You may recall we’ve been talking more and more of late about epigenetics, the study of gene mutations that can affect the way particular genes are expressed. We’ve long known that everyone is born with a certain set of genes, but over the last several decades, researchers have been looking into how external stressors and influences, whether environmental, physiological or psychological, can all influence how these genes are expressed. In a nutshell, this is the study of epigenetics. 

Literally translating to “over and above genetics,” epigenetics encompasses not only the genes themselves but how the body’s natural function combines with outside forces to contribute to gene mutations that cause a myriad of conditions, including anxiety, low mood and other mood disorders.   

Are Mood Disorders Genetic?

Genetics obviously play a giant role in the diagnosis of any mood disorder, but there is not depression or anxiety gene per se.  While it’s true that a combination of inherited genes make a person more susceptible to an anxiety disorder, it is now known that outside factors — inflammation caused by fat cells, extreme stress, substance abuse and environmental toxins, as well as, physiological input experienced through trauma or negative human relationships — interact to determine whether those genes are expressed and the susceptibility comes to fruition.  While not a genetic defect, it is a mutation in the genetic material of the brain cells that can affect whether mood disorders are triggered.

It stands to reason then, that if these external factors can lead to these conditions, they can also be changed to improve them, and more and more of the latest research supports this. Nutrigenomic testing tells us how.

Compared to traditional blood panels first-round tests in mainstream medicine, gene testing gives a more complete picture of a patient’s health by revealing possible deficiencies or mutations in five key areas: methylation, neurotransmission, mitochondrial function, detoxification, and inflammation. Those are all impressive sounding words that don’t mean a lot to the lay public, but to a holistic health professional, can reveal dysfunction in one or more of these five areas to provide a very interesting and precise correlation to a patient’s symptoms.

For low mood and anxiety sufferers, gene testing can reveal how epigenetic influences on brain cell function have altered expression, as well as how to proceed in treatment to suppress expression and find relief.

The latest research is very exciting because it shows encouraging evidence that making positive lifestyle changes will improve outcome for anxiety sufferers.  In mild cases, these changes may be enough on their own, in serious cases, nutrition, supplementation, exercise, and stress management can work in tandem with mainstream protocols.

If you suffer from anxiety or low mood (sometimes called depression), let’s discuss how epigenetic testing can help you.  

Learn more about Nutrigenetic Testing