What does this gene do?
Glutathione S-Transferase-M gene is part of, the Glutathione S-Transferases (GST) family. This family of enzymes plays a major role in detoxification, by making harmful molecules less potent transforming them into water-soluble particles.
The are bioactive compounds found in cruciferous vegetables, known as isothiocyanates (ITCs), these are used by the GST enzymes. These plant chemicals (known as phytochemical) are protective. This plant chemical help the GST family to ensure that detoxification happens efficiently in the body.
The gene variant is either present (inserted) or absent (deleted). When the GST variant has null genotype (deleted), there is no gene so there is no enzyme activity.
If the GST gene, has null genotype, where it has been deleted there will be no enzyme activity, meaning there is an increased sensitivity to chemicals. It also means that your liver will not be able to detoxify as efficiently through the detoxification process. But don’t forget you can still upregulate other detoxifying enzymes by consume high amounts of cruciferous vegetables.
The deletion also changes how the dietary phytochemicals, ITCs are metabolised. The metabolites are less readily conjugated and excreted. This prolonged exposure to the chemoprotective phytochemicals is beneficial.
The deletion is observed in about 53% of Caucasians and Asians and in 27% of Africans.
So discuss dietary advice with your registered dietitian or healthcare professional on how to make the rest of that family work harder to help your liver out.
Other genes that work together: CYPs, GSTs, COMT and NQO1 genotype