Keep Methylation Central
There are few things that destroy your life as immediately and completely as the cognitive function loss involved with neuropsychiatric syndromes.
I am Dr. Nancy Mullan. I help people who have mental function disability because of psychosis or a mood disorder, who want to feel their heads and lives quit swirling, and make progress toward their most important goals.
This discussion concerns the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for attention, motivation, and reward-motivated behavior. It is an important neurotransmitter. It is the predominant neurotransmitter in your pre-frontal cortex (PFC).
Cognitive behavior is processed in your PFC. It is where your executive function resides. It’s the brain power you use to cross the street, the mental apparatus that you need to make decisions. It’s the seat of your personality, the home of all the characteristics that make you you.
The levels of dopamine in your PFC determine how well it functions. All of the genes and the biochemical pathways that impact these levels are tremendously important to your cognitive function.
One of these genes is the catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. The COMT gene is named after the enzyme. The COMT gene encodes the production of the COMT enzyme.
Catechol-O-methyltransferase, the enzyme, deactivates dopamine. So both the gene and the enzyme are very involved with the level of dopamine in the brain, and both are important to cognitive processing.
A SNP in the COMT gene decreases the activity of the COMT enzyme, so less dopamine gets deactivated. As a result, the dopamine levels in the brain may become higher than optimal.
Methyl groups are needed to deactivate dopamine. When the COMT enzyme is less active, fewer methyl groups are used. COMT deactivates less dopamine and uses fewer methyl groups to do so. Your methyl group production and supplementation needs to be less.
Too much methyl group supplementation with a slowed down COMT enzyme can generate depression and mood swings in adults. In children, the symptoms are hyperactivity and stims, among others. Too many methyl groups in your body is a chemical stressor and a tax on your adrenal glands.
Besides having a connection with depression and mood swings, COMT SNPs that slow down enzyme function have been associated with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD. Studies show that COMT enzyme slowdown related to COMT gene SNPs impact executive function, working memory, verbal fluency, and intelligence.
Too much dopamine results in intense, psychotic anxiety. Your thinking processes go off; you are “not right.” Anti-psychotic medications are all dopamine antagonists. Too much dopamine is very intimately associated with psychosis.
Dopamine is also an important catecholamine, a class of amino acid that includes norepinephrine and epinephrine. These are all excitatory neurotransmitters. Too much of any one of these is overstimulating.
It is only common sense that you should know your COMT status so you can adjust your methyl group intake to accommodate it, especially if you are having symptoms or “psychological” problems.
Lithium has been used for psychiatric disorders for more than fifty years. Its mechanism of action is still unknown. Lithium has many functions in the body, and it has a key function in the formation of methyl groups.
B12 and folic acid are essential to methyl group formation, and lithium is critical for the uptake of B12 and folic acid into the cell, which is where the formation of methyl groups happens. Methyl groups are made inside the cells of the liver, kidneys, and brain.
Beyond that, lithium may increase the production of the COMT enzyme. So no matter what the status of your COMT gene is, lithium can help to assure that you have enough COMT enzyme to process dopamine and other catecholamines.
There are things you should be doing for psychiatric problems other than taking pharmaceuticals and hoping for the best.
Psych patients have been demonstrated to have the same issues that are seen in other adults with chronic illness.
You may be dealing with immune impairment, gastrointestinal disorders, persistent bacterial and viral infection, yeast infestation, multiple food sensitivities, and heavy metal toxicity. You cannot afford to sit around, take meds, and attend daycare while your life passes. Your time is too valuable, your life too precious.
Are you ready to discover the role of genetics in your health issue?
Have you had it with your mood?
Do you believe that you have had all the help there is out there?
I know that you have not.
Read the materials I have put out on optimizing diet, supplementation, and methylation capacity. They can be accessed at www.NancyMullanMD.com and https://chronicdiseaserecovery.wordpress.com/. Get familiar with all of the conditions that optimizing these factors can correct.
You need to know the status of all of the genes encoding for the enzymes in your methyl group-producing pathways, so you can bypass any problem genetics and be sure you have the methyl groups you need to perform all of the important functions that involve methyl groups, including keeping your dopamine at optimal levels.
It is up to YOU to learn about treating psychiatric illness successfully, and the role of optimizing both methyl group production and your capacity for methylation.
Check out my new YouTube video:
Fine Tuning Your Treatment of Chronic Illness with MTHFR Genetics