Meeting Minutes - Matt Gowan: Natural Remedies-BP,Cholesterol,Diabetes-Mar. 21st. 2019
The meeting opened at 10:00 am with Frank Webster, Acting President, chairing the meeting with 45 members in attendance. He welcomed two guests who have already submitted their membership application: Jim Tushingham and Detlef Schuldt. Frank also welcomed today’s speaker, Dr. Matt Gowan.
Activities: – Ray Biffis - The Anniversary Luncheon is two weeks from today on April 4th at $15 per person. Lunch will be served at 12:00 noon with the speaker presenting at 10:30 am. Coffee will be at 10:00. There is one more week to sign up. - Ray took a straw vote for which racetrack members would prefer to attend: Either Mohawk or Elora. The clear preference was to go to Elora raceway. The application for reservations will be made to go to Elora in September.
Coffee: – Andy Curtis - Next Thurs, March 28th at the Symposium Restaurant which will be the last coffee/breakfast there. Beginning on April 11th coffee will be at the Boathouse. The Airpark Café is the alternative meeting location for coffee on any Thursday.
Gunter Thase introduced today’s guest presenter, Dr. Matt Gowan.
Bio: Dr. Matt Gowan, ND is a Guelph naturopath with over 15 years of clinical experience. He completed his undergraduate in biochemistry at the University of Waterloo, and worked in pharmaceutical research for several years before becoming a naturopath. Although Dr. Gowan appreciates that drugs have a place in healthcare, he believes that dietary and lifestyle changes along with some natural supplements are usually sufficient to treat most of his patient’s ailments. Dr. Gowan’s pharmacology background allows him to answer patients questions about the benefits and risks of drugs.
Bachelor of Science: Honours Co-op Biochemistry – (University of Waterloo) 1992-1998
Medical Acupuncturist (McMaster University) – 2003
Naturopathic Doctor (CCNM) – 1999-2003
Clinic Resident Naturopathic Doctor (CCNM) –2003-2005
Research Resident (CCNM) – 2005-2007
Prescribing Therapeutics Exam (CONO) – 2016
Presentation – Dr. Matt Gowan Dr. Gowan began his presentation by talking about conventional medicine. He says his issue with conventional medicine is the focus on prescribing drugs. While this has a place in treating conditions it sometimes is too powerful a tool and there are more gentle treatments in naturopathic medicine that should be considered first. He believes that people are over medicating with way too many drugs and drugs that many people shouldn’t be taking. There are other options.
Dr. Gowan focused on issues affecting the heart and there are many factors contributing to heart disease and a person’s overall health. There are risk factors: age, diet, lifestyle, smoking, over- weight, diabetes and blood sugars, and alcohol intake. All this determines whether or not you are in a high-risk of having a heart attack. (See slides of Dr. Gowan’s presentation on the Club website under “Speaker’s Notes”)
What is heart disease or atherosclerosis. It is the damage done to the heart and arteries by things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stress. But if your blood pressure is chronically elevated you do need to take medication to get it under control. If your cholesterol is high you need to lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol. Triglycerides are related to cholesterol and it’s important to have these lower. There are several blood tests that are used as indicators of heart disease risk.
Dr. Gowan talked about herbal medicines some of which have been used for over 60,000 years. Some drugs are made from herbal plants that were used by Neanderthals to treat things like digestion. Drugs used today require a lot of research and experimentation and must be used by many humans over many years to know its effectiveness. There is also a push by pharmaceutical companies on doctors to prescribe certain drugs. This causes suspicion on whether or not the drug is really beneficial.
Although drugs may be beneficial to some people there are many people prescribed a drug that is not going to work for them but they are taking the drug because it works for others and is therefore prescribe to them. There is a risk in prescribing a drug that may not work but there may also be a risk in not prescribing a drug that you know works for some people, so the drug is then prescribed. But with a naturopathic drug there is much lesser risk of prescribing a drug that will do harm and may prove to be beneficial to the individual knowing that it works for some people. There are both pros and cons of prescribing remedies.
There can be a problem of doing something due to side effects such as adverse reactions or botched surgeries but there may also be a problem of not doing something like not getting a vaccination that we know does work with very limited side effects. Some remedies may reduce the condition but do not increase the chance of living longer so they are essentially useless.
Dr. Gowan stressed several lifestyle benefits such as exercise which is really important because there are multiple benefits to doing exercise and maintaining a proper diet. Also people may need to take certain supplements but they need to be taken in moderation.
He talked about a couple of population studies done on donating blood and these studies have shown that for men donating blood on a regular basis there was an 88% risk reduction in having a heart attack. For women there was no benefit. This may be due to the amount of iron in the body and that men need to get rid of some of it where women are different because they menstruate. Another reason for the reduction in heart attack due to donating blood may be because in blood letting you may be getting rid of old blood cells that have a tendency to stick to arteries.
Regarding diet what you need to focus on in general is green vegetables because they have non-starchy fat which means you can eat as much as you want and not get fat. They are also loaded in other chemicals like flavonoids which do not contribute to cancer or diabetes. The people who live the longest are not eating meat but they are eating a lot of plants. Fruit is good for you but too much is not because of the sugars in fruit.
He spoke about starch which is in two forms: it is either in the form of grains like rice, pasta, quinoa, and couscous or in the form of starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and pumpkin. Although they are good for you they are in the form of starch. However if you are eating a whole meal of these you should replace half of them with things like celery, lettuce, cucumber, or zucchini or things like that. You can lose weight by changing the things you are eating rather than the amount you eat. This reduces the amount of calories that you are eating. Legumes like beans, peas, soy are a kind of a protein and a kind of a starch. Vegetable protein is a different protein than an animal protein. Proteins are made up from amino acids. Plants have more of certain amino acids that are good for the heart and animals have less of these amino acids. A diet of high protein from animals is good but you die sooner. So you should eat a lot more plant protein than animal protein. This is truer as you get older than it is for children.
Another way of eating more plant protein is to eat more nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios or seeds. Dr. Gowan said if you get nothing more from this lecture you should eat a handful of walnuts or almonds every day. These are good for preventing heart disease. Peanuts are not a nut but are a legume from a health stand point.
As far a meat is concerned, fish is better than chicken which better than beef or pork. Processed foods are not good for you.
There are good and bad fats. For cooking you should use olive oil for moderate and lower temperature and avocado oil for higher temperature. Omega-3’s are good for heart disease and these are found in fish, flax, hemp and walnuts. Grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3’s than corn-fed beef. Omega-6’s are oils that are bad for your heart and these are found in deep-fried foods done in corn oil which increases inflammation and heart disease. Corn, soy, sunflower oils increase your overall omega-6’s. Saturated fats like lard, butter, animal fats and coconut oil raises cholesterol and raises your risk of having a heart attack.
Dr. Gowan addressed the fish oil controversy by saying some studies are now saying don’t bother taking fish oil. These studies collated a number of statistical studies on taking fish oil supplements and they determined there is no benefit to taking a low dose fish oil compared to those taking a placebo. However, the design of this study did not compare it to a high dose fish oil so, the study is really inconclusive.
Dr. Gowan finished his presentation by saying in general moderation is what a person should strive for. Moderation is good, too much of anything is bad.
Following Dr. Gowan’s presentation he responded to a question and answer period.
John Sneyd thanked Dr. Gowan and presented him with a token of the Club’s appreciation.
Chairperson Frank Webster reminded members that annual fees of $80 are due as of April 1st.
Next meeting: April 4th with Ed Butts speaking on The History of Bodyguards