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MMP-9 is an important marker for those suffering with CIRS from Biotoxin/Mold exposure. However, it is also a great for identifying inflammation associated with some of the most common chronic illnesses out there, including Autoimmune Diseases, Heart Disease, Cancer, and even chronic stress. But certain genes can make you more susceptible.

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MMP9 Functions and Why it is Important

MMP-9 is one of a class of zinc-dependent enzymes called Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are involved in the body’s natural process of tissue repair and replacement. MMP-9‘s protein breakdown properties help stimulate the immune response that initiates development and may exacerbate disease progression (R).

Physiologically, MMP-9 plays a role in normal tissue growth and repair processes such as neurite growth, embryonic development, blood vessel creation, ovulation, wound healing, and bone formation (R).

With this in mind, it is easy to see why one would want to encourage MMP9 when there is injury, and want to inhibit it when inflammation is out of control or when cancer development is underway.

MMP9 Destroys the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB)

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Upon the induction of the neuroinflammatory pathway, MMP9 can break down the various components of the brain barrier: the Basal Lamina, Tight Junctions, and Extracellular Matrix (R, R2).

Inhibitors of MMPs have been shown to restore Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) integrity (R).

Conditions & Situations With Increased MMP9

All of the most common diseases have elevated MMP9, including a variety of autoimmune diseases, cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  This is because inflammation increases MMP9.

  • Cancer (in blood) (R) – including Breast Cancer (R)
  • Inflammatory diseases, including CIRS (mold exposure) (R)
  • IBD (Crohn’s, Colitis) (R)
  • Emotional Stress (R)
  • Obesity – Higher MMP-9 levels are found in obese subjects (R, R2) and MMP-9 is correlated with BMI (R).
  • Neuropathic pain – MMP9 is critical for neuropathic pain (R)
  • Heart disease (atherosclerosis, etc…) (R). In heart attack models, MMP-9-deficient mice showed reduced rupture rate (R).
  • High blood pressure (R)
  • Arthritis (R) – in affected tissue (R). The activation of MMP-9 production in tissue decreases collagen synthesis rates (R).
  • Diabetes (R)
  • Multiple sclerosis – lesions are correlated with MMP9 levels (R). In individuals experiencing an exacerbation of MS, MMP9 was found to be elevated in the spine (R). Furthermore, treatment with an MMP inhibitor halted the progression of MS in animal models (R).
  • Alzheimer’s (R)
  • Lupus (in blood) (R)
  • Sjogren’s (in tear producing glands) (R)
  • Systemic sclerosis (in blood) (R)
  • Polymyositis (MMP9 expression in certain tissue increased) (R)
  • Growth & Development (R)
  • Wound healing (R)

Conditions & Situations With Decreased MMP9

  • Delayed healing (R)
  • Insufficient immune response to infection (R)

MMP9 Inhibitors:

Supplements to inhibit MMP9:

Hormones to inhibit MMP9:

Pathways to Inhibit MMP9:

Drugs to Inhibit MMP9:

  • Atorvastatin (R), Pravastatin (R), and statins in general.
  • Prednisolone (R)
  • Doxycycline (R)
  • Minocycline (R)

Activators of MMP9

MMP-9 is secreted by a wide number of cell types, including neutrophils, macrophages, and connective tissue cells (R). Macrophages (the scavenger type of white blood cells) are a potent source of MMP-9 (R).

  • Psychological, emotional stress and activation of the nervous system (R) – causes neutrophils to release MMP9.
  • Fungal toxins (T-2 toxin) (R)
  • Amyloid beta (R, R2)
  • TGF beta1 (R)
  • VEGF (R) – MMP-9 also increases VEGF (R).
  • NGF (potentiates) (R).  MMP9 also potentiates nerve growth factor neurite growth (R)
  • Angiotensin II (via Nf-kB, EGF and MAPK) (R)
  • Aldosterone (via NF-κB) (R)
  • Osteopontin (R)
  • Nf-kB (R)
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS) (via NF-κB) (R)
  • IL-1b (R)
  • TNF (R) – especially potent
  • Other MMPs, including MMP-2, -3, -13, -17, and -26 (R, R2, R3, R4)
  • Plasmin (R)
  • Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) (R)
  • Tissue-type plasminogen activator (R)
  • Heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) (in white blood cells) (R)
  • Epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic FGF (connective tissue growth factor), PDGF (Platelet derived growth) (R)
  • All protein degrading enzymes released from neutrophils promote MMP-9 activation (R)

Supplement/Equipment Activators of MMP9

  • IR/visible light spectrum of sunlight (in vivo) (R)
  • Manganese and boron (in test tube studies) (R)
  • Chitosan (enhanced activity of MMP-9 produced by macrophages with time) (R)
  • Fucoidan increases TNF-alpha induced MMP-9 (R)

No Impact:

  • Sun (R)
  • Collagen, but did decrease MMP2 (R), collagen? (R)

MMP-9 SNPs

MMP-9 SNPs are strongly associated with obesity (R,R2).

SelfDecode has SNPs for MMP9:

  1. RS3787268 (MMP9) GG
  2. RS3918241 (MMP9) AT
  3. RS3918242 (MMP9)

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.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • 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
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • 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

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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5 COMMENTS

  • Marie

    Great article. Thank you.

  • Katey G, EVOLVE Nutrition

    Thank you for your research. It is very helpful. My client has suffered progressive peripheral neuropathy in his feet and legs for 18 months. We have discovered lyme, heavy metals, mold, leaky gut, etc. for which he has been treated. The neuropathy, however, has not abated. We’ve measured his MMP-9, which continues slowly to rise despite our efforts to lower it via diet, supplements and removal of above. Based on references in this article, (specifically “MMP regulation of neuropathic pain” PMCID: PMC2706286), his MMP-9 may be rising in response to nerve compression or damage at L4/L5?

  • deejayvj

    I think delayed wound healing should actually be in the increased mmp9 section- the abstract from the linked paper-

    “in contrast to other MMPs expressed at the front of the advancing epithelial sheet in wounds of cornea, skin, or trachea, gelB acts to inhibit the rate of wound closure.”

    gelB =mmp9

  • deejayvj

    Wow! Thanks!

  • Mike Chandler

    Great article – thank you. Do the same pathways / processes also affect the gut-blood barriers? Might MMP-9 provide better understanding of “leaky gut” and related disorders?

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