Evidence Based This post has 25 references

CYP11B2 Enzyme & Aldosterone: Function & Gene Variants

Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:

SelfHacked has the strictest sourcing guidelines in the health industry and we almost exclusively link to medically peer-reviewed studies, usually on PubMed. We believe that the most accurate information is found directly in the scientific source.

We are dedicated to providing the most scientifically valid, unbiased, and comprehensive information on any given topic.

Our team comprises of trained MDs, PhDs, pharmacists, qualified scientists, and certified health and wellness specialists.

All of our content is written by scientists and people with a strong science background.

Our science team is put through the strictest vetting process in the health industry and we often reject applicants who have written articles for many of the largest health websites that are deemed trustworthy. Our science team must pass long technical science tests, difficult logical reasoning and reading comprehension tests. They are continually monitored by our internal peer-review process and if we see anyone making material science errors, we don't let them write for us again.

Our goal is to not have a single piece of inaccurate information on this website. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please leave a comment or contact us at [email protected]

Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc...]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract.

CYP11B2 produces the hormone aldosterone, which helps conserve sodium. Through its effect on sodium, aldosterone can affect blood pressure. Also, when dysfunctional, aldosterone can contribute to the development of heart disease. That is why some CYP11B2 gene variants are associated with elevated blood pressure and heart disease risk. In this post, you will find out more about gene variants and factors that increase or decrease CYP11B2 activity.

What is CYP11B2?

This enzyme is also called aldosterone synthase (because it produces aldosterone). It is one of the cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs) [1].

CYPs eliminate toxins and drugs from the human body. However, some, like C YP11B2, are not involved in detoxification but in steroid hormone production.

Read more about different CYPs here.


This enzyme produces the hormone aldosterone [2, 3]. Aldosterone helps our bodies conserve sodium and maintain blood pressure [4].

It also metabolizes steroid-based drugs spironolactone, canrenone [5], and methandienone [6].


This enzyme is found in the adrenal glands [7].

The Good

This enzyme is important for maintaining aldosterone levels. Aldosterone, in turn, maintains sodium and potassium in balance and helps maintain blood pH levels.

Aldosterone deficiency due to CYP11B2 mutations can cause excessive sodium release and potassium retention, resulting in hyponatremia (low sodium), hyperkalemia (high potassium), and metabolic acidosis, which can be fatal [8].

CYP11B2 also helps maintain blood pressure.

Milder enzyme deficiency is associated with postural hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing) in adulthood [8].

The Bad

Higher enzyme activity can result in the overproduction of aldosterone.

High levels of aldosterone lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) and increase the risk of heart disease [9].

Gene Polymorphism

There are over twenty CYP11B2 gene variants [9].

Some variants increase, while others decrease aldosterone production.


rs1799998 (C) occurs in about 30% of African Americans and 46% of Europeans. This variant increases aldosterone levels [10].

It is associated with high blood pressure (hypertension) (479 subjects; 810 subjects; 471 subjects; meta-analysis, 29 studies, 8482 cases, and 8560 controls) [3, 4, 11, 12].

This variant is further associated with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) (meta-analysis, 11 studies, 1629 cases, and 2284 controls) [13] and increases heart disease risk in Whites and Asians (meta-analysis, 5 studies, 3687 subjects) [14].

It may also increase the risk of stroke (meta-analysis, 7 studies, 2765 cases, and 3118 controls) [15].

rs1799998 C may contribute to kidney disease (nephropathy) (meta-analysis, 5 studies, 825 cases and 910 controls) [16].

In addition, the C variant was also associated with higher BMI (290 subjects) [17].

Men with this variant are more prone to metabolic syndrome (802 couples, 640 subjects) [18, 19].

Having two Cs (C/C) contributes to an age-dependent increase in CRP, an indicator of chronic inflammation (398 subjects) [20].

C/C female carriers accumulate more fat and may be more prone to obesity (1386 subjects) [21].

On the other hand, T/T increases the risk of recurrent brain ischemia (low brain oxygen) by 1.98-fold (208 patients) [22].

The T variant and lower aldosterone levels are more often found in Himalayan people. They may help natives cope with lower oxygen levels (662 subjects) [23].

Increasing or Decreasing CYP11B2

These increase CYP11B2:

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) [24]
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) [7]
  • Angiotensin and potassium [7]

These decrease CYP11B2:

About the Author

Biljana Novkovic

Biljana Novkovic

Biljana received her PhD from Hokkaido University.
Before joining SelfHacked, she was a research scientist with extensive field and laboratory experience. She spent 4 years reviewing the scientific literature on supplements, lab tests and other areas of health sciences. She is passionate about releasing the most accurate science and health information available on topics, and she's meticulous when writing and reviewing articles to make sure the science is sound. She believes that SelfHacked has the best science that is also layperson-friendly on the web.

Click here to subscribe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.