Stress & Mood, how your COMT & MAO affect you

Stress & Mood, how your COMT & MAO affect you

Previously I have spoken about the COMT enzyme and how it can play havoc with your hormone, oestrogen. 

This very same Gene and enzyme also break down your Dopamine and Adrenal hormones.

If you have inherited a ‘wonky gene’ and this enzyme is processing slowly, it will process your Dopamine and Adrenaline pathways slowly, this may lead to having symptoms of the particular neurotransmitters remaining longer in the system. 

Like anything, having too much of a good thing can be okay for a while but can soon swing the other way. You may be confident with energy, but then maybe workaholic, or have trouble with winding down and relaxing. 

Having too much of the activity of COMT enzyme will mean that the process works faster, clearing the adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine, then causing a lovely sense of calmness, being good-tempered, with no problems with sleep, and responding well to stress.  However, it may also show as having difficulty completing tasks, forgetfulness, low focus, lack of confidence.  There also are issues with peri and menopause due to low hormones as they are being cleared quickly.

There is another important gene and enzyme called MAO, MonoAmine Oxidase. 

This breaks down your Serotonin, which is your sleep hormone, Dopamine, reward hormone, and Adrenaline and Noradrenaline hormones.

If you have a fast MAO, it means that the enzyme is working faster, and it breaks down Serotonin quicker. Adequate Serotonin helps us feel happy, optimistic, and self-confident.  When we process this neuro-transmitter faster, we can have low self-esteem, little faith in ourselves, and can be depressed.

If you find yourself reaching for carbs to help you feel better, you may be self-medicating to lift your mood.  But what happens then of course on a physical level, is that you tend to abuse high sugar content foods and that comfort eating increases your insulin and sugar levels over time.

Serotonin then goes on to make Melatonin so if you have poor serotonin levels you will also have trouble with sleep.  Some people have a habit of having a snack before bed or even get up in the middle of the night to have something to eat because it helps them sleep.

Instead of replacing it with a Melatonin supplement, the best thing to do is to eat sensible amounts of protein during the day that will supply the necessary amino acids to make and stabilise your melatonin and serotonin.

Tryptophan is an essential protein nutrient for these to be made and when I say essential, it means that you have to eat it, to get it.  It is not something that the body can make.  So, you need to ensure you are eating good food sources of it like:

Chicken and Turkey, Beef, Pork, Tofu, Salmon, Soy Bean, Milk, Pumpkin Seeds, Oats, and Eggs are the highest-ranked sources.

The interesting thing is that you need niacin, (Vitamin B3) in the pathway for Glucose (sugar) metabolism and that if you are not getting your requirement of B3 through the diet, Tryptophan can also make B3 as a backup.

This MAO enzyme also is responsible for processing your Dopamine neurotransmitter, which gives you feelings of satisfaction, achievement, and feelings of euphoria after an adrenaline hit AND it is responsible for processing your Adrenaline and Noradrenaline which are used in your flight or fight situation and long-term stress along with COMT.

A slow MAO could see you having difficulties falling asleep, headaches, mood swings, have anxiety that lasts a while, and experience rage or be aggressive, and have trouble relaxing because you can’t get rid of the adrenaline and dopamine fast enough.

If you have a fast MAO then you may have some sort of addition, experience ADHD, have carb and sugar cravings, depression, fatigue, difficulty staying asleep, and feel flat because you are not keeping your dopamine and adrenaline

So, that’s a lot to take in, do you resonate with any of it?

The great thing is, these genes are able to be managed, and it comes down to balance and common sense. 

A good nutritional daily consumption of proteins and carbohydrates in the way of fresh and varied vegetables, and some fruits is ideal for balancing out these crazy enzymes as a great place to start.

If you’d like to know more, you are welcome to join my free membership on facebook. Thyroid, Metabolic, Hormone Harmony Hub. 


I’d love to see you there


Inspiring Wellness



A Wonky What? COMT Gene & Oestrogen

A Wonky What? COMT Gene & Oestrogen

This gene can be quite the problem with both your adrenals and your most well-known female hormone, Oestrogen. 

Before I jump in, what is a gene?

A gene tells the body to make an enzyme which then directs a chemical reaction. If that’s a bit too much to think about, then in a more simplistic way, visualise one of those domino cascades that you see.  You start the push over with your finger (that’s the gene) then the dominos (the enzymes) and at the end the last domino it sends a ball rolling and that is like the chemical reaction.

I’m going to jump straight into the nitty gritty of this particular gene, because I hear it often expressing itself in the symptoms of my clients. 

If you have had horrible experiences with your periods, heavy periods, I mean, change your pad or tampon every 30 mins or wake to find you have slept in a blood bath and have to put your sheets on soak in the middle of the night.  Or when you go to the toilet, there are big clots left on your pad or fall into the bowl.  That kind of heavy.

And your belly feels as if it’s dragging on the ground and the pain is unbearable.  You just wanna lie on the couch with a hottie and cancel your day.  You may have even been told you have fibroids or endometriosis.

Also you have lumpy sore breasts, fluid retention and weight gain before your period and you’re also feel low and moody.

This can be a sign of Oestrogen dominance.  If you have read my blogs on Progesterone you will have learned that Progesterone and Oestrogen cohabitate in a balance, and if progesterone is low, particularly due to stress, then Oestrogen will naturally be high. 

This scenario has a similar outcome, but the cause is different. It is a Gene with an acronym named COMT.

This stands for Catechol-O-Methyltransferase. 

This big name breaks down the two different ways that this gene works.

One way works on Oestrogen and the other way is with your sense of achievement and Adrenals.  I’ve covered Adrenals in another blog.

Before I continue, I just need to take you back one step. 

Each one of our inherited genes is a pair.  One half from our Mum and the other from our Dad. 

Research is amazing and has discovered that there are common faults in our genes.  This fault is referred to a snp.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphism. I prefer to call it a ‘wonky gene’ for ease.  They usually slow or speed up the function of the enzyme that they code to make.

What is interesting is that the same wonkiness is the same for many people and not only that, some genes can be wonky without having any difference to the functioning of the body and yet there are some significant ones, of which COMT is one.

So, what does COMT do?  Well, for the heavy periods, fibroids and endometriosis, I mentioned before, that is a sign of a slow enzyme.  This means that Oestrogen is not able to break down very well and is being backed up or becomes ‘dominant’. 

Usually clinical symptoms will let us ‘hear’ this enzyme. Testing your genes also gives us the exact outcome of the snp, and you can also find this information from a DUTCH, (Dried Urine test for Comprehensive Hormones), which is an optional test to consider in my Hormone Harmony Method. In the DUTCH test we can learn how your Oestrogen is clearing, by assessing the metabolites, which is the broken-down parts of Oestrogen that is cleared by the body.

Not only do you then have an issue with the self-regulating of your natural Oestrogens, throw into the mix a little bit (quite a lot usually) of stress which will then lower your progesterone, remember that when progesterone gets stolen to help make cortisol when we are stressed, then this gets lower.  Also, there is so many environmental factors these days that attribute to Oestrogen dominance, in that, once they are ingested, they accommodate the same receptor sites that Oestrogen normally do, with a net result of high Oestrogens.

Once Oestrogen dominance has been established, then look at…

  1. Is stress a major contributor?
  2. Are environmental toxins a major contributor?
  3. Do you have a wonky COMT gene?

If you’d like to know more, you are welcome to join my free membership on facebook. Thyroid, Metabolic, Hormone Harmony Hub. 

I’d love to see you there

Inspiring Wellness


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