The Link Between Inflammation & Immunity (The IL6 Gene)

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

Can inflammation ever be a good thing?

If you struggle with chronic inflammation, that might be hard to believe… But the truth is that inflammation is a necessary part of the immune response.

In fact, too little inflammation can make you more susceptible to infections.

Inflammation, Immunity, & IL6

There are many different components to the immune system, but inflammation is one of the most important. Your body can sense pathogenic threats before you even notice you’ve been exposed, and one of its first responses is inflammation to help fight it off and initiate the healing process.

But, as you might guess, too much inflammation can be a problem, especially if it becomes chronic.

So how is inflammation kept under control? This is where the IL6 gene comes into play.

Here’s a quick summary of how it works:

The IL6 gene produces interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cytokine that promotes either a pro or anti-inflammatory state depending on the body’s needs. Some variants of this gene have been linked to higher or lower levels of inflammation.

But that’s not all, there are actually a number of genes that impact IL-6 levels.

Are you prone to higher or lower levels of IL-6?

When I was learning about my genetics, I found out that my IL6 gene variant has been linked to higher IL6 levels, which means that it may positively impact my immune response. That’s great news for fighting infections, but that variant has also been linked to some chronic inflammatory conditions like periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

But, thanks to SelfDecode, I also found out that the IL6 gene isn’t the only gene that affects IL-6 levels, and it turns out that my variants of other related genes tend to offset my IL6 gene variant, giving me a typical likelihood of having higher IL-6 levels.

Want to find out how your IL-6 levels may be impacted by your genetics? Check out the IL-6 biohacker report, which analyzes all the genes that can influence your IL-6 levels. And because IL-6 is only a piece of your immune and inflammatory response, there’s a whole category including dozens of health reports on how your genetics may impact your immunity and inflammation.


SNPit #8 – IL6

Want a crash course on IL6 gene variants and how they impact inflammation, immunity, longevity, and more?

Head over to your favorite podcast platform to listen to our latest SNPit.



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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