Mood Disorders & Neurotransmitters

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, cognitive function, memory, and sleep — all are related to how your neurotransmitters function. Your neurotransmitter genes interact with your lifestyle and environment to impact your risk of depression and other mood disorders. 

Please keep in mind that the information here is for educational purposes — learn, understand, and talk with your doctor if you have medical questions.  

PMS and Your Genes

A lot of women know the moodiness and brain fog that comes with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Studies estimate that PMS is up to 95% heritable - which means that it has a huge genetic component. Learn about the genes and find out which solutions may actually work for you.

Depression, Genetics, and Circadian Rhythm

For some people, circadian disruption can be chronic – and at the heart of depression or mood disorders. Genetic variants play a role in this susceptibility. Fortunately, there are solutions that may help. ​

GABA: Genetic variants that impact this inhibitory neurotransmitter

GABA (gamma-Aminobuyteric acid) is a neurotransmitter that acts to block or inhibit a neuron from firing. It is an essential way that the brain regulates impulses, and low GABA levels are linked with several conditions including anxiety and PTSD.

Anxiety and Genetics

This article covers genetic variants related to anxiety disorders. Genetic variants combine with environmental factors (nutrition, sleep, relationships, etc), when it comes to anxiety. There is not a single "anxiety gene". Instead, there are many genes that can be involved - and many genetic pathways to target for solutions.

Cortisol and HPA Axis Dysfunction

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in times of stress, and it also plays many roles in your normal bodily functions. It is a multi-purpose hormone that needs to be in the right amount (not too high, not too low) and at the right time. Your genes play a big role in how likely you are to have problems with cortisol.

BDNF + Serotonin Variants: Increased risk of depression and anxiety

Genetic variants in the BDNF and serotonin receptor genes combine to increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Learn more about BDNF and how these variants interact -- and check your genetic data to see how this applies to you.

Dopamine Receptors Influence Neurological Issues

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.

Dopamine Fasting: Genetics, Addiction, and Internet Usage

Genetics plays a role in susceptibility to addictive behavior, including internet and smartphone addiction.This article takes a look at the new trend of ‘dopamine fasting’ and then digs into the research on smartphone usage disorder.

MTHFR and Depression

We are all genetically unique, and a common genetic variant in the MTHFR gene causes some people to be more susceptible to having low folate levels. This article explains the research linking MTHFR variants, folate, and depression -- and gives you information on how diet or supplements may help.

Seasonal Depression: Genetic variants that cause the winter blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterized by recurrent depression with a change in the season usually in fall/winter for most. Scientists think this is possibly due to an aberrant response to light - either not enough brightness to the sunlight or not enough hours of light. Your genes play a big role in this responsiveness to light.

check your 23andMe data for serotonin gene mutations

Serotonin Genes: Creation and use of serotonin as a neurotransmitter

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is important in depression, sleep, and many other aspects of health. Learn how your genetic variants in the serotonin receptor genes impact their function.

Bipolar Disorder and Depression are linked to Circadian Rhythm

New research shows that depression and bipolar disorder are linked to changes or disruption in circadian genes. Some people carry genetic variants in the circadian genes that make them more susceptible to circadian disruption.

COMT Gene: Balancing Neurotransmitters

Wondering why your neurotransmitters are out of balance? It could be due to your COMT genetic variants. The COMT gene codes for the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase which breaks down (metabolizes) the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Modafinil Response: Not effective for everyone

For some, modafinil works great as a medication for narcolepsy and as a nootropic. Others may have little response. The difference lies in the COMT gene variants.

Childhood Trauma and Altered Cortisol Levels as an Adult

Exposure to childhood trauma, such as exposure to abuse, violence, or repeated stress, can have a long-lasting effect. Genetic differences in the CRHR1 gene are linked to elevated cortisol levels in adults who were exposed to trauma in childhood.

Tryptophan: The building block for serotonin and melatonin

Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin and melatonin. Genetic variants can impact the amount of tryptophan that is used for serotonin. This can influence mood, sleep, neurotransmitters, and immune response.

Lithium + B12: The bee's knees, for some people...

For some people, low-dose, supplemental lithium orotate is a game changer when combined with vitamin B12. But other people may have little to no response. The difference may be in your genes.