Being genetically predisposed to a poor metabolism of dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline is a major root-cause of burnout and other diseases of chronic stress

Your genes hold the key of how your body works. Your genes cannot be changed, but the way they work for you can!

Only until recently (28th May 2019) the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared “burn-out” as a syndrome. In other words, as a real disease requiring a real treatment that works.  
 
Burn-out is the result of chronic stress that is unmanaged. Proper stress management is a whole lifestyle in and of itself, a philosophy and art of living that we ought to practice every day of our lives in order to keep the hormones of stress (mainly cortisol) at bay and avoid it from disrupting our other hormones, our neurotransmitters, and the optimal functioning of organs like our heart and brain. Stress is ubiquitous and a part of life. Stress alone is not the problem. The problem is living a life that is too stressful and never doing anything of value, consistently enough, to support our body and mind from its devastating effects, from the inside-out.
 
One of the factors that cause people’s health to go down-hill when under chronic stress, is their genes. Predispositions to a poor metabolism of dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline – a very common phenomenon, as a matter of fact- is a major contributing factor in the development of burn-out, anxiety, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, high blood pressure, panic disorder, nervousness, fibromyalgia, or even cancer. But unfortunately, mainstream doctors don’t offer genetic testing to detect genetic underlying root-causes to their patients’ health problems.
 
People born with a genetic flaw or SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) at their gene COMT (catechol-o-transferase), experience higher levels of the excitatory brain chemical dopamine, and the adrenal hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which makes them feel wired, stressed, anxious, and exhausted easily. 
 
Luckily, although our genes cannot be changed, the environmental factors influencing their expression can. This is done with epigenetics, the science that studies how our behaviors and environment can modify the way our genes work (1). In functional medicine we use genetic testing a lot. I personally love the methylation panel, a functional test that helps me pinpoint variants of the COMT gene to better support my clients with burn-out and other diseases of stress like anxiety, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, auto-immune disorders, and more.  
 
Poor COMT activity is improved with fish oils (which protect the brain from inflammation); phosphatidylserine (a potent amino-acid that brings spikes of cortisol down); and antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, alpha lipoic acid, glutathione, or CoQ10, which protect the brain, the vessels, and other organs from the damaging effects of cortisol and chronic inflammation. A good multi-mineral that includes boron and magnesium is essential. Adaptogenic herbs like Rhoidola, Ginseng, Ashwagandha and Basil are crucial too. Natural brain excitation modulators like L-Theanine and GABA, daily exercise, yoga, and meditation -proven to lower cortisol (1), (2), (3), (4)- , a diet rich in organic animal protein and organic fresh vegetables, and a daily B complex in its methylated form are always included in my individualised prescriptions.
1)-The CDC – Center For Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/epigenetics.htm
2)- J Med Assoc Thai. 2013 Jan;96 Suppl 1:S90-5.
3)- J Hypertens. 2017 Apr;35(4):696-706. doi:
4)- J Psychosom Res. 2014 May;76(5):341-51.

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