Genetic Nutritional Counseling Services in Washington DC

Genetics Impact on Your Health

Have you ever wondered why your body behaves the way it does? Why do various dietary intakes, medications, diseases, and allergens affect us all so differently? Even within the same household, some people are lactose intolerant, while others digest dairy easily. How does one person lose weight by adding whole grains to their diet, while another experiences bloating, rather than weight loss? 

As humans, we all share roughly 99.9% of the same DNA. But that small percentage where we differ accounts for an average of 3 million variations between your genomes and someone else’s. Those genetic differences are compounded by environmental factors like nutrition, lifestyle, sleep, and pollutants. 

Our genes are the blueprint for our bodies to follow for better or worse. Of course, we can’t change our genes, but by better understanding the hand we were dealt we can possibly improve the effect.

genetic testing

The Role of Genetic Variants Like the MTHFR Variant

It’s those variants, working in tandem with environmental factors that create the diverse symptom manifestations in individuals. Common variants in genes like MTHFR and MOA-A impact everything from moods, to food intolerances, to chronic pain, and heart disease. 

Within each gene, there are multiple possible genetic variations. That switch from white flour to whole wheat that helped your friend lose weight? A gene variant in you might mean you’re gluten intolerant, or suffering from Celiac Disease– so those grains are toxic to your body, causing bloating and subsequent weight gain.

With all of these genetic variants, it makes sense that conventional medicine is not universal in its efficacy. Understanding your unique genetic makeup is essential to addressing mental and physical health conditions, warding off future illnesses, and maximizing your body’s ability to function. 

Unfortunately, MDs still primarily prescribe generalized, conventional treatments for conditions that are genetic in origin. But Dr. Karen Threlkel provides superior solutions with insight into how genetic variants impact health. As a licensed naturopathic doctor, and based on nutrition research and expertise,  she conducts genetic nutritional counseling that provides the relief you seek. 

Understanding How Genetic Nutritional Counseling Improves Your Health

When a single nucleotide in the genome is altered, it’s called an SNP. Over 470 SNPs have been identified on the Vitamin D gene receptor alone! Imagine how many ways your health is impacted by variations invisible to you. While we can’t control our genetic composition, we can control how our environment affects genetic expression- activating or deactivating those mutations.

For example, if your genetic code designates that you will be between 5’9″ and 5’11”, your nutrition, lifestyle, and environment will impact whether you stay on the shorter end of that range or maximize your growth potential. And if you have a genetic variant that predisposes you to lung cancer, your behaviors like smoking and overeating contribute to whether that predisposition takes hold. 

Genetic nutritional counseling provides the answers you seek, not only by solving current health challenges, but also by identifying risks of future disease. If you take action now, you’ll prevent a host of future health issues. Dr. Threlkel investigates and interprets underlying genetic variants or sequences that contribute to your symptoms and conditions. She takes a comprehensive medical history, and also utilizes advanced scientific testing to decode your unique composition.

How Does Genetic Nutritional Counseling Work?

By doing a simple DNA test we can estimate your body’s tendency toward inflammation, which is a top predictor of disease. Rather than trying a million different treatments, and suffering from the subsequent side effects, you can definitively determine things like whether you’re gluten or lactose intolerant, and whether you have a MTHFR variant or a mutation that predisposes you to cancer.

Our testing also provides insight to improve things like digestive function, energy, detoxification, antioxidant production, and cardiovascular protection. If you’re suffering from a chronic condition, genetic nutritional counseling provides hope that you can finally be freed from your symptoms. It also erases the doubt, fear, and even guilt we feel when the treatments we try aren’t working.

If we can understand the way our genetics are structured, we can support areas of weakness to improve overall health and function through personalized nutrition counseling. Here are just two ways we test for genetic involvement in your condition.


Nutrigenomics, also known as nutritional genomics, is the study of how nutrients affect the human body’s expression of its genes. 

Nutrigenomic testing identifies each person’s genetic protein variations and identifies areas of metabolic weakness. These proteins facilitate enzyme conversion, nutritional delivery, and cell signaling pathways. When there are single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs), many physiological and metabolic processes can be impacted. 

Overcoming these metabolic weaknesses with nutritional counseling ensures your body’s optimal functioning. Having a variant doesn’t guarantee that you’ll develop a condition, it just means you’re predisposed to it. The wrong environmental factors will ignite that gene expression. The knowledge of where these weaknesses lie allows us to buffer your health to prevent issues.


Through the study of nutrigenetics, doctors learn how the body responds to nutrients based on one’s genetics. 

Once thought to be rare, genome SNPs are common, with each individual possessing roughly 4-5 million. As such, understanding the role your distinct genetics play in your health is increasingly important. 

Nutrigenetic testing helps us understand why you struggle with weight loss, inflammation, or autoimmune diseases, so we can address them through proper nutrition. Patients are thrilled when they learn that simple things like eliminating wheat or increasing folate can rid them of lifelong symptoms, as well as the host of medications they’ve been taking.

Health Conditions That Benefit from Genetic Nutritional Counseling

Understanding your genetic composition is essential for total health. Whether you suffer from migraines, infertility, allergies, or fibromyalgia, it’s time you unlocked the genomic secret that’s preventing you from living life to the fullest. Here is just a sampling of the conditions improved by genetic nutritional counseling.

What You Gain From Genetic Nutritional Counseling With Dr. Threlkel vs a Nutritionist

There are many titles for people who prescribe nutrition for health benefits. Nutritionists, dietitians, and naturopaths to name a few. But Karen Threlkel, ND is uniquely qualified as a licensed naturopathic doctor, which means she approaches health from both a medical and naturopathic perspective. Just like MDs, she holds degrees from both undergraduate school and naturopathic medical school, and completed all relevant licensing boards. She is experienced in conducting and interpreting genetic tests, unlike nutritionists or naturopaths. 

While she is able to prescribe conventional medicine if needed, she first seeks to understand your holistic health picture and find the root of your symptoms. She has the same tools as a traditional doctor, but she has additional education and training in naturopathic solutions as well. She is an expert at solving the chronic conditions that traditional medicine can’t relieve. 

Doctor with a patient

What to Expect at Your Appointment

If you’re living with chronic symptoms, isn’t it time you found relief? Visit Dr. Threlkel for a comprehensive analysis that removes the guesswork from your condition. Don’t give up on feeling well again, or blame yourself for your symptoms. Instead, come find the source through genetic nutritional counseling, and free yourself of poor health! 

  • 1-1/2 hour consultation explaining your personal genetic makeup
  • 50-65 page color report
  • Plan of action to reduce possible variant effects
  • Improved health!
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