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The COMT gene is responsible for producing an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase. This enzyme helps in the breakdown of catecholamines, thereby inactivating them. Catecholamines, termed as fight or flight hormones, include dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. They are produced in response to stress. They are responsible for increasing heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle strength, and alertness. They also play a role in increasing blood flow to major organs like the brain, heart, and kidneys.

COMT is one of the enzymes involved in the breakdown of dopamine in the brain. This occurs in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is involved in cognitive function and decision making. 

The COMT Variants

COMT gene comes in two main variants - one that breaks down dopamine quickly and the other one that breaks it down slowly. 

What does this mean?

One variant produces high levels of the enzyme, which breaks down dopamine faster, leading to its lower levels in the brain.

The other variant produces lower levels of the enzyme, which results in slower breakdown of dopamine, resulting in its higher levels in the brain.

rs4680 SNP

The COMT gene variants are influenced by the allele present at rs4680. 

rs4680, also called Val158Met, is a well studied SNP in the COMT  gene.

The G allele here is associated with higher COMT enzymatic levels compared to the A allele. 

The presence of two A alleles at rs4680 results in lower enzyme activity. This leads to dopamine build-up in the brain. People with the AA type are more susceptible to stress, anxiety, and pain and are called “worriers.”

The presence of two G alleles at rs4680 leads to elevated enzymatic levels. This results in faster breakdown of dopamine. People with the GG type clear dopamine quickly at times of stress and can fight it out better. They are referred to as the “warrior.”

There’s also a third and much less discussed variant. Here, there’s one copy of the A allele and one copy of the G allele at rs4680. People with the AG type have higher dopamine levels than the AA type and lower levels than the GG type.

They are assigned a status that’s between a worrier and a warrior. The outcome of AG genotype can be as follows:

A higher likelihood of warrior personality (compared to AA type);

A higher likelihood of worrier personality (compared to GG type)

AAHigher levels of dopamine
AGIntermediate levels of dopamine (lower than AA genotype and higher than GG genotype) 
GGLow levels of dopamine
COMT gene allele variations

Despite the negative connotation to the word “worriers,” these people are at certain advantages as well. They are known to be: 

- more creative 

- have higher IQ

- better motor skills

- better verbal memory and reading comprehension

- a more positive outlook towards life

Boosting Dopamine Levels Naturally

Dopamine promotes the feeling of pleasure and reward, which can help with better attention and memory. Some ways of boosting dopamine levels include:

- Increasing protein intake

- Consuming probiotics

- Exercising

- Enough sunlight exposure

- Getting adequate sleep

Counteracting Excess Dopamine

Higher dopamine levels have been associated with addiction and mental disorders like ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. The “reward” feeling elicited by dopamine makes you want ‘more of something.’ When the levels of dopamine are higher than normal, this behavior can result in addiction. 

- Inhaling lemon essential oil speeds up the breakdown of dopamine and contributes to anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.

- Tryptophan and 5-HTP are two amino acids that deplete excess dopamine. They are available as supplements. However, it is important to consult a qualified medical practitioner before getting started on any supplements.  

- Licorice root, a common ingredient in candies, is being studied for its antidotal properties for cocaine addiction, as it blocks dopamine production. However, the US FDA mentions that licorice containing food must be consumed in moderation. 

- Vitamin B6 is a cofactor required for dopamine synthesis. Dopamine toxicity has been managed in animals by vitamin B6 administration


1. COMT gene encodes the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase that is involved in the metabolism of catecholamines like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. 

2. COMT gene has two variants - one that breaks down dopamine quickly, and the other that breaks it down slowly.

3. rs4680, also known as Val158Met, is an SNP in the COMT gene. The G allele of this SNP is associated with higher enzymatic levels compared to the A allele. 

4. People with AA type have higher levels of dopamine. They don’t perform well under stress and are called worriers. People with the GG type have lower dopamine levels. They perform better in stressful situations and are called warriors.

5. The third type, AG, is associated with intermediate dopamine levels. People with the AG type are assigned a status that is between a worrier and a warrior.

6. Levels of dopamine can be increased naturally by getting adequate sleep, exercising, sunlight exposure, consuming probiotics, and more protein.

7. Inhaling lemon essential oil, consumption of licorice root, and other supplements can help deal with high dopamine levels. 












Stress is one of the routine terms used by most of us, in the present day. Right from a 5 year old to a 50 year old, everyone is accustomed to some type of issue that causes stress. Stress has extreme after effects. But, do we really want to partner with Stress our whole life?

Stress is either physical or mental. Physical stress occurs when our body experiences severe strain. Worry, fear and anxiety the main reasons of mental stress. Both forms of stress have serious effects. It is highly important to detect and manage stress in the early stages in order to lead a healthy life.


Factors that brings out the stress spark

Once you’ve decided to get rid of stress, it is important for you to find out the factors that prompt it.



A poor diet

Eating unhealthy food or eating very small portions than what is actually required, influences stress as the body does not receive the right amount of nutrition.



Poor physical work

People, who don’t shake it right, suffer severe stress.




A recent research states that people with a negative attitude experience more stress than the ones who think positively.




Improper sleeping patterns and lack of interest in other activities that render relaxation, causes stress.
Now that you’ve looked at the factors of stress, it is crucial for you to understand how to manage and eliminate stress.



Managing Stress

Stress levels differ from person to person. With the past experiences you’ve had with stress, figure out how much stress you can really handle. Once you find this out, keep track of it.


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Learn to manage time. Do the right things at the right time. Do not push yourself to some unrealistic promise of completing loads of work in a very short span of time.

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Eat healthy with the right portions. Do not skip meals. Acquire maximum nutrition.

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Adopt stress relieving techniques like yoga to maximize relaxation and stay stress free.

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Make exercising a habit. It prompts positive thoughts and surrounds you with a good energy.

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Develop healthy sleeping patterns.

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Start doing things that interest you apart from your routine work.

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Eliminating stress is unthinkable. But, you can manage it for sure.



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