By all accounts, our first annual Health Symposium, which took place Sept 28th at Parkinson Rec Centre, was a huge success.
Feedback from speakers, sponsors, and attendees alike has been glowing! Not only did we feature a terrific lineup of very informative speakers, we had a good number of health care booths in our expo area offering a wide variety of services including personal training, counseling, chiropractic, nutritional supplements, weight loss, skin care, and hearing services. Our lead sponsor was Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy, currently celebrating their 40th anniversary. Our co-sponsor was The DePieri Clinic, Kelowna’s dedicated anti-aging centre, and Prescription Health Studio, a new Integrative Pharmacy on West Avenue, sponsored our fabulous lunch.
The morning started off with an introductory talk on the Pillars of Health by Dr Michael Muzzin, chiropractor. He listed five key foundational elements to good health: exercise, nutrition, mental health, rest, and spinal health. He clarified how interfering with central nervous system functioning interferes with our ability to heal and to function optimally.
Next up was Dr Sally Stewart, professor at UBCO, who gave an energetic talk on the importance of healthy nutrition. Her philosophy is simple: eat foods in their most natural state, in the correct proportions. She also touched on fueling requirements for physical activity, the importance of plant phytonutrients, and how the immune system is the first to be impacted by a poor diet. Sally says, “Exercise is your king, and nutrition is your queen. Together they create your fitness kingdom.”
Dr. Gareth Jones, another UBCO professor, showed us how research in aging is the study of “drooping lines” as our functions decline toward disability. How can we prevent this inexorable decline? Exercise truly is “the elixir of youth”, and Gareth offered an effective prescription for frequency, type, and intensity of activities to keep us from crossing that disability threshold.
Rounding out the morning, Mr. Saul Katz gave a talk on the crucial importance of the Glycemic Index in planning our nutrition. High-glycemic carbohydrates are the cause of the modern epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. These cause the release of excessive amounts of insulin, leading to endless “crash and crave” cycles and ultimately to insulin resistance. His nutrition company has come up with the “Solo Bar”, a low-glycemic, scientifically validated, healthy energy bar, currently in use by many professional and amateur sports teams. We even had an opportunity to sample the many different flavours.
Leading off the afternoon sessions, Dr Andrew DePieri addressed hormone requirements for women, including discussions of estradiol, estriol, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA. He touched on both pros and cons of hormone replacement, as there are certain associated risks to be aware of with any hormones. He clearly explained the concept of “bioidentical” hormones, meaning “identical to life”, as this is a different approach from synthetic pharmaceutical chemicals produced to mimic our hormones without being identical.
I then had the privilege of tackling the hormone requirements for men, focusing on the symptoms of testosterone deficiency, called “andropause”, as well as the various disease states associated with low T. Methods for replacement include creams or gels, larger injections into muscles, smaller injections under the skin, and even implantable pellets. We examined side effects and risks, and then took a look at DHEA as well as Growth Hormone replacement for “somatopause”.
Next up was Mr. Chris Waller, the compounding pharmacist from Lakeside Medicine Centre, our chief sponsor for the day. He showed us how he prepares customized medications for individual patients from the raw active ingredients into various forms such as creams, gels, capsules, lozenges, triturates, troches, or suppositories.
Dr.Cameron McIntyre, a naturopath from Vancouver, spoke to us on Cognitive Health. His talk was titled, “Don’t Lose Your Marbles!” and he reviewed the scientific evidence for a number of nutritional supplements that can play a role in preserving brain functions specifically by reducing inflammation. Particularly helpful are curcumin and homo-taurine.
Another naturopath, Dr Alana Berg, gave the next lecture on Environmental Influences on Mitochondrial Integrity. She explained that mitochondria are the little energy-producing factories inside our cells, and that they decline in numbers as we age. This is due to the process called “oxidation”, which is a normal byproduct of our metabolism, and damages our mitochondria and our DNA eventually leading to cell death. This can be accelerated by exposure to environmental toxins. In order to compensate for this damage we should be utilizing antioxidant therapies including coconut oil, resveratrol, and grape seed.
Audiologist Colin Van Bergen showed us how a decline in hearing impacts our social, emotional, mental, physical, and even financial health, and is associated with an increased risk of dementia. Three potential reasons for this include the allocation of cognitive resources (more energy spent on hearing if it is poor), underlying inflammation responsible for both declining hearing and declining cognition, or that we perhaps suffer from lower levels of dopamine release if we’re not hearing well, as we tend toward social isolation. In cautioning us about noise exposure, Colin gave us the “60/120 Rule”: set your iPod at no more than 60% volume for no more than 120 minutes per day. I’ll be sharing that tip with my teenagers!
Finally, rounding out the day, we had a very uplifting talk from Dirk Stroda, a mental coach who works with high-level athletes and executives on the “Power of Coherence”. He showed us the clear benefits of bringing positive energy to whatever we do, and moving away from fear. Dirk says, “I attract what I am”. He gave us some practical tools for daily affirmation, giving us an opportunity to attract attributes of patience, strength, inspiration, confidence, and forgiveness, among others.
WANT TO ATTEND NEXT YEAR?
From this brief summary I’m sure you can tell that the attendees certainly got their money’s worth. (Entry fee was only $10 and lunch was included!) If you missed this year’s symposium, be sure to sign-up for email newsletter notifications, or mark your calendars or for the last Saturday of September, 2014. We look forward to an even bigger and better event next year!
Inspiring you to Live Longer Better,
Dr. Grant Pagdin, MD
Photo Credit: Abdullah AL-Naser (FLICKR)
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