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Interferon-gamma: Increase & Decrease + High & Low Levels

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

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IFN-gamma is an essential immune protein for immune response. Learn more about the normal ranges & how to increase or decrease it.

What is Interferon-gamma (INF-g, IFN-g)?

IFN-gamma (IFN-γ or type II interferon) is an immune protein. It is essential for the body’s immune response against fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. It controls genes that are responsible for immune and inflammatory responses. It is also the main activator of macrophages, natural killer cells, and neutrophils [1].

IFN-gamma levels generally increase during infections or immune disorders. This cytokine is a part of the Th1 immune response [2].

Normal Range of interferon-gamma

The normal range may vary by test.

  • <2.0 pg/mL
  • 5 pg/mL or less
  • ≤3.0 pg/mL

High interferon-gamma

IFN-gamma levels normally increase as you age [3].

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) is one of the most significant simulators of interferon gamma [4].

LPS can be elevated by a leaky gut, infections, or a host of other conditions.

Nitric oxide also increases interferon gamma.

Causes of High interferon-gamma

High IFN-gamma levels can be caused by:

  • Canker sores (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) (n=21) [5]
  • Patchy hair loss (alopecia areata) (n=60) [6]
  • Alcoholism (n=47) [7]
  • Alcoholic liver scarring (cirrhosis) (n=26) [8]
  • Measles (acute phase, <7 days of illness) (n=54) [9]
  • Hepatitis B (n=60) [10]
  • Tuberculosis (active pulmonary tuberculosis (n=10) and latent tuberculosis infection (n=430)) [11, 12]
  • Multiple sclerosis (n=29, n=21) [13, 14]
  • Systemic sclerosis (n=49) [15]
  • Isoniazid treatment for tuberculosis (n=26) [16]
  • Melioidosis, an infectious bacterial disease (n=62) [17]

Elevated IFN-gamma levels are associated with:

  • Increased severity of airway inflammation in asthma patients (n=17) [18]
  • Psoriasis severity (n=21, n=30) [19, 20]
  • Kidney damage in type 2 diabetic patients (n=100) [21]
  • Increased severity of heart disease (n=104) [22]
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease progression (n=52) [23]
  • Lupus (n=64) [24]
  • Mixed connective tissue disease (n=15) [24]
  • Tumor stage, tumor size, and recurrence in liver cancer patients (n=63) [25]

Recommendations for High interferon-gamma:

We recommend the following lifestyle changes:

Get medical attention for any underlying health conditions.

Exercise more. Endurance training (but not moderate exercise) can help decrease IFN-gamma levels [26].

Refrain from drinking alcohol [7].

Eat a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids. Some foods with high omega-3 levels include fatty fish, shellfish, and fortified dairy products [27, 28].

Supplements that have shown some kind of ability to lower interferon-gamma in animal or cellular models:

This IFNG gene page has more substances that can reduce interferon gamma.

Low interferon-gamma

Low IFN-gamma levels can be caused by:

  • Endurance exercising training (n=30) [26]
  • Second-hand smoke exposure (n=40) [49]
  • Candida albicans oral infection (n=26) [50]
  • Trauma (n=38) [51]
  • Heart surgery (n=20) [52]
  • Epstein Barr virus infection [53, 54]
  • Hepatitis C (n = 63) [55]
  • Corticosteroid treatment (n=131) [56]

Low interferon-gamma Recommendations

Moderate exercise can enhance IFN-gamma production [57].

Sun exposure on your body (UVA), which increases nitric oxide, can in turn increase interferon gamma.

Supplements that can help increase interferon gamma:

This IFNG gene page has more substances that can increase interferon gamma.

Interferon Gamma Genes and SNPs

Interferon-gamma levels are also determined by variations in the IFNG gene:

If you have a genetics file, you can upload it to SelfDecode to get your results.

Irregular Interferon-gamma Levels?

LabTestAnalyzer helps you make sense of your lab results. It informs you which labs are not in the optimal range and gives you guidance about how to get them to optimal. It also allows you to track your labs over time. No need to do thousands of hours of research on what to make of your lab tests.

LabTestAnalyzer is a sister company of SelfHacked. The proceeds from your purchase of this product are reinvested into our research and development, in order to serve you better. Thank you for your support.

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen won the genetic lottery of bad genes. As a kid, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine.Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers.Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO of SelfHacked, SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer.His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.
Joe has been studying health sciences for 17 years and has read over 30,000 PubMed articles. He's given consultations to over 1000 people who have sought his health advice. After completing the pre-med requirements at university, he founded SelfHacked because he wanted to make a big impact in improving global health. He's written hundreds of science posts, multiple books on improving health, and speaks at various health conferences. He's keen on building a brain-trust of top scientists who will improve the level of accuracy of health content on the web. He's also founded SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer, popular genetic and lab software tools to improve health.

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