Dr. Robins is excited to offer epigenetic interpretation. She feels that this is a vital piece to individualizing your healthcare experience and is instrumental in optimizing your health.
Her goal is to step away from the cookie cutter, one size fits all approach, and instead she looks at all of the vital components necessary to make an accurate assessment of your genetics and how they pertain to your health. Therefore, each case is approached with not only a thorough analysis of your specific gene mutations (aka SNPs), but also review of your medical history, pertinent blood tests, urinary tests, lifestyle and dietary habits, emotional health, gut health, environmental toxic exposures, etc., understanding that these all heavily influence gene expression and are therefore equally important as the presence or absence of a gene mutation. This level of detail is simply not possible through programs that provide self-generated reports with generic treatment recommendations.
Dr. Robins does not practice a “SNP driven approach”. In other words, she does not make treatment recommendations based solely on individual gene mutations. For example, not everyone who has an MTHFR gene mutation will receive 5-methyltetrahydrafolate (the active form of folate), because in some cases, patients can actually be aggravated by this form of folate, depending upon other mutations that they may or may not have. It is of absolute importance that we look at the complete picture to understand how one’s genetics work in concert with each other. Through mounds of research and countless case studies, epigenetic practitioners have become increasingly aware that cookbook/SNP driven approaches as a whole do not work. Occasionally you will get lucky and see improvement, but in general the best-case scenario is that nothing improves, and the worst case is that things actually get worse. Therefore, it is crucial to work with a knowledgeable practitioner who tailors your treatment plan to you.
Following your consultation, you will be provided with a personalized SNP diagram, along with subsequent steps to implement for gene optimization. These include but are not limited to: specific lifestyle, dietary and supplement recommendations, further lab tests when indicated to assess GI function, neurotransmitter status, hormone status, etc.
What is Epigenetics?
We are all very familiar with the idea of genetics. Most of us think of our genes in terms of the hair color, eye color, personality traits, etc that we inherited from our parents and grandparents. We may even have familiarity with other very well known and heavily studied genes that have a very high correlation with particular diseases, such as the BRCA gene and its role in breast and ovarian cancer. However, since the birth of the human genome project in 1990 and millions of hours of research later in the 28 years passing, we are now able to glean a ton of valuable information pertaining to our health. We are now starting to understand more fully how one’s genetics may predispose them to certain disease processes and even better, we are able to use this information to reduce risk and optimize health.
There has been a lot of discussion and heavy debate on whether or not having this information is always a good thing. Many believe that your genes are your genes and if we can’t change that, why would we want this fateful information looming over us.
This is where epigenetics comes into play. We are all born with a specific set of genes, one from our mom and one from our dad. That we cannot change. But the really great news is that we do have the ability to influence whether or not these genes express, in other words, whether a gene is turned on or off. This is determined by several external factors including our diet, exercise, environmental toxin exposures, stress levels, nutrient status, etc.
How to Prepare for your Epigenetic Consultation:
Dr. Robins recommends AncestryDNA genetic testing which provides the raw genetic data used for clinical interpretation.
The recommended test is available at: https://www.ancestry.com/. Once the test is ordered, it will arrive via mail. Simply follow the instructions provided and return your saliva sample in the provided package. The results will arrive via email in 4-8 weeks.
Once your results have arrived, you will then upload your raw genetic data to MTHFR Support Sterling's App. This report outlines several medically relevant genes specific to your detoxification, neurotransmitter and methylation pathways, to name a few.
Please email results via your patient portal at least 10 days prior to your scheduled visit to allow ample time to create your individualized epigenetic report and treatment recommendations.
Additional testing may be required on a case by case basis in more complex cases.