Getting intimate with my DNA has turned out to be the most important thing I have ever done. Poking around in amongst all those bits of genetic information has ended the enduring mystery of my Bi-polar disorder and a lifetime of anguish – which I made invisible to the outside world. What I’ve gleaned from the inside of my cells in the last few weeks has changed my life.
First I learned that I have genetic mutations on my MTHFR, COMT, and CBS genes. But there were two more things lurking on my genetic code. My DNA showed a gluten intolerance along with serotonin and dopamine pathways busted all over the show. Add those 3 things together and while I was still happily napping in my mother’s cozy uterus I was already destined to exhibit the symptoms that collectively we call Bi-polar disorder at some point in my life. Let me explain, bearing in mind that all three of these things are extremely complex and convoluted, so to say these are the cliff notes is an understatement.
- Gene mutations on MTHFR, COMT and CBS genes are directly related to neurological function.
- Gluten causes inflammation in the body – including the brain – of those who are intolerant.
- Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters responsible for neurological function.
You may recall from my earlier post on DNA testing that just because I came pre-packaged with these mutations didn’t mean that they would express themselves during my lifetime. Something switched them on. However, it doesn’t really matter what switched them on, the problem is still that the genes were mutated in the first place – which is why it’s crucial that you get familiar with your genes. If you find out where the troublesome mutations are you have a chance at helping them do their jobs better and minimize problems.
Despite the fact it doesn’t matter what flipped the switches on, my detective brain has come up with several hypotheses as I have thought back on my life time-stamping when various symptoms showed up. I wonder about things like:
- being bitten by my aunt’s dog when I was two-years-old and the accompanying PTSD
- a serious bladder infection and scarlet fever when I was 4
- a concussion and broken left cheek bone after slipping on ice when I was 7
- sexual assault when I was 12
- a concussion and a large gash in my head after being hit by a truck when I was 14
- passenger in a car crash at 17
- wisdom teeth removal at 21
- a laperoscopy when I was 22
- spending 3 years at The National Bakery School (if you’re allergic to gluten this would certainly be problematic!)
- a hysterectomy 5 years ago
but really there’s only three important things to know. The root causes were genetic, the triggers were external, and there are opportunities to minimize and manage symptoms. Don’t think that’s possible? Spoiler alert: I am now entirely unmedicated.
Three strikes and you’re out has just become a home run.