COMT - The Basics
Have you ever had anxiety, depression, or general moodiness?
Has your child been labeled as ADHD, Autistic, or does she have SPD?
Do you have hormone imbalances?
All of these things have one thing in common -- variations on the COMT gene.
What exactly does that mean?
COMT is a gene that creates and enzyme to break down neurotransmitters (chemicals that control mental health and productive human activities).
When you're happy, it's thought that you have a lot of serotonin. When you're sad, it's thought that you don't have enough.
When you seek action or you crave things, it's thought that you have a lot of dopamine. When you are lethargic and have no "get up and go," it's thought that you don't have enough.
All of these situations, however, require a fine balance of neurotransmitter activity. Highly reactionary, neurotransmitters can change on a dime. If you eat food that is high in mercury (think tuna), if you take an herb that's supposed to boost focus (ex: bacopa), or if you take too many B vitamins, you can instantly change the way your body breaks down neurotransmitters, creating a sense of mental anguish or a complete "high on life" attitude. The spectrum of change is vast and varied.
So why do we care about the gene, COMT, so much? Well, our society is giving kids psychoactive meds on a daily basis, anxiety and depression are common terms everyone throws around, we survive on daily trips to the local coffee shop, and fatigue is the biggest symptom that people complain about. Basically, we have a neurotransmitter problem, and COMT may be to blame.
There are three types of COMT we need to discuss:
- Wild Type = FAST COMT
- Heterozygous = Ideal
- Homozygous = SLOW COMT
FAST COMT: This means you burn through your neurotransmitters quickly. It causes symptoms such as depression, lack of motivation, GERD, constipation, muscle cramps, fatigue, low blood pressure, focus issues, and restless leg syndrome. Ideally, you should take supplements like Liposomal Vitamin C to support this pathway.
Ideal COMT: Often times, we like to think that a variation within a gene is automatically bad. That is simply not the case. A heterozygous COMT is actually ideal and provides stable neurotransmitters.
SLOW COMT: This means you do not metabolize your neurotransmitters quickly, and they can build up in your body. This leads to symptoms such as anxiety, ADHD, Autism, insomnia, excessive sweating, excessive energy, and heart palpitations. You should consider supplements such as Plant-Based Methylation Support and Liposomal Methyl-B Spray.
Ultimately, COMT can play a major role in your day-to-day health. Understanding your status is important, because certain supplements can cause a drastic change in your chemistry. The goal should always be to balance out your neurotransmitters so that you can live a happy, healthy, productive life.
- Megan Arnold