The Interaction Between BDNF and Serotonin

The more I learn about genetics, the more I appreciate how intricate and complex we humans are as a biological system. What do I mean by this? Most of the genetic variants, or SNPs, that people carry don’t have a huge impact on their…

Dopamine Receptor Genes

Dopamine is a powerful player in our cognitive function – impacting mood, movement, and motivation. Genetic variants in the dopamine receptors influence addiction, ADHD, neurological diseases, depression, psychosis, and aggression. Please keep in mind as you read this article that I’m not a neuroscientist…

Tryptophan: Building serotonin and melatonin

For a lot of people, tryptophan brings to mind napping on the couch after eating a huge amount of Thanksgiving turkey. (Turns out that it isn’t really true that the tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy – but the post Thanksgiving dinner nap phenomenon…

Hacking your migraines: solutions personalized for you

Migraine plague more than a billion people worldwide;  women are affected three times more often than men. [ref] That is a lot of people who know the pain, mental fogginess, sensitivity to light, and overwhelming desire to crawl into a dark hole and hide…

Opioid Receptor Genetic Variants

Your body makes it’s own, natural opioids as a way to regulate pain, reward, and addictive behaviors. One example is the endorphin rush after a hard workout — a runner’s high.  This is also how the body shuts down too much pain. Genetic variants,…

Resilience: Genetic Variants Involved in Surviving Childhood Trauma

Exposure to childhood trauma, such as exposure to abuse, violence, or repeated stress, can have a long-lasting effect. Adults who were exposed to childhood trauma have higher rates of depression, PTSD, suicide, and anxiety disorders. The question that researchers have attempted to answer is: Why…

The cheese effect and your genes.

Subtitled: Let’s all try not to have a heart attack this Christmas! Let me set the scene: You’re gathered ’round on Christmas Eve for a get together with all of your family, having traveled from far and wide. Your uncle brings his “special family recipe” of summer…

Do you wake up at 4am?

I used to wake up often between 3:30 and 4:00 in the morning. It was so irritating not to be able to fall back to sleep –or even worse, to fall back to sleep just a half hour before I needed to wake up. …

BDNF variants: introversion, stress resilience, depression

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that works in the central and peripheral nervous system to promote nerve function and growth. It also works in the neurons of the brain both in forming neurons and in long-term memory formation. BDNF also is involved…

Circadian Rhythm Genes: Mood Disorders

Roosters crowing at the first crack of daylight. Morning glories unfurling their blooms as the sun rises in the sky. Lightning bugs flickering just as dusk falls. Most people intuitively understand that plants respond to sunlight, using photosynthesis to produce energy and store sugar…