About 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression or anxiety. Although the physiological basis behind these crippling mood disorders is not completely understood, several biochemical factors (such as serotonin) are scientifically proven to affect mental health and perceptions of panic or anxiety. Depression and anxiety medications, such as Zoloft and Paxil are designed to alter the response to the mood-associated neurotransmitter serotonin, while diet has also been reported to play a role in stabilizing these factors. However, these are just a few of the many treatment options doctors may be able to suggest if provided with specific genetic information for a patient. Because each individual’s genetic background plays a major role in determining the best approach to managing mental health, genetic testing can help in assessing the most effective method of treatment. Several genetic markers have been identified that affect metabolic pathways in the body involving dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and folate; all known to be associated with depression and anxiety. The Kashi Behavioral Health Panel analyzes multiple genes to determine whether there are any identifiable mutations known to affect these pathways, providing information that can help patients manage the mood disorder specific to their genetic code.
Genetic Markers Included in the Behavioral Health Pharmacogenetics Panel
|TEST CATEGORIES||EFFECTS ON BEHAVIORAL HEALTH|
|COMT||Central to dopamine metabolism; Heavily associated with propensity to worry (Val158 Met)|
|MTHFR||Key to maintaining levels of activated folate which may aid in preventing depression (c677T, A1298C)|
|Vitamin B12||Tests for a gene central to optimal B12 levels; B12 deficiency is a depression risk factor|
|Vitamin D||Vitamin D helps mood regulation within the hippocampus, amygdala and thalamus regions of the brain (GC, NADSYN1/DHCR7, CYP2R1)|
|Cytochrome P450||CYP2D6 and CYP2C19 are key to metabolism and activation of antidepressant medications|