Enhancing the Happiness Gene in Women
Researchers from the University of South Florida, the National Institutes of Health, Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute have discovered the first gene associated with happiness in women. The low expression of the gene monoamine oxidase A seems to be related to self reported happiness in women, but not men. Researchers believe the hormone testosterone, found in much smaller amounts in women than in men may cancel out the positive effect of MAOA on happiness in men.
The findings are written up online in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.
This is an unusual finding because low expression of MAOA has been previously related to some negative outcomes like alcoholism, aggressiveness and antisocial behavior. It has been referred to as the warrior gene by some scientists because of this.
Women do have higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders but they tend to report greater overall life happiness than do men. The reason for this is still a mystery, probably involving numerous other genes and environmental factors.
The low-expression version of the MAOA gene promotes higher levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters in the brain, elevating mood. Compared to women with no copies of the low-expression version of the MAOA gene, women with one copy scored higher on the happiness scale and those with two copies increased their score even more.
Numerous genes influence human happiness. Twin studies estimate that genetic factors account for 35-50 percent of the variance in human happiness. More research needs to be done to understand what genes are involved and what environmental influences act on these genes turning them on and off.
NeuroResearch Clinics have found that precise nutritional supplementation guided by lab tests can optimize neurotransmitter brain function that may be diminished by unfortunate genetic inheritance. Through a series of simple monoamine transporter urine tests doctors can determine a daily dosage of nutritional supplements that can enhance mood, memory and other brain functions. There are over a sixteen hundred clinics in the US that use these protocols. To find a doctor who can consult with individuals optimizing their brain function in this way click to Health Consults.