What is COMT?
Do you find yourself constantly worrying? Do you get stressed out easily? Are you easily upset or agitated? Are you struggling with anxiety in non-anxiety provoking situations? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a COMT mutation.
COMT (Catechol-O-Methyltransferase) mutations affect the rate at which catecholamines are broken down. Catecholamines are: dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and catecholestrogens. With no mutations present, COMT enzymes add a methyl group from SAMe onto the dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine molecules which helps them break down and change into other substances. When these catecholamines aren’t being broken down at a proper rate, adrenaline begins to build up within the body. Having slower breakdown speed for these neurotransmitters results in feeling chronically stressed and anxious.
Think about what adrenaline does to you. It is your fight or flight response. In the wild, if an animal feels a surge of adrenaline, they know that they need to be ready for anything, whatever threat they are exposed to at the time. Adrenaline makes you feel more focused, raises blood pressure, increases muscle strength, and energy production. However, this chronic adrenaline can create many health problems.
Do you have a COMT mutation?
Let’s discuss COMT Val158 Met. The ideal combination for these alleles is to state Val/Met. This means that COMT enzyme activity is balanced, which keeps neurotransmitters balanced and maintains average levels of Dopamine. Your catecholamines should be breaking down properly.
Now, if you see results that show Val/Val, then you are having higher COMT enzyme activity, Your COMT enzymes are breaking down neurotransmitters at a fast pace, which results in lower Dopamine levels. Typically, this results in greater stress resiliency, more pain tolerance, and the possible need for higher doses of pain medications.
Having results that show Met/Met, means you are having lower COMT enzyme activity. Your COMT enzymes are breaking down neurotransmitters at a slower pace, resulting in higher levels of Dopamine and other stress neurotransmitters. This can create symptoms of anxiety, irritability, depression, and other common COMT symptoms. Typically, this results in reduced stress resiliency, making you more susceptible to stress.
Common Symptoms associated with COMT mutations:
Insomnia – Trying to fall asleep when your body is pumped full of Adrenaline can make sleeping feel impossible. As your closing your eyes, your mind is filled with racing thoughts, and you begin to feel restless. Having trouble sleeping? We recommend Magnesium Glycinate as one of the best forms of Magnesium for aiding in quality sleep.
Click here for BiomeIQ’s MTHFR Friendly Magnesium Supplement.
Anxiety/Mood Changes – COMT mutations affect the rate in which catecholemines are broken down. Less dopamine, and more Adrenaline isn’t a great combination and can make you feel anxious, irritated, and moody.
High Blood Pressure – Adrenaline raises blood pressure due to the increase in force and heart rate.
Arrhythmia – Irregular heartbeats can occur when excess stress is placed on the heart. Excess stress depletes the heart of much-needed nutrients such as magnesium and taurine.
Do you need additional Magnesium supplementation?
Click here for an MTHFR Friendly Magnesium Supplement.
Poor circulation – Adrenaline pushes blood flow away from the gut and pumps blood into your heart and lungs. This can cut off blood flow to the tips of the fingers and toes and bring about that tingly/numbness feeling.
Chronic Pain – When nerves are exposed to chronic adrenaline, the nerve fibers can become overly sensitive. This oversensitivity can cause chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Skin reactions – High adrenaline can lead to excess sweating and clammy hands.
Digestion Issues – adrenaline pushes blood flow away from the gut. The gut receives less oxygen, making it harder to digest food and nutrients. Adrenaline, also helps bacteria to grow more rapidly in the gut, which can result in SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth). Read more about healing SIBO here.
The First Step
If you are experiencing these symptoms and are wondering if a COMT mutation could be playing a role in your health, testing for a COMT mutation would be beneficial for you. Click here to test for a COMT mutation.
Finding out whether or not a COMT mutation is affecting your neurotransmitter breakdown, can allow you to choose supplementation that will help improve your symptoms. For example, for individuals with COMT mutations, TMG (Betaine) is often the most effective choice in methyl donor. Methylated B vitamins are often over stimulatory when COMT mutations are involved. As well, they are promoters/co-factors for many other pathways which means they can cause a lot of undesirable reactions.
Click here to check out our Methylation3 which uses TMG (Betaine) the specific form of methylation needed to help drive and support the conversion of Catecholamines within the brain.
Therefore, testing for these mutations can help you understand why your body reacts to certain vitamins in negative ways, and you can choose supplementation and nutrition that is right for your genes. If you’ve had symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and depression then TMG is a good option to consider. TMG helps convert your anxiety-producing neurotransmitters (epinephrine/norepinephrine) back into your happy neurotransmitters (Dopamine).
How do COMT mutations relate to MTHFR?
If you have both COMT and MTHFR mutations, you are at an increased risk for feeling stressed and anxious. MTHFR mutations create a methylation deficiency. Methylation is essential for many body processes such as healthy neurotransmitter production and breakdown. Methyl groups help the body produce the adequate amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. With COMT mutations, you experience slower breakdown speeds of neurotransmitters, and with MTHFR mutations your body is producing less neurotransmitters or is unable to properly breakdown neurotransmitters. Having a combination of both of these mutations results in a predisposition to anxiety. Click here to test and find out if an MTHFR mutation or COMT mutation is playing a part in your anxiety.
MTHFR mutations also affect detoxification, resulting in slower detox processes. When the body is unable to eliminate toxins efficiently, toxins build up resulting in chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation oftentimes contributes to anxiety or feelings of panic. Eliminating these built up toxins through a liver detox, is one effective way to improve detoxification, reduce inflammation, and help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Click here for more information on detoxifying the body.