Discover: Heart Health

You are never too young to start looking after your health, including your heart health. What you start doing now, will influence your heart health as you become older. Dancers tend to be able to maintain good heart health thanks to regular physical activity level, but there are some genetic predispositions that are good to be aware of for the future. For good heart health, it’s important to manage the levels of fats in your blood (your lipid profile), including your triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Triglycerides store unused calories and provide your body with energy, and cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones. It’s important to keep a healthy level of both fats to maintain your heart health. This can be achieved with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.


The APOA5 Gene

The APOA5 gene contributes to the regulation of triglyceride levels in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood (lipid) and the most common type of fat in the body. They are necessary for health but may be harmful in excess amounts as they are linked with an increased risk of health conditions including heart disease. Fiber has shown to be beneficial for managing high triglycerides and the extent of the benefit is highly individual depending on your DNA.

While genetics play a role in how likely you are to have high triglyceride levels, other factors can also contribute. These include being overweight, consuming excess calories from refined and sugary foods or drinking too much alcohol. Other health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes or kidney disease can also contribute.  

Processing of Dietary Fats

The LIPC Gene

The LIPC gene is involved in the way your body processes and breaks down dietary fats in the blood (or lipids) including cholesterol and triglycerides. It can influence the overall balance of fats in your blood, which in turn can affect your overall heart health.

For good heart health, it’s important to have the right balance of fats in your blood, or a balanced lipid profile. Cholesterol can be measured as total cholesterol or as its components of high-density cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density cholesterol (LDL-C). For a balanced and healthy lipid profile, you need higher levels of HDL-C and lower levels of LDL-C and triglycerides.

Processing of Omega-3 & Omega-6 (Fatty Acids)

The FADS1 Gene

Our bodies need fatty acids which can be introduced from healthy fats in our diet, or produced in small amounts by the body itself. Fatty acids come in different types (like saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and can be categorised in short or long chains. Essential short chain fatty acids can only be introduced through dietary sources, which your body then rearranges and processes into long chain fatty acids.

FADS1 is specifically involved in the processing of a specific types of long chain fatty acids, called polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6. These are also known as “”healthy”” fats (found in fatty fish, nuts & seeds etc), which help with brain function, skin and hair growth, as well as our physical development and reproduction. They can also influence the balance of fats in the blood (lipids), including triglycerides and cholesterol. As a result, FADS1 has an impact on the lipid profile too, which is important to maintain good heart health.

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