COMT++ stress/dopamine brain-fog connection

sregan

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A very significant finding for me!!!

In researching for my COMT++/MAO++ Daughter's OCD I have made a significant discovery. Based on this article that I was working off for my daughter's OCD.

The relevant passages:
When we experience stress, many people rally to the cause and increase their performance. Yet others seems to melt and fall apart under the same type of pressure. How can two different people under going the same type of stress have such different experiences? The answer lies in understanding how the COMT system influences the brain.
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A 2015 study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews highlights the fact that that 30% of people are homozygous (+/+) and 50% are heterozygous (+/-) for the COMT V158M allele. Amazingly, the same research article also revealed that the COMT V158M polymorphism slows down the COMT system by 300%! And if you slow something down in your body by 300% you don’t have to have a PhD to know it can impact your health.
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Remember this: your genes are NOT your destiny but they are your TENDENCY! I love educating patients that just because you have a gene for something doesn’t mean it will be a problem. In fact, the environment inside the body is many times more important than the genes you have. Yet we cannot ignore that certain genes do influence how we feel. And without a doubt the COMT gene has a massive influence on how we feel on a day-to-day basis in our modern, toxic, stressed-out world!
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When the level of dopamine in the frontal lobe is balanced and optimized, your brain is working at its best. In contrast, if dopamine levels in the frontal lobe fall too low you become depressed; if they increase too much you become anxious, worrisome and have difficulty with memory and brain fog. Its fair to say that the symptoms many people are suffering with on a daily basis are due to imbalanced dopamine levels. These catecholamines are so powerful that when they are out of balance, we are out of balance!
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  • COMT V158M +/+ – These individuals have the slowest COMT system, therefore they have the highest levels of dopamine at a steady, resting state. They are going to have higher performance and more brain function in low stress states, but will lose brain function as the number of stressors increases.
At any rate the entire article is a good read and the "Dopamine Curve" is something that needs to be understood by anyone dealing with COMT issues.

For me I am COMT V158M+/- (daughter is ++).

I grabbed a bunch of dopamine reducing supplements. These all have different mechanisms of action. Licorice Root slows the production of Dopamine while Noni acts as a Dopamine antagonist at 2 receptors. I've just got in today some White Mulberry Leaf capsules and have had a very good response today. Not sure of the exact mechanism but is said to lower "excess" dopamine.

I have been very stressed lately, especially due to the political goings on in this country and suffered a lot of brain fog during this time.Indeed realized that when stressed I do get a lot of brain fog and it is "lasting". The Noni I tried first and 2 capsules the first day and 1 the second relieved my brain fog for almost a week. That second day I was amazed at how quickly my mental ability and sharpness returned!! AND I lost my "anxious edge" that I always seem to carry. I was feeling calm and peaceful but alert. This has been a lifelong condition for me that it wasn't until recent years I realized I had. Sometimes I think you assume everyone's brain chemistry is the same as yours.

There was a Noni side effect that I would feel a little "off". It's hard to explain but this kept me on the hunt for a better supplement. The White Mulberry today settled me down without this side effect so far.

I have tried many supplements for brain fog. I think the MB12 helped somewhat with the other DQ supps but not a reliable solution for me. I think my brain fog has increased and decreased with my stress level and I believe now I understand why.

Going back to my daughter who is COMT++ and I know that Vitamin D was very helpful for her for a few weeks then she would go downhill (I initially suspected the Vitamin D was depleting a cofactor). I've seen this twice now. When I went looking I found that Vitamin D can increase dopamine levels. So this made sense. I was careful not to give her too many methyl donors but someone with COMT++ probably should also be very careful ingesting anything that can increase dopamine. I saw the effect of this in her when I have her a D5000 on two different occasions and one day she spent a few hours in the sun. Same behavior for each event, very anxious and OCD very strong.

I'm guessing she has my stress issue with dopamine and possibly much worse due to her genetics.

So (and referring to the "dopamine curve" in the article)... for her I think she needs the Vitamin D because somehow it is helping substantially (This article says "Vitamin D activates the genes that release dopamine and serotonin") but at the same time she should take something to lower dopamine. If she is feeling more anxious/OCD strong then more dopamine reducing supps. If she is leaning toward depression then more vitamin D.

Links:
http://www.beyondmthfr.com/treating-comt-and-mao-how-comt-influences-the-brain/
http://eneuro.org/content/3/3/ENEURO.0122-15.2016
http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/the-benefits-of-vitamin-d-why-its-the-sexiest-vitamin-around/
 
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dannybex

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Interesting. I like Dr. Rostenburg -- he helped me stop my muscle loss w/a few suggestions (in a Facebook group) -- when no one else could.

Thanks for the link @sregan -- will check it out later.
 

jason30

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Interesting findings! I wonder how your daughter is doing now after these findings? Did it work out with the vitamin D?
 

sregan

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@jason30 While supplements were helpful it was taking too much time and who knows if the final outcome would have been something to let her get on with her life. Fortunately or unfortunately the drug route had better success in the shorter run. She's on zoloft now and started her first job last Oct.