What Variations In Your Genes (SNPS) Mean For Your Health

Updated: March 31, 2023

Lara Cover Photo

Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.

Recently we asked Lara if she would help us provide a series of short, ongoing videos to help you (our customers and readers) stay up to date on the latest facts and science related to bone health.

In this latest video, Lara discusses what your genes have to do with your health. And how even tiny variations in your genes can make a BIG difference. Watch the video below (or read the transcript provided) and let us know what you think in the comments. 🙂

Hello, my name is Lara Pizzorno, I’m the author of Your Bones. I’m here to share some information with you that I hope will help you to have healthier bones. In this series of videos, we’ve been discussing vitamin K, and in this particular video, we’re going to talk about why some of us are able to keep vitamin K2 active in our bodies for longer than others of us and why some of us use up vitamin K more quickly than others do.

It has to do with our genes, or more precisely, it has to do with tiny variations in our genes that are called Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism, or SNPS. S-N-P-S is the abbreviation for this.

These variations are changes in our genetic structure that we have inherited from parents, just like we inherit the color of our eyes.

Our genes contain the instructions for how proteins are to be made, and these instructions are spelled out in a special gene-alphabet that contains just four letters: G, A, T, and C. G A T and C stand for four different nucleic acids that make up all our genes, and these are: Guanine for the G, Adenine for the A, Thymine for the T, and Cytosine for the C.

Changing the order in which these nucleic acids appear in a gene by moving just one nucleic acid, say for example, having an A for Adenine appear in a lineup in the spot where a G for Guanine, would normally appear can change the instructions that the gene gives for how the protein should be made. And these changes are called Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPS, because what is changed is the position of a nucleic acid in the gene.

But while such a change seems really small, very tiny, it can make a huge difference in the way that the protein that is produced by the instructions sent by that gene actually functions.

SNPS in certain genes involved in the way that our body produces, uses, or clears out vitamin K can greatly affect our requirements for vitamin K; what form of vitamin K might work best for us and how much vitamin K we need to support our health. If you want all the details on this, I wrote about it in depth in Your Bones in the 2nd edition, but here I’m just going to give you the bottom line.

There are SNPS in four genes that have been identified that impact how much vitamin K you require to have healthy bones. These SNPS produce variations in: apolipoprotein E which you may have heard of as APOE, the vitamin K epoxide reductase or the VKOR enzyme, the gamma-glutamyl carboxylase enzyme, and the cytochrome P450 4F2 enzyme.

In the next four videos (one, two, three, and four), we’re going to talk about each of these enzymes and the variations in them, the SNPS for them, and how each of those impacts your needs for vitamin K2. I’ll also be giving some clues to try and figure out which SNPS variations you have, or if you have the common version of these enzymes.

I hope this was interesting and helpful, and I hope you’ll tune in to learn more about each of these SNPS. Thanks.


Pizzorno L. Your Bones, pp. 188-196.

Shearer MJ, Fu X, Booth SL. Vitamin K nutrition, metabolism, and requirements: current concepts and future research. Adv Nutr. 2012 Mar 1;3(2):182-95. doi: 10.3945/an.111.001800. PMID: 22516726

Article Comments

Add New Comment

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

  1. matthew olson

    February 19, 2018 , 9:36 pm

    Some of your links are duplicates.
    You seem to be missing a couple links looking at snps and vitamin k2 metabolism. like vkor.

  2. Monica AlgaeCal

    February 20, 2018 , 8:45 am

    Hi Mathew,

    Thanks for letting us know! I’ve updated those links now. And here is the specific one for VKOR: https://blog.algaecal.com/the-crazy-cool-enzyme-that-allows-our-body-to-recycle-vitamin-k/

    Hope that helps!
    – Monica

  3. Jessica Lowther

    July 31, 2023 , 1:10 pm

    Hello thanks for providing this information. I’ve revisited the SNP articles / videos a few times. I haven’t reacted well to mk7 in the past and would like to dig deeper. I’m wondering if there’s any news about the SNP panel or if there’s a SNP that’s better to look at first please? I’m based in the UK so would look for tests here.

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,