Tiredness is partly genetic, researchers say

If you often feel tired, your genes may partly be to blame, researchers at Scotland’s Edinburgh University say.

Saski Hagenaars at the University’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology and Dr Vincent Deary of Northumbria University surveyed nearly 112,000 people, asking them whether or not they frequently felt tired or had low energy levels.

The survey was conducted two weeks before data was collected for the UK Biobank, which recruited 500,000 people aged between 40-69 years who have provided blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis by bona fide researchers anywhere in the world.

The Edinburgh University researchers found that being prone to tiredness was partly heritable, with genetics accounting for eight per cent of differences between people who were asked about their levels of tiredness.

They also found that a genetic predisposition to tiredness was often present in people genetically prone to a range of mental and physical health conditions, such as smoking, depression and schizophrenia.

A genetic overlap was also identified between low energy levels and high cholesterol levels and obesity, raising the possibility of a genetic link between tiredness and vulnerability to physiological stress.

“Our results suggest that a small but detectable part of that variation is related to differences in people’s genes,” said research team leader Professor Ian Deary.

“The genes involved are associated with a range of health and personality factors.”

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