Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders, affecting millions of people worldwide. While environmental and psychological factors contribute to the development of these disorders, genetics also play a significant role. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are variations in DNA that can influence an individual’s susceptibility to depression and anxiety. Some of the SNPs associated with these disorders include:
• COMT: This gene is involved in the regulation of stress response and has been linked to increased susceptibility to depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that individuals with certain variants of this gene are more likely to develop these disorders following exposure to stress.
• SLC6A4: This gene encodes a protein that regulates the reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. SNPs in this gene have been associated with altered serotonin signaling and increased risk of depression and anxiety.
• BDNF: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein involved in the growth and survival of neurons. SNPs in the BDNF gene have been linked to decreased expression of the protein, which can lead to a higher risk of depression and anxiety.
The mechanism of action of these SNPs involves alterations in the functioning of various neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors, leading to changes in neural circuitry and cognitive processes. In some cases, these changes can increase an individual’s susceptibility to stress and negative life events, leading to the development of depression and anxiety.
Several nutrients and supplements can be used to bypass or improve the dysfunction associated with these SNPs. For example:
• Omega-3 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids have been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. They work by increasing the production of BDNF and regulating serotonin signaling.
• Magnesium: This mineral plays a critical role in neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity. Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety and help balance COMT.
• Vitamin D: This nutrient is essential for maintaining healthy brain function and regulating mood. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
• N-acetylcysteine (NAC): This supplement has antioxidant properties and can improve glutamate signaling, which is often dysregulated in depression and anxiety.
In conclusion, SNPs can contribute to the development of depression and anxiety by altering the functioning of various neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors. Nutrients and supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin D, and NAC can be used to bypass or improve the dysfunction associated with these SNPs. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen.
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