The AMY1 gene controls the secretion of amylase, an enzyme that helps break down and digest starches.
Amylase is secreted in saliva and also produced in the pancreas. Some people have 50 times more amylase in their saliva and are far less likely to become obese from eating the same amount of carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta, cereal).
Overconsumption of carbohydrates can cause an amylase deficiency. A simple home amylase test can be utilized to determine your amylase levels. [Daily Mail UK Oct 23, 2016; YouTube Oct 24, 2016]
It has been known for some time now that individuals with a low number of amylase genes are predisposed to obesity. [Nature Genetics March 30, 2014; The Guardian March 30, 2014] Most people have 1-3 copies of the AMY1 gene but a significant number have 4-9 copies. [Human Molecular Genetics March 18, 2015]
Of interest, gingerol, a substance found in ginger, increased amylase secretion and suppresses weight gain in obese mice. [Journal Agriculture Food Chemistry Nov 2014] Royal jelly is a natural source of amylase. [Insect Biochemistry Molecular Biology Jan 2005]
Previously it was thought that amylase inhibitors can slow the absorption of carbohydrates and reduce weight gain. [Nutrition Journal Marcy 17, 2011; International Journal Medical Sciences 2007] So-called starch blockers have fallen into disfavor. [WebMD]
Excessively high levels of amylase may indicate inflammation of the pancreas. [Chemocare.com] Gallstones and stomach ulcers as well as diabetic ketoacidosis may cause abnormally high amylase levels. [WebMD]
When insufficient amylase is produced by the pancreas the body is unable to digest starches and they continue down the digestive tract to the intestines where they can abnormally alter gut bacteria and produce symptoms of bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and accompanying skin rashes, fatigue and joint pain.