Mood Swings, the BDNF gene and the Holidays

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

The highest of highs, the lowest of lows…

This summarizes the holidays A LOT better than what you see on TV. While this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year”, the reality is it may also be the most stressful.

The gifts, the spending, the travel, the family drama… they turn the holidays from joyful to nightmarish.

And some people are more susceptible to “holiday mood swings” than others. Why is that? It’s not what you’d think.

The biggest determining factor in mood swings is genetics.

So this holiday season, here are three gene-based recommendations to maintain a positive mood:

Vitamin D

Sunlight is our main source of vitamin D. But when the winter cold comes around, many people retreat to the nice, warm safe haven that is the indoors and get much less sunlight.

With low levels of vitamin D comes poorly regulated mood and behavior. So as the holiday approaches, everyone must be wary of vitamin D intake. But this goes double for carriers of a GC gene variant (that 39% of the population has!) linked to lower vitamin D levels.


When the holidays stress you out, make time for exercise. A great way to boost your mood, exercise is especially helpful for people with a certain BDNF gene variant that 32% of the population has.

(And yes! you can find out if you have this genetic variant with SelfDecode.)

Relaxation Techniques

The holidays create stress for everyone. But stressful events affect some more than others because of their genetics.

Stressful events have a stronger impact on mood swings in people with this common COMT gene variant (shared by 47% of the population). For this gene’s carriers, SelfDecode recommends relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga and meditation.

NEW! Mood Swings DNA Report

All three of these mood-boosting recommendations come from our brand new Mood Swings DNA Report (depending on your genetic results – your recommendations may vary).

It’s just one of two new DNA reports we released this past week (& we will continue releasing new reports every single week).

Now, SelfDecode users can access every current and future DNA report. This means users get DNA reports covering 38 different health issues, along with all future reports. Click here to signup.

And since it’s the holidays…

We’re giving a major discount on any gifted SelfDecode subscription. Give the gift of health and get up to 30% off a SelfDecode subscription. It’s a gift with a lasting impact, and this discount is available only for a short while (you can even gift yourself!)…

P.S. Looking for the perfect little stocking stuffer that is sure to put a smile on their face? Don’t forget about Jo’s Mood Daily!

Mood Daily

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen flipped the script on conventional and alternative medicine…and it worked. Growing up, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and other issues that were poorly understood in traditional healthcare. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a learning journey to decode his DNA and track his biomarkers in search of better health. Through this personalized approach, he discovered his genetic weaknesses and was able to optimize his health 10X better than he ever thought was possible. Based on his own health success, he went on to found SelfDecode, the world’s first direct-to-consumer DNA analyzer & precision health tool that utilizes AI-driven polygenic risk scoring to produce accurate insights and health recommendations. Today, SelfDecode has helped over 100,000 people understand how to get healthier using their DNA and labs.
Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, with a mission of empowering people to take advantage of the precision health revolution and uncover insights from their DNA and biomarkers so that we can all feel great all of the time.


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