Anxiety, Postsynaptic Receptors & The HTR1A Gene

Written by Youssef Merhi | Last updated:

Imagine for a moment, a light switch in your home. Flip it up, the light turns on. Click it off, the light turns off.

Now imagine if you had control over a switch that didn’t just light up a room, but influenced your emotions and perceptions.

Sounds like something out of a futuristic novel, but it’s closer to reality than you might think.

In fact, it’s kind of already here.

The HTR1A & HTR2A genes are your light switches for the neurotransmitter serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that affects your mood and anxiety levels.

By understanding what genetic variants you carry, you can decrease your anxiety and improve your mood.

How does the HTR1A Gene Work?

The HTR1A gene produces 5HT1A serotonin receptors, which take two forms: postsynaptic and presynaptic receptors.

Postsynaptic receptors, located on the neuron receiving the serotonin signal, enhance mood and reduce anxiety by regulating responses related stress, and overall mental well-being.

Presynaptic receptors, which reside on the neuron releasing serotonin, help regulate the quantity of serotonin released and typically inhibit further release.

The negative variant of the HTR1A gene increases the number of 5HT1A receptors located in the presynaptic, and decreases the number of receptors in the postsynaptic – decreasing overall serotonin in your brain.

I carry one of the negative variants.

So what does that mean for me? Well before we get to that, let’s look at the HTR2A gene.

How does the HTR2A Gene Work?

The HTR2A gene encodes the 5-HT2A serotonin receptor, which plays a significant role in anxiety.

The negative genetic variant increases the activation of these receptors, which can heighten your anxiety.

Stress triggers these receptors, leading to reduced levels of BDNF, a crucial protein in the hippocampus that helps regulate the body’s stress response system, the HPA axis. Normally, the HPA axis controls cortisol release; however, diminished BDNF can impair this regulation, resulting in excessive cortisol.

This excess cortisol further increases 5-HT2A receptor activity and lowers BDNF levels, creating a vicious cycle that can magnify stress-induced anxiety and panic.

And just my luck, I carry the negative variants of this gene as well.

So now, how can I utilize this knowledge to take control of my “light switches?”

How To Decrease Your Anxiety

I carry both negative variants of the HTR1A and HTR2A genes, something SelfDecode brought to light – pun intended.

Because of this, one of my top supplement recommendations to balance my serotonin levels was Bacopa monnieri.

Bacopa tackles both my negative variants perfectly, and that’s extremely important because too much serotonin can negatively impact your health.

When talking to Joe, his top recommendation to optimize his serotonin levels was 5-HTP.

With SelfDecode, I was given the power to control these serotonin “light switches,” decrease my anxiety (if I still had some anxiety, I would’ve currently been panicking at the thought of even writing this email) and optimize my overall mood.

Are you ready to take control of your mental health and optimize your health?


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