CYP450 Enzymes: A Complete List of the Most Potent Inhibiting and Inducing Foods and Bioactives
I have been wanting to write this post for some time about CYP450 inhibitors: a complete list of the most potent inhibiting and inducing foods and bio-actives for some time. This information has made one of the biggest difference to my health and wellbeing and continues to do so.
It has become abundantly clear to me that the trigger of my mast cell activation was CYP450 mutations and prescription medication. I am also not alone as around 10% of the population have a similar mutation.
Interestingly Dr Theoharides in a recent presentation, confirmed that CYP450 mutations could be a trigger, and that flavanoids such as luteolin could be anti-therapeutic for these individuals.
Why? Because if you cannot metabolise a medication because of a CYP450 mutation then your body will treat it as a toxin, and there is strong evidence that toxins play a role in the development of diseases making an efficient detoxification system critical to good health and wellbeing.
Key Detoxification Pathways
The key detoxification, genetic polymorphism, and drug metabolism pathways are:
1. Phase I : cytochrome P450 enzymes,
2. Phase II : conjugation enzymes (that includes methylation).
Glutathione and antioxidants levels are key to both processes. It is a high anti-oxidant diet (rather than an anti-inflammatory) diet which is key to neutralising toxins.
Phase 1 CYP450 Enzymes
The CYP450 enzymes do the detoxification “heavy lifting” and are the first line of defence against toxins. An imbalance in phase 1 CYP450 enzymes can also impact on Phase II including methylation.
CYP450 enzymes are primarily located in the liver (although also in the kidneys, lung, and even the brain) and bio-transform the output of the gastrointestinal tract before passing the toxins to the kidneys.
There is a large degree of genetic variation in CYP450 enzymes. Only 50% of the population have a “normal” function of these enzymes. 40% have an altered function. 10% of the population have little to no function of at least one enzyme. I am one of those people.
A simple saliva test, such as DNA Dose, can tell you the precise function of individual enzymes. It is not enough to just do a 23andMe test as these results need to be interpreted.
Specific foods have been scientifically proven to influence our detoxification pathways.
The issue is not whether we should eat or not eat certain wholefoods. Rather current thinking is that we should eat a broad range of plant based whole foods, in a broad synergistic combination, to optimize detoxification. Based on clinical trials the cruciferous, allium, and apiaceous families appear especially important.
The following foods have been found to have an impact on the detoxification systems:
Current research indicates that supra-doses of specific foods and bio-actives influence specific enzymes.
Many act in a dose dependent manner. At one dose they induce (increase the function) whilst at a different dose they inhibit (reduce the function) of the detoxification pathways. Other foods appear to be adaptogenic (balancing the function) of the individual enzyme.
This means that supra-doses of bio-actives may not be therapeutic. It may also explain why food forms of bio-actives are better tolerated than supplements.
A robust wholefoods diet remains the single most important way to detoxify.
Bio-active supplements may over-ride genetic mutations which may be contributing to a disease process. However, more research is needed in order to make conclusive bio-individual dosage recommendations.
Download my FREE ebook and find out which supplements impact which enzymes in which doses:
The use of supplements should be undertaken under expert supervision, against a background of a detailed medical history, and bio-individual SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms).
Not all of these supplements will be either tolerated or successful. For example, I cannot tolerate quercetin or luteolin due to a CYP450 mutation, but I can tolerate and do exceptionally well on pycnogenol.
Again, 23andMe analysis alone does not meet these recommendations.
How to Use this Information
These tables provide a complete list of the scientifically proven CYP450 inhibiting and inducing foods and bio-actives. This area of research is an emerging area with much work yet to be done. It is best to rely upon clinical studies. It is difficult to extrapolate cell or animal studies precisely to humans.
However here are a few guidelines that are prudent based on the research are as follows;
1. Boost nutrition
Eating a broad range of wholefoods (with their synergistic benefits) is the most prudent way of improving detoxification. Research indicates that the amount of fruit and vegetables required for detoxification is around 10 serves a day of fruit and vegetables. The Wahl’s Protocol TM, with around 6 cups a day, would seem a good template, although it needs modification for food intolerances.
2. Reduce Toxins
A double-pronged approach (of boosting nutrition whilst reducing the toxic load) is also prudent.
Toxins include a wide range of items produced by the body not just foods and medications. I will shortly be writing another blog post outlining the key toxins which can trigger mast cell issues (mine was CYP450 mutations against a background of histamine intolerance) and how to diagnose the issues.
It is not enough just to boost nutrition. Any food allergies should be eliminated and food intolerances reduced to the threshold.
Based on bio-individual enzyme function, supra-doses of nutrients could be used to induce (if a slow metaboliser) or inhibit (if a fast metaboliser), an enzyme to over-ride or regulate it. This should be done in conjunction with a functional medicine specialist in conjunction with functional testing.
4. Lifestyle Medicine
Restorative physical activity, sleep, and stress management are also important to our detoxification. Stress levels in particular play a highly significant role particularly in neurological inflammation.
As patients we have been trained to take a pill when we are sick. The temptation to take a pill can also be especially strong when food is making us sick.
The reality for me however, and also a lot of my clients, is that lifestyle medicine and food is the way out of these issues. A bio-individual diet has made a profound impact on my health and it can for you too.