.

The T allele of the SNP rs1697421 has also been associated with vitamin B6 levels in the body.

What is the normal range for vitamin B6 levels?

The normal range of the biologically active form of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is 5-50 µg/L.

Does vitamin B6 cause weight gain?

There is a lot of speculation about whether vitamin B6 causes weight gain.

But, the fact is that vitamin B6 by itself does not contain calories, and therefore, it cannot cause weight gain.

However, the foods that are rich in vitamin B6 can cause weight gain.

Health risk associated with vitamin B6 levels 

What foods are rich in vitamin B6? 

As mentioned earlier, many commonly consumed food items are rich in vitamin B6. These include:

  1. Poultry
  2. Eggs
  3. Pork
  4. Fish
  5. Bread
  6. Whole grains
  7. Vegetables
  8. Soya beans
  9. Peanuts
  10. Potatoes
  11. Fortified cereals
  12. Milk and other dairy products
  13. Green peas
  14. Tuna and salmon
  15. Carrots
  16. Spinach
  17. Sweet potatoes

References

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/
  2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-Consumer/
  3. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/#h8

Caffeine acts as a stimulant of the Central Nervous System (CNS), causing increased alertness.

It is the world's most widely consumed legal psychoactive drug.

Caffeine offers a range of benefits from something as small as over an afternoon slump to reducing the risk of some serious health conditions like heart diseases.

Some common food sources of caffeine include:

How does caffeine affect your body?

Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine appears to be safe for most healthy adults.

Anything exceeding that can be harmful to the body.

The effect of caffeine on various systems of the body are as follows:

Central Nervous System (CNS)

Caffeine is a stimulant and causes mental alertness once it reaches the brain.

It is a common ingredient in medications that are meant to treat drowsiness, migraines, and headaches.

Digestive and excretory systems

Caffeine stimulates the production of stomach acid and can cause heartburn, acid reflux, or stomach upset.

Excess caffeine is stored in the liver, which exits through urine.

Hence, drinking excessive coffee or tea increases the urge for urination.

Respiratory and circulatory systems

Caffeine intake increases adrenaline production.

This, in turn, increases your blood pressure for some time.

When consumed in excess quantities, caffeine can lead to irregular heartbeat and breathing.

Skeletal system

Excess caffeine interferes with the absorption and utilization of calcium.

Reduced calcium levels in the body can lead to osteoporosis.

Muscular system

Muscle twitching is often a visible symptom of excess caffeine consumption.

Reproductive system

A little caffeine during pregnancy appears to be safe in most cases.

However, it is important to note that caffeine can cross the placental barrier, and therefore, can affect the fetus.

It can increase the fetus's heart rate and, in some cases, may even lead to a miscarriage.

CYP1A2: How does this gene affect caffeine consumption?

CYP1A2 codes for a protein that belongs to the Cytochrome P450 family.

This protein is involved in the breakdown of stimulants, drugs, nutrients, and other xenobiotics.

The CYP1A2 gene regulates the synthesis of the enzyme, and small variations in this gene are associated with the efficiency of caffeine metabolism.

Some people are genetically predisposed to produce very little of CYP1A2 enzyme while others may generate a sufficient amount.

Approximately 10% of the population is found to be rapid caffeine metabolizers, showing a high tolerance to caffeine.

This enzyme is also essential for removing toxic chemicals from our body and processing hormones and other products of metabolism.

Both increased and decreased enzyme activity have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

It is a significant protein family in the human body, as it majorly decides how an individual responds to drugs and nutrients.

Variations in this gene broadly divide people into two groups of metabolizers:

CYP1A2: Gene polymorphism:

In particular, two Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) are found to influence caffeine metabolism:

rs762551

The haplotype CYP1A2*1F is associated with this variation.

GenotypeRisk
AATwo sets of CYP1A2*1F 1.5x fast metabolizers of caffeine
ACOne set of CYP1A2*1F normal metabolism of caffeine
CCNormal metabolism of caffeine

rs2472297

Individuals who have the TT genotype in this specific polymorphism of the CYP1A2 gene may be fast metabolizers of caffeine.

study conducted on 553 individuals found that people with this genotype had a 70% reduction in the risk of a heart attack on increased consumption of caffeine.

GenotypeRisk
TT1.2x fast consumption of caffeine
CT1.2x fast consumption of caffeine
CCNormal consumption of caffeine

Why should you know your genetic predisposition to consume caffeine?

People of certain genetic types have a genetic predisposition to drink more cups of coffee.

Identification of this tendency will help in moderating coffee consumption, taking into account the individual's caffeine metabolism status.

Genetic tests can help identify such parameters.

After all, it would be good to know if you are prone to guzzling down a little too much, especially when your caffeine sensitivity scale is tipped at the wrong end.

CYP1A2: Caffeine tolerance

Caffeine tolerance in an individual is gene deep.

The enzyme CYP1A2 is responsible for metabolizing caffeine in the body and determines whether the individual is a slow or a fast caffeine metabolizer.

Fast metabolizers of caffeine may have a high caffeine tolerance.

Such people have two copies of the fast variant.

Some people have one slow and one fast copy of the variant and are said to be moderately tolerant to caffeine.

However, those individuals who have two copies of the slow variant are slow metabolizers of caffeine and are said to be poorly tolerant of it.

How does caffeine affect your metabolism?

Resting metabolic rate describes the rate at which you burn calories at rest.

A lot of studies vouch for caffeine boosting the RMR. 

Early research also suggests that caffeine supports fat-burning during exercise.

This increase in fat-burn is what majorly contributes to the increase in metabolism.

Initially, the increase in metabolism upon caffeine consumption can be evident. 

However, this effect can diminish in long-term coffee drinkers due to the developed tolerance.

If you're primarily interested in coffee for the sake of fat loss, it may be wise not to consume it excessively and end up making your body more tolerant of caffeine.

Effects of excessive caffeine intake

Caffeine is a component in many plants, including coffee and tea.

The primary purpose of it is to act as a toxin to defend the plants against herbivores.

Caffeine in limited quantities is beneficial to our health, but in excessive amounts, harmful.

The effects of excessive caffeine intake (more than 4-5 cups of strong tea or coffee) include:

  1. Tremors
  2. Increased urination
  3. Increased heart rate
  4. Nervousness
  5. Stomach upset
  6. Anxiety
  7. Increased blood pressure
  8. It can cause restlessness in unborn babies and hyperactivity in kids

How do you remove caffeine from your body?

Excessive caffeine consumption does come with a set of undesirable effects.

During such times, the following remedies can help flush out caffeine from the system:

If nothing else works, just wait! The half-life of caffeine in the human body is roughly 4-6 hours, which means caffeine naturally starts to breakdown after that time. 

What is caffeine withdrawal?

If your body is dependent on caffeine, eliminating caffeine from your diet may cause symptoms of withdrawal.

This occurs typically 12-24 hours after stopping caffeine.

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are:

Ways to reduce caffeine withdrawal symptoms:

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/1544
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3346273/

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Updated on 09 June, 2020

Choline deficiency - An Introduction

What is choline?

Choline is an essential, water-soluble, vitamin-like substance that is required for maintaining the structure, integrity, and signaling functions of the cell membranes, for neurotransmission and lipid transportation.

It also acts as a source of methyl groups and is essential for fetal development during pregnancy.

Though choline can be synthesized in the body, you need to acquire some through your diet as well, in order to avoid deficiency.

The choline requirement varies with age.

According to the National Nutrition Research Institute of North Carolina, only a mere 10% of the population has sufficient intake of choline, while the others are deficient.

Inadequate choline in the body can lead to many problems, including cardiovascular diseases, neuro-psychiatric diseases such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, and degenerative diseases like osteoporosis.

Functions of choline

Choline is an essential component in the diet for the primary reason that it performs many crucial roles in the body. 

What are the symptoms of choline deficiency? 

The symptoms of choline deficiency include:

Choline deficiency:  What’s the genetic link?

Gene 1: MTHFD1

The rs2236225 is an SNP found in the MTHFD1 gene on chromosome number 14.

It is involved in folate metabolism.

Choline requirements are altered in polymorphisms of the MTHFD1 or methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase 1 gene.

A study done in Canada showed that the mutation in the MTHFD1 could increase the risk of heart defects.

Caucasian mothers with rs2236225 (C, T) and rs2236225 (T, T) alleles were at an increased risk (of about 1.5-1.7 times) of having children compared to mothers with no (T) alleles.

However, one must be cautious while reading results as the studies have statistical uncertainties.

RSIDGeneGenotypeRisk
rs2236225MTHFD1C/CNormal
C/TPossible increased risk of birth defects
T/TAbout 1.5x risk for Caucasian mothers to give birth to NTD children

Gene 2:  PEMT

A part of the choline requirement of the body can be satisfied by the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine that is catalyzed by PEMT or phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase in the liver.

The polymorphisms may alter choline requirements in the PEMT gene.

The SNP rs12325817 in the promoter region of the PEMT gene, a large percentage of carriers of the C allele developed organ dysfunction when on a low choline diet.

Also, sexual differences were observed in the effect of PEMT gene rs12325817, and it is possible that the SNP alters the estrogen responsiveness of the promoter.

Unusual estrogen regulation of PEMT gene results in choline deficiency-associated liver dysfunction.

Effect on women with the following allele combination in SNP rs12325817.

The presence of C allele puts one at risk of developing organ dysfunction.

RSIDGeneGenotypeRisk
rs12325817PEMTC/CChances of organ dysfunction
C/GMore susceptible to choline deficiency and fatty liver
G/GFewer chances of organ dysfunction

genetic-variants-choline

Source: Wikipedia

What causes acetylcholine deficiency?

The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is synthesized from choline.

So, a deficiency of choline leads to a lack of acetylcholine.

Though our body can synthesize its choline, we need to eat choline-rich foods to maintain its optimum levels in the body.

So, inadequate dietary intake of choline is the biggest reason for the deficiency of choline and acetylcholine.

Note:

The ideal requirement of choline for everyone varies with age.

Adult men should be able to consume 550mg per day, and adult women need to consume 425mg per day.

The choline needs for women increase during pregnancy to 450mg per day and even more during breastfeeding to 550mg per day.

Does acetylcholine affect mood?

Acetylcholine system plays an essential role in mood swings and also contributes to mental conditions like depression.

It was found that brains of depressed individuals tend to have higher concentrations of acetylcholine. 

The relationship between mood changes due to the withdrawal of smoking and acetylcholine has been the basis for studying its effect on mood changes.

Does choline cause anxiety?

Choline deficiency has many different effects on our body.

It improves brain functioning, memory, cognitive function, learning, and memory.

However, a deficiency of the substance can lead to effects such as depression, anxiety, mood disorder, and Alzheimer’s.

Does choline help with weight loss? 

Yes, choline helps with weight loss. In competitive sports events, individuals are expected to gain and lose weight in a short time.

Choline supplementation helps in these situations when the athlete has to lose weight rapidly.

The reason for this is that choline plays a vital role in fat metabolism.

Dietary sources of choline

The dietary sources of choline include:

Vegetables that are rich in choline are:

Some fruits that contain choline are:

Health risk associated with choline deficiency

The inadequate consumption of choline can lead to high homocysteine and all the risks associated with hyperhomocysteinemia.

Note:

There are certain groups of people who are at an increased risk of choline deficiency. These include:

What are the effects of excess choline in the body?

While it is essential to maintain an adequate amount of choline in the body at all times, an excessive amount of choline can be harmful too.

The harmful effects of excess choline include:

However, one can take a few precautions to avoid excessive choline intake.

A word of caution

Before taking choline supplements, it is highly recommended to read the quantity of choline and if in doubt, seek the advice of your doctor.

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More Content

What is psoriasis? 

Psoriasis is a common autoimmune chronic skin condition that is characterized by scaly, red patches on the skin that are itchy.

These scaly patches on the skin are formed by accumulated skin cells.

The different types of psoriasis are:

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

The symptoms of psoriasis vary from person to person.

However, common psoriasis symptoms include:

  1. Red patches or rashes covered with thick, dry, silvery scales. In some individuals, these patches coalesce to form bigger patches.
  2. The skin becomes itchy and painful and often bleeds.
  3. Bleeding can occur in patches where the scales are tightly attached to the underlying skin.
  4. Itching, burning, and soreness in on the patches.
  5. Pitting and discoloration of the finger and toenails. In severe cases, the nail begins to detach from the nail bed.
  6. The common areas that are affected by psoriatic patches include the scalp, arms, legs, palms, trunk, feet and palms. 

The symptoms of psoriasis occur in cycle i.e the patches flare-up in some months of the year and subside in the other.

In about 10-30% cases, psoriasis has been associated with psoriatic arthritis wherein the patient has swollen and aching joints along with the skin lesions. 

What is the main cause of psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown.

However, researchers have been able to point out misdirected immune system as a key contributor to this condition.

The immune system and your genes

In normal cases, the body’s immune system gets activated when a foreign body or particle enters the body.

However, in individuals with psoriasis, some genes that are defective cause inflammation on exposure to certain substances and trigger the skin cells to start multiplying.

There are about twenty-five genes that are suspected to cause psoriasis.

Stress

Stress is one of the primary and the most important causative factor for many skin conditions, including psoriasis.

Though stress is a mental pressure, the body reacts to it in the same way as it does to physical pressure.

Thus, sudden, chronic and excessive stress levels can trigger psoriasis.

Hormonal Changes 

Psoriasis can flare-up due to hormonal changes in the body, especially around puberty, menopause, and pregnancy.

These three situations where there is a drastic change in the hormonal levels in the body.

Smoking

Smoking is known to cause pustular psoriasis.

Individuals with a history of psoriasis are twice as likely to develop the condition if they smoke.

The lesions primarily appear on the palms and the soles of feet.

Medications

There are some medications that can trigger or make existing psoriasis worse.

These include antimalarials like chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and quinacrine, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and quinidine, indomethacin, and lithium in some medicines.

Some disease conditions like HIV and other infections like respiratory infections can also cause a flare-up of psoriasis.

Psoriasis: What's the genetic link?

Researches have shown genetic factors to play a key role in the development of psoriasis.

There are many genes that are associated with psoriasis, which includes:

FUBP1 

FUBP1 (Far Upstream Element Binding Protein 1) protein encodes a single-stranded DNA-binding protein that binds to multiple DNA elements and has a 3’-5’ helicase activity.

It binds to viral RNA is thought to play a role in the development of viral diseases.

FASLG 

Apoptosis or programmed cell death is now associated with the pathogenesis of many inflammatory skin disorders, including psoriasis.

The Fas or FasLigand gene (FASLG) is one of the best-known mechanisms for the induction of apoptosis and is crucial in the onset of psoriasis, promoted by activated lymphocytes.

Fas-mediated cell-death prevents autoimmune reactions by removing the active T-cells from the medium, resulting in an immune reaction.

The single nucleotide polymorphisms of the Fas cell surface receptor gene and the Fas Ligand gene (FASLG) in the promoter region affect the expression of these genes and their serum levels.

These levels are important in patients with psoriasis.

IKBKE 

This gene is located on chromosome 1q32.1.

The IKBKE (Inhibitor of Kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells, Kinase Epsilon) is known as a psoriasis-related protein that is needed for the regulation of anti-viral and anti-inflammatory pathways.

In fact, the TNF- alpha that exists on the IKBKE upstream pathway has been used as a psoriasis drug target.

ZNF365 

ZNF365 (Zinc Finger 365) gene codes for several isoforms, each of which has a different expression pattern and functions.

A mutation in this gene is associated with uric acid nephrolithiasis.

The gene is involved in the homologous recombination (HR) repair pathway and is required for the proper resolution of DNA by HR.

It also contributes to genomic stability by preventing telomere dysfunction.

PTEN 

PTEN (Phosphate and Tensin Homologue) gene is present on chromosome 10 and when it is deleted, it acts as a major tumor suppressor and inhibits cell proliferation through inactivation of the PI3 kinase(PI3K)/ Akt signal pathway. 

The downregulation of the PTEN gene may play a role in the overactivation of the PI3K/ Akt signal pathway in psoriatic lesions and correlate with the excessive proliferation of the lesions.

The G allele of rs76959677 is said to be associated with psoriasis.

CHUK 

CHUK (Conserved Helix-Loop-Helix Ubiquitous Kinase) enzyme is involved in inhibiting the actions of NF-κB as it plays a role in its transcription.

Individuals with this SNP were associated with response to etanercept.

Inheritance of psoriasis

Psoriasis has a multifactorial pattern of inheritance, which means that it occurs due to a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors.

The genes from both parents and environmental factors determine if the individual develops the condition or not.

However, there have been reports where the disease appears to have an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance.

A research study conducted by Swanbeck et al calculated the lifetime risk of developing psoriasis in individuals with no parent, one parent and both parents having the condition.

The results did show an increased susceptibility in those with one or both parents having psoriasis.

Diet recommendation for psoriasis

Psoriasis cannot be cured completely.

However, the symptoms can be managed and flare-ups can be reduced using medications, lifestyle changes, and diet.

Though not scientifically conclusive, there has been considerable evidence to show that changing to a healthier diet can help reduce flare-ups and enable better management of the symptoms of psoriasis.

Some components of foods such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory substances are said to be helpful to reduce flare-ups and help in better management of the condition.

Foods that help psoriasis include:
While these are the foods that one must include to manage psoriasis, there are a host of other foods that need to be avoided to stay clear of a flare-up. 

You might also like: Secret Behind Celebrities Who Have No Stretch Marks

Home remedies: What works?

There are multiple ways to reduce the symptoms and prevent flare-ups, and many of these are home remedies.

Avoid perfumes and deodorants

Perfumes, soaps, deodorants, shampoos, etc which have fragrances in them as they contain dyes.

The dyes in these fragrant products lead inflammation of the skin and cause a flare-up of psoriasis.

Before you choose a product, make sure it has a ‘sensitive’ label on it or consult your dermatologist for the right products for you.

Moisturizing your skin regularly

It helps to soothe the itchiness of the lesions.

People with psoriasis must make sure their skin never gets dry as it can lead to an increase in the lesions.

Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight as it can aggravate psoriatic lesions.

Avoid stress

An individual with psoriasis must avoid stress, a primary cause of flare-ups.

Practicing stress-relieving methods can help manage psoriasis effectively.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is a big-no for those suffering from psoriasis and so an individual with the condition must avoid consuming it.

Turmeric

Apply turmeric on the lesions, adding them to your food or consuming it as a pill, within limits (1.5-3 gms per day) has proven to be beneficial to those suffering from psoriasis.

Consuming adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals proves helpful to reduce the psoriatic lesions.

External application on the lesions using some herbal products is very helpful. These include aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, dead sea salts, oats, tea tree oil, and Oregon grape.

Is psoriasis contagious?

There is a misconception that psoriasis is infectious, however, it does not spread from one person to the other.

But it is quite common to see the lesions spread to other parts of the body.

In many cases, the lesions also coalesce to form larger lesions.

There are many ways to prevent the spread of psoriasis in an individual, but it also depends upon the type of psoriasis.

Plaque psoriasis, which the most common type that affects people spreads to elbows, knees, and scalp.

A rare type of psoriasis known as erythrodermic psoriasis is a more dangerous form which spread to all parts of the body.

In many instances, people with one type of psoriasis can develop another type of disease.

If left untreated, psoriasis lesions can spread and become more intense.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458077/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22125590
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=26472011
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/food-triggers-for-psoriasis#foods-to-eat
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068801/

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What is photic sneeze reflex?

Photic sneeze reflex is also known as Autosomal Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome (ACHOO).

It is a reflex condition that causes uncontrollable sneezing in response to different stimuli like bright lights, eating or periocular injections.

About 10-35% of the world’s population is affected by this condition.

However, the exact mechanism of condition development is not properly understood.

What is ACHOO?

ACHOO is an abbreviated form for Autosomal Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome, also known as photic sneeze reflex.

Individuals who suffer from this condition begin sneezing uncontrollably when they are exposed to bright sunlight.

The exact cause of this condition is not known but many suspect that it may occur due to the over-excitability of the visual cortex on exposure to light.

This leads to strong activation of the secondary somatosensory areas in the brain resulting in sneezing.

Can sunshine make you sneeze?

Have you ever stepped into bright sunlight and felt the uncontrollable tickle in your nose that made you sneeze incessantly?

Well, this is because you may be suffering from a condition called photic sneeze reflex.

To a small percentage of the world’s population, sunshine can make them sneeze.

How common is photic sneeze reflex?

It is a genetic condition and can be inherited from a parent.

If an individual is affected, there is a 50% chance that their child will be affected with the same condition.

What causes photic sneeze reflex?

Sneezing is one of our body’s uncontrollable reflexes.

The most common cause of it is an irritation in the nose.

Signals from the nose are then sent to the brain that results in the powerful release of air through the nose and mouth to expel the irritant.

Along with the irritant, what also gets expelled is mucus from the nasal passages and all this brought about by contraction of many muscles in the respiratory tract and the eyelids.

But, in the case of photic sneeze reflex, there is no irritant.

Though the exact cause of the sneezing is not known, it is said to be a result of some issue along the trigeminal nerve.

The nerve is the 5th cranial nerve and has three prominent branches – to the eyes, nasal cavity and the jaws.

Since it is in a very crowded place, there can be mixing up of signals and things can go wrong to precipitate a reflex.

The bright light is an irritant to the eyes and causes the pupils of the eye to contract, there might be a confusion in signaling, leading the nose to also perceive it as an irritant, leading to sneezing.

It is also suspected that the photic sneeze reflex occurs as a result of ‘parasympathetic generalization’ which means that if one part of the parasympathetic reflexes (contracting of the pupil in response to bright light) is activated, other parts (nasal cavity) get activated as well.

Does your heart stop for a brief period when you sneeze?

No, your heart doesn’t stop when you sneeze, though you may feel so.

When you sneeze, your eyes automatically close tightly and the intrathoracic pressure inside your chest increases momentarily.

Due to this increased pressure, the blood flow to your heart reduces and the heart adjusts this decreased flow by changing its regular heart beat.

But, the electrical activity of the heart does not stop.

What triggers a sneeze?

Some common trigger factors include:

When an individual is allergic to any of the above trigger factors, the allergic cells in their nasal mucous membrane release a substance known as histamine.

This histamine acts on the various parts of the nasal mucous membrane and causes one to sneeze.

Even in case of the common cold, the mucus build-up in the nose stimulates the nasal mucosa to release histamine and cause you to sneeze.

Is photic sneeze reflex hereditary?

Photic sneeze reflex is a completely hereditary condition.

It is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner and affects both men and women alike.

An affected individual has a 50% chance to pass on his/her ‘Achoo gene’ to each of their children.

Is the way you sneeze hereditary?

Sneezing is an uncontrollable reflex of our body.

The way or pattern of your sneeze cannot be learned on exposure to the environment and is often innate or hereditary.

The way you sneeze has a hereditary pattern.

Photic sneeze reflex is a type of sneezing reflex which is completely hereditary in nature.

Food products that trigger you to sneeze

Why does pepper make you sneeze?

Sniffing pepper and sneezing is commonly seen in most cartoons.

Well, even in real life, pepper does make you sneeze.

This is because pepper contains an irritant called piperine, which irritates the nose.

All types of peppers contain this alkaloid called piperine.

This piperine stimulates nerve endings inside the mucous membrane of the nose and precipitates sneezing.

By doing so, the nose wants to try and remove this irritant.

Can eating chocolate make you sneeze?

Yes, eating dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa can make you sneeze.

The exact reason why dark chocolate causes some people to sneeze is still unknown.

This is seen in only many individuals.

Is it normal to sneeze every day?

It is perfectly normal to sneeze and blow your nose less than 4 times daily.

Any number above this is considered to be rhinitis, which is an inflammatory condition of the nasal cavity.

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Why is your sneeze really loud?

Sneezing often occurs due to an irritant that tickles the nerve endings in the nose.

The nerves send a signal tot he brainstem which automatically prompts the lungs to inhale deeply.

The vocal cords shut, the eyes close and air bursts out of the mouth and the nose.

Though the mechanism for a sneeze is the same in everyone, the loudness of the sneeze is based on one’s lung capacity and size of pre-sneeze inhale.

Can you sneeze with your mouth shut?

Yes, many people sneeze with their mouth shut, especially when they are very conscious about loud sneezing in public.

However, halting or blocking a sneeze by closing nostrils or mouth can lead to many complications like pneudomediastinum, eardrum perforation or rupture of nerves in the brain.

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Is it normal for newborns to sneeze and cough?

Sneezing is perfectly normal when seeing in newborns.

Just like in adults, sneezing in newborns is a reflex. Newborn babies sneeze a lot because they have to.

They have smaller nasal passages and need to clean their passages frequently to be able to breathe properly.

They sneeze to get rid of dust, smoke, breast milk and anything that can irritate their small passages.

In fact, babies use sneezing as a natural defense mechanism to keep away germs and other irritants out of their system.

However, when your newborn sneezes frequently and has any of the following symptoms additionally, you need to make a visit to the doctor immediately:

Why do you sneeze twice in a row?

We sneeze to get rid of some irritant in our nose or nasal passage.

We often end up sneezing not once but at least twice in a row.

This happens when one sneeze isn't enough to remove the irritant from the nose.

In fact, sometimes it takes more than 2 sneezes in a row and you end up sneezing 3-4 times a row.

Can you sneeze in your sleep?

We never sneeze in our sleep.

The reason for this is Rapid Eye Movement atonia which occurs during certain periods of sleep.

Due to this, the neurotransmitters that are responsible for detecting allergens and precipitating a sneeze are also shut down.

As a result, one doesn't sneeze while sleeping.

However, sometimes when a large enough irritant enters the nose while sleeping and obstructs the regular breathing pattern in some way, the body immediately reacts to remove the irritant, in which case a sleeping person wakes up to sneeze.

What are the types of sneezes?

The way one sneezes is linked to one’s heredity.

How you sneeze is innate and cannot be learned or developed.

But, people do alter their sneeze especially when they are in a public place.

However, sneezes are of 4 types (based on a certain personality):

  1. Sensitive sneezer: This individual sneezes only once and does so by turning away from the people present.
  2. Be Right sneezer: This individual is most likely to cover his/her mouth during a sneeze than other types.
  3. Get it Done sneezer: This individual has loud sneezes but tries to control or stop it if possible.
  4. Enthusiastic sneezer: This individual loves to make a big deal out of his/her sneezing and so sneezes loudly, often in a funny manner and there are often multiple sneezes

Is sneezing contagious?

Sneezing is not contagious.

Looking at someone sneeze, as seen in the case of yawning, cannot make one automatically sneeze because sneeze is a reflex that occurs when there is an irritant in the nose.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photic_sneeze_reflex
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109193/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12012947/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-sneezing#summary

Xcode Life  Gene Allergy Report covers photic sneeze, milk allergy, gluten sensitivity and more than 12 traits.

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