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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