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.  

  • Nootropics and genetics
    Nootropics are supplements used to boost cognition and memory. Learn how the substance works and the genes connected to the mechanism of action.
  • Depression, genetics, and mitochondrial function
    How does mitochondrial dysfunction relate to major depressive disorder? Learn about the causes of mitochondrial dysfunction as well as genetic variants that link the risk of depression to the mitochondria.
  • Serotonin: How your genes affect this 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.
  • COMT and supplement interactions
    Some supplements interact with COMT variants to impact the rate at which neurotransmitters are broken down. Check your COMT genotype and discover how this may affect your reaction to different supplements or combinations of supplements.
  • Serotonin 2A receptor variants: psychedelics, brain aging, and Alzheimer’s disease
    Learn how new research on brain aging and dementia connects the serotonin 2A receptor with psychedelics, brain aging and Alzheimer’s.
  • Is inflammation causing your depression and anxiety? Inflammation genes and mood
    Discover why inflammation causes depression and how your genetic variants in inflammatory genes may play a role in depression or anxiety.
  • Lithium orotate and B12 make the world a happier place… 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.
  • 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. ​
  • Tryptophan: Building block for serotonin, melatonin, and kynurenine
    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.
  • 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. (Member’s article)
  • Brain & Mood Topic Summary
    Utilize our Brain & Mood Topic Summary Reports with your 23andMe or AncestryDNA genetic data to see which articles may be most relevant to you. These summaries are attempting to distill the complex information down into just a few words. Please see the linked articles for details and complete references. (Member’s article)
  • 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.
  • Genetics and Anxiety
    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.
  • Genetics of Seasonal Affective Disorder
    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.
  • Dopamine Fasting: Genetics, Addictive Behavior, 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.
  • Choline – An Essential Nutrient
    An essential nutrient, your need for choline from foods is greatly influenced by your genes. Find out whether you should be adding more choline into your diet.
  • COMT – A gene that affects your neurotransmitter levels
    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.
  • Our Body’s Response to Cannabis (CNR1 gene): A Look into Dependency Risk
    Discover how genetic variants influence your susceptibility to substance abuse, and how the variants impact your body’s reaction to cannabis. (Member’s article)
  • Bipolar disorder, depression, and circadian clock genes
    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.
  • The Interaction Between BDNF and Serotonin
    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 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.
  • Hacking your migraines: solutions personalized for you
    Your genes play a role in your susceptibility to migraines. Find out what is going on when you have a migraine and solutions that fit your genes.
  • CBD Oil and Your Genes: Will it work for you?
    Why do some people get such great benefits from CBD while others notice nothing? It is likely that your genes play a role in how your body responds to CBD. This article covers the research studies on CBD, the receptors that CBD binds to, and how your genetic variants could be influencing your response (or lack thereof) to CBD oil. (Member’s article)
  • HPA Axis Dysfunction: Genes and Environment
    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. (Member’s article)
  • Opioid Receptor Genetic Variants
    Genetic variants in the ORPM1 gene impact both the amount of pain someone experiences and their response to opioid drugs. These variants are also important in susceptibility to opiate addiction. (Member’s article)
  • 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. Genetic differences in the CRHR1 gene are linked to elevated cortisol levels in adults who were exposed to trauma in childhood.
  • BDNF variants: introversion, stress resilience, cognition, and depression
    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that works in the central and peripheral nervous system to promote nerve function and growth. Genetic variants that decrease BDNF have links to a number of brain and nervous system-related issues. (Member’s article)
  • Circadian Rhythm Genes: Mood Disorders
    Circadian rhythm disruption can drive mood disorders. Learn more about the genes involved and the ways to normalize your circadian rhythm.
  • Hacking BDNF for weight loss
    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a fascinating growth hormone that performs many functions in our brain. Its involvement helps to support neurons and neuronal growth. In addition, it plays a role in long-term memory — and it also is important in obesity.
  • Is the nootropic drug modafinil likely to work for you?
    Modafinil is being used as a nootropic drug that increases alertness and gives a sense of well-being — to some users. Like most drugs, individual results seem to vary. Discover if this could be a viable option for you.