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MMP9: Functions, Inhibitors, & Genes

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

MMP-9 is an important marker for those suffering from CIRS from Biotoxin/Mold exposure. However, it is also 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.


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.

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 [1].

With this in mind, it is easy to see why one would want to encourage MMP9 when there is an 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)

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 [2, 3].

Inhibitors of MMPs have been shown to restore the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) integrity [4].

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 the blood) – including Breast Cancer [5]
  • Inflammatory diseases, includingCIRS (mold exposure)
  • IBD (Crohn’s, Colitis) [6]
  • Emotional Stress [7]
  • Obesity – Higher MMP-9 levels are found in obese subjects [8, 9] and MMP-9 is correlated with BMI [10].
  • Neuropathic pain – MMP9 is critical for neuropathic pain [11]
  • Heart disease (atherosclerosis, etc…). In heart attack models, MMP-9-deficient mice showed reduced rupture rate.
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis – in affected tissue [12]. The activation of MMP-9 production in tissue decreases collagen synthesis rates.
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis – lesions are correlated with MMP9 levels [13]. In individuals experiencing an exacerbation of MS, MMP9 was found to be elevated in the spine [14]. Furthermore, treatment with an MMP inhibitor halted the progression of MS in animal models [15].
  • Alzheimer’s [16]
  • Lupus (in the blood) [12]
  • Sjogren’s (in tear-producing glands) [12]
  • Systemic sclerosis (in the blood) [12]
  • Polymyositis (MMP9 expression in certain tissue increased) [12]
  • Growth & Development
  • Wound healing

Conditions & Situations With Decreased MMP9

  • Delayed healing [17]
  • Insufficient immune response to infection [18]

MMP9 Inhibitors:

Supplements to inhibit MMP9:

Hormones to inhibit MMP9:

Pathways to Inhibit MMP9:

Drugs to Inhibit MMP9:

  • Atorvastatin [24], Pravastatin, and statins in general.
  • Prednisolone [63]
  • Doxycycline [64]
  • Minocycline [65]

Activators of MMP9

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

Supplement/Equipment Activators of MMP9

  • IR/visible light spectrum of sunlight (in vivo) (74)
  • Manganese and boron (in test tube studies) [75]
  • Chitosan (enhanced activity of MMP-9 produced by macrophages with time) [76]
  • Fucoidan increases TNF-alpha induced MMP-9 [77]

No Impact:


MMP-9 SNPs are strongly associated with obesity [80, 81].

SelfDecode has SNPs for MMP9:

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

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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