COX-2 is a molecule commonly targeted by anti-inflammatory medications.   Learn about the risks and benefits of COX-2 inhibition, the role of COX-2 in the body,  and more below.

What is COX-2?

COX-2 is a molecule used by the body to produce a type of inflammatory hormone called prostaglandin (R).   Blocking or inhibiting the COX-2 molecule prevents creation of prostaglandins, and thus decreases inflammation (R).

COX-2 is only produced by the body as part of an inflammatory response, as opposed to many other molecules with a role in the immune system, which are continually produced to some degree (R).

The COX-2 pathway is also involved in the regulation of cell growth, programmed cell death, and cytokine expression (R).

Inhibition of COX-2 is the mechanism by which traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, reduce sensations of swelling and pain (R).

Inhibiting COX-2

Pharmaceutical COX-2 Inhibitors

Inhibition of COX-2 is the mechanism by which traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, reduce sensations of swelling and pain (R).

NSAIDs typically inhibit both COX-2 and also COX-1, a similarly structured enzyme which helps protect the mucosal lining of the stomach (R).  Long-term use of NSAIDs causes reduced immunity and increases the risk of ulcers due to their inhibition of COX-1 (RR).

Relatively recently, drugs that are able to target COX-2 have been created, but the long-term safety of prolonged COX-2 inhibition is uncertain (R).

Medical COX-2 inhibitors also stress the cardiovascular system and  increase the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, heart failure, or kidney failure (R).

NSAID inhibitors of COX-2 decrease the ability of the blood to clot, and are a risk for those with bleeding disorders (R).  Increased susceptibility to bleeding caused by NSAIDs can also worsen stomach ulcers (R).

Decreasing or Inhibiting COX-2 Naturally

COX-2 is only produced by the body as part of an inflammatory response (R).  Rather than suppressing the inflammatory response, removal of the underlying inflammation can thus decrease the expression of COX-2 in most cases.

Researchers have suggested that several natural alternatives to COX-2 inhibitors have a preferable safety profile compared with NSAID drugs (RR1).

COX-2 and Disease

Inflammation

Because it activates inflammatory pathways, COX-2 is linked to inflammation.

Inhibition of COX-2 has been identified as a potential therapeutic target to treat brain inflammation during stroke (R).

Cancer

Expression of a COX-2 variant in the Han Chinese is associated with gastric cancer (R).
Increased expression of a COX-2 is associated with melanoma, a form of skin cancer (R).
COX-2’s role in regulating cell death may explain the enzyme’s association with cancer (R).

Factors that Increase COX-2

  • Arachidonic acid – Arachidonic acid (AA) is a precursor for COX2. Supplementation with AA increases COX2 activity (R)
  • Diet could affect responses to inhibitor-COX drugs.  Diets high in omega-6 would cause more arachidonic acid and have an improve response with COX-2 inhibitors  (R)

Factors that Decrease COX-2

Researchers have suggested that several natural alternatives to COX-2 inhibitors have a preferable safety profile compared with NSAID drugs (R).

Hormones

Foods

  • Olive Oil: Foods high in polyphenol content are good anti-inflammatory sources. They suppress the production of the protein for COX-2 (R)
  • Grape – Grape polyphenols were also shown to inhibit the increase in COX-2 due to alcohol treatment in a test done on rats (R)
  • Mangtosteen/Gamma-mangostin (R)
  • Berries/Anthocyanins (R)
  • Avocado/Persenone A (R)
  • Banana (R)
  • Citrus Fruits (R)
  • MushroomFood high in Vitamin D like mushroom are good inhibitors of COX-2 and are anti-inflammatory (R)
  • Tumeric: Dietary curcumin (found in tumeric) stopped protein production of COX-2, preventing transcription (R)
  • Ginger (strong) (R).
  • Nutmeg: Myristinins isolated from nutmeg selectively inhibited the enzyme COX-2 (R)
  • Aloe vera: Aloesin derivatives in Aloe vera were found to inhibit COX-2 (R)

Supplements

Drugs

  • NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Bromfenac (R)
  • COX-2 specific inhibitors such as Celecoxib and Lumiracoxib (R, R)

 

COX-2 Genes

SelfDecode has the COX2/PTGS2 Gene:

  1. RS20417 (COX2) GG
  2. RS5275 (COX2) GG

PTGS2 (recommended name) or COX-2 (common name) is a gene that codes for the enzyme Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 also called cyclooxygenase-2. It is mainly associated with  responses to physiological stresses such as infection and inflammation (R,R2).

Several studies indicate that PGTS2 is associated with an increasing in colorectal (R,R2,R3), prostate (R) and breast cancer risk (R). In particular, PTGS2 is probably involved in tumor proliferation and growth, in the formation of metastases and in the resistance of cancer cells to programmed death (R1,R2,R3).

Recent studies suggest that PTGS2 is linked with the development of type 2 diabetes (R) and with the promotion of eye disease in diabetes (R).

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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