Your DNA makeup highly influences your dopamine pathway a fact demonstrated by many scientific studies and analysed by the world-leading health & fitness DNA testing company : AnabolicGenes.com
COMT gene and DRD2 gene both significantly affect your dopamine.
Dopamine is a famous neurotransmitter produced by your own body from your nutritional consumption of an amino acid known as l-tyrosine. This amino acid is especially found in foods rich in protein like milk-based foods & products, chicken, meat, etc… This neurotransmitter is also a precursor compound to 2 additional crucial chemicals : noradrenaline & adrenaline.
The brain utilized these neuro-chemicals to deliver messages in the form of electrochemical impulses throughout the body and, hence, control all of the functions of the body.
Dopamine modulates several functions within your body and your nervous system. It regulates motor action, modulates eating habits, assists to regulate the flow of blood via the arteries, leads to a high intellectual performance, etc… Moreover, it leads to the function of the autonomic nervous system and is involved in modulating the secretion of hormones from the pituitary-gland.
Increasing dopamine production is the target of many drugs such as cocaine, ritalin, coffee, etc…
COMT gene influences your dopamine.
The function of the COMT enzyme is the degradation/reuptake of the neurotransmitter dopamine. rs4680 is a well-known polymorphism encoding the COMT protein with both a methionine (Met) or valine (Val).The COMT Met variant (A version) is correlated with higher dopamine levels because of a lower enzyme activity. In contrast, the Val variation of COMT (G version) is linked with increased COMT enzyme activity, and consequently lower levels of dopamine in the brain.
In experiments carried out mostly in people that were younger, the Met variant of COMT has been demonstrated to be associated with better cognitive function. Fiocco, et al., nonetheless, identified that it was the Val variant of COMT that was associated with less cognitive decline over the course of eight years in the elders they analyzed. In both black & white subjects, the Val variation was linked with smaller reductions in Digit Symbol Substitution test results. With smaller declines in Modified Mini-Mental State Examination scores just, this variant was significant in white subjects.
As noticed in our previous blog post, the COMT gene is also responsible to dictate the effects of green tea when it comes to fat loss and energy expenditure.
COMT gene doesn’t act alone. DRD2 gene is an other one that influences dopamine pathway.
In our last article, we talked about how the DRD2 gene influences your response to chromium supplements. There are two types of DRD2 receptors : DRD2 long isoform (DRD2L) and DRD2 short isoform (DRD2S). Unlike DRD2L which increases dopamine activity, DRD2S is an autoreceptor (= modulates dopamine release by inhibiting dopamine release upon activation). The TaqI polymorphism in the DRD2 gene has been demonstrated in various studies to significantly modulate DRD2S/DRD2L production. The A allele carriers are likely to produce significantly lower DRD2S and are more likely to have addictive behaviors with food or any drug/lifestyle that could increase dopamine levels. This is due to the fact that, as they produce less DRD2S, the dopamine signal is turned always on when increasing their dopamine levels leading to a greater well-being feeling (= addictive effect). DRD2S may also inhibit TH synthesis (as seen above, TH converts L-Tyrosine to L-Dopa).
Interestingly, an other study found that in A allele carriers, during reward anticipation, more motivation leads to a significantly higher working memory performance, whereas the carriers of two C alleles did not. An association of DRD2 gene TaqI polymorphism with mood disorders was found in overall population, and the individuals with AA genotype were more susceptible to mood disorders in comparison to those with AC and CC genotypes. Moreover, Kazantseva A. research team demonstrated that CC genotypes have higher odds for higher novelty seeking and lower reward dependency. In contrast, A allele carriers are more prone to neurototicism.
In conclusion : Both genes are only one part of the puzzle
Even if they have a significant effect, COMT gene and DRD2 gene are only one part of the equation. At AnabolicGenes, we don’t only test these 2 genes to determine your dopamine pathway efficiency. We also test genes that are significantly involved in the dopamine synthesize pathway such as TH gene (Tyrosine Hydroxylase, Function: converts L-tyrosine to L-DOPA); DDC gene (Dopa Decarboxylase, Function: converts L-DOPA to Dopamine).
In collaboration with GenetiConcept’s health dna testing team
Keywords: comt gene, drd2 gene