What is CYP1A2?The CYP1A2 gene codes for an enzyme involved in the metabolism of several different xenobiotics, including:
- aflatoxin B1 (toxic mold found on grain)
- St. John's wort.
Genetics and CYP1A2In looking at CYP1A2, there are several genetic variants that either increase the activity or decrease the activity of this enzyme. What are the consequences of inhibited or increased activity? Well, it depends on what substance you are breaking down. CYP1A2 metabolizes some pro-carcinogens from tobacco smoke into carcinogens. It also helps to turn aflatoxins (mold found on grain) into active compounds involved in liver cancer. Once CYP1A2 metabolizes these carcinogens, the body must eliminate them. Thus, the rate at which toxins metabolize, in conjunction with how well Phase II detoxification moves out the metabolites, affects the risk of certain cancers. A slow or reduced function isn't always bad. For example, slow or inactive CYP1A2 is thought to decrease the risk of liver toxicity from aflatoxin B. This is because CYP1A2 turns the pro-carcinogenic molecules into carcinogens, which then have to be removed from the body.
CYP1A2 Genetic Variants:One of the fun things to find out from your CYP1A2 genes is whether you are a fast or slow metabolizer of caffeine. This first variant is very well studied for the speed of caffeine metabolism.
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