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I am an athlete, why should I have a genetic test?

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Genetic tests play a fundamental role in the care and maintenance of health in general and in the improvement of sports performance in particular.

Therefore, after our article on DNA testing for athletes, we could not conclude our special on genetics and sport without listing the main practical examples of why, as an athlete, you should take a DNA test if you want to optimize your athletic performance:

athlete genetic test

1. Know your predisposition to develop exercise-associated muscle cramps

Did you know that genetics plays a more important role than you think in the cramps you suffer while doing sports? This is because there are some polymorphisms of the SLC16A1 gene, specifically the rs1049439 polymorphism, which can increase or decrease the risk of cramps. The SLC16A1 gene, also known as the MTC1 transporter, plays a very important role in skeletal muscle. During high-intensity exercise, fast muscle fibers produce lactate to maintain glycolysis and glucose support in muscle. Lactate is then transported out of the fast fiber cells and is taken up and oxidized by the slow oxidative muscle fibers (also known as type I muscle fibers) by the MCT1 transporter. The MCT1 transporter appears to play a key physiological role in the uptake of lactate from the circulation and may therefore be related to elite athletic performance.

Therefore, this is one of the items studied in our genetic test. In your results you will be able to discover whether you have an AA or AT genotype and, therefore, a lower risk of developing intense exercise-associated muscle cramps or, on the contrary, detect that you have a TT genotype, more prone to develop muscle cramps.

Knowing this valuable information will help you orient your training more specifically to your genetic characteristics in order to counteract this predisposition and prevent them from developing.

2. Know your risk of developing tendinopathies in upper and lower extremities

When we talk about tendinopathies we refer to inflammation of the tendons that can influence sports performance and whose occurrence is influenced by genetics.

Therefore, another of the aspects that we study in our genetic test are some genes or polymorphisms involved in physical exercise, such as the COL1A1 gene. This gene is responsible for encoding type 1 collagen fibrils or chains. Mutations in the COL1A1 gene can cause connective tissue diseases or injuries in tendons and ligaments that may be related to athletic performance.

With the results of your genetic test you will be able to know if you are predisposed to develop tendinopathies in upper extremities or tendinopathies in lower extremities so that you can take measures to avoid them. On the other hand, we also study the rs1800012 polymorphism to be able to tell you if you have a more robust collagen synthesis.

3. Finding out your predisposition to muscle damage

In the results of your genetic test you will also find the study of the main genes and polymorphisms associated with exercise-induced muscle damage, such as the rs1815759 polymorphisms of the ACTN3 gene and the rs28497517 polymorphism associated with an increase in this risk, as well as the rs1800795 polymorphism of the IL-6 gene associated with a decrease in the risk of suffering it.

Thanks to the study of these polymorphisms that we will provide in the results of your genetic test, you will be able to know if you have genetic variants or polymorphisms associated with a decreased risk of developing exercise-induced muscle damage (protective genotype) or detect variants associated with an increased risk of developing muscle damage.

Knowing this information, you will be able to individualize your workouts in order to maximize your recovery times and decrease the risk of further injury.

4. Discover your muscle performance

Muscle endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to repeatedly exert force against resistance. Your muscle performance is determined by several factors such as your strength, fiber type, training, diet and your genetics. In our genetic test we study the ACTN3 gene, which is responsible for activating the different types of muscle fiber.

With the study of this gene and with the results of your genetic test you will be able to know if you have a greater genetic predisposition for speed exercise (fast fibers), in case your genotype is CC or for endurance exercise (slow fibers), if the results of your genetic test show that your genotype is TT.

In addition, with our genetic test you will also be able to know fundamental aspects related to physical performance such as:

  • Your predisposition to adipose tissue formation: With the results of your genetic test you will also know if your rate of lipid metabolization and fat tissue formation is normal, fast or slower.
  • Your response to other elements such as caffeine and sports performance: your rate of caffeine metabolization and how it can influence your sports performance.
  • Your response to certain dietary components: which will allow you to tailor your food or diet to your own genetic code to maximize its benefits.