Increased Inflammation and IL-17A Genetic Variants

Inflammation (1)
Genes that lead you to be more prone to inflammatory diseases such as IBD and rheumatoid arthritis.

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:

  • AA: increased risk of inflammatory conditions: autoimmune, periodontal, inflammatory bowel
  • AG: somewhat increased risk of inflammatory conditions.
  • GG: normal

rs8193037  – A is the minor allele with a decreased risk of ulcerative colitis [ref], decreased risk of coronary artery disease [ref] and lower levels of IL-17A [ref]

Check your 23andMe results for rs8193037:

  • AA: possibly protective against inflammatory conditions, decreased IL-17A
  • AG:  possibly protective against inflammatory conditions, decreased IL-17A
  • GG: normal

rs3819025 – A is the minor allele, found to be protective against autoimmune thyroid diseases (Chinese population). [ref]

Check your 23andMe results for rs3819025:

  • AA: possibly protective against inflammatory conditions
  • AG:  possibly protective against inflammatory conditions
  • GG: normal


Diet and Supplements:

Curcumin (in an animal study) was found to decrease IL-17.  The spice turmeric is high in curcumin, or you can find curcumin as a supplement.

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.


Originally published 1/16/17, updated 10/11/17.


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