What is metabolism?
Metabolism" refers to all the chemical reactions taking place in the body to convert or use energy.
A few major examples of metabolism include:
  • Breaking down the carbohydrates, proteins and fats in food to release energy.
  • Transforming excess nitrogen into waste products excreted in urine.
  • Breaking down or converting chemicals into other substances and transporting them inside cells.
Metabolism is an organized but chaotic chemical assembly line. Raw materials, half-finished products, and waste materials are constantly being used, produced, transported, and excreted. The "workers" on the assembly line are enzymes and other proteins that make chemical reactions happen.
What is a metabolic disorder?
Inherited metabolic disorders are genetic conditions that result in metabolism problems. Most people with inherited metabolic disorders have a defective gene that results in an enzyme deficiency. There are hundreds of different genetic metabolic disorders, and their symptoms, treatments, and prognoses vary widely.

Is a metabolic disease the same as a metabolic syndrome?
No. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. When these conditions occur together, they are referred to as ‘metabolic syndrome’ and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Who's eligible for our service?
Our services are available to adults 18 years and older living in British Columbia and Yukon who have, or are suspected to have, genetic disorders affecting metabolism.
Do I need to be referred to the metabolic clinic?
Yes, you need to be referred by a medical doctor licensed in British Columbia.
How long is the first appointment?
The Initial visit is two hours long. Follow up visits can last anywhere from 1-2 hours. Follow up visits are arranged as needed.
Is there a cost?
There is no cost for the clinic appointment.
How should I prepare for my first visit?
You will be sent questionnaires before your appointment so that we can learn more about your medical history. We may also ask you to complete some lab tests.
What should I bring to the visit?
Bring a list of current medications including dosage (or the medications themselves).

A friend or family member is also welcome to accompany you.
Will I be referred to a dietitian?
Diet therapy is the cornerstone of treatment for many metabolic disorders. Nutrition problems such as the inability to gain weight and swallowing difficulties may be caused by the metabolic condition itself.
At the AMDC, dietitians see patients whose metabolic condition requires nutrition intervention, including diet education and assessment of metabolic and nutritional status with individualized care planning. We do not see patients for basic nutrition counseling such as diabetes, heart health or weight loss. Patients are screened by the Metabolic Team and referred to the dietitian based on diagnosis and/or current health status and symptoms.

Useful Resources

chronic illness support
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MoodGYM is an innovative, interactive web program designed to help individuals prevent and manage depressive experience. It consists of five modules, an interactive game, anxiety and depression assessments, downloadable relaxation audio, a workbook and feedback assessment.
A friendly, simple tool (mobile IOS app or desktop) to guide people of all ages and backgrounds through meditations for mindfulness and compassion.
Mind shift is a mobile app (IOS and Android) designed to help individuals manage anxiety through development of self-monitoring, relaxation and active self-management skills for worry and stress.
This mobile app (IOS) focuses on skill development to increase personal resilience in the face of chronic illness and/or health problems. One chooses a goal and adds “quests” to complete in various mental, emotional, social and physical resilience areas.
Headspace provides guided meditations for management of everyday stressors.
This website is designed to help individuals determine how they are feeling and quickly connect to mental health resources and support, including education, self-care tools, website links and assistance in connecting with local professional resources.
This app has dozens of short meditations (5 -12 min in length) for a large variety of situations (e.g., managing difficult emotions, getting things done, coping with pain and illness).
Guided meditations for a work break (7 min) and stress relief (13 min), with or without music or nature sounds.
This app cues people to notice mood fluctuations, try specific activities to improve mood, change unhelpful thinking pattern, and adjust attitude for improved well-being.
general
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Overview of metabolic disorders including an audio for the visually impaired.
Information on genetic testing.
Information on transitioning from pediatric to adult health care services.
General health information.
transportation and accommodation
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The Social Planning and Research Council of BC is a non-partisan, charitable organization that provides a valuable service for people with disabilities, including disabled parking passes.
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The Adult Metabolic Diseases Clinic (AMDC) at Vancouver General Hospital serves people in BC with metabolic disorders. The goal of the clinic is to help clinic patients achieve optimum control of their condition and health and maximize quality of life through effective assessment, treatment, monitoring, support and education.

AMDC services include: Medical assessment, treatment and monitoring | Diagnostic testing | Metabolic diet treatment and support | Nursing care, education and monitoring | Psychosocial support and advocacy | Group and Individual education | Genetic Counselling Consultation with other BC health care facilities | Coordination of community resources