The COMT gene polymorphism may be an issue for you or your loved one suffering from mental health issues. This is apparent to those who have tried the MTHFR approach and have gotten better than immediately worse on methyl folate supplementation. Many people who start methyl folate feel better at first and get relief, then suddenly feel worse. They can get filled with aggression, torment panic attacks, and crying spells. Now back to COMT – mutations have been associated with ADHD, depression, and autism. Now there are those with a fast COMT, and those with a slow COMT. Those who have a fast COMT have lower dopamine available and may do worse with numerical tasks. These people always tend to go for that cup of coffee.
Dopamine and other catecholamines are to be at the right amount for the individual. Having a lot can create anxiety, but a certain amount is necessary for focus, concentration, and motivation.
There are treatments, from pharmaceutical COMT inhibitors such as tolcapone and entacapone. Or a natural approach such as green tea and epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC), which can inhibit COMT activity as well. A supplement good for a fast COMT is L-tyrosine. This increases dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. What also helps is a high protein diet.
Now, a slow COMT is more difficult to treat because you may find more aggression and anxiety in the sufferer. These people may be stressed easily, and panic often. There are conventional approaches such as SSRIs or benzodiazepines, this only helps partially for anxiety with people who have a slow COMT. What is better for a person with a slow COMT is the supplement SAM-e and the mineral magnesium. Magnesium is very calming and also increases serotonin activity the way an SSRI would. Another note is a higher protein diet may make these individuals more irritable. These people may also be under methylators by a different approach to healing by Walsh. Check out my post on under methylation for more information. These people may need treatment for the long term to get relief from symptoms. Sam-e or methionine is usually the go-to supplement choice for these individuals.
Testing of catecholamines, metanephrines, and vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) can be beneficial to you. The COMT is the enzyme that will methylate norepinephrine to normetanephrine, and epinephrine to metanephrine. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) converts both metanephrines to VMA. See a practitioner who can look for a pattern of elevated catecholamines and low metanephrines, as that usually reflects slow COMT activity.
I would advise speaking with a practitioner to find out if the COMT gene is what is going on with you. You can speak to a practitioner of your choice above or click here at mytelemedicine. They have practitioners like nutritionists that can help and are available 24/7.
Mental Health Conditions associated with a fast COMT:
Addiction disorders with drugs and alcohol, gambling, or video games
Mental Health Conditions associated with a slow COMT:
ADD with hyperactivity
Bipolar Disorder – especially mania