Pediatric Integrative & Functional Medicine

Genetic and Methylation Optimization

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Genetic and Methylation Optimization

Methylation is a key biochemical process that is essential for the proper function of almost all of your child’s body’s systems. On a molecular level, it’s an exchange of methyl groups that help regulate how genes are expressed. It occurs billions of times every second; it is critical in DNA repair, controlling the unhealthy and harmful amino acid homocysteine, recycling molecules needed for detoxification, controlling inflammation, and supporting optimal growth and development.

A breakdown in methylation happens when a child has a coding error in a particular gene. These genetic variations are also known as single nucleotide polymorphysims (SNPs) or “snips”. All of the population has some SNPs, but some SNPs have a greater influence on health than others. Some SNPs put you at a higher risk for conditions such as diabetes, cancer, growth impairments, cognitive dysfunction, mood and other behavioral disorders, and even heart disease. By looking at your child’s individual genes, we can focus on identifying and understanding the molecular-level interaction and how it may be contributing to their health status.

While there are many well-known gene mutations that some clinicians are beginning to test for, such as the MTHFR, we have specialized knowledge and education on over 100 other gene mutations that may be affecting a child’s health. Knowing many of your child’s genetic weaknesses can help us devise a care plan to support and bypass those weaknesses, often done through nutritional supplementation. For example, if you child has a MTR mutation, their need for B12 may be much greater than the recommended daily allowances.

It is important that parents know that while they can access a wide range of genetic information on their own, many of the online databases and resources give recommendations that are incorrect or incomplete. Online resources often do not take into account how a child’s individuals SNPs interact with one another (giving conflicting advice on how to support them), nor do they take into account all of the other complexities of the individual child, which can be dangerous and lead to poor health outcomes. Our hands-on approach is different. We treat the individual child, their unique expression of health, and combine that with all of their other objective and subjective health data to holistically assimilate their plan of care.