In looking into the effects of emulsifiers on our gut, I came across quite a few genetic variants that are involved in increased inflammation and increased risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.
IL-17A is a pro-inflammatory part of our immune system that, while necessary in times of injury or pathogenic infection, can cause problems if it is overactive.[ref] It is implicated in several autoimmune diseases including psoriasis and asthma. Genetic variants that increase IL-17A are a risk factor for IBD, rheumatoid arthritis, bronchitis severity, gastric cancer, and more.
IL-17A is also implicated in celiac disease, with increased expression of IL-17A found in the intestinal mucosa of Celiac patients. Gluten sensitivity, though, was not found to increase IL-17A.[ref] [ref]
IL-17A Genetic Variants:
There are genetic variations of IL-17A that can cause it to be either more active than normal (increasing risk of autoimmune/inflammatory conditions) or less active than normal (protective against autoimmune/inflammatory conditions). As is the case with most genetic variants, diet and environment interact with genetics in the development of chronic diseases.
rs2275913 – A is the minor allele and is shown in studies to increase the risk of autoimmune diseases, periodontal disease, gastric cancer, and inflammatory bowel diseases [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref] There are quite a few studies on this variant in different populations showing the increase in IL-17A and an increased risk of inflammatory conditions. The flip side of this is that the overactivity may be protective against infective diseases like tuberculosis.[ref]
|Check your 23andMe results for rs2275913:
|Check your 23andMe results for rs8193037:
|Check your 23andMe results for rs3819025:
Diet and Supplements:
Vitamin D (in vitro study) may decrease high IL-17 levels. Get out in the sunshine, or look into supplementing with vitamin D (do a blood test first to determine your vitamin D status). Be sure to read the labels on the vitamin D supplement and go for a vitamin D3 without soybean or cottonseed oil.
More to Read:
IL-17A variants don’t act alone in increasing susceptibility to inflammatory conditions; environmental elements play a role as well.
- Th17 Cytokines and the Gut Mucosal Barrier
- The Influence of Polymorphisms of Interleukin-17A and Interleukin-17F Genes on the Susceptibility to Ulcerative Colitis
Originally published 1/16/17, updated 10/11/17.