Detoxification & Drug Metabolism Genes

Genetic variants about in the enzymes that break down drugs and toxins. These genetic differences are why some medications don’t work well for certain people. Our reactions to toxicants, such as pesticides, also relies on our genes. 


  • MTHFR: How to check your data for C677T and A1298C
    Check your 23andMe or AncestryDNA data for the MTHFR C677T and A1298C variants. Learn what the scientific research shows about MTHFR.
  • Arsenic detoxification and your genes
    Arsenic exposure occurs via well water, in certain foods, and through breathing. This article covers the pathways the body uses to get rid of arsenic, and it includes information on genetic variants that may impair the detoxification of arsenic.
  • CYP2B6: Genetic variants impacting medication reactions
    The CYP2B6 enzyme is part of the body’s first line of defense in detoxifying and breaking down certain and important for metabolizing several medications. Genetic variants of this enzyme can either speed up or slow down its function.
  • CYP2C19 – Metabolizing medications
    Several popular drugs such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Plavix are metabolized by the CYP2C19 enzyme. There are important genetic variants in the CYP2C19 gene that changes how fast or slowly these drugs are broken down. Learn how these variants might affect their efficacy. (Member’s article)
  • Vitamin K: CYP4F2 and VKORC1 Genetic Variants
    Genetic variations cause people to have higher or lower levels of vitamin K, which can affect blood clotting. Learn more about the genes that affect vitamin K and how it relates to your genetic raw data.
  • Detoxification Topic Summary Report
    Utilize our Detoxification Topic Summary Reports with your 23andMe or AncestryDNA genetic data to see which articles may be most relevant to you. These summaries are attempting to distill the complex information down into just a few words. Please see the linked articles for details and complete references. (Member’s article)
  • CYP2E1 Genetic Variants: Breaking down alcohol and more
    The CYP2E1 enzyme is part of the phase I detoxification system. Discover how variants might affect your alcohol metabolism and more.
  • GSTs: glutathione-S-transferase enzymes for detoxifying environmental toxins.
    Exposure to many different man-made chemical compounds occurs every day, and our exposure to new toxicants well exceeds what our ancestors experienced. There are several common GST variants that decrease the function of the GST enzymes. (Member’s article)
  • CYP1A2 – Breaking down caffeine and more
    The CYP1A2 gene breaks down caffeine, several major prescription drugs, and interacts with smoking. Learn how your genes influence caffeine metabolism and more. (Member’s article)
  • SOD1: Genetic Variants in Our Antioxidant Defense System
    Our body has built-in antioxidants that fight against cellular stress. The superoxide dismutase enzyme fights against oxidative stress in your cells. 
  • CYP2C9 Genetic Variants and Drug Metabolism
    Have you ever wondered why certain medications don’t work well for you? Genetic variants can change how fast or how slow the medication is broken down in your body. Learn how the CYP2C9 variants impact quite a few prescription medications.
  • Detoxifying Phthalates:  Genes and Diet
    Phthalates are a type of chemical used as plasticizers to make plastics more pliable. There has been a lot of research on the endocrine-disrupting effects of phthalates. Your genetic variants may impact whether phthalates are a problem for you.
  • Nrf2 Pathway: Increasing the body’s ability to get rid of toxins
    The Nrf2 (Nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor) signaling pathway regulates the expression of antioxidants and phase II detoxification enzymes. This is a fundamental pathway that is important in how well your body functions. Your genetic variants in the NFE2L2 gene impact this NRF2 pathway.
  • CYP2A6: Breaking down nicotine and other medications
    How many cigarettes a day a person smokes – and how hard it is for them to quit – is at least partly dependent on the CYP2A6 gene. This enzyme also metabolizes several important cancer drugs.
  • CYP1A1: Detoxifying Cigarette Smoke and Estrogen
    This phase I detoxification gene is important in the breakdown of the hydrocarbons produced in smoke and air pollution. It also affects the metabolism of estrogen.
  • Tamiflu
    Genetic variants impact how well the flu antiviral medication, Tamiflu, works for an individual. Learn how your genes impact this medication. (Member’s article)
  • Why Allegra May Not Work For You
    Ever wonder why a certain medication may work great for a friend and do nothing for you? One reason could be the genes involved in transporting the medication into and out of your cells. This article looks at the research studies on fexofenadine (Allegra) and the Multidrug Resistance Protein variants. (Member’s article)
  • Drinking Genes: How well do you break down alcohol?
    Wondering why you don’t react the same way to alcohol as your friends do? Some people metabolize alcohol faster leaving a build-up of acetaldehyde. Learn more about why this can be a health problem for some. (Member’s article)
  • Glucuronidation: UGT genetic variants, phase II detoxification
    The UGT family of enzymes are responsible for an important part of phase II detoxification. This article explains what the UGT enzymes do in the body, how your genes impact this part of detoxification, and lifestyle factors that can increase or decrease this detox process.
  • CYP2C8: Prescription medications and arachidonic acid
    The CYP2C8 gene is important in the metabolism of several chemotherapy drugs (e.g. Taxol) as well as playing a role in the metabolism of NSAIDs. Genetic variants that alter the way that this enzyme works can impact your reaction to a medication.
  • Will statins give you muscle pain? What your genes can tell you.
    Statins are one of the most prescribed medications in the world. One side effect of statins is myopathy, or muscle pain and weakness. Your genetic variants are important in whether you are likely to have side effects from statins.
  • NQO1 Gene: Metabolism of quinones, benzene, and more
    The NQO1 gene codes for an important enzyme in phase II detoxification. This enzyme is responsible for metabolizing the cancer-causing benzene (e.g. from air pollution) and cigarette toxins. Learn more and check your genes. (Member’s article)
  • Glyphosate: Interaction with Genetics
    Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Round-Up. A recent study showed that people with CYP1A1 genetic variants are more likely to have problems with acetylcholinesterase inhibition from glyphosate.
  • Should you eat organic? Genes that influence pyrethroid metabolism.
    Pyrethroids are commonly found in household insecticides. Genetic variants can impact how fast or slowly you break down the chemical. Learn more about this chemical in part 3 of a pesticide series.
  • Should you eat organic? Detoxifying Organophosphates
    Is buying organic worth the extra cost? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Pesticides that are sprayed on conventionally grown foods affect people differently. Some people carry genetic variants that decrease their ability to detoxify specific pesticides, others may be more resilient. This is Part Two in a multipart series on pesticide detoxification. 
  • Should you eat organic? Detoxifying Neonicotinoids
    Is buying organic worth the extra cost? Pesticides that are sprayed on conventionally grown foods affect people differently. Some people carry genetic variants that decrease their ability to detoxify specific pesticides, others may be more resilient. This is Part One in a multipart series on pesticide detoxification. (Member’s article)
  • BChE – Pesticides, Parkinson’s, and Potatoes
    The BCHE gene controls how your body reacts to organophosphate pesticides. BCHE genetic variants increase the risk of Parkinson’s with pesticide exposure.
  • CYP2D6: Variants that cause reactions to common medications
    The CYP2D6 enzyme is responsible for metabolizing about 25% of commonly used medications. There are several fairly common genetic variants in CYP2D6 that affect how quickly you will break down a drug.
  • Caffeine Metabolism and Your Genes
    Caffeine remains the most popular ‘drug’ of choice for a large percentage of the population. Genetics determines how quickly your body processes and eliminates the caffeine and whether it is likely to make you jittery or anxious. Discover your genetic response.
  • Opioid Receptor Genetic Variants
    Genetic variants in the ORPM1 gene impact both the amount of pain someone experiences and their response to opioid drugs. These variants are also important in susceptibility to opiate addiction. (Member’s article)
  • BPA: How Your Genes Influence BPA Detoxification
    BPA, a chemical found in some plastics, has been linked to a variety of health issues in people. Learn more about BPA and the research into genetic responses to this chemical.
  • CYP3A4 and CYP3A5: How genes impact prescription medications
    The CYP3A family of genes is involved in metabolizing about half of the drugs on the market today. Check your genes to see if you carry variants that impact the speed at which you metabolize medications.
  • Gulf War Illness: Genetic susceptibility and current research
    Many genetic variants have been studied for Gulf War Illness. Take a look into the research behind the illness and discover some possible solutions to help with symptoms.
  • Is the nootropic drug modafinil likely to work for you?
    Modafinil is being used as a nootropic drug that increases alertness and gives a sense of well-being — to some users. Like most drugs, individual results seem to vary. Discover if this could be a viable option for you.