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MMP9: Functions, Inhibitors, & Genes

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Reviewed by Genius Labs Science Team | Last updated:

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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

As a kid, Joe suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, mood and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers. Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO and founder of SelfDecode. His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.


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