CYP2A6 is the detox enzyme responsible for eliminating nicotine. There is a link between this enzyme’s activity, smoking, and lung cancer risk. Read on to find more about this enzyme, how having a particular gene variant may affect you, and the factors that increase or decrease its activity.
CYP2A6 enzyme is one of the cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs). These are enzymes that eliminate most of the drugs and toxins from the human body (R).
This enzyme metabolizes:
- Nicotine, the main active component in cigarette smoke (R). About 90% of nicotine is processed by this enzyme (R).
- Hormones and internal molecules, such as retinoic acid, testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone. But the contribution of CYP2A6 activity is minor in their overall pathways (R).
- Coumarin (R, R), found in plants.
- Nitrosamines and aflatoxin B1 (R).
- Letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor used to treat breast cancer (R).
This enzyme is mainly found in the liver. It accounts for about 10% of the total liver CYP enzyme content (R).
At much lower levels, it can be found in some other tissues, especially the mucous lining of the nose (R).
Some people completely lack the functional CYP2A6 gene and enzyme (R).
CYP2A6 The Bad
This enzyme can activate several cancer-causing agents found in tobacco smoke and diet, such as nitrosamines (e.g. NNK) and aflatoxins (R).
CYP2A6 Gene Polymorphism
This gene has around 40 variants (R).
The activity of this enzyme can vary up to 12-fold, based on the particular gene variant (R).
Slow CYP2A6 metabolism (low activity) is associated with lower cigarette consumption, lower dependence, and higher cessation rates in adults (421 subjects) (R).
Some people completely lack the this gene (R). They are labeled as CYP2A6*4.
This variant is also associated with lower cigarette dependence (4221 subjects) (R).
Increasing or Decreasing CYP2A6
These substances increase CYP2A6:
These decrease CYP2A6:
- Smoking (R). Due to an unknown compound in cigarettes other than nicotine.
- Starfruit juice (R).
- Cinnamaldehyde found in cinnamon (R).
- Celery (R).
- Drugs such as methoxsalen, menthofuran, pilocarpine, and tranylcypromine (R).
- Isoniazid, an antibacterial (R).
Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.
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- SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
- SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
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- Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
- Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
- BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
- SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics
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