Understanding COMT

Understanding COMT

Improved working memory, executive function and higher IQ can rest in the mutation of a common gene, COMT. But as it controls estrogen, neurotransmitter, and toxin elimination, anxiety and mood swings are prevalent. Specifically, stimulating dopamine, adrenalin, and norepinephrine levels can be four-fold higher.

‘Warriors’, as The New York Times Magazine recently referred to non-mutaters, only focus when stimulated, as in battle. The mutated, it states, are ‘Worriers’, with continuous focus but subject to meltdown under high stress. Worriers get better grades but Warriors do better on tests. Interestingly, when students were told that anxiety during tests meant better results, scores substantially improved.

Anorexia, ADHD, aggression, gambling, alcoholism and insomnia are Worrier-prone conditions. Autoimmune disorders, Tourette’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and fibromyalgia can also manifest. Response to stimulants, including caffeine and Ritalin, is magnified.

Due to higher estrogen in Worriers, premenstrual syndrome worsens, producing panic, irritability, obsessive-compulsiveness, phobias, and sleep disturbance. Premenstrual migraines, carbohydrate craving, breast soreness, heavy periods and cramping are also typical. Nutrition, exercise, and botanical interventions can nicely neutralize these symptoms and protect against hormone-related disease.

With less stimulation, Warriors have a harder time getting work done. Increased sensitivity to pain and response to narcotic pain medicine are characteristic.

Can Warriors be routinely stimulated to improve productivity or school performance without prescription medicine? Absolutely! Green tea and herbal adaptogens are two of many ways to healthfully drive motivation and performance.

Impaired toxin and estrogen clearance in Worriers places them at higher risk for hormone-related cancers; elimination strategies are important. Genetic panels are available that assess detoxifying genes including COMT and MTHFR.

Identifying impediments to methylation aids Worrier assessment. Check powerful methylating gene MTHFR and treat mutations with active folate L-5MTHF. Measure homocysteine, and intracellular folate, vitamins B12, B6, B2, B3, choline, serine, and magnesium. Pathway mutations, especially coupled with folate receptor antibodies, warrant titration of the active vitamin B12 methylcobalamin followed by L-5MTHF. Folate receptor antibodies can respond dramatically to 25mg L-5MTHF or more under medical supervision. Downstream end products may work even better.

For Worrier’s, nighttime magnesium glycinate and a morning B complex containing methylcobalamin, L-5MTHF, and pyridoxine-5-phosphate are a good start. Detoxification strategies of sweating, fasting, infrared sauna, and botanical liver support such as Milk Thistle, reduce risk and improve quality of life. GABA-promoting botanicals can give relief. Modulating estrogen can eliminate PMS.

Mutations of MTHFR and Worrier COMT added to mercury amalgams and vitamin D deficiency make a toxic recipe for autoimmune, heart, and psychiatric disorders, neuropathies, diabetes, and thyroid and kidney failure that all may be reversible. Test COMT, let us help you withdraw from weight-promoting, sex-inhibiting anti-anxiety antidepressants, and learn excellent adaptive strategies for a better life!

If you are interested in knowing more about your genes, contact Connor Wellness Clinic to discuss testing.

Adapted from By James Roach, MD, ABIHM

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