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What is Nutrigenomic testing and how can a pharmacist use it in patient wellness consultations and supplement recommendations?
Nutrigenomic testing is similar to pharmacogenomic testing except we are looking at genes that specifically have to do with nutritional deficiencies.
What genes are you testing?
Some commonly tested genes are MTHFR, MTRR and FOLR1. These three genes are directly related to the methionine pathway and can impact the patient's homocysteine levels and folic acid levels.
Some other genes that we're looking at and testing with Nutrigenomics is GAD1, GSTM, interleukins and HLA-DQA1 which is an indicator of gluten intolerance.
There are no CPT codes that code for nutrigenomic testing and testing is not covered by insurance.
Most of the pharmacists offering nutrigenomic and health and wellness consults are charging the patients cash.
The cash price to the patient would include whatever test you'll be running, plus the consultant pharmacist's consultation fee and then certain supplement recommendations.
On top of the pharmacist's consultation fee some opportunity for pharmacists to impact patients in nutrigenomic testing is to offer supplement recommendations as part of a health and wellness consult that identifies what nutritional deficiencies.
The consultant may need to address any changes in diet that the patient may need to undergo as well to help impact and improve their genetic makeup by modifying gene expression (epigenetics).
How could a consultant pharmacist offer nutrigenomic tests?
In addition sometimes a nutrigenomic test can identify opportunities for pharmacogenomic testing.
For instance some nutrigenomic tests, will test the COMT gene and the MTHFR gene which we also see on many pharmacogenomic panels.
Pharmacists are seeing an opportunity to help patients through offering them high quality supplement recommendations and by using natural products like CBD oils.
As more and more patients are looking for a more natural and holistic approach to medication therapy and preventative medicine, consultant pharmacists who are interested in functional medicine can use nutrigenomic testing to identify and remedy nutrient deficiencies that the patient may be experiencing.
How can you put a program like this together?
A consultant pharmacist in an off site setting such as a community pharmacy or independent consulting firm could provide nutrient deficiency consultations, microbiome and food sensitivity testing, nutrigenomic testing and weight management as part of a holistic health and wellness consultation program.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent consultant pharmacist living in Arkansas with her husband and two children. Her latest project is the host and producer of pharmacy’s first virtual conference, the Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit in partnership with the NCPA Innovation Center. She is the founder of Pharmapreneur Academy, an online e-Course and Community where she guides pharmacist-entrepreneurs through the process and barriers of building a pharmacy consulting business. She is the author of How to Build a Pharmacy Consulting Business and facilitates in-person Business Planning Workshops and Mastermind Retreats for female Pharmapreneurs across the country. More information about Dr. Thielemier can be found on her website.