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Genetic Study Shows Men are More Likely Than Women to Have Extreme Mood Dysregulation


How to stop being irritable

It seems like there’s always that one person in your family or workplace who gets irritable about the smallest things. They ask you to stop tapping your pencil on the table or to stop chewing so loudly. Or maybe you’re that person who just can’t seem to control your frustration.

In our society, women are usually pinned as the ones with mood swings. But in reality, men are more likely than women to get irritated quickly. According to a new genetic study done by the DNA Company, 22% of men have a gene deletion that leads to extreme mood dysregulation, while only 20% of women have this gene deletion.

Getting your genes tested can help you figure out the cause of your mood swings. Once you have a fuller picture of your genetic tendencies, you can take steps to rein in your irritability and become more patient with your family, your coworkers, and yourself.

The role of serotonin

Serotonin is a key hormone that helps you stabilize your mood and feel happy. Low serotonin levels are associated with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

If you are experiencing a mental health issue, seek help from your doctor immediately. There are several medications and natural ways to increase your serotonin. You’re not alone in the fight against depression and anxiety.

While the serotonin that impacts your mood is located in the brain, the majority of your serotonin actually resides in your gut, where it helps regulate digestion. In addition to these processes, serotonin is involved in your sleep cycle, metabolism, concentration, body temperature, and more.

How your genes impact your mood

There are two primary genes that impact your serotonin levels: the SLC6A1 gene and the TPH gene. Stay with me for a second. Things are going to get a little genetics-heavy, but I’ll explain.

The SLC6A1 gene has a 5HTTLPR polymorphism that controls serotonin transport. Basically, it’s the part of the gene that allows serotonin to flow easily throughout your body. If you have a deletion in your 5HTTLPR, you might suffer from dysregulation of serotonin reuptake. This causes you to have lower serotonin levels than average. You’ll probably have a harder time staying calm and experience more mood swings.

Unfortunately, having the bad version of 5HTTLPR also impacts your ability to deal with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications, which include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), and citalopram (Celexa), are typically prescribed to help treat depression. If you have a deletion in your 5HTTLPR, you may respond poorly to SSRIs. Talk to your doctor about alternative treatment plans.

The TPH gene corresponds to the TPH2 enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down serotonin. A variation in this gene can cause serotonin to be broken down quickly, which results in less available serotonin to bind to receptors. As a result, serotonin levels are further decreased and your mood is impacted.

If you have both a deletion in your 5HTTLPR and a variation in your TPH gene, you’re more likely to become easily irritated and frustrated. You may start to feel annoyed when you’re forced to repeat yourself a few times. You might get frustrated that your instructions were not followed down to the last detail. You may even get irritated at your coworker who continually taps her foot underneath her desk.

The positive side of serotonin dysregulation

As you’re probably already aware if you struggle with mood dysregulation, these behaviors can have a negative effect on your relationships with others. Still, there are some positive outcomes of these genetic tendencies as well.

Since these genetic variations cause you to focus almost excessively on details, they can make you more likely to succeed at work. While others might miss things, you can’t rest until you’ve taken care of all of the small things that are actually vital to an important project.

Once you’re aware of this superpower, you can use it to your advantage. Let your attention to detail become one of your greatest strengths. That’s not to say you should allow yourself to continue being irritable, however. Do whatever you can to reap the benefits without causing yourself and others to suffer from the negative behaviors.

How to become less irritable

Because the source of your irritability is a genetic shortage of serotonin, there are steps you can take to bring your mood into balance. After all, irritation and frustration can have a harmful effect on your health and well-being. Here are some practical tips for overcoming mood dysregulation:

  • Increase serotonin levels by packing your diet with avocados, bananas, cocoa, pumpkin seeds, cherries, and oats
  • Start meditating, especially focusing on the loving-kindness meditation
  • Turn off app notifications whenever possible
  • Wear comfortable clothes while you work on difficult projects
  • Use encouraging words with yourself and others
  • Practice breathing exercises whenever you feel frustrated
  • Make sure you have a quiet workspace without distractions
  • Drink soothing teas such as lavender, chamomile, and lemon balm
  • Try to focus on something funny whenever you are irritated
  • Have grace for yourself and others
  • Stop eating inflammatory foods such as processed foods, simple sugars, caffeine, and fried foods
  • Take supplements such as magnesium and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

Are you wondering whether you’re genetically predisposed towards irritability? The best way to find out is by decoding your genes through our 360 DNA Report. You’ll discover whether you suffer from mood dysregulation as well as 37 other custom reports surrounding sleep, diet, nutrition, hormones, fitness, cardiovascular health, immunity, and behavior.

Each custom report includes your genetic tendencies as well as practical steps you can take to optimize your health and wellness. You are a unique individual, and you deserve health strategies that reflect your unique genome. Get started today.
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