General Questions

What is INR?

The International Normalized Ratio (INR) is a blood test used to monitor warfarin therapy. Warfarin is a blood thinning medication. Some of the more common uses of warfarin therapy include Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Pulmonary Embolism (PE), Atrial Fibrillation (AF), Artificial Heart Valves, and some causes of Heart Failure.

Initially, the INR is checked frequently, but as treatment is stabilized, it may be done less often, usually every four weeks. Using the INR blood test, a healthcare provider can recommend the correct warfarin dosage to keep the patient in the therapeutic range (usually between 2.0 and 3.0).

Mitchell Medical Pharmacy offers a home INR Testing program.

What are low-glycemic index foods and why are they important?

The glycemic index classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potential to raise your blood sugar level. Low-glycemic foods keep your blood sugar and energy levels more stable. According to recent studies, low-glycemic diets are more effective than low-fat diets in treating obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 Diabetes.

What are medical foods?

Medical foods are specifically formulated for dietary management of diseases or conditions with distinctive nutritional needs that cannot be met by diet alone. Medical foods are like a hybrid between prescription drugs and dietary supplements. They are intended to be used under medical supervision for people with health conditions.

What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements are vitamins, minerals, herbs or other plants, amino acids, or parts of these substances. They can be in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form. Dietary supplements provide targeted nutritional support for specific functions, such as healthy blood cholesterol or blood sugar levels, joint function and mobility, or healthy hormone metabolism. They do not need to be used under medical supervision.

Mitchell Medical Pharmacy carries a variety of high-quality supplements including AOR and Metagenics brands.

What is special about AOR supplements?

As Canada’s most progressive supplement formulator and manufacturer, Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR) provides high-quality, research-backed vitamins and dietary supplements. Their superior natural health products have been studied and distributed worldwide including Europe, Japan, USA, as well as Canada.

What is Metagenics?

Metagenics is an American company that produces science-based medical foods for the management of specific health conditions and supplements for healthier living. The company also created FirstLine Therapy Lifestyle Medicine Programs which offer scientifically evaluated medical food programs that provide an effective and safe approach to managing some of today’s toughest chronic illnesses and risk factors.

What is FirstLine Therapy?

FirstLine Therapy is a series of healthy lifestyle programs created by Metagenics. These scientifically based programs help you lose weight, balance your hormones, decrease stress, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and manage you blood sugar. Choose from the Healthy Transformation Weight Loss Program, Metabolic Syndrome Program, or Clear Change Metabolic Detoxification Program.

Dale and Karen are available to answer your questions

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

What are bioidentical hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are produced from plants and are pharmaceutically processed to make them indistinguishable from the hormones created in the body. For a replacement hormone to function as effectively as hormones produced naturally in the human body, the chemical structure must exactly match the original. Bioidentical hormones can be created for a specific person with custom compounding. They usually result in fewer side effects than mass-produced, synthetic hormones.

Most commonly, bioidentical hormones are applied to the skin in a cream or gel form. Oral bioidentical hormones can be prepared in personalized doses in capsules.

What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) uses bioidentical rather than synthetic hormones. Hormone deficiencies are identified through a personal medical history/symptom questionnaire and saliva test. If BHRT is recommended, the compounding pharmacist will consult with your doctor to obtain a prescription that will address your individual hormone imbalance.

How long does it take to notice results from BHRT?

Some people begin to notice results within a few weeks while most experience benefits between about three and six months. Lifestyle factors including stress level, diet, sleep patterns, exercise habits, other health conditions, and which types/doses of hormones are being used, etc. can impact results.

What is the average duration for using bioidentical hormones?

In general, it is best to use hormones at the lowest possible dose for you and for the shortest possible duration. A key factor in determining the length of your treatment is symptom management. If you stop using your hormone therapy and symptoms are still present, therapy may need to be continued. Once your hormones are balanced, you may be able to gradually decrease your dosage and discontinue therapy.

Healthy Transformation Weight Loss Program (HTWL)

How does the Healthy Transformation Weight Loss Program work?

Some diets or programs result in weight loss at the expense of healthy lean tissue. Though weight is lost, unhealthy body fat may actually increase. The clinically developed food plan for the Healthy Transformation Weight Loss Program restricts high-glycemic carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, and enhances protein intake, while providing you with a wide range of foods that are rich in phytonutrients. This food plan stimulates fat loss, maintains muscle, curbs cravings, reduces caloric intake, and promotes overall health. The program also includes targeted nutritional supplements and simple exercises.

Increasing protein is important because it supports lean body mass and helps you feel fuller longer. Certain carbohydrates—such as breads, rice, pasta, potatoes, and sweet foods—are high on the glycemic index. They contain simple sugars that digest quickly, causing your blood sugar levels to rise higher than is optimal. This calls on the hormone insulin to help process the sugars in your cells.

High levels of insulin can result in storing fat instead of burning it. High-glycemic foods can also increase food cravings, especially for higher calorie sweet foods. Fat storage and cravings are counterproductive when you are trying to eat right for optimal health.

In contrast, when you limit dietary carbohydrates, the body uses its second choice for fuel: stored fats. Stimulating fat loss and maintaining muscle helps you achieve a healthier body composition (fat-to-lean-tissue ratio), which improves overall wellness and healthy functioning. That’s why it’s important to keep your carbohydrate intake low and to carefully measure your allotted veggies and fruit.

How does being overweight affect my health?

The FirstLine Therapy® Healthy Transformation Weight Loss Program helps healthy individuals to lose fat and maintain overall health. Losing fat can improve your cardiometabolic parameters including serum glucose, insulin, C‐reactive protein, and blood lipids.

Is this program appropriate if I am obese?

This program was scientifically designed for healthy individuals affected by obesity, but consult your healthcare provider to ensure that is right for you. Mitchell Medical Pharmacy staff is certified to provide the FirstLine Therapy Healthy Transformation Weight Loss Program and will supervise you during it.

Should I discontinue prescription medications while on this program?

Your doctor should carefully monitor any prescription medications. If you have multiple healthcare providers, inform each one that you are doing the program so that they can discuss any adjustments to your care with you. Also, remember to tell all of your healthcare providers about any supplements and over-the-counter products that you take regularly.

Is this program appropriate for vegetarians?

The food plan includes protein options for lacto-ovo vegetarians. To limit consumption of animal proteins, speak to Mitchel Medical Pharmacy staff about substituting textured wheat protein, chia, hemp, and/or legumes (e.g., black beans) to your list of meal and snack options to meet program guidelines. Due to increased carbohydrate content, you may also need to make other dietary modifications. Be aware that the packaged protein options and nutritional supplements for this program contain animal-derived ingredients (e.g., fish oil, whey protein).