About The Warrior Gene (MAOA) And What To Do If You Have It

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I became more interested in the warrior gene after seeing it in an episode of “The Blacklist” (season 2 episode 4).

You can do the 23andme genetics test for $99.

Introduction to MAO-A

Monoamine oxidase An (MAO-A) is an enzyme in the brain that breaks down neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.

If we have high levels of this enzyme, it means we’ll have fewer neurotransmitters.

If we have low levels of this enzyme, we’ll have more  neurotransmitters.

MAO-A is not something we want to be too high or too low because in both situations it will cause different negative effects.

In our evolutionary history, high or low levels could have been advantageous in different environments.

MAO-A Gene Versions

There are a few main versions of a gene that produces MAO-A: 2R, 3R, 4R.    The ‘2R’ version of the gene results in the lowest MAO-A production,  while the ‘4R’ version results in the highest level of MAO-A, and the least aggression. 3R is somewhere in between.

So if you’ve got the 2R or 3R version, you’re going to produce less MAO-A and have more circulating adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.

It’s known as the “Warrior Gene” because 2R and 3R are associated with increased violence and aggressiveness- especially 2R.

How to Check Your MAO-A Enzyme Genes

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There is no SNP that perfectly correlates with 2-5R version.  There are only SNPs that correlate with these versions somewhat.  It depends on groups of SNPs and also on your gender.

You can check some SNPs from 23andme by looking for:

Rs909525 (MAOA Gene) – This is the best proxy for the number of repeats of the MAOA warrior gene.

If you have “TT” or just “T” (males), then you most probably have the less aggressive version.  T=Less Aggressive.

It was always “T” for people with the 4 or 5R non-Warrior version and always “C” in people with the 3R Warrior version. But if you are “C”, it doesn’t mean you have the warrior gene and if you are “T”, it doesn’t mean you don’t.  It just means it’s more likely.  C=More Aggressive.

On the other hand, men (but not females) with the T allele had higher rates of suicide compared to controls (70.5% vs 54%). (R)

The combination rs909525(T) AND rs6323(G) AND rs3027399(G) indicate specifically that it is the 5R version. The 2R version and the 3.5R version weren’t mentioned. (R)

Rs2064070 – Males with rs909525 (C), rs6323 (G) and rs2064070 (A) had higher scores on the scale measuring the expression of anger outwards. (R)  Females with  TT allele reported higher ‘‘spontaneous aggression.” (R)

Rs6323 (MAOA R297R Gene)  – The G or GG allele indicates higher levels of the enzyme, while the T allele indicates lower levels (T is the ‘risk’ allele).   In females, the G allele was associated with higher outward anger (p = 0.002) and it seems like G allele also causes aggression in males. (R)

The T allele was overrepresented in patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. (R) T=Anxiety.

Females with TT reported higher levels of ‘‘angry temperament’’.  Female suicide attempters with TT reported higher ‘‘self-aggression’’. (R)

Rs3027399 (MAOA) – The combination rs909525(A) AND rs6323(G) AND rs3027399(G) indicate specifically that it is the 5R version. The 2R version and the 3.5R version weren’t mentioned. (R)

Rs2235186 (MAOA Gene) was correlated with anger control traits of healthy female college students in China. (R)  I don’t know which allele was associated with more anger control.

Rs1799836 (MAOB) – Different gene, but why not include it.  “TT” was associated with being angry in both males and females. (R)

The Effects of High MAO-A Levels

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There’s some contradictory information, but I’m selecting the information that best fits in the overall picture.

People with major depressive disorder have an average of 34% more MAO-A in their brains.

Accordingly, people with high producing MAO-A genes are more likely to have  major depression, suicide and sleep disturbances.

This means that these neurotransmitters prevent major depression and can increase our mood, especially dopamine and serotonin.  Not surprising.

Abused children with genes causing high levels of MAO-A were less likely to develop antisocial behavior.

Effects of Low MAO-A Levels

People with the low-activity MAO-A gene (2R, 3R) are overall more prone to violence.

Specifically, when these people feel very provoked or socially isolated their aggression will come out.

People with low MAO-A are more likely to be risk takers.  They are also more likely to take revenge and use greater force if they get screwed over, but not for small screw overs.

Mice with low MAO-A are also more aggressive in general and are more likely to start turf wars.

People and mice with low MAO-A are more impulsive and aggressive.

People with low MAO-A who are abused as kids show more aggressive behavior as an adult.

People with low MAO-A (3R) who ALSO have high testosterone, poor living standards and/or low IQ are more prone to violence.

So the perfect violence soup is low MAO-A, social isolation, high testosterone, being poor and having a low IQ.

There are obviously other genes and factors involved in violence, but this post is about MAO-A.

MAOA and Cognitive Function

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There’s another SNP mutation (in rs6609257) that results in low visuospatial working memory and this is predictive of ‘maladaptive’ behavior (aggression, etc…). (R)

Specifically, the A allele of  rs6609257 is associated with more MAO-A and higher levels of working memory and G lower. (R)

See working memory with A vs G allele:

Screenshot 2014-12-21 00.59.31
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309555/figure/fig3/

MAOA and the Placebo Response

People who produce more MAO-A (MAO-A R297R G or GG) aren’t as affected by the placebo effect. (R)

Different Frequencies Among Racial Groups and Gender

The Warrior Gene was found to be more or less prevalent in different groups.

The 3R version, which produces less MAO-A, was found in 59% of Black men, 56% of Maori men (an aboriginal New Zealand group), 54% of Chinese men and 34% of Caucasian men.

The 2R version, which produces the least MAO-A, is found in 5.5% of Black men, 0.1% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men.

Women are less likely to have these genes.

Basic Fixes If You’re a Low MAO-A Producer

  • Ginkgo. When Ginkgo Biloba was administered to mice without MAOA, their aggressive behavior in confrontations was reduced to levels seen in normal mice (R)
  • Riboflavin is needed for MAOA, so make sure you take a good B Complex.

Advanced Fixes If You’re a Low MAO-A Producer

Screenshot 2014-12-08 23.44.16
http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/suppl_1/14.full.pdf

What To Do If You Have High MAO-A

The following are common supplements that might inhibit MAO-A, which means you want to be more careful before you take them if you’ve got low MAO-A genes and you might do better with these if you’re a high MAOA producer:

The effect for any of these aren’t too great, so I wouldn’t worry too much.  Also, many of these activate SIRT1, which increases MAOA activity (so it counterbalances).

Comments

  1. Phil

    I’ve taken the Warror Gene test on family tree.com. I’m a Caucasian Male mostly Spanish, German, English, and Scandinavian ancestry. I have both the 2r and 3r. Although I do not act out, I do think of violence often. Can anyone confirm if Ginko Biloba is effective in reducing impulsive/violent thoughts?

  2. Curious about something. I had my 23andme report done. I couldn’t find this test listed on my report, so I called the company. They don’t offer this. Said they never have. Where did you find the information? Thanks.

      • That’s actually not true. They were not shut down by the FDA. I have a friend that used them a few weeks ago. I got my report a few months ago. I spoke to them yesterday. Not sure where you got your information, but it’s wrong.

        • Nattha Wannissorn

          Right – not exactly shut down but they are allowed to give less info than they would to Canadians, if you know what I mean.

    • you have to look at your raw data (it’s on the site, on your personal info in the right upper hand) and see what’s noted for the MAO A and MAO B gene and compare it to what are the most common occurring genes in humans.

      23andme does no longer give medical interpretation of your genetic info, you have to look it up for yourself. They never gave an interpretation of the MAO A and B genes anyway.

      • Rebecca Rinker

        Exactly, spinninganna, you get raw data from 23andme and then you can run it through a number of websites which will analyze it for you, including selfdecode. I have run mine through several, getting mostly the same information with a few differences. The FDA issue has been resolved and 23andme is very careful about the health reports they do give out now, i.e. alzheimers risk and a few others. In general I have been very happy with the genetic information they provide as they have a lot of information regarding geneaology tracing your origins.

  3. Katie

    Hi I am noticing that your saying that ginkgo doesn’t inhibit MAO, but the article you sourced says that it does inhibit A and B… I am new to this… Just found out last night and I got ginkgo today, I must say I am feeling a lot worse. I am TT so my understanding is that I want to increase MAO activity right? I think I will try indian snake root.

  4. tom

    One thing that is not consistent for me is the fact that at the beginning is written:

    “If we have high levels of this enzyme, it means we’ll have less neurotransmitters.
    If we have low levels of this enzyme, we’ll have more neurotransmitters.”

    And later we can see the following section:

    “Rs6323 (MAOA R297R Gene) – The G or GG allele indicates higher levels of the enzyme, while the T allele indicates lower levels (T is the ‘risk’ allele). In females, the G allele was associated with higher outward anger (p = 0.002) and it seems like G allele also causes aggression in males. (R) G=More Aggression.

    The T allele was overrepresented in patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. (R) T=Anxiety.”

    For me these fragments are little contradictory. Higher levels of MAOA enzyme means less neurotransmitters so less agression, am I right? Then, T = More Agression (not G).

  5. another thing concerning MAO A and the high dopamine as a result from it: colon motility is governed by the balance between dopamine and serotonine. Dopamine slows it down, serotonine speeds things up.

    For example: many anti-depressants have looser stools as a side effect because of higher serotonine. On the other hand: here’s a doctor who cured Crohn’s disease because his patient had too high serotonine and too low dopamine. By just supplementing precursors they corrected the balance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108661/

    I suspect many of us, with high dopamine because MAO A is slacking, have a slow transit colon. I know I have. Currently I’m taking 5-htp (precursor to serotonine) as a trial to see if that has an effect and things are happy. Gut is less tired, I’m more energetic. My main goal is to see if my body can remain calm at night and sleep through but that’s not working it seems. However: I feel very good with higher serotonine and better gut function.

    Higher serotonine will make MAO A and MAO B work harder though, ushering away the serotonine AND dopamine. I’ve noticed that last one: not happy, sluggish, not able to think straight. For a short time I’m therefore taking low doses of methylphenidate (= ritalin. 5 mg per day which is 1/8th of ADHD dosage), which makes the brain produce dopamine.
    Happy and feeling so alive! A bit too alive, probably. You know the feeling, when you want to take a big bite out of life, with just a glint of crazy in your eyes, being quiet invincible.

    It’s a fine balance MAO A++ people have to strike between (ingesting) excitatory stuff and relaxing the nervous system.
    (I’m also MAO B++ btw. Both break down dopamine. Or I should say: “both don’t do dopamine much when ++”)

  6. Mind Analyzer

    For some reason the whole message was not posted. Trying again …

    Hi
    My Genetic Genie results (from 23andme data) are:
    Homozygous:

    COMT V158M (alleles AA) ++
    COMT H62H (TT) ++
    VDR Taq (AA) ++
    MAO A R297R (T) ++ (Warrior gene)
    MTRR A664A (AA) ++

    Heterozygous

    MTHFR A1298C (GT) +-
    MTRR A66G (AG) +-
    COMT P199P (AG) +-
    BHMT-02 (CT) +-
    BHMT-08 (CT) +-
    CBS C699T (AG) +-

    I believe genetics did not treat me so kindly, but I guess I have to do the best with what I was given…

    I am a man 44 yo. It’s very hard for me to control my aggression, negative thoughts and impulsiveness. I have found help in my spirituality (Jesus Christ) but I still have my ‘moments’.
    My tolerance level (toward people) is really low and after 3 failed marriages I decided that it might be better to live alone (with my dog); I am still open for another relationship but feel kind of pessimistic in this respect. In the meantime I am focusing in my main hobby (road cycling -> Used to be cat 3 but I am middle of the pack now)

    My IQ is 140 (measured 10 years ago) but my memory has never been that great; I exceled in analysis subjects such as math, physics, computer science and programming, etc. I have a PhD in Geosciences.

    Can you suggest any supplements that might help me counteract my genetic predisposition towards impulsiveness, negativity and aggression?

    Thank you

    PS: I apologize for any grammar error. My mother tongue is Spanish

  7. N. M.

    For rs6323, why is T called the “risk allele” when in females it’s associated with lower outward anger?

    Is the “risk” of that allele supposed to be the proclivity to express more anger?

    Is T different in men and women for that SNP?

    —-
    “Male carriers of the low-expressing variant (MAOA-L) with childhood trauma or other early adverse events seem to be more aggressive,
    whereas female carriers with the high-expressing variant (MAOA-H) with childhood trauma or other early adverse events may be more aggressive.
    ….A protective effect of the low-expression variant in women on aggression reactivity is consistent with previous observations in adolescent girls.
    In females, the MAOA-H may predispose to aggression-related problems during sad mood.”
    Brain Behav. 2012 Nov;2(6):806-13. doi: 10.1002/brb3.96. Epub 2012 Oct 5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23170243

  8. N. M.

    I am confused about the following part of your post:

    “In females, the G allele was associated with higher outward anger (p = 0.002) and it seems like G allele also causes aggression in males. (R) G=More Aggression.
    The T allele was overrepresented in patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. (R) T=Anxiety.
    Females with TT reported higher levels of ‘‘angry temperament’’. Female suicide attempters with TT reported higher ‘‘self-aggression’’ ”

    I looked at your pubmed link to article “R”, and I see in the abstract how the G allele in females was associated with higher outward anger.

    I don’t see in the abstract of article “R” where the T allele was linked to anxiety, but maybe it is in the longer article (which I don’t think is free to read via pubmed). I also don’t see in the abstract which group of females had reported more of an “angry temperament”.

    What I am confused by is the statement that females with TT had more of an angry temperament — how can the females with G have higher outward anger than the females with T, but at the same time and in the same set of experimental subjects, the females with T have more of an angry temperament than the females with G? Those two things seem a bit similar.

    (BTW, I’m a female with TT and I’m extremely calm, have been my whole life. 🙂 )

    • Tori

      I read a report that stated the TT in women was determined to be the “happy gene” which describes me…i am not aggressive at all. Google happy gene and you will see it..in men it os different probably because of their testosterone. I have always said i had a happy gene and never realized it until yesterday!

  9. Klaudia

    Hi, Im new to the topic.. I have an autistic 4,5yo boy..but I can not make sense of this.. your text says that: ‘people with the low activity MAO-A gene (2R, 3R) are overall more prone to violence’ ..and it does not make sense, taking into account our results.
    My son has 4R or 5R and no warrior gene, he is not agressive, has good memory and is bright (rs909525(A;A) ). BUT he also has rs6323(T;T) and is says: ‘reduced MAOA activity’.
    So ..in this context.. how can you say that ‘people with the low activity MAO-A gene (2R, 3R) are overall more prone to violence’ where ..in our results low activity does not mean 2R or 3R.
    So ..which is it? Is his MAO-A low or high? Can he has 4R or 5R and still has low activity of MAO-A???? ..cause your text suggests that low activity means 2R and 3R and agression.. can someone has no warrior gene and still has low activity of MAO-A?
    How to check the levels of MAO-A enzyme? I want to know which sollution (from suggested by you) to apply.. How would you interpret our result? Im trying to understand all this but it’s very new to me.. I hope you’ll bring some more light with your comment 🙂

  10. Hello,
    my seven year old son has the rs6323 T mutation (warrior gene) and also the A allele of rs6609257. You mentioned that the A allele was associated with higher levels of MAO A and better working memory. Can you please clarify if you were saying that that snp is overall predictive of behavioral issue and that the A allele was the lesser of the 2 evils or that having the Allele was a good thing overall and cancels out the bad effect of the re6323 T mutation? For what it’s worth my son has terrible working memory, slow processing speed, visual problems but tests at the 18 yo level for simultaneous processing..

    thanks in advance

  11. justinR89

    Someone with low MAO activity will probably react very poorly to anything that increases serotonin (at least I do). I had serious side effects from Rhodiola or St Johns Wort. I believe trying to speed up this enzyme is really the best way, so yea I will try NAD+ on top of Inositol to see what difference it makes. I theorize that low-MAO producers suffer from depression because of inner aggression or excessive worrying that will eventually result in gut problems, infections, gut dysbiosis, etc – then its easy for pathogens to invade the body and mess with the immune system. The immune system will then go into overdrive and you get food sensitivities and all that good stuff. So reducing inflammation is key to get back in shape and allow the immune system to recover. Too many factors, too many things we do not know yet, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack T_T

    • Roe Jones

      Couldnt agree with you more,so many factors,different in each individual,have low mao bad reaction to cows milk wheat St John Wort terrible to 5htpcaused heart palpitations that have gone on for a year.Bad reaction to most if not all drugs except Tylenol

  12. justinR89

    Hi, great article.

    I am wondering how someone with low MAO genes would react to a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Is it likely that this could induce psychosis due to incredibly high dopamine build up? I suffer from ADHD and cant focus on tasks that I dont like but I also have this gene (T,T allele) so I’m kind of lost.

    Just for others reading this: I react very well to Inositol and Ginko Bilboa. I dont think Ginko acts as a MAO inhibitor but on some other pathway. The Inositol is doing its job too and works on the thyroid metabolism as well.

  13. Low MAO will resemble being on an old fashion MAO inhibitor. Sensitivity to anything that elevates serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine or epinephrine. Tyramine sensitivity (causing hypertensive crisis or emergency). Heat sensitivity (lowers MAO activity even further). I’ve experienced all of these problem. I have three markers for low MAO activity. I also have a markers for high CBS which makes me sulfa intolerant which interacts with MAO through molybdenum– sulfa will completely shutdown my MAO. I’m hyperadrenergic, I stand up I go into tachycardia, if you reach your 30s you may also experience this when your hormones drop. I also have mast cell activation problems– norepinephrine is an immune system activator. I’m also a poor drug metabolizer because of CBS again– aldehyde oxidase needs its molybdenum to work a number of cytochromes too. Your mileage may vary but look into MAO inhitor side effects you maybe surprised.

    • MissB

      Hi John, I have the same situation with low MAO activity and CBS. I just started taking molybdenum. How much and how often do you take it? Have you narrowed down your supplement regimen at all? I feel like I’m trying and taking so much and am really struggling to figure things out. Your insight is greatly appreciated!

  14. I concur. understand evolution. our genes are adaptations to our environment over long arcs of time. to presume mao-a is inferior is a subjective judgement. sociopaths exist by same token. we don’t like them, but evolution somehow engendered those traits in a non-trivall % of any given society.

    evolution is about who adapts best, not survival of fittest. and our genes reflect that fact. racism as defined by skin color or by proxy geography, is a facile factless simpleton interpretation that gins more heat than light.

  15. Kathleen

    I took a DNA test and have found that I have the 2R warrior gene. Just so you guys know, there are quite a few different Warrior Genes and not EVERYTHING that you read on the internet is true. The trick to managing the impulses of the gene is to act and not dwell on the things that concern you. By acting, you release the natural ability to think on your feet and strangely always pick the most effective course of action.

  16. Lorraine Sane

    I recently stopped using the B-Complex you’re recommending, B Right by Jarrow, due to severe reactions to the Methylfolate or Active Enzyme B 9 in it. (Actually both of the products you recommended have the active form of B 9 or Methylfolate.)

    I started taking this vitamin in September 2014. With 1 capsule a day, 25 mg, I suffered with irritability, insomnia, achy joints, severe anxiety, heart palpitations, and nausea. These occurred on a daily basis and were subtle so they became less noticeable over time. They worsened when I took the B Right twice a day, so 50 mg, about a month ago. On the higher dose my symptoms included irritability, insomnia, sore muscles, achy joints, acne, rash, severe anxiety, heart palpitations, nausea, headaches, and migraines. Normally, I’m someone who doesn’t suffer from headaches or migraines so I knew something wasn’t right. On Methylfolate, I literally felt sped up in time. I couldn’t relax. I slept odd hours because I wasn’t sleeping well at night. I haven’t had a normal night’s sleep since September 2014.

    The way I found out about MAO-A was on the site where I bought the product. A customer complained of the same symptoms above on the lesser dose (with a different product containing the Methylfolate) in their review. Another buyer commented on their review, informing them that these symptoms are found in people who have the MAO-A gene because that cannot tolerate Methylfolate. They suggested Niacinamide and/or Optimal Curcumin as supplements to get rid of the symptoms and to immediately stop taking the B Right vitamin and get genetic testing.

    I do wonder if I have the MAO-A gene because my mother’s brother was a serial killer. My father was/is a serial killer, and I spent time with him as a child (He and my mother were not married). I’m easily angered and have suffered from depression on and off for most of my life. With these symptoms and the reaction to the Methylfolate, I think it’s time to get genetic testing.

    • I just got my genetic test results and I have this gene. I was wondering why I cannot tolerate anything with certain b vitamins. Causes severe agitation and hostility. This is all new to me but nice to know I’m not alone! Thanks for sharing

  17. I have insomnia because of this gene’s low activity. I fall asleep as soon as I go to bed (high serotonine means high melatonine I believe) but after 5.5 hours I wake up and am wide alert. Noradrenaline rush, feels like. After 1.5 hours it subsides and I get another 2 hours of crappy sleep.

    I feel this is because between Deep Sleep and REM there’s a small surge of excitable neurotranmsitters needed. But faulty MAO A doesn’t temper this and it peaks and I wake up. This only happens in the third or fourth sleep cycle when REM gets longer.

    An overdose of Progesterone before bed counters this as it’s converted to Pregnenolone,the most powerful sleep drug there is. Your article suggests both Prog. and Preg. enhance MAO A activity so that could be additionally why. Nice info.

    Unfortunately I also have an overactive CYP2C19*17 liver enzyme meaning oral Progesterone doesn’t reach my blood much. Grrr. (Bio-identical hormones ofcourse)

    I’ve also found that a bit of Hydrocortisone before bed keeps my body mellow and stress free, thus improving changes of sleeping through the night. (My adrenals are shot)

    Other means of calming excitatory neurotransmitters are keeping a level blood sugar throughout the day and chronic inducement of the Relaxation Response via mindfulness or Reverse Therapy.

    I love getting all this information and improving my quality of life with it.
    I also love how low MAO A activity makes me a person with a sunny disposition and the ability to concentrate long and hard. Besides insuring Hulk survival odds whenever put in immediate danger.
    Would love to sleep better though.

    • Yeah, i have high comt and low mao-a. So i can go either way. Stoic/serious or sunny/cheerful. It depends on the situation. It’s hard to make me angry, but when i do, it’s explosive. Genes are interesting.

    • julialoha

      If you have CYP2C19*17 +/+ (red on genetic genie) that means overactive? Also, have you found any of the progesterone creams to be effective? I seem to have the same sleep issues as you but recently started on an adrenal support supplement with ashwagandha in it that improved my sleep almost immediately. I also started progesterone 100mg the same time but it may not be working too well if i have the overactive CYP2C19*17. Thanks for your post.

      • yes, CYP2C19*17 is overactive meaning it processes its substrates ultra fast. Two examples of these substrates are Progesteron and the precursor to a blood thinner. The Progesteron gets ushered out of the blood too fast and the precursor gets processed too fast leading to higher levels of blood thinner than expected. So for Progesteron we need higher doses and for certain blood thinner lower than average prescribed. Here’s a list of substrates that get affected: http://medicine.iupui.edu/clinpharm/ddis/main-table/

        I’m on 100 mg Progesteron a day, every day. Doesn’t affect my cycle one bit, it’s to support adrenals. Next to this I use cream which has immediate effect. I’m also on Hydrocortisone because my adrenals are struggling (Ashwaganda would be too strong for me in the past, may try it now though). I’m not house bound anymore but still I don’t sleep.

        Interesting: I sleep through the night one night per cycle, on the first day of menstruation. What could this mean?

  18. Luis

    Hi! I’m confused about something…

    I’m A/A on the 909525 = 5R version/Less Agressive/Not Warrior but then T/T on the 6323 = Low activity.

    So it’s kind of a mix results? Could you interpret them?

    I cannot define if I have the HIGH or LOW MAO-A versions…

    Thanks!
    Luis

  19. Hughsma

    Thank you so much for this information. I read this after doing some self-interpretaton of my methylation profile, but before my followup with my ND. When she suggested checking my pregnenolone among other hormones, I was totally on board. The results came back with almost NO circulating pregnenolone or progesterone in my system. I’ve started supplementing with pregnenolone and it totally makes a difference, both to my overall mood and calmness and towards perimenopause symptoms. This is so amazing, because I’ve been in very bad shape mood-wise for quite some time.

    • Pc

      Thanks for sharing Jeff. I’m glad there’s other options…I’ve tried pregenolone and it didn’t agree with me at all.

  20. Elaine

    Well I am MAO A (R297R) TT and I am very happy with my life and consider myself mellow. I am 65 and do feel I was and am a risk-taker. The only time I felt real depressed was when a doctor gave me Flexeril for sleep. I tried it a few times and each time in the morning I just felt depressed for no reason and couldn’t shake it. It was a horrible feeling and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. So I gave them up. I have had hot flashes for 25 years but am used to them and just take Sominex every night to try and sleep thru them. I wouldn’t want to take the chance of messing up my happy mental state by taking hormones. I have reacted badly with the few drugs doctors have given me, including near death with the Rhogam shot, so I mainly just stay away from doctors and am lucky to be able to do so, so far.

    • Charlie

      Dear Elaine. I am MAO TT 2R as well. I have never had any real aggressive outburst but, as you… I am a crazy risk taker. I always called it being an ‘adventurer’ ! I do feel that I can react quite aggressively if I or my children are at risk. And.. I DID used to have crazy outburst .. but never after I did hormone replacement.

      The problem with hormone replacement is that you HAVE to go to a integrative doctor. NOT a physician. you HAVE to use bio identical hormones that DO NOT cause cancer and have all the horrible horrible reactions that people have. But I promise you.. if you do get on a proper HRT .. you will not have any hot flashes..or any other symptoms.

      I have battled chronic depression my whole life.. and it is a horrible condition.. one that you can’t see. but feel so deeply inside. Once on the proper HRT program.. everything went away. I also have heterogenous mutation of the MTHFR gene.. which doubles my depressive issues.

      I agree with you.. don’t do doctors. Take all natural as possible. But I will try to encourage you to go to an integrative doctor who will ONLY give you bioidentical hormones.

      Do you know Dr. Amy?

      Stay well and in peace.
      Debbie

  21. This is a ridiculous overextrapolation. We’re taking one gene which *may* predispose us to a certain tendency, ignoring the gazillion other genes which may have completely different effects, ignoring the huge influence of environment and then letting quacks sell us supplements based on our genetic specialness. It’s high-tech navel-gazing enabled by cargo-cult science that’s armed us with incredibly specific information and no idea how to use it or no idea that information that specific is simply in fact useless at this point in our understanding of these things. It’s like hoping to cure a cold by treating a single one of its germs in your body.

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      I agree, though not to that extent. Do you have the gene? Sounds like you do 😉 (aggressive comment)

      • Um, well, yes, I have the TT :D. But for most of the genotypes I’ve seen in my report that say “Increased risk of yada yada” there’s others that say “decreased risk of yada yada”. And these are just the yada yada genes we know of. And then there’s environment. And then there’s the point that a large quantity of supplements we are sold are not bioavailable or biologically active and even if they are they’re affected by, ooh, other genes and environment. It’s a chaos system we can’t hope to control by applying half-understood substances to a half-understood gene.
        (And I was a very placid, passive, depressed child. It took time and effort to blossom into this vicious curmudgeon.)

        • Joseph M. Cohen

          Lol. And you’ve blossomed quite nicely 🙂

          Everything will be alright…You’re over thinking…

          • Bill

            @Wolfity. Awesome explanation of the current state of affairs. Just had an N.D. Offer to run my genes and tell me what I need to do all for the low sum of $700.00. What a joke.

          • ph0tios

            Dmitry you just described me to the T, haha. I’m also TT, and even though I don’t have anger issues, I wonder if the progesterone would still help with mood and anxiety which seem to be my main issues.

          • Charlie

            Dear Photios. YES .. the progesterone – in bioidentical form only – will help with the anxiety and mood. But you need a proper integrative HRT – not from a physician but a proper integrative practitioner that ONLY uses bioidential suppliments.

            I have TT 2R… some of the folks that have TT may not have 2R,but only a 3 or 4R.. which can be a reason why you are not as aggressive.

            I have been extremely successful.. and I think primarily to the fact that I luckily had a very high IQ.. and the gene mutation allowed me some great random thinking processes .

            Wolfity may not have the 2R.. she may only have a 5R.. and not feel so aggressive.. but reading her take on things kinda makes me think she may not know herself so well 🙂

            Anyway. I would highly recommend you get yourself to a good integrative doctor. Ask at a compounding pharmacy in your area. they will be able to give you the proper recommendations.

            Be well.

        • I did acknowledge my tendency to aggression by describing myself as a vicious curmudgeon. Maybe you misinterpreted it as sarcasm, but I meant it sincerely. I’m more than happy to refrain from any further exchange of words on this thread.

          • Mike Slowski

            I would tend to agree. It’s like everyone wants to pinpoint and blame their problem on an ( interior ) exterior force beyond their control and try and fix it will a pill or herb. Sometimes these neural networks you’ve formed ( and gene expressions ) take effort to change the habits you’ve brought into them. Your brain is like clay. Sometimes it hardens a certain way because of your genes sure but you can re-soften it and change it yourself Maybe some herbs will help but not as much as the mental work and will to adapt will. Chasing pills and herbs is a very wild and blind game to play. What worked for someone might not have the same effect on you exactly. Too many variables, too many genes at work. Pharm drugs are more direct, in fact maybe brutally so. Unfortunately, as far as handling the problem, they do it well. Still, those are not the answer. Just a temporary repair and should strive to be used in just that way.

            I do see reducing brain inflammation, eating HEALTHY, sleeping regularly, developing an adaptable, strong positive mental attitude, as the major key to correcting many, many chronic health problems. Also stabilizing the gut biome but this is still a research in progress too. The wider the genus of bacteria strains the better ( it seems ). Increasing butyrate will go much farther than anything else to reducing inflammation and re-balancing the immune system, circadian rhythms, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc. The gut is the seat of ALL health.

        • Genie

          I’m wondering how the COMT SNPs figure in here, too, as I’m heterozygous for MAO-A and homozygous for 2 COMT SNPs. Anyone know how these relate?

    • Joanna

      He did post a disclaimer somewhere that these kind of assessments should only be treated lightly akin to astrology, but having said that there are diseases that remarkably only account for a single point mutation. Sickle cell anemia is one of them. Its strange to think that humans are so fragile.

          • Charlie

            WOW .

            I don’t usually write in blogs… this is only my second… but I HAVE to tell you.

            You have no idea what you are talking about, Wolfity. I don’t want to get into a word war with you.. but Amy Yasko is brilliant and saved my life.

            It costs a lot of money unfortunately to do tests and to get answers. It should be covered under medicare. So should supplements. They are NOT benign and in most cases, just as or more powerful as prescriptive drugs.

            if you have never worked with Dr Amy, it would make sense that you refrain from making an opinion of her.

            It is apparent you have not worked with her from your comments.

            All I wanted you to know is that I have several friends, who like me.. have had their lives changed because of her.

            Be well.
            Charlie

          • Charlie, do you know that every bogus treatment in the world will have people who genuinely and enthusiastically believe it has helped them and write exactly the things you’ve written here? This is why testimonials don’t count as evidence. And the fact that you’ve written it suggests you don’t know this, and if you don’t, I don’t think you know enough about science to be able to substantiate any of the unsubstantiated statements you’ve made here. But you’re right, it’s pointless trying to argue about it. How do I unsubscribe from this comment thread?

  22. Tion

    5.5% is still a small percentage. It’s dwarfed by rates of poverty, childhood abuse, and provocation in the aforementioned demographic. The race-baiters are harping on about a variable that is less salient, and less actionable than sociological interventions.

  23. Joseph:

    Thanks so much for giving such a great breakdown of this gene/SNP! I had been looking everywhere on the Internet for what the + version of rs6323 really meant, and all I could ever find was very generic info including the info on who you get the gene from (mother, father, etc.). I’ll be looking into Pregnenolone to help. I’ve already tried DHEA.

  24. Donavon

    Mr. Cohen

    Although lordlol is likely just being a troll, does his base question not have merit?

    Other reading on this subject has suggested the same thing in regards to 2R-3R.

    You may rather not draw conclusions (at least not in the PC realm), but from the data presented, it doesn’t take a giant leap to see the connection….no?

    Also, are you aware if Black, Maori, Caucasian and Chinese (there was a reference to Asian which isn’t limited to Chinese) were the only races tested?

  25. carrie johnston

    I’m confused. I did Nitra hacker for my son’s 23andme results and it said to supplement him with curcumin. His results are +/+. I’m concerned about giving him progesterone bc it’s a hormone. He is 6 and weighs 40 lbs. Suggestions on how much progesterone if I do give it to him? He is violently aggressive!
    Thank u so much

  26. Joanna

    Thanks Joe,

    I’m a TT. I’m guessing that’s as broken as it gets lol 🙂

    In hindsight, this probably runs in my family.

    The thing is though, I’ve taken synthetic progestins and pregnenolone before on separate occasions and they each produced the same result of me being extremely irritable and emotional.

    Perhaps there is more to the picture than I am seeing right now. I will ask you about this again when we have the time. no need to reply.

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      Joanna,
      your high IQ prob tempers (no pun intended) your aggression 😉

      I would love to hear your experience with progesterone cream. Pregnenolone makes some irritable but I haven’t heard that about progesterone.

      The recommendation was theoretical, but if bad reports come in I will take it off.

      • Joanna

        Haha! 🙂

        Maybe its just me that is weird but I seem to react fairly poorly to them.

        I don’t have a regular menstrual cycle and on one occasion I was given 2mg of oral synthetic progesterone. The first 2-3 days I actually felt an improved mood, but after that I started feeling irritable and had hot flashes which made it hard to sleep. This continued to creep up until I stopped taking it on the 10th day.

        Later on I also took oral contraceptives which had mixed synthetic progestins and estrodiol. That was a nightmare on its own. I’m usually pretty self contained, but after taking a single dose, I was suddenly extremely bipolar angry and crying for no reason and happy the next. I also had hot flashes and sleeping problems. I said F*CK it and stopped on the third day. I read somewhere that combination contraceptives tend to cause mood swings worse than progestin only ones.

        Pregnenolone, I just took a single 10mg cap and started feeling slightly irritable with hot flash, so I stopped.

        I will try a lower dosage of pregnenolone. The progesterone cream may also be optimal because it seems like the slowest, consistant form of low dose delivery. Will let you know how that goes.

        • Sarah

          Regardless of your genetic makeup you should definitely do a hormone test before supplementing any hormones. They have their own feedback loops and can get thrown off quite easily.

          • Joanna

            That I have and it came back normal.

            Testing it out for a week also won’t kill you I suppose.

        • N. M.

          Joanna,
          Your reaction to bio-identical topical progesterone (in a cream) would probably be quite different to your previous reactions to the 2 types of oral synthetic progesterone that you took.
          I know that back in my 20s and 30s, I had wildly different reactions to different synthetic oral birth control pills, even when they were supposed to be equivalent substitutes for each other (as spelled out in my GP’s medical prescribing guide, which she showed me, as we tried to figure out what was happening), with supposedly the very same active ingredients in the very same amounts, not to mention how differently I reacted when I tried b.c. pills that had different types of synthetic hormones in them and in different amounts. Such rollercoaster days (years), ugh!
          These days, I’m not on any prescription medications, and I am using 20 mg per day of progesterone (bioidentical) in a cream (Pro-Gest) for 14 days out of every cycle (as recommended in the product instructions), and I’m not having bad reactions to it at all. It’s helping me out a lot with my perimenopause symptoms.
          For other medical reasons, I have to see an endocrinologist 3 times a year and a gamut of my hormones are tested by him every time, so I knew exactly what my female sex hormone levels were before I started taking this over-the-counter progesterone cream and I know what my levels were after taking the cream for several months. Before I had this endocrinologist, and since my GP is about as helpful as a bump on a log, I tested my own female sex hormone levels via one of the online companies where you can order your own blood tests through nationally-recognized labs for a very reasonable cost, so I have a good history of my hormone levels over the past five years.
          I would recommend that people DO test their hormone levels before trying to self-dose with over-the-counter progesterone cream, for whatever health reason they are considering taking it.
          Definitely, definitely don’t treat people under the age of, say, 20, with over-the-counter hormones without making sure you aren’t doing them more harm than good.
          My male endocrinologist is neutral about my using the cream, he doesn’t prescribe it himself and he doesn’t “think” that perimenopause/menopause symptoms should bother ladies or be something that they seek to treat with medication since the menopause is a “natural” event (ahem),
          but my female gynecologist is glad for me to be using the over-the-counter progesterone cream of my own volition (the cream is not something she deals in or knows much about, as a traditional MD) and she said if it’s not giving me enough relief down the road, that she’d be glad to prescribe me a stronger progesterone in oral form (I think they have an oral one now by prescription that is bio-identical instead of synthetic).

          • I second your opinion and your approach on every account.

            There is indeed an oral bio-identical progesteron, it’s called Utrogestan in Europe. It comes in 100 and 200 mg pills and about 10% of that reaches the blood stream unless the liver enzym CYP2C19*17 is overly active, than most of it gets destroyed.
            I take 100mg daily to aid my adrenals.
            I take the cream to aid the cycle. My blood values and symptoms are good now.

  27. Daniel

    This post was tbh disappointing. I have several methylation disorders including mao a, b and comt. I am working on that with my doc now… There is some YouTube videos by a functional medicine practitioner on how the methylation processes work and they are very interesting. It’s like he talks about my life when he describes his examples. 🙂

    • Daniel

      Yes, there are a bunch. You could go pic your raw data from 23andMe and then take put it into genetic genie ore livevello and it will show you your methylation genes. GG will even give you recommendations but I would use the data and go to a functional medicine practitioner who know about epigenetics….

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      Joanna,
      This is what you’d look for in 23andme:

      rs6323 – MAOA R297R (Risk Allele: T). Homozygous.
      https://www.selfdecode.com/snp/Rs6323

      Just got a client with this and he mentioned that he’s prone to get into bouts of aggression.

      “Slower breakdown of Serotonin. Can lead to high/low cycling of neurotransmitter. Mood swings, aggressive behaviors. ACE deletions will also increase anxiety and lower frustration thresholds. Because this is on the X chromosome, males will have only one allele.”

      • Jack

        Hi Joseph, not sure if 23andMe have changed their UI or something but my results aren’t formatted the same as yours. Could you help me interpret?

        This is the output:

        Gene: MAOA
        Position: 43591036
        SNP: rs6323
        Versions: G or T
        My Genotype: T

        • Jack

          Scrap that, ran it through Genetic Genie and I can now see the results in the same format as yours.

          Gene & Variation: MAO A R297R
          rsID: rs6323
          Alleles: T
          Result: +/+

          Which is odd as I normally consider myself quite a calm person and very non-confrontational. Though I do live my life with quite a high level of ‘intensity’, not sure if this could be related.

          • Jack

            Sorry, one last question. How do I know whether I have 2R or 3R from those results? I’m a bit of a beginner here, thanks.

  28. lordlol

    and they go havoc over racial comments, by the data you have
    being a racist is justified

    5.5 % 2r of black vs 2r 0.1 % non black lmao.

    i wonder how much arabs have, i think they might be worse then blacks.

    • Joseph M. Cohen

      Please refrain from disparaging races on the blog…

      These are sensitive topics and I’d rather not draw conclusions, but just give over scientific information.

    • stef hart

      I am sorry but I was reviewing this site as I am dealing with bad issues like many of you are. However, I am horrified by the above comment as it is beyond any level of comprehension. You are on here to find answer to get well;how does your mind go to judging what people are racist and which ones are not……Obviously, you do no have any regard for throwing out ill ,non-founded opinions;focus on getting well,look in the mirror and stop judging others. That has little to do with genetics it has to do with fundamental reasoning and decency.If you are to get well stop judging others and get on yourself. And make sure you are not racist…god bless you

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