3 Key Heart Genes: CYP1A2, APOA5 & PEMT

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Love quotes are all over socials and the heart emoji is the most used emoji of the week.

Since everyone’s heart is “skipping a beat” this week, I thought today might be a good day to talk about heart health, and how you can show your cardiovascular system some love this Valentine’s Day.

Here are 3 genes that impact your heart health, coupled (pun intended) with recommendations on what to do if you have the negative variants of these genes.

Caffeine and Your Heart

Caffeine boosts mood and energy levels, increases focus, and improves athletic performance.

But if you carry the negative variant of the CYP1A2 gene, caffeine can increase your blood pressure and affect your heart health.

CYP1A2 is an important detox enzyme that breaks down toxic chemicals, drugs, hormones, and other products of metabolism in order to eliminate them from your body.

It’s the main caffeine-metabolizing enzyme.

Carrying the negative variant decreases your ability to break down caffeine (and other toxins) making you jittery, nervous, and susceptible to increased blood pressure.

To increase CYP1A2 activity, one of the top recommendations is to eat cruciferous vegetables!

We also have a list of foods and substances that decrease your CYP1A2 activity in the personalized blog!

APOA5 and HDL Cholesterol

The APOA5 gene encodes a protein called apolipoprotein A5, which is part of HDL cholesterol, also known as the “good cholesterol.”

HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from the blood, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

It also has a role in your metabolism, as it’s a fat-binding protein that reduces blood triglycerides, packages them into HDL cholesterol, and eventually regulates their storage as fat tissue.

The negative variant decreases APOA5 expression, which can increase triglycerides in your blood and reduce HDL cholesterol, making you more susceptible for heart issues.

In this case, butyrate – which is produced from resistant starch by beneficial bacteria in the gut – can increase APOA5 expression and improve your metabolic health.

PEMT, Methylation, and Heart Health

The PEMT gene is all about choline metabolism – a vital nutrient that your body needs to maintain heart health and function optimally

It helps in the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to cardiovascular risk.

High levels of homocysteine can be harmful to your arteries and increase the risk of heart-related issues.

If you carry negative variants of the PEMT gene, your body might not be as efficient at metabolizing choline. This could lead to lower levels of choline, potentially resulting in elevated homocysteine levels—a risk factor for heart problems.

It may seem obvious – and it really is if you know your genes – but the solution to this is to supplement with choline, or eat foods high in choline like eggs!

Optimize your Heart Health with SelfDecode

Whether it’s optimizing your caffeine intake, managing your HDL cholesterol levels, or supporting your choline metabolism, each piece of the genetic puzzle contributes to your heart health.

Understanding what genetic variants you carry is extremely important in creating the perfect plan for optimizing and improving your health, and the easiest, safest, and most accurate way to do that is with SelfDecode.



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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