Genetics: COMT and Risk Taking

COMT stands for Catechol-O-Methyltransferase. There are several genes/enzymes in this methylation process. COMT V158M polymorphisms (differences, i.e. heterozygous or homozygous mutations) is becoming one of the more popular differences associated with certain imbalances in mood and behavior and recently in decision making, but there are many COMT genes. Heterozygous or homozygous differences will either accelerate or decrease processes involved in dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and estrogen. When the alleles are a pair of A’s (also known as Met version) an individual may find their dopamine levels run on the high side with the processes happening at a slower pace, but the trade off in this scenario may be depleted serotonin levels leading to depression and other imbalances associated with low serotonin such as anxiety, carbohydrate and sugar cravings, sleeplessness and gut issues. Further imbalances happen when the MTHFR shows polymorphisms. Slow processes may contribute to a low tolerance to pain, but may be better at processing information. These individuals are more likely to learn from avoiding bad experiences and taking more time to make decisions.  When the allele’s are a pair of G’s (known as the Val version of the amino acid/protein coding) the process may be happening at a faster rate which may lead to low levels of dopamine. Low levels of dopamine may contribute to imbalances such as irritability, less risk taking, maybe even lacking in cognitive performance. Imbalances in dopamine levels may even correlate to a greater risk for addictive behavior.  Supplements that may help in the face of these polymorphisms are magnesium, l-theanine, and depending on the need for dopamine supplements such as l-tyrosine, and Vitamin D. Need for serotonin may be helped with 5HTP as long as the individual is not taking an antidepressant. Gut issues need to be addresses and other methylation pathways such as MTHFR to make sure a greater sense of well-being is achieved over the long run.

Genetics: MAO and Depression

MAO stands for Monoamine Oxidase A  and is one of several genes/enzymes responsible for the processing/digestion of dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and epinephrine. This methyl enzyme is dependent on adequate amounts of riboflavin (one of the B vitamins) to work correctly. When the gene is mutated there is an increased risk of mood and attention related issues such as depression, aggression, anger, ADHD, and maybe social personality disorder. Heterozygous or homozygous mutations can be an indicator of why certain chemical imbalances occur in an individual leading to mild to moderate to severe manifestations. Of course, genetic mutations are only a piece of the puzzle. The environment which your DNA makes copies is dependent on many factors. The chemical imbalances are influenced by many factors. For example, most of the serotonin is made in the gut. If there is bacterial dysbiosis, yeast overgrowth, overconsumption of sugar the body may experience challenges in making enough serotonin. Questions to ask yourself if you carry a partial or full mutation is whether or not your diet and lifestyle helps your imperfections or acerbates them? Are you supporting your unique genetic makeup?

Genetics: DAO and Schizophrenia

DAO stands for D-amino-acid-oxidase and it is the gene/enzyme that helps break down d-amino acids such as D-serine, D-proline, D-tyrosine, D-Dopa, D-alanine, and D-phenylalanine. This enzyme depends on vitamin B2 to run properly. Mutations (polymorphisms such as heterozygous or homozygous) in this gene have been associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and Social Anxiety Disorder.  One speculation is because a disruption in D-serine activity has been associated with these two conditions. There is also a correlation between dopamine synthesis and this enzyme. Mainstream medical has been looking at using D-cycloserine to help stabilize D-serine. There is also the possibility that micronutrients such as GABA and Glycine are helping to balance the response in the brain along with a protocol for improving dopamine synthesis. Here is an interesting article talking more about the N-methyl D-aspartate receptor (NMDA) receptor and the correlation between schizophrenia and using glycine to help balance the brain http://www.understand-schizophrenia.com/schizophrenia-diet.html

Genetic Informational Testing

Do you know if you need extra magnesium for greater physical, mental and emotional well-being? Do you know if your body breaks down folate and folic acid which can greatly affect your risk of cardiac disease or miscarriage or tolerance to certain foods? Do you know if you have a tendency to have higher or lower dopamine levels which will influence addictive behavior or depressive disorders? Do you know if your body cannot recycle B12? This and more can be revealed to you when you have your genetic information in your hands and work with a  practitioner to interpret the data.  Genetic testing is the new map of information in biochemical individuality. Reviewing your personal genetic information with a nutrigenetic practitioner can help you understand how to improve your diet and lifestyle factors specific to your genetics.   Go to www.23andme.com and order your kit today. Schedule your appointment either in person or by phone to become a client and review your results.