Understanding and Managing the Slow COMT Gene: Insights for a Healthier You

February 16, 2024 5 mins to read
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As an integrative nutrition student, heavily researched into NutriGenetics, today I’m going to briefly go over a slow COMT gene and a few tips to address it using holistic nutrition.

What is the Slow COMT Gene?

The COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) gene plays a critical role in breaking down dopamine and other catecholamines in the body. A variant known as the “slow COMT gene” leads to a reduced ability in processing these neurotransmitters, making individuals more sensitive to stress and prone to anxiety. This variant is prevalent in about 20-30% of Caucasians of European ancestry.

Slow COMT Symptoms and Health Effects

Individuals with the slow COMT gene may experience:

  • Heightened sensitivity to stress and traumatic events
  • Increased anxiousness
  • Issues with blood sugar balance
  • Weight management challenges
  • Enhanced memory and cognitive function

Managing the Slow COMT Gene: A Holistic Approach to a Slow COMT Diet

1. Slow COMT Diet Adjustments:

  • B Vitamins & Magnesium: These are crucial for supporting methylation and COMT function over-all.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Limit caffeine and alcohol, as they trigger catechol release. Also, reducing high-protein foods containing amino acids like tryptophan (e.g. turkey) and phenylalanine (e.g. meat, poultry, fish and dairy) is recommended.
  • Estrogen and Catechols: Avoid foods and products that mimic estrogen known as phytoestrogens, e.g.: soy and parabens. Include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and flaxseed to help manage estrogen levels. A lot of women don’t regularly check-up hormone levels, change this and make hormones testing part of your regular Dr check-ups, at least a few time per year, especially if you are experiencing health issues or unfavorable symptoms.

2. Lifestyle Modifications:

  • Exercise: opt for moderate exercise, avoiding overly strenuous activities that can increase catechols. Exercises like: walking, yoga, bicycling, swimming, qi dong and Pilates are all great examples of moderate intensity exercises; a health coach or fitness trainer is useful here.
  • Stress Management: Implement stress reduction techniques like: meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. Western medicine largely fails to recognize the physiological impact of stress and how it contributes to disease it does and you need to do something about it; a counselor can be useful here.
  • Sleep Hygiene: Ensure regular sleep patterns, reduce exposure to artificial light at night, and create a calm sleeping environment. If you haven’t gotten methylation testing, I encourage you to do so, as other mutations such as an MTHFR mutation can play a significant role in sleep; when I started supplementing with methyl folate my sleep improved drastically.

3. Dr. Ben Lynch’s ‘Soak and Scrub’ Protocol:

  • Phase 1: Focuses on foundational health practices like: eating right, getting enough sleep, and minimizing exposure to toxins. Simply taking a methylated supplement, without addressing these foundational elements is like trying to run on ice…you’re sabotaging your own efforts with expensive supplements; there’s no magic bullet solution.
  • Phase 2 – Spot Cleaning: This phase is more personalized, addressing specific symptoms and further refining diet and lifestyle adjustments. You should work with a professional – book a video call with someone from JD Nutrition.

4. Supplementation:

  • While supplements can play a role, Dr. Lynch advises against their indiscriminate use. Instead, he suggests a pulse method, reducing the dose once improvements are felt.

Check out my shop which contains the supplement I recommend and use with my clients in my professional practice. One of my favorite brands is Truehope Empower Plus – Methylated Advanced – One of the most studied micronutrient formulas with 36 essential nutrients including methylfolate and methylcobalmin. The company and supplement has hundreds of rave reviews and backing it a team of naturopaths and nutrition experts, which provide free support with your purchase, and can help you manage your medications.

5. Understanding Your Genes:

  • Knowledge about your genetic makeup can empower you to make informed health decisions. Remember, genes are not your destiny. With the right lifestyle choices, you can positively influence your gene expression. Epigenetics teaches us that genes can be turned on and off; and Dr. Ben Lynch confirms this showing how genes can act ‘dirty’ or ‘clean’ depending on various diet and lifestyle factors.

Conclusion

Living with the slow COMT gene requires a nuanced approach, balancing dietary choices, lifestyle changes, and possibly supplementation it doesn’t hurt to work with a nutrition professional with knowledge of nutrigenetics. By understanding your genetic predisposition and adapting your lifestyle accordingly, you can enhance your overall well-being and mitigate the effects of this genetic variant.

Remember, these suggestions are for informational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional or genetic counselor before making significant changes to your lifestyle or diet based on your COMT gene status.

Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow my socials to keep posted on new information to clean your genes! Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments on this post or in my socials. Let’s embark on this journey to cleaner genes and better health; naturally! 🌿💪

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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