Genetics, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

The Future of Medicine is Now!

Did you Know Your Body has a Built-In Mechanic?

You may have read my blog post about the food adventures I had on my recent trip to Portland, Maine. No matter what my friends might say, I was there for more than the food!

Over the past year or so, I’ve become more and more interested in genetic testing and how I can customize treatment plans based on the results of those tests. I believe it’s the future of medicine – and it’s an exciting way to augment the services we offer at Leaves of Life.

In September, I traveled to Portland to hear Dr. Amy Yasko’s presentation on optimizing methylation (and associated biochemical pathways) to address chronic illnesses of all kinds. She’s an expert in this area, so I was very excited to hear what she had to say. It’s difficult to summarize so much technical information in a blog post, but I’m going to try! At minimum, I want to communicate how valuable I think this topic is to all of my patients.

At a high level, methylation is a process by which gene expression is either silenced or activated.  Let me give you some examples…

Say you have inherited a gene for some type of cancer that tends to run in  your family.  As long as the cancer gene is properly methylated, it will not express itself.

Have a tumor suppressor gene that will suppress cancer if it starts to grow?  Proper methylation ensures that the tumor suppressor gene will express itself and successfully suppress cancer growth.

Ever heard the saying that disease is 10% genetic and 90% lifestyle and environment?  When we bathe our genes in the proper information (good diet, clean environment, positive attitude), they express in the way that is most advantageous to our overall health and wellbeing.

Genes may be the gun, but diet and lifestyle pull the trigger.

Putting the ME in Medicine

Dr. Amy is a PhD who has been utilizing genetic testing for many years to treat and cure autistic children.  As our knowledge of genetics evolves and expands, and as genetic testing has become affordable to the average person, we are now able to personalize medicine like never before.

Dr. Amy’s focus has always been primarily on methylation and associated biochemical pathways (BH4, methionine, sulfation, kreb’s cycle).  Among MANY other functions, these pathways help us:

  • Create energy
  • Detoxify harmful substances, including homocysteine and ammonia, both of which are normal by-products of metabolism, as well as heavy metals and other toxicants we encounter in our environment
  • Recycle B12, SAM-e, methionine and folate for re-use in the body
  • Make and break down neurotransmitters
  • Methylate and  repair DNA for proper gene expression
  • Make nitric oxide to promote proper vessel dilation
  • AND so much more…

When these pathways are optimized, the body is able to recover from all illnesses and imbalances more effectively, which is why Dr. Amy describes these biochemical pathways as the body’s own built-in mechanic.

Want to Learn More?

Dr. Amy is very generous with her information.  Click here to read some of her publications on genetic testing and its application, as well as to access her free online book on treating autism holistically.


It wasn’t all work! Read more about Patty’s trip to Portland – exploring local food and beer.

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