The COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) gene encodes the COMT enzyme, which is an important catabolic enzyme, especially in the prefrontal cortex, where it degrades catecholamines. Since the COMT enzyme is involved in the degradation of catechol estrogens, genetic mutations that decrease enzymatic activity can lead to elevations in catechol estrogens, which have been shown to damage DNA and have carcinogenic potential. Higher levels of COMT enzymatic activity also result in decreased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.
The COMT gene is involved in the methylation pathway and testing its function is an important component of your anti-ageing strategy. Think of billions of on/off switches that control most of your body’s functions such as:
When methylation is working, it helps you feel full of energy, in a good mood, and optimally well. When it is not working, you can feel tired, depressed, irritable, run-down, susceptible to infections, foggy-brained, and toxic.
- Brain chemistry important for mood, anxiety, and stress
- Immune function
- Controlling inflammation
- Energy production
- Detoxification of chemicals and toxins
- Cardiovascular health
COMT genetic pathway is also involved in phase 2 liver detox:
- A common mutation in COMT, the conversion of the amino acid valine to methionine at position 158 causes a dramatic reduction in its ability to break down neurotransmitters
- Since COMT is central to dopamine metabolism, mutations are associated with lowered stress resiliency, increased sensitivity to pain, and the propensity to worry
- COMT also plays a role in estrogen metabolism and may lower the cancer-causing potential of metabolites