MAOA – The connection between mood and food sensitivities

The most fascinating enzyme in the world of food sensitivities and histamine intolerance is MAOA.  Its full name is monoamine oxidase A and it, along with MAOB, is responsible for helping clear histamine…and serotonin and dopamine and epinephrine and norepinephrine.  It is responsible for a LOT!  

Not only does MAOA help your histamine intolerance and food sensitivity symptoms, it also has a huge impact on your mood and anxiety.  Perhaps you've noticed many of us with food sensitivities also deal with some amount of anxiety.  That can be related to histamine levels, but also to elevated serotonin and dopamine.  

Big take away?  You're not crazy!  Many of what we deal with in addition to histamine intolerance and food sensitivity symptoms are simply a result of the biochemistry and how it does or doesn't work!

If you recall, HNMT is the enzyme that works in each of your cells to help clear histamine.  It creates a compound called N-methylhistamine.  MAOA and MAOB are both responsible for clearing N-methylhistamine otherwise, if it gets too high, it will actually inhibit HNMT and cause an increase in overall histamine.  Remember, all of these genes live and work in community with others where the goal is balance.  Each gene relies on and influences all of the other genes!

So HNMT really relies on MAOA.  MAOA is just like any of the others we've discussed - it's a gene which codes for an enzyme.  Depending on how your genes are coded, the function of MAOA may be slow, fast or just right.  

Slow MAOA and Histamine Intolerance

When MAOA is slow, which is most common with the folks I see in practice, you get a backup of the stuff it should be clearing.  That is stuff like N-methylhistamine and dopamine and serotonin.  It is very common to see someone struggling with bad allergies or food reactivity AND a tendency towards OCD and obsession and migraines, or an aggressive personality with an increased sensitivity to pain.  It can become really complicated really quickly…

But when you figure this piece of the puzzle out and learn how to support MAOA, it can make a HUGE impact on the person struggling with all of these symptoms!  And if that person is YOU, it means changing your life experience!

Supporting a slow MAOA

While we can use a lot of different supplements to support all of the genes we're discussing in this series, it's always nice when you can use real, plain food!  One way to support a slow MAOA is with riboflavin which can be found in eggs and chicken breast, among others.  You may find where spinach is listed as a great source of riboflavin.  Don't forget it's super high in histamine...skip the spinach!

One last interesting little tidbit about MAOA is the genes are located on the X chromosome.  That means women (XX) have higher activity than men (XY).  

Next week we'll be talking about the last gene for this series, ALDH2…and then we'll put it all together!  

Sixty-second Self-care Tip…

One interesting way to guesstimate if you are slow MAOA or maybe fast MAOA is to consider how you use caffeine in your daily life.  

Does a cup of coffee really rev you up or does it actually help you to relax?  

Can you drink a cup of coffee before you go to bed and still sleep well?  

If coffee or other caffeine sources sets you on edge, makes your stomach upset, causes nausea or headaches, or increases or anxiety, you most likely have a slow MAOA.  

And why is it nice to know?  At the most fundamental level, it's proof that you're not crazy and your symptoms aren't all in your head, which a lot of us hear when we go to see our doctor, unfortunately!  And there are ways to support your unique biochemistry!

Interested in more info?  Join the waitlist for Food Sensitivity Code!


60-second self-care, anxiety, caffeine, HNMT, MAOA

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