How Specific Genes Impact Your Mood & Health – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 202
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
Have you ever thought about if your genes are making you feel abnormal? Is it possible that our genes are disrupting our mental well-being? The answer is definitely yes. I want to talk today about MTHFR and COMT. It’s really quite common and it’s amazing how many people can have this type of a gene mutation or genetic variation to one or both of those specific genes that can really affect your overall well-being.
I want to discuss the impact that a gene variant can have on how we feel every single day. Do you feel anxious? Are you feeling like you have low mood? There are so many different ways in which our genes, if they are not working properly, can really make a huge difference in terms of our day-to-day functioning.
What are MTHFR and COMT?
When we talk about MTHFR, we are looking at the specific gene that is providing the instructions for your body in order to make the MTHFR protein, which helps the body with processing folate. We know that we need to have folate in order to make DNA, so everything is interconnected. Each person has 2 copies of the MTHFR gene, 1 comes from your mother and 1 comes from your father. We know that if we have any type of a variant in the genes we receive from our parents, this can actually make a really significant impact on how the body is detoxifying. If we become overly toxic, this can impact our overall sense of well-being.
MTHFR is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This is this very key and important enzyme when it comes to the metabolism of folate. We have to have MTHFR in order to have this proper conversion, so this can impact not only our sense of mental well-being, but also when we look at cardiovascular, because we know homocysteine plays a role in this as well.
When we look at things such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and autism, we know they can be impacted via MTHFR. This is why it is very beneficial to consider having your MTHFR test done. This is a very simple test. It’s a genetic test and you just do a simple cheek swab. Then, we get the results back and you can see if you have one of these variants that you receive from your parents. Once you’re armed with that information, you can make adjustments to your dietary intake of things like B vitamins, and recognize that taking a standard synthetic B vitamin is really not the best thing for you because your body has an inability to actually convert that into its bioactive form.
COMT is a particular gene that plays a really important role in providing the instructions for making the enzyme known as catechol-o-methyltransferase, which is essential when we look at the nerve cells in the brain. It plays an integral role in terms of the functionality within the cortex of the brain and signaling different neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. If we have a gene mutation within COMT, this can have an impact on those particular neurotransmitters, which can lead to issues such as feeling very edgy, anxious, or depressed. This is why looking at these things can give you a lot of insight.
Listen to the full podcast episode to learn more about how to help your body if you have an MTHFR or COMT variant.