Gene of the Week: IL-6 (Exercise Recovery)

 There are around 30,000 genes in the human genome. In this weekly series, we’ll write about a new gene featured in Orig3n DNA tests, so you can discover the kinds of information genetic assessments can offer you. Have you ever wondered how much recovery time your body needs following an intense workout? There’s a gene for that™!

At Orig3n, we’re excited that professional sports have returned in 2020! While there’s lots of excitement watching athletes compete at the highest levels in their sport, many of us don’t consider how seriously these athletes take their recovery following their training and competitions. Just like these professional athletes, it’s important to get sufficient rest for your body after working out. Our Fitness DNA Test looks at 27 different genes that affect your fitness potential, so you can get the info you need to fine-tune your routine and reach your goals faster. One of these genes, IL-6, specifically looks at your body’s ability to recover from exercise and is the Gene of the Week.

The IL-6 gene is helpful in determining the amount of time your body needs to get over a tough workout. Everyone’s body reacts differently to muscle exertion. Continue reading to discover more about the IL-6 gene and how it can affect your recovery time.

The IL-6 gene may affect your inflammation levels.

Do you experience higher levels of inflammation after you work out?

The IL-6 gene can also impact your recovery speed.

How fast do you recover from exertion? Are you able to bounce back from high impact training quickly, or do you need more rests between workouts?

How does it work?

The IL-6 gene encodes the protein called interleukin-6 which is a pro-inflammatory cytokine. These inflammatory compounds, such as IL-6, have an important role in repairing our bodies from inflammation caused by intense exercise, specifically in power sports. Variations in IL-6 are associated with our ability to recover from exertion.

Which result do I have? 

The three variants of the IL-6 gene include GG, CG, and CC. The most common result is GG, which is considered to be the normal form of the gene. If you have this genotype, you may see lower levels of inflammation after active training, as well as quicker recovery from exertion. This result is favored for sports requiring sprinting and power. A person with this result also can spend less time on stability training and more time on higher-impact training.

A result of CG or CC is considered rare, and your body may need to adapt! You may find yourself having higher levels of inflammation post-exercise, and may recover from exertion slower than people with the GG result. It’s important to not overwork your muscles during exercise, and to try and diversify your workout program with new types of exercises. Consider trying a new class at your gym to break out of your comfort zone!

If you have the CC variant, you have the least amount of protection against an exercise-induced inflammatory response, and you may be more injury prone— but don’t worry! Increased “pre-hab” such as stability training, shoulder balancing, and hip balancing, as well as increased rest between workouts, can help to reduce inflammation. Diets and nutritional supplements, as recommended by your nutritionist, may also be beneficial to your recovery.

For more information, check out our LifeProfile app and as always, remember that genetics aren’t everything. DNA may give you a tendency to be better at this or not as great at that, but proper rest and care can help you determine the right amount of recovery time for your body. Discover more about your body with your own IL-6 result, available in Orig3n’s Fitness DNA Test and Recovery & Renewal Mini DNA Test.

Discover which variant of IL-6 you have and a lot more with our Fitness DNA Test: