3 Genes to Watch for Autoimmune Issues

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

50 million Americans are living with an autoimmune disease.

That’s more than 15% of the US population.

What’s more worrying is the fact that autoimmune diagnoses are on the rise. The upward trend is a huge cause for concern and I believe it’s something that should be a main focus in everyone’s health journey.

So how do autoimmune issues occur? A combination of certain environmental toxins and dietary elements could aggravate your immune responses and trigger inflammation, but what really determines whether such a reaction will take place is your genetics.

You carry genetic predispositions to issues like chronic inflammation, gut inflammation, joint inflammation, and gluten sensitivity, and those genes play huge roles in whether you develop issues like IBD, Celiac, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Most people don’t even know that you can change the way your genes are expressed and that’s a big reason why we’re still seeing an upward trend of these diseases.

However, by understanding your genetic risks, you can CHANGE your lifestyle and environment to reduce your risks, personalized to your unique body.

3 important genes that have an impact on your immune response and inflammation are the JAK2, PTPN22, and HLA-DQA1 genes.

JAK2 and Gut Inflammation (IBD)

The JAK2 gene encodes a protein required to activate the development and function of immune cells in response to cytokines.

This normally helps fight off infections, but the negative variant is more active and overdevelops these immune cells which can worsen inflammation and cause gut issues.

The FODMAP Diet is a perfect way to counteract the negative effects of this gene, if you carry the variant linked to higher gut inflammation.

Click here to read more about JAK2 and sign up to discover what variant you carry.

PTPN22 and Joint Inflammation (Rheumatoid Arthritis)

​​The PTPN22 gene plays a key role in our immune response by controlling T-cells, our immune system’s soldiers.

Unfortunately, some variants of PTPN22 can cause the gene to have trouble communicating with another protein, which results in excessive suppression of T-cells and low levels of interleukin-2 (IL-2), a cytokine that helps keep our immune response balanced.

If you carry this negative variant, you’ll have a higher genetic risk of joint inflammation which can cause arthritis.

One supplement has been found to increase IL-2 and counteract the negative genetic variant.

HLA-DQA1 Gene and Gluten Sensitivity

HLA-DQA1 belongs to the group of genes that help flag and remove external threats from our bodies.

HLA genes come in many different forms, and there are millions of possible HLA combinations.

Their diversity ensures protection against a wide array of external threats, but it can be a double-edged sword: HLA variants correlate with different autoimmune disorders.

Specific alleles in the HLA-DQA1 gene have been found in 98% of celiac disease patients.

Discover if you carry these alleles and get recommendations to prevent or improve your body’s reaction to gluten!

Lower Your Inflammation and Balance Your Immune Response

While it’s worrying to see autoimmune diagnoses on the rise, that does not mean you’re guaranteed to develop an issue.

It’s the same thing with genetics. Carrying the negative variants of the genes mentioned above, or the thousands of others that we analyze, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll develop these inflammatory issues.

Actually, by understanding your genes and the environment that you live in, you’re more likely to avoid these health problems – if you take action.

SelfDecode makes it easy for you to start.

When you sign up to SelfDecode, you’ll receive genetic risk scores for immune system and inflammation related issues and you get personalized diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations to counteract any negative variants and optimize your health.

You’ll also receive:

  • 17+ Summary Reports – Covering health topics like metabolic health, heart health, brain health, and so much more.
  • 300+ Health & Trait Reports
  • Health Scores – comprehensive, personalized insights into your health based on a combination of your unique DNA, lifestyle, and lab.
  • Unlimited access to Lab analyzer tool – upload your labs and track your results
  • Personalized supplement formula – instantly created based on your unique genes
  • SNP & Gene Explorer
  • Lifestyle Analyzer
  • NEW! Ancestry – discover where you’re from and track your maternal lineage (Only available on Health & Ancestry Plan)


About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen flipped the script on conventional and alternative medicine…and it worked. Growing up, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and other issues that were poorly understood in traditional healthcare. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a learning journey to decode his DNA and track his biomarkers in search of better health. Through this personalized approach, he discovered his genetic weaknesses and was able to optimize his health 10X better than he ever thought was possible. Based on his own health success, he went on to found SelfDecode, the world’s first direct-to-consumer DNA analyzer & precision health tool that utilizes AI-driven polygenic risk scoring to produce accurate insights and health recommendations. Today, SelfDecode has helped over 100,000 people understand how to get healthier using their DNA and labs.
Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, with a mission of empowering people to take advantage of the precision health revolution and uncover insights from their DNA and biomarkers so that we can all feel great all of the time.


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