GUEST POST: Happiness…Could the Key be in Your Genes

by me

Written by Stephanie Correa
Original found here: http://onthegowellnesscoaching.com/articles/happinesscould-the-key-be-in-your-genes

9/1/2015

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Many people I know would be surprised to find out I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life. I chose early on to hide it, when I saw how uncomfortable people around me were when I shared what I was going through. I learned and created techniques to manage and hide it from even those closest to me. I don’t always win the battles and as a mom, whenever I felt it building up beyond my ability to hide it, I intentionally watched sad movies, so my crying wouldn’t worry or confuse my son as he grew up. With all my efforts to shield him, I was unable to prevent him from also experiencing the despair, anxiety and debilitation depression can infuse people with. His depression and anxiety worsened when he experienced a long-term illness, surgery and failed care by medical professionals. During his darkest days I was constantly fearful his despair would win and he would leave this world.

Through the darkness, however there can often be gifts. Directly after his surgery in 2014 we were advised by his doctor of the importance of managing his pain through medication. He was prescribed three narcotic pain killers, which we unfortunately discovered he was unable to feel. Doubling the dosage, per the advice of his doctor, he still felt nothing stating it was as if he was taking nothing at all. Frustratingly our doctor thought we were lying. Prior to abandoning him, his doctor did say one thing that stood out, she told me she had heard there were genetic mutations that could affect a person’s ability to metabolize pain medication.

It took all of 2014 for my son to recover from both the surgery and residual fatigue. As he healed, I researched gene mutations affecting narcotic metabolism and in the spring of 2015 decided to have him genetically tested. What we discovered was shocking, revealing and incredibly empowering.

We discovered he has a genetic mutation that prevents him from making the enzyme necessary for metabolizing a majority of narcotic pain medications. 3% of the population has this mutation. We also learned there are two medications he can take since they don’t require that particular enzyme to be metabolized. Mystery solved!!

The biggest gift, however, came from the discovery of two other mutations on a gene called MTHFR which methylates folate (Vitamin B9). Methylation of folate makes it possible for our bodies to utilize it. Folate has many important functions, one of which is to facilitate the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine our feel good hormones/neurotransmitters. The power of happiness really can be in your genes!!

After researching and factoring in several additional gene mutations, we began supplementing with methylated folate (aka:  L-5-MTHF, L-Methylfolate, Folicinic Acid) and noticed a difference within just a few days. With strategic supplementation based on his genetic mutations, a decade of despair and months of intense anxiety attacks were finally lifting!!

MTHFR gene mutations aren’t limited to contributing to depression. Here are several other diseases and symptoms resulting from unsupported MTHFR genetic mutations:

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With the gift of seeing my son begin to smile and laugh again and watching his quality of life improve dramatically after just a few weeks, I decided to have my genetics tested as well. I  learned I also have MTHFR gene mutations. To give you a better picture of what I’m talking about, here is how my particular MTHFR gene mutations look on my report:

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The red Result +/+, indicates I have two mutations of MTHFR C677T which means I am methylating folate at only 10% of functionality. In this scenario I learned supplementation support is incredibly important. If only one copy had been mutated the Result would have been marked as +/- and shaded yellow, indicating support would be helpful. Green (-/-) indicates there are no mutations on the MTHFR A1298C gene.

Interestingly, 40% of the population has MTHFR genetic mutations and 38% of people with depression have a folate deficiency. Not a big difference between those two numbers. If you or someone you know suffers from depression and anxiety (or any of the diseases/symptoms above), genetic testing might be worth looking into and hopefully offer a personalized pathway to feeling healthy and HAPPY.

How does someone get their genetics tested, where can you find the reports and is the process expensive? 

With genetic testing and reporting available, we have better access than ever to a road map to improved health and well-being personalized from our DNA. The reports make it possible to have a conversation with your doctor and/or health care provider, where together you can identify areas in need of support and decide how best to fill those areas in.

Below I’ve listed the company I used to order our genetic testing kits, pricing and websites with reporting platforms I found very helpful and informative.

Genetic Testing:
1) Request a DNA Kit from www.23andme.com

  • This costs around $199 plus tax & shipping.
  • The testing is through a saliva sample.
  • Note this is an ancestry site; however it will house your raw genetic data which is important when you are ready to run reports from the data.
  • The testing can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 8 weeks before your results will be ready. It is truly worth the wait!

Genetic Data Reporting Platforms:
1)   www.knowyourgenetics.com

  • Free.
  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • A great site for supplementation recommendations you can go over with your doctor.
  • Very informative for explaining gene mutations and the methylation cycle.

2)   www.geneticgenie.org

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Methylation Report is $10. Methylation report provides a summary of information about gene mutations found in your Methylation report.
  • Detoxification Report is $5 (this report shows how well you are able to handle toxins).
  • These two reports are concise and handy to go over with your doctor.

3)  www.promethease.com

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Report costs $5.
  • A comprehensive and informative report with details specific to how well you handle medications, diseases you may or may not be at risk for, fat metabolism, etc.
  • Interesting, but can also be a bit overwhelming.
  • Access to data expires after 45 days. You can save the information to a spreadsheet for your records.

4)   www.mthfrsupport.com

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Report costs between $30 and $50 depending upon whether they are running a special offer.
  • Comprehensive Report. Not all genetic mutations listed are easy to find health and supplementation recommendations.

There are several websites, books and YouTube presentations on the topic of MTHFR and other gene mutations, which you may discover down the road. The first step, however is to find out whether you need support or not and then begin the journey of mapping out your personalized path to feeling your best.

The information related to Epigenetics and Nutrigenomics is vast, but incredibly fascinating. Please share your stories and let me know if there are areas you would like to know more about. This topic is near and dear to my heart and if I can find ways, through my blog, to help clarify and provide you with resources to healing, it would be my great pleasure to do so!
 

http://onthegowellnesscoaching.com/articles/happinesscould-the-key-be-in-your-genes

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