"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Being a vegetarian might be related to genetics

October 5, 2023 – People who’re vegetarian can have genetic reasons for sticking with it, in keeping with a latest study.

Researchers have discovered a variety of genes linked to individuals who followed a vegetarian food plan for not less than a yr.

The results were published this week within the journal PLUS ONE.

“The take-home message is that a vegetarian diet may or may not be right for you, depending on your genetic predisposition,” said Nabeel Yaseen, lead writer of the study and professor emeritus of pathology at Northwestern University NBC News. “You don’t have to blame yourself if you can’t really stick with it.”

Researchers studied the genetics of 1000’s of people that shared medical and lifestyle information with the UK Biobank, which accommodates data on about 500,000 people.

They analyzed around 5,300 vegetarians and around 329,000 meat eaters. Vegetarians were defined as individuals who abstained from eating meat and animal products for not less than a yr. This was determined using questionnaires for the biobank.

Researchers identified three genes which are strongly linked to vegetarianism. All are positioned on a chromosome that’s involved in brain function and the breakdown of fats for energy.

Another 31 genes were linked to vegetarianism and a few also played a task in fat burning.

“We hypothesize that a person's ability to eat a vegetarian diet may have something to do with how they handle fats in their body and how this affects brain function,” Yaseen said.

He said the research only shows a genetic connection and never a direct causal effect.