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Dec 29, 2011

Obese Children Should be Checked for High Cholesterol

Children who are obese need to be checked for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Obese children have an increase risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Obese children as young as six years old can have plague on their arterties.  Weight loss including eating a healthy diet and exercising can reverse these illnesses in a child. As naturopathic physicians we look at healthy diet and lifestyle as the most effective treatment for most illnesses. 

Ways to Prevent Travel Associated Thrombosis

The rate of venous thrombosis increases with the duration of airline flight.  It is rare to see venous thrombosis in flights less than six hours in duration.  Factors that can increase the risk of venous thrombosis include a history of deep venous thrombosis or VTE, pregnancy, estrogen use (including oral contraceptives), malignancy, advanced age, obesity, immobility, recent major surgery, congestive heart failure, and thrombophilic disorders. 

Ways to prevent venous thrombosis while flying include:

General measures for all travelers:
  • Avoid dehydration;
  • Avoid constrictive clothing from the waist down;
  • Walk around the cabin at regular intervals if feasible (at least every 2 hours); and
  • Periodically flex and extend feet and knees.
Patients with risk factors for venous thrombosis should include these measures:
  • Properly fitted below-the-knee compression stockings providing 15-30 mm Hg pressure at the ankle; and
  • A single dose of low-molecular-weight heparin administered prior to departure for flights (and potentially other forms of travel) longer than 6-8 hours.

Dec 28, 2011

Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise: A Little Goes a Long Way

For sufferers of Type 2 Diabetes, control of blood sugar is of paramount importance.  In addition to the more unpleasant methods involving needles and insulin, a recent study has shown that very brief bouts of high intensity exercise can effectively lower blood sugar.

McMaster University researchers determined that short bursts of intense exercise (as little as 75 minutes per week over two weeks) was enough to lower 24-hour blood sugar, reduce blood sugar spiking after meals, and increase skeletal muscle mitochondria (the “powerhouses” of the cells).  Although this is a small-scale study involving only 8 diabetic participants, the results are potentially significant since it indicates a reduced time investment for those diabetics trying to meet minimum weekly exercise standards.

Study participants were asked to take their blood sugar readings, assess their level of physical exertion, and take thigh muscle biopsies to assess health markers.  The exercise involved riding a stationary bike for 60 seconds, resting for 60 seconds, and repeating this for a total of 9 sequences.  Level of exertion involved a maximal target heart rate around 90%.  The total time of exertion, including a warm-up and cool-down period, was 25 minutes per workout.  

“These finding are intriguing because they suggest that exercising very strenuously for short periods of time may provide many of the same health benefits as traditional exercise training,” points out Martin Gibala, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster and an author of the study.

One of the predicted mechanisms of action is improved uptake of blood sugar after meals by skeletal muscle, which would explain the dramatic lowering of 24-hour blood sugar.

Even if you are not diabetic, these results show that with exercise, a little can go a long way!

Dr. Shana McQueen


Dec 25, 2011

Childhood Asthma Linked with Acetaminophen Use

With such a high prevalence and incidence of asthma throughout the Western world, many people have been on the search for reasonable theories to explain this.  Many theories have been suggested, but recent information may provide a startling explanation- increases in childhood asthma may be linked to widespread use of acetaminophen.
Prior to the massive upsurge in reported asthma cases in the 1980s, Aspirin was commonly prescribed for childhood ailments as an antipyretic.  With the revelation that Aspirin was linked with Reye’s syndrome in children, Aspirin was no longer prescribed to children as an antipyretic.  Instead, Tylenol (acetaminophen) became the go-to medication.  A fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Arthur Varner, argues that that switch was a mistake, and may have fueled the massive increase in childhood asthma.
Essentially, Dr. Varner looked at multiple, large studies that showed acetaminophen use reduced the body’s stores of glutathione, an essential enzyme for the repair and reduction of inflammation.  This can then encourage or exacerbate inflammation in the airways.  Other studies in infants, children, and adults showed a dose-response relationship with acetaminophen use and concurrent severity/timing of asthma attacks.
This is in addition to other issues associated with acetaminophen, including renal damage and reduction in antibody response during immunizations.  These drawbacks require patients to be aware of their dangers, and should encourage those with children experiencing asthma to decide whether the risks outweigh the benefits. 
Dr. Shana McQueen

Dec 14, 2011

6 Ways to Increase your Good Cholesterol (HDL)

1. Exercise more. Activities like brisk walking boost HDL levels, but aerobic exercise — the kind that really increases your heart rate — seems to have the added bonus of encouraging HDL's anti-inflammatory activity, even if the levels don't go up much.

2. Eat "good" fats. Trans fat lowers HDL, and saturated fat seems to detract from some of its positive attributes. The monounsaturated fats found in olive and canola oils reduce LDL without adversely affecting HDL. The omega-3 fats increase HDL.

3. Eat whole grains. The high-carbohydrate diets often recommended for heart disease prevention reduce HDL levels, although that adverse effect is tempered if you eat whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates.

4. Lose weight. Dropping pounds, whether it be from diet or exercise, increases HDL.

5. Quit smoking. Smokers have lower HDL levels than nonsmokers. Levels bounce back up once people quit.

6. Drink, but only in moderation. Alcohol increases HDL, and the more people drink, the higher it goes. Alcoholics tend to have great HDL numbers. Of course the adverse effects of high alcohol intake swamp any benefit from a high HDL.

8 Best Super Foods for Weight Loss

"Superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that help build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp"

With the holiday season apon us the average person will gain 5 to 7 pounds.  Superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that help build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp. But did you know new evidence suggests these foods can also help you get—and stay—slim?

Here is a list of superfoods to help with weight loss.

Black beans 1 cup with give you 15 grams of protein, regulate blood sugar and is very low in calories.

Oats very high in fiber, can lower cholesterol and prevents constipation.

Avocado is a very healthy fat and is also low in calories.

Salmon high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Blueberries helps lower blood sugar and high in fiber.

Broccoli very low in calories, high in fiber and antioxidants.

Brown rice high in fiber and low in calories.

Grapefruit high in vitamin C and promotes weight loss.

These are just a few healthier choices for you holiday season!

Dec 13, 2011

Healthy Gift Choices for this Holiday Season!

With Christmas just around the corner everyone is busy trying to find that special gift.  So I came up with a few healthy gift choices for this Holiday season. 
One of my favorites is VitalChoice wild caught salmon from Alaska. Check out there web site at

A massage, craniosacral treatment or facial can be a great gift for the stressed out person.

After the holidays it's all about losing those extra pounds and getting back in shape so yoga or pilates gift cards are always a good idea.

For the person who loves herbal teas we carry many types of teas at the Riverwalk.  Our Cold & Flu tea and Relaxing tea are our #1 sellers.  We also carry licorice tea, ginger tea, lemon balm, skullcap, raspberry, fertility tea, nursing tea and tummy tea.  Stop by and check out what we offer.

Bath salts for the person who loves to relax in a tub.  We carry lavender bath salts, eucalyptus, rosemary bath salts, relaxing herbal blends and stimulating herbal blends.

Essential oils are always a nice gift such as lavender essential oil, eucalyptus and rosemary.  We also carry essential oil blends such as panic button, mountain morning, rose, love potion, and energize, tranquility, mellow mix, meditation and relaxation.

Cold and flu remedies can be great socking stuffers to keep your love ones healthy this winter such as phytogen, immune support, viralclear or mycoimmune.  Check out what we have to offer.

For the person with injuries or pain, acupuncture can be a very good gift.  It is also very relaxing.  

Books are also a good choice such as:
 - The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, by Tom Malterre and Alissa Segersten
 - Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair
 - Feeding the Young Athlete, by Cynthia Lair
 - The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, by Jessica Black, ND
 - The Yoga Cookbook, by Sivananda Yoga Center
 - Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen
 - Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madsen
 - Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living, by Thomas Yarena
 - The Chopra Center Cookbook, by Deepak Chopra

The three pillars to optimal Health a good multiple vitamin, probiotics and omega three fatty acids.

Nuts and fruit instead of chocolate or cookies.

Organic skin care such as make-up, moisturizers or sunscreens.

A gift certificate at a healthy or organic restaurant.

Home-made granola without the sugar.

Remember health is priceless so let's not take it for grated.  Have a healthy holiday!

Dr. Wiancek is naturopathic physician who has been practices at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Natural Pharmacy in Edwards, Colorado.  For questions you can e-mail her at or call at 970-926-7606, web-site, or for the latest research in natural medicine see our blog at

Dec 2, 2011

Most Emergency Hospital Visits Linked with Four Prescribed Medications

It comes as no surprise that the majority of the medications prescribed today come with a long list of potential side effects.  Some of these side effects are thought of as mild or tolerable, while others may be dangerous or even deadly.  In the United States, about 100,000 people over the age of 65 are admitted into hospitals annually for adverse effects from medications.  

According to a recent report published in The New England Journal of Medicine, just four drugs or drug groups were found to be the cause of two-thirds of emergency hospitalizations in older adults.  Between 2007 and 2009, data regarding adverse drug events was gathered and analyzed from 58 hospitals throughout the United States.  The drug found to be most responsible for emergency hospitalizations is the blood thinner Coumadin, accounting for one-third of the total emergency visits.  Next in line is insulin (injectible) which contributes to fourteen percent of total visits.  Aspirin, clopidogrel, and other antiplatelet medications used to prevent clotting account for thirteen percent of total visits, while oral hypoglycemic drugs frequently used in diabetics account for eleven percent. 

These types of drugs are common prescriptions for adults over 65 years of age in the United States.  What makes these drugs prone to causing such problems is that they all share a narrow therapeutic index, meaning that the dose required for therapeutic benefit is not far off from the dose that leads to major adverse effects and emergency hospitalizations.  Some of these drugs require close monitoring or even regular blood testing to make sure dosing is appropriate and to prevent dangerous side effects or interactions.     
Author of the study and director of the Medication Safety Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Dan Budnitz, did not expect to see so many emergency hospitalizations due to such a relatively few number of drugs.   

With about forty percent of Americans over age 65 currently taking between 5 and 9 medications, it’s only reasonable to assume that accidental overdoses and adverse drug reactions will continue to remain a major reason for emergency hospitalizations in this population.  

Dr. Shana McQueen


Dec 1, 2011

Probiotics May Protect Against Respiratory Illness in Infants

Beneficial flora (aka the “good bacteria”) play an important role in keeping our immune systems healthy.

Beneficial flora (aka the “good bacteria”) play an important role in keeping our immune systems healthy. Finnish researchers from the University of Turku recently found that probiotics given to babies during their first months of life appeared to be protective against respiratory illnesses.  Compared with the control group, infants whose daily diets included the probiotic species known as Bifidobacterium animalis (subspecies BB-12) experienced a 30 percent reduction in respiratory infections.  

Over a period of eight months, 109 infants were divided into two groups and monitored.  At the beginning of the trial period, all participants were about one month old.  Infants in the first group received a probiotic twice per day while infants in the second group received placebo.  Although the researchers did not note significant differences between the groups in overall gastrointestinal health, they did observe differences when it came to respiratory health. 

The researchers involved in this study admit their findings are only preliminary and that additional research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be made.  Still, they are confident that the results of this study will help contribute to new preventative treatment options for respiratory infections and other types of childhood illnesses. 

Although many probiotic products available today have fairly good safety records and have little or no side effects in most people, there are large differences when it comes to quality, purity, and effectiveness.  Some probiotics are well-researched and documented in the medical literature, while others are not.  For your child’s health and safety, it’s important to do the necessary research and talk to your trusted healthcare practitioner prior to use of a particular product. 

Studies like the one briefly mentioned above can serve to remind us of the important role that breastfeeding can play in the normal and healthy development of children.  There are many strains of beneficial flora that have evolved with the human body, some of which are known to be passed from mother to child in the form of breast milk.  Breastfeeding alone can be an important way of making sure infants receive the protective flora that will help them develop into healthy adults.  Of course, this requires that breastfeeding mothers have optimal levels of their own beneficial flora!  This can be achieved through healthy diet and lifestyle choices as well as appropriate probiotic supplementation if needed.     

Dr. Shana McQueen