Detox Genes: What Are They and Are They Even Real?
What are detox genes and do they even exist? Read our guide about detox genes, DNA testing, genome sequencing, and how genes impact the body’s detoxification.
Did you know that your body has over 90 genes that remove toxins through the kidneys? Other than the kidneys, our livers and digestive system consistently work hard to remove harmful substances.
Humans ingest and inhale thousands of toxins every single day. According to the EPA, we can encounter 84,000 man-made chemicals over the course of our day. They enter our system through food, household and beauty products, and the pollutants (ie. cigarette smoke) in the air we breathe.
Luckily, our bodies are very efficient at removing toxins via the liver, kidneys, and digestive system. But recently, the idea of detoxification genes has become more popular. Scientists are starting to explore why some people might be better at detoxification than others.
Curious about detox genes? Read on to learn more about how your DNA affects detoxification!
Do Detox Genes Exist?
Detox genes are very real. Studies focused on detox genes and detoxifying have found the CYP, specifically the CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 and GST genes are the key. Both sets of genes work to break down exogenous and endogenous substances.
Exogenous substances enter our bodies through food, products, supplements and medicine. Meanwhile, our bodies create endogenous toxins through poor digestion or impaired detoxification.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) is a family of genes that primarily take part in breaking down toxins. Glutathione S-transferase (GST) is another family of genes used in detoxification. Scientists have found them to be especially efficient in breaking down exogenous toxins.
When these gene families have some genetic abnormality, your body’s ability to detox is compromised. Efficient CYP and GST gene families can be called “detox genes”.
What Are Detox Genes?
Your body has an amazing capacity to rid itself of harmful substances through detoxification pathways.
We are all exposed to toxicants (man-made toxins) through pesticide residue, air pollution, skin care products, and medications. Plus, our bodies all break down and eliminate substances made and used within ourselves as well as natural plant compounds.
Many people have genetic variants that impact the different ways of breaking down and eliminating toxins and medication.
The key here is understanding where you have a genetic susceptibility — and then optimize to avoid certain toxicants or medications.
What are Detoxification Pathways?
Phase I breaks apart big toxins and makes them into polar molecules. This breaking apart is called metabolism, and the substance that is formed is called a metabolite.
Phase II binds something to the metabolite from Phase I and makes it water soluble so it can be excreted.
Some researchers include a third phase to the process – the elimination of the Phase II products (urine, feces, sweat — all of these means that you need you to drink sufficient water).
Let’s use alcohol as an example because it’s one of the most commonly ingested toxins.
When you have a few drinks, your liver jumps into action to protect the body. Phase I is the transformation process. Your liver will convert the fat-soluble compounds into water-soluble compounds. These new compounds are usually even more toxic than the original, giving you that drunk feeling.
Phase II uses metabolic systems or detoxification enzymes to change these very toxic compounds into less toxic water-soluble compounds. It’s the alcohol hangover stage in our example. Phase III involves the excretion of these compounds out of the body via feces and urine, and the goal of ‘detox’ is to get rid of substances that your body doesn’t want.
So what does this have to do with your genes? These three phases require the use of specific detoxification enzymes. Your genetics have a powerful influence on these enzymes. With the example of alcohol, it explains why some people get drunk more easily than others.
The three-phase process described above is detoxification. Impaired detoxification occurs when your genes alter the efficiency of this process. It can lead to toxins stored in fat cells, organ fat, and the brain.
Obviously, this is very harmful to your body! Impaired detoxification can create a host of diseases, including:
- Certain cancers
- Neurological disorders (schizophrenia or panic disorders-comt, Parkinson’s)
- Autoimmune disorders
But having efficient detoxification system can help you avoid these problems. These detox genes are competent at dealing with most environmental toxins, leading you to live a healthy life.
Signs of Impaired Detoxification
If you’re concerned that your detox genes are not doing their job, you might spot some signs or side effects of impaired detoxification. While symptoms can range widely, a few of the most common ones include:
- Food intolerances
- Digestive issues like bloating and gas
- Skin problems like acne and breakouts
- Hormonal (estrogen) imbalances
- Consistent weight gain or dietary problems
- Intolerances to metals, chemicals, and fragrances
Of course, these signs may be indicators of other diseases and health issues. The best way to find out if your detox genes are functioning is to do a DNA test!
How to Test for Detox Genes
DNA tests are conventionally used for exploring your ancestry and finding family connections. They work by examining genetic variations and finding matches within groups of people. But did you know that a DNA test can also tell you a lot about your health?
Modern DNA tests can identify disease risks, fitness levels, and optimal nutrition. The problem is that most genetic testing providers only test 0.1% of your genome. That doesn’t provide enough information to go in-depth and learn about detox genes.
The best option is Ultimate Genome Sequencing because it tests 100% of your genome! This means that you’ll be able to explore every single aspect of your genetics and learn about your different genotypes.
Ultimate Genome Sequencing is also forward compatible. If new genes are discovered, your data will automatically be re-analyzed. A lifetime of incredibly in-depth information? Yes, please!
How Genetic Testing Works
Conventional DNA tests can be invasive. If you do genetic testing at a clinic, they will need blood work done. Alternatively, requesting a kit from most companies requires you to spit into a tube. Sequencing is one of the easiest ways to use a DNA kit.
Once you receive a Sequencing kit, all you need to do is a simple mouth swab. After you mail your sample, you’ll get your DNA results within 3 to 4 weeks. If you choose to do the Ultimate Genome Sequencing, results will take 10 to 12 weeks.
Got your results? Now the fun part begins! Sequencing provides a full range of reports and results but you can use our additional apps as well. The DNA App Store features over 100 apps, including a Genetic Detoxification test.
Ready to Explore Your Detox Genes?
If you’ve experienced some symptoms of impaired detoxification or are interested in your susceptibility to having issues with your detox genes, you might need a genetic test. After all, early testing can help you manage your lifestyle properly, avoiding future health issues.
Curious about the detox gene report? You can take a look at a sample report to understand what kind of information you’ll receive! Although the results are simple to understand, they are 100% backed by science.
Every single report is guaranteed by our geneticists and bioinformaticians for scientific validity. You’ll find medical doctors, geneticists, genetic counselors, and bioinformatics experts on our team.
Get your Ultimate Genome Sequencing test today and start exploring your genetics. You’ll discover more information than you ever thought possible!