MTHFR is an important genetic “SNP”- a single nucleotide polymorphism (basically a tiny change in DNA).
One of many important SNPS involved in methylation processes, the effects of MTHFR are far-reaching. Although not well-known, MTHFR can affect fertility, and can be implicated in autoimmune infertility, autoimmune diseases, thyroid health and inflammation.
MTHFR is also implicated in mental illness, neurological disease, clotting, cardiovascular diseases and more.
Although MTHFR is certainly the most well known genetic SNP, there are many other SNPs which have different applications to disease in humans.
“Nutrigenomics” which applies nutritional treatments to genetic “SNPS” is growing at a rapid rate, but we still have much to learn about this area.
Unlike MTHFR, many SNPS don’t actually have a large amount of studies helping us to confirm how they work. Some of the nutrition information on a given SNP may be minimal -based on one, small quality study – this is important to consider when making clinical decisions like taking a supplement or medication!
It’s important to realize that genetics themselves and the expression of the genes are two different things altogether. When we consider your health, we consider root causes, clinical symptoms, history, and comprehensive laboratory testing.
Nutrigenomics can be an asset to a comprehensive health plan but since genes are only “potential” and express differently in various situations and people – the big picture must always be considered.
Treat The Whole Person
We do not offer supplement protocols based on genetic SNPS alone. As naturopathic doctors we include a comprehensive view of health, using clinical symptoms, lifestyle, and lab diagnostics as a guide.
Genes are only potential and their expression varies in different people, and environments.
Epigenetics is the study of how our environment affects the expression of our genes. For example, stress inflammation, infection, or toxicity can alter the way that a gene is expressed and cause significant individual variation in two people with the same genetic “SNP”
Signs and symptoms provide crucial information and may point to problems with hormones, the gut,, inflammation, infections, sleep patterns, lifestyle factors, cortisol and other key areas involved in health concerns
Naturopathic medicine focuses strongly on prevention, therefore we welcome not only patients with significant health concerns, but also many who simply want to manage health risks, and prevent disease.
Interested in Learning More? Next Steps
Dr. Fiona McCulloch has experience in nutrigenomics and epigenetics due to her undergraduate area of focus in biological sciences. During your initial appointment she will complete a comprehensive case and symptom review including a review of any existing labs.
Based on her findings, targeted blood testing is often ordered to determine underlying causes and determine the best markers to track progress over time. These labs will be reviewed at the followup visit. We do not provide genetic testing due to regulations in our province but patients may independently order genetic labs to bring to the followup to review.
It is also helpful to send any relevant historical labs prior to your appointment. Please contact our front desk for more information on how to share results.
Case Type: Fatigue and Brain Fog
If a patient is dealing with fatigue and brain fog as a primary complaint, tests are often ordered for thyroid, cortisol, inflammation, iron status, infection and other relevant factors. For patients who have an interest in nutrigenomics, current lab results along with provided snps are reviewed at the followup visit. We provide a treatment plan including all recommendations after each visit.