Showing all posts tagged #annexclinic:

What Is Perimenopause?

Posted on January 23rd, 2020

You may have heard of “menopausal transition”; this is the same as perimenopause, which translates as “around the time of menopause”.

Anyone who menstruates will eventually go through the, but due to the wide range of symptoms, which can also vary widely in severity, everyone experiences this time in their own way.

It’s for this reason that many people come to Annex Naturopathic for hormone replacement for menopause.

Let’s talk about perimenopause today, and how we can help.

What Is Perimenopause?

Menopause is when your body reaches the end of its reproductive years, and is marked once you’ve gone through a full twelve months without a period.

However, the time leading up to it involves several symptoms related to the reproductive system steadily reducing its function.

Most people who experience perimenopause will do so during their 40s, but there are some who go through this as early as their 30s, and others as late as their 60s.

What occurs during perimenopause is the unsteady decline of estrogen compared to when it is balanced during optimal childbearing years.

Symptoms Of Perimenopause

There are many symptoms of perimenopause. They include:

• Irregular periods: longer or shorter, less frequent, lighter or heavier

• Hot flashes

Sleep problems

• Mood changes, including an increased risk of depression

Vaginal dryness, which can cause painful intercourse

• Increased vulnerability to vaginal or urinary tract infections

• Loss of bone tissue, which can additionally contribute to incontinence.

Decreased fertility, though beware that pregnancy is still possible and you should take precautions until at least 12 months without menstruation

• Sexual arousal and desire can wane or change

• Natural increase in HDL (good cholesterol), which can reduce the risk of heart disease

• Natural increase in LDL (bad cholesterol), which is known to increase the risk of heart disease

Naturopathic Treatments To Ease Perimenopause

A profoundly natural process, many people turn to natural solutions to help ease their symptoms of perimenopause.

We recommend you consult a naturopath before starting any treatment regimen, as we can educate you on safe dosing practices that work best for your unique combination of symptoms.

1. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common treatment for people whose hormone levels are lower than optimal.

In recent years, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) has come to the forefront as a more natural solution to pharmaceutical HRT.

Bioidentical hormones are derived from plant hormones that have been identified as chemically-identical to the hormones the human body produces.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is often turned to as people age and hormone levels drop; the most common bioidentical hormones are estrogen and progesterone.

Bioidentical hormone therapy may reduce your perimenopausal symptoms by providing balance to your hormone levels.

2. Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is a well-known traditional North American herb.

Be sure to seek the advice of a naturopathic doctor before starting to use Black Cohosh, as it can interact with several other medicines both pharmaceutical and herbal.

However, if it’s safe for you to use, it may help reduce the effects of hot flashes.

One study by Shams Et Al discovered black cohosh helped reduce menopausal discomfort by 26%. Another

It is recommended not to use black cohosh for longer than one year as studies on it have mostly been short term in nature. Please consult with a healthcare provider if you would like to consider black cohosh.

3. St. John's Wort

Similar to black cohosh, St. John’s Wort interacts with many pharmaceutical medications, so we strongly advise to consult a health professional before beginning to take St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s Wort has shown to relieve vasomotor symptoms, especially for those with a history or high risk of breast cancer.

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used for centuries as a Traditional Chinese Medicine commonly used to relieve premenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, issues sleeping and emotional imbalances.

Acupuncture has a number of other health benefits as well, and as a result is a popular natural healthcare treatment.

5. Calcium

Calcium is well-known for helping with bone health, which is particularly important in peri- and menopausal women, as the loss of estrogen makes one prone to bone loss. One of the symptoms of bone loss can be incontinence.

However, calcium also benefits many other bodily functions. It can help keep blood pressure stable, prevent certain types of cancer, and help manage obesity.

Book An Appointment At Annex Naturopathic

Have you started to notice a few of the symptoms listed above?

Or perhaps you’re in full-fledged perimenopause and are seeking relief?

Call now to book your appointment at Annex Naturopathic Clinic and one of our skilled naturopathic doctors would be happy to help.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Read more info about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto

Naturopathic Treatment For Cold Sores

Posted on January 14th, 2020

Sometimes known as “fever blisters”, cold sores are dreaded, painful, and with you for life. Individual cold sores may come and go, but the virus remains.

While there are ways to treat them pharmaceutically, many people come to our naturopathic clinic in Toronto looking for treatments for their skin conditions, including cold sores.

Let’s take a closer look at cold sores today.

What Is A Cold Sore?

A cold sore is a blister that is usually found around the mouth and lips, or sometimes inside the cheeks, on the tongue or on the roof of the mouth.

They can be painful, and cause a burning, itching sensation that can start even a couple of days before an outbreak.

Once the outbreak starts, the blister will start to grow, and will then break.

Once it has broken, it crusts over, heals and the scab falls off to reveal fresh, pink skin.

Be warned that cold sores are extremely contagious, and you should wash your hands frequently, and every time you touch your face.

As well, don’t share lip balms, cutlery, drinks, or kisses while you’re having an outbreak.

What Causes Cold Sores?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (usually type-1, but occasionally type-2), and more than two-thirds of the worldwide population are carriers, even if they haven’t ever had an outbreak.

Outbreaks are usually caused by a compromised immune system, such as when you’re tired or have a cold.

You catch cold sores from another infected person.

Even though they don’t need to have an active outbreak to infect you, it’s MUCH more likely if they do.

Although it’s a slightly different strain, you should also be careful with genital herpes, as it can also transfer to the mouth with contact.

Natural Solutions For Cold Sores

As you may already know, there’s no cure for herpes, so if you have been diagnosed with it, you’ve got it for life.

However, with natural, over-the-counter, and prescription treatments, you’re able to both reduce the time of the outbreak and even avoid outbreaks altogether.

The key to controlling cold sores is antivirals, and there are several natural antivirals that may help.

1. Licorice Root

See if you can find licorice root-infused lip balm, as sufferers of cold sores have reported good results with this.

Licorice root helps to weaken the cold sore virus as it lies dormant in your skin, which means that it can be effective in preventing outbreaks from occurring.

The active ingredient is glycyrrhizic acid (GA), which targets the genes that maintain the dormant virus.

By interfering with the production of certain proteins, it helps starve the infected cells of their food source.

Other components that carry both antiviral and antimicrobial properties include: liquiritigenin, lichochalcone A, licochalcone E, and glabridin.

2. Eat A Lysine-Rich Diet

Lysine is an important compound for calcium absorption and collagen formation.

Find lysine in the following foods:

chicken, turkey, beef, pork

codfish, sardines

parmesan cheese, eggs, yogurt

Spirulina and soybeans

How lysine helps with cold sores: it’s been observed to interfere with arginine absorption in the intestine, which is an amino acid that feeds the herpes simplex virus.

3. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel, or hamamelis, is usually only mentioned as a topical home remedy that can help reduce some of the side effects of a cold sore, including itching, redness and pain that’s associated with an outbreak.

However, according to this study, “antiviral activity of hamamelis extracts has so far been demonstrated […] against [the] herpes simplex virus.”

To use witch hazel on your cold sores safely, be sure to consult a naturopathic doctor.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is helpful for treating skin irritations and bruises.

If you’re using it for the first time, dilute it in a carrier oil, such as coconut or MCT oil; if there’s no reaction, then you can continue to use it undiluted for best effect.

Lavender oil doesn’t prevent the virus, but it does seem to help reduce the pain associated with cold sores.

Apply one or two drops of oil directly to the sore to help decrease pain and inflammation.

Be sure to wash your hands after treatment.

5. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has been used for centuries as a remedy for different conditions, and it is also well-known for its help treating cold sores.

As an anti-inflammatory, it can help the cold sore healing process by speeding it up.

One warning: eucalyptus is a known allergen, so be sure to test yourself before applying to an open sore.

As well, you should always dilute eucalyptus oil in a carrier oil before applying.

Book An Appointment At Annex Naturopathic

Start out your new year by investing in your health – call now to book an appointment with Annex Naturopathic.

Meeting with a naturopath can help you better understand the herpes simplex virus and learn what your options are when it comes to treatment.

Take advantage of the natural solutions and remedies for cold sores by investigating the naturopathic treatments available to you.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Learn additional information on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at:

Health Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil

Posted on December 31st, 2019

Your skin is your body's largest organ, and when you have a skin condition it can be unsightly, and uncomfortable.

Visible skin conditions can impact your self-confidence.

While there are many ways to hide a rash or excessive redness, a naturopathic doctor can help to provide natural skin conditions treatment which help to ease the itch and get to the root of the issue.

Keep reading to learn about tea tree oil, a popular natural treatment for skin conditions.

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil originates from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree in Australia.

Used topically, or inhaled, however, tea tree oil has a wide range of beneficial uses, which indigenous Australians have been using for thousands of years.

Keep reading to learn more about what this powerful plant can do.

Health Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil contains compounds which make it anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and antiviral.

It also contains properties which stimulate the activity of white blood cells to promote faster wound healing.

Here are some of the top health benefits of tea tree oil.

1. Natural Antiseptic & Wound Treatment

The skin is a barrier which prevents bacteria from entering the bloodstream.

When you have a wound which breaks the skin, it’s important to keep the area clean, and disinfect it to kill bacteria.

You can use a blend of tea tree oil and coconut oil to prevent small cuts and wounds from becoming infected - use one drop of tea tree oil to one teaspoon of coconut oil.

2. Acne Treatment

Tea tree oil can be used as a treatment for acne.

Applying a gel made with tea tree oil to acne spots was found to be more effective than a placebo for reducing them.

When a gel combining 5% tea tree oil was applied to the skin, it was three times better at reducing the number of acne lesions, and six times as effective in reducing their severity.

It has been found to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide, the main ingredient in many common acne medications.

3. All-Purpose Cleaner

Due to its antibacterial properties, tea tree oil can be used as an all-purpose cleaner

It’s also much safer than harsh chemical cleaners which you might buy at the store. Many of these cleaners contain endocrine disrupting chemicals which can cause a variety

of hormonal issues.

Here is a simple recipe for a natural, all-purpose cleaner:

● 20 drops of tea tree oil

● ¾ cup water

● ½ cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake well.

Because this mixture will settle, make sure you shake it up each time you use it.

4. May Reduce Skin Inflammation

One form of skin irritation is caused when the skin comes in contact with an allergen.

This exposure can leave skin red, itchy, and painful.

Applying tea tree oil to the skin can help to reduce the severity of symptoms.

Use a mixture of 10 drops of tea tree oil, combined with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and one tablespoon of coconut oil.

Use this mixture up to two times per day, until symptoms subside.

5. May Help With Psoriasis

Psoriasis is characterized by red, itchy, and scaly skin.

It’s an autoimmune condition, and although there is no cure, topical treatments such as tea tree oil can help to ease the symptoms.

Use a mixture of tea tree oil and coconut oil on the affected area, up to three times per day as required.

Risks Of Using Tea Tree Oil

Overall, tea tree oil is relatively safe to use, however as with any substance there are some cautions to take note of.

Tea tree oil should never be taken orally, as it may be toxic if swallowed.

Additionally, some people may have an adverse skin reaction to it.

If you’re not sure, try a patch test.

Use a small amount on part of your skin, then wait 24 hours. If you don’t see a reaction, you’re probably safe.

It’s also important to use a carrier oil such as coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil alongside essential oils such as tea tree oil.

This is especially important for people with sensitive skin.

Finally, keep your tea tree oil away from your pets, as it can cause adverse reactions in cats and dogs.

Book an Appointment at Annex Naturopathic

Are you interested in tea tree oil, or other natural ways to treat common ailments?

Do you want to reduce your use of drugstore remedies used to treat a skin condition?

Perhaps you are just looking for a natural way to keep your skin healthy.

Annex Naturopathic can help - contact us today and we will help you regain your healthy skin.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Read more info about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto

The Truth About Sprouted Grains

Posted on December 29th, 2019

An important part of overall health, is healthy digestion, and there are many ways to address this.

Eating foods which are easier to digest means more of the nutrients in food will be absorbed by the body, rather than simply passing through.

One type of food which has many benefits, aside from just being easy to digest, are sprouted grains.

Keep reading while we take a look at why you should consider adding sprouted grains to your diet.

What Is A Sprouted Grain?

Sprouted grains are exactly what they sound like - grains which have just began to sprout.

Not just a seed anymore, but not quite yet a full new plant, these grains fall somewhere in the middle.

They carry the nutritional benefits of whole grains, however, are also much easier for your system to absorb.

Are Sprouted Grains Healthier Than Regular Grains?

So you’ve probably heard of whole grain bread.

And you likely know that whole grain bread is considered healthier than white bread.

But where do sprouted grains fall?

Containing many of the same nutrients as regular grains, including B vitamins, folate, fibre, and vitamin C, sprouted grains are very nutritious.

However they do much more than regular grains.

For people who have allergies or sensitivities to grains, sprouted grains may be easier for the body to handle.

Additionally, through the sprouting process, certain vitamins become more bioavailable - namely vitamin C.

Health Benefits Of Sprouted Grains

There are many benefits to choosing sprouted grain bread over other types of bread on the store shelf.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the many great reasons to choose sprouted grains.

1. Higher Nutritional Value

The nutritional value of sprouted grains are higher than grains which have not sprouted, and there is a lot of science to back up this claim.

An article in the journal Critical Reviews in Food and Science Nutrition found sprouting grains increases the amounts of enzymes, essential amino acids, and B-vitamins.

Additionally, sprouting decreases starches.

Another study, this one in 2013, showed than when germinated, brown rice is higher in protein and fibre.

Sprouted grains have also been shown to have higher levels of folate, and more antioxidants, according to articles in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and the Internal Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, respectively.

2. Lower Antinutrient Value

So you probably have a decent idea of what a nutrient is - substances our bodies use to survive and grow.

Antinutrients, on the other hand, diminish the absorption of nutrients and minerals in our bodies.

Too many antinutrients in our systems can lead to deficiencies.

Phytate is an antinutrient found in plant seeds.

When seeds are sprouted, the phytate is degraded, reducing the antinutrients in seeds.

3. Lower Gluten Levels

Gluten-free diets seem to be trendy these days.

For people with Celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a must.

Many people who don’t have Celiac, however, are making the choice to reduce the amount of gluten in their diets.

Sprouting grains can lower the gluten content in wheat by as much as 47%, which means they may be easier for people with gluten sensitivity to tolerate.

4. May Aid In Weight Loss

Due to the breakdown of starch in grains caused by sprouting, sprouted grains are lower in carbohydrates than other types of breads.

A 2012 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism looked at the response of glucose and insulin levels in overweight men who ate various types of bread.

In this study, consuming sprouted grain breads was found to lower blood glucose levels, as they are lower on the glycemic index than other varieties of bread.

Based on this research, replacing other types of bread with sprouted grain bread may help you to lose weight.

5. Easier To Digest

When grains or seeds are sprouted, the process breaks down starches in the grains, making them more digestible.

Additionally, sprouted grains have higher enzyme levels, which help your body digest foods.

They are also lower in lectins. Lectins are an organic protein naturally occurring in many plants, which is a part of their natural defense mechanism.

Research is revealing the presence of lectins in your body may lead to inflammation, and have been linked with a number of chronic health conditions. This includes celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

When a seed sprouts the plant metabolizes lectins, which makes them easier to digest.

Book An Appointment At Annex Naturopathic

Do you have concerns about your digestive health?

Are you worried that you might have a disorder which is affecting your digestion?

Perhaps you are developing reactions to foods which have never bothered you in the past.

Whatever your issue, Annex Naturopathic is here to help.

Contact us today and y our naturopathic doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to get you feeling your best again.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Get more information on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: natural doctors

How To Maintain A Healthy Diet In Winter

Posted on December 19th, 2019

It can be hard to eat well in the winter time.

Many of the major holidays and important dates which fall during this time of year come with large meals that tend to promote over-indulgence. At the same time, cold weather leaves us craving “comfort foods” which are full of sugars and starches.

Our ancestors ate more food during the colder months because the extra calories helped keep them warm, but with the advent of modern heating systems we no longer need this.

Eating and drinking more, along with inactivity that comes with winter months, can lead to cardiometabolic health issues - keep reading to learn how to stay healthy during the chilly winter months.

1. Include Omega 3 In Your Diet

There are many reasons to add Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet.

They have been shown to help lower levels of depression, which is important in the winter when people are more likely to be feeling low due to the shorter days and lack of sunlight.

They can also help reduce joint pain and stiffness, as well as help to improve skin health, which doesn’t have to do with diet, but is a nice bonus during cold, harsh, and often skin-drying Canadian winters.

2. Supplement With Vitamin D

According to Statistic Canada, nearly a third of Canadians have low levels of vitamin D in their blood, with this number going up to 40% during the winter months.

Vitamin D is vital for bone growth, and during the summer, the body converts sunlight to vitamin D. However during the winter months, when there is less sun (and our skin is covered up anyways), it’s much harder to get enough of this essential nutrient.

There are a number of ways to add vitamin D to your diet, including:

● Krill oil

● Egg yolks

● Fish, including salmon, trout, and tuna

● Fortified milk

● Cod liver oil

● Pork ribs, and

● Vitamin D supplements

3. Resist Your Urge to Scarf down Carbs

Why do we love carbs so much?

Eating them causes serotonin levels to rise, resulting in feelings of happiness.

Resisting the urge to “scarf” your carbs doesn’t mean you have to entirely pass on the stuffing at Christmas dinner, or your nana’s famous cinnamon buns.

Starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast can help calm your cravings, and when it comes time to indulge in those tasty treats, do so in moderation.

4. Don't Forget Your Leafy Greens

You might not be seeing much green when you look out your window, but you definitely want to ensure you’re getting enough greens on your plate.

Veggies which are dark green and leafy such as kale, Swiss chard, and spinach are full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Increased fibre intake can help decrease inflammation, boost the immune system, and reduce cholesterol levels.

5. Enjoy The Vegetables In Season

Getting fresh vegetables in your diet is a good idea year-round, however it can be harder to remember to do this when it doesn’t seem like much is growing outside.

Winter is a great time for Brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes, onions, beets, and carrots - just reading this list makes me want to make a nice hearty stew.

6. Use Mushrooms In Your Meals

Mushrooms are bursting with immune-boosters and health benefits.

They’re full of antioxidants such as selenium and vitamins C and D, as well as B vitamins including riboflavin, folate, thiamine, and niacin.

They also contain naturally-occurring antibiotics, giving them medicinal properties which can help to stave-off illness.

Try adding shiitake or white button mushrooms to your next meal.

Book an Appointment at Annex Naturopathic

Are you worried about maintaining healthy eating habits during the cold winter months?

Are you concerned about your vitamin levels during these cold months where fresh fruit and veggies are less readily available?

Or do you want to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D on those dark days of winter when you forget what the sun looks like?

Annex Naturopathic can help.

Contact us today for a consultation, we’ll listen to your health concerns and work with you to come up with a plan which is right for you.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Read more tips about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic clinic Toronto

Naturopathic Solutions For Insomnia, Part 2: Improving Your Sleep Hygiene

Posted on December 3rd, 2019

In our last article, we looked at some of the reasons why you might be having trouble sleeping.

It might be due to a medical condition, or perhaps your prescription medication.

If you’re having trouble with sleep, today we’ll look at some tips for improving your sleep hygiene and helping you get back to getting enough rest.

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Most people associate the term “hygiene” with cleanliness - washing your hands, showering regularly, that sort of thing.

Sleep hygiene is practices and habits which can help maximize the length and quality of sleep.

Proper sleep hygiene can help overcome lack of sleep due to insomnia, shift work, or even jet lag.

Keep reading to learn more.

Improving Your Sleep Hygiene

There are a number of things you can do to improve the quality and length of your sleep.

Some have to do with the environment you sleep in, others are related to your habits.

Keep reading for our top tips for a good night’s sleep.

1. Avoid Blue-Tinged Light

A 2013 study in the journal Applied Ergonomics showed exposure to blue light suppressed the levels of melatonin significantly.

Melatonin is a hormone which signals to the body that it is time to sleep, so reduced levels can be problematic when trying to fall asleep.

This is the reason some people take melatonin supplements before bed. More on that later in this article.

Anyway, to avoid this effect, switch off your phones, tablets, and television close to bedtime.

If you must use these devices, consider a blue light filter. There are several programs available that can help depending on what device you’re using. One of the more popular ones is f.lux, which automatically decreases the blue light from your screens depending on the time of day.

2. Keep Your Bedroom Cool

Have you ever tried to get to sleep in the middle of the summer, in an un-air-conditioned room?

It’s not so easy is it?

Studies have shown the ideal temperature for falling asleep is between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius (60 to 68 Fahrenheit).

It is thought that a cooler sleep environment mimics your body's natural drop in temperature at night.

3. Sleep In Complete Darkness

Light can be a cue to your body that it’s time to wake up.

Think about how hard it is to get out of bed in the winter when it’s still dark when your alarm goes off, versus in the summer when you can get out of bed as the sun is coming up.

Even a bit of light glowing from your phone or a digital alarm clock can disrupt your sleep.

If you have a lot of light pollution coming in through the window, consider investing in blackout curtains, or a sleep mask.

4. Avoid Caffeine Before Bed

This tip should not come as a surprise to anyone who needs coffee to help get them through their mornings.

But it’s not just coffee which is the culprit when it comes to caffeine - tea, chocolate, pop, and some medications can contain this ingredient which will keep you awake.

Avoid consuming these things six hours before bedtime, to be safe.

5. Maintain A Healthy Weight

Being overweight can affect sleep quality, as it increases the risk of sleep apnea.

Additionally, a 2010 study from the University of Chicago Medical Centre showed not getting enough sleep can reduce the benefits of dieting.

This can turn into a cycle - being overweight can affect sleep quality, and not getting enough sleep hinders the ability to lose weight.

6. Go To Sleep When You're Tired

Have you ever gone to bed at a specific time, because you thought you should?

Perhaps you’ve bought into the idea of “early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise”

And then laid there unable to actually fall asleep?

Staying in bed when you’re not ready to sleep can just lead to frustration - take some time to read, or listen to some music to help yourself fully relax and go back to bed when you’re ready.

7. Avoid Fluids For 2 Hours Before Bed

There’s nothing worse than finally falling asleep, only to wake up needing to use the bathroom (okay, there are worse things, but this is pretty annoying).

Avoid fluid intake too close to bedtime, in order to avoid those late-night bathroom trips.

Most experts say it’s best to avoid food or drink two or three hours before it’s time to crawl under the covers.

8. Establish A Bedtime Routine

You probably had a bedtime routine as a kid.

Perhaps a light snack, followed by a bath, and then a story, or reading time.

Maintaining a bedtime routine as an adult can help signal to your body it’s time to get ready for sleep.

Taking a bath or shower, reading a book, or doing relaxation exercises each night before bedtime can help you get in the right mindset for sleep.

9. Avoid Evening Meals

Eating in the evening can hinder your ability to fall asleep, and heavy meals which cause indigestion are even worse.

Keeping this in mind, eating certain carbohydrates can help boost the levels of tryptophan and serotonin, both of which are chemicals which can help promote sleep.

Tubers, wild rice, and fruit may help increase these chemicals and promote sleep.

10. Consider Herbal Sleep Aids

There are a number of supplements and sleep aids which can help promote relaxation which makes falling asleep easier.

Let’s look at some of these.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is often used as a treatment for anxiety and depression.

Taking valerian root before bed has resulted in reported improvements of sleep quality.

A meta-analysis by Bent Et Al found that while studies were lacking in quality, valerian root shows strong promise for aiding in sleep issues.

It can come with side effects though, so it’s a good idea to consult with a naturopathic doctor before beginning supplementation.


Melatonin is a hormone which is produced naturally by the body in the evening - it sends the signal to your body it’s time to sleep.

Because it’s tied to the time of day, melatonin supplements are often used in cases where the sleep cycle has been disrupted, for instance to combat jet lag.


The lavender plant produces purple flowers with a very soothing scent, which many people believe can help to enhance sleep.

Some studies have shown smelling lavender oil for 30 minutes prior to bedtime can help to improve sleep quality.


The mineral magnesium is used in many processes which occur in the body, and is important for brain function and heart health.

It is also shown to have relaxing effects, and aids in regulating the production of melatonin and also increases levels of GABA which is a neurotransmitter with calming effects.

Other Herbs

Other herbal remedies which can help with sleep include:

● Passion flower

● Ginkgo biloba

● L-Theanine.

● Kava

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Are you having difficulty sleeping?

Have you tried some of the suggestions above, but are still struggling to get enough shut-eye?

Annex Naturopathic can help.

Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us develop a plan to help get your sleep back on track.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Discover more info on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctors in Toronto

Naturopathic Solutions For Insomnia, Part 1: What’s Causing Your Insomnia?

Posted on November 29th, 2019


We all need it.

When we’re young we seem to think we don’t, and as we get older it can get harder to get a full night’s rest.

If you’re struggling with sleep, a Toronto naturopathic doctor from Annex Naturopathic can help you figure out what the issue is. From there, we’ll offer sleep solutions to help you get a good night's rest.

Keep reading to learn more about why sleep is important, and why you might not be getting enough. In our next article, we’ll look at what you can do about it.

What Does Sleep Do, Exactly?

There’s no question that when we're tired and sleep deprived it’s hard to feel our best. And waking up from a restful night’s sleep? This leaves us feeling refreshed and ready to face the day ahead.

But why? What exactly is it doing for our bodies?

Oddly, though we spend a third of our life sleeping, we don't fully know why. Scientists don’t have a clear-cut answer to this question, but they have some theories.

Keep reading to learn more.

Energy Conservation Theory

According to this theory, the reason we sleep is to conserve energy. Metabolism slows down by as much as ten percent when we sleep. As your body conserves energy, you don’t have to consume calories during this time to keep going.

Of course, this isn’t as important in today's world, where food is abundant. However, this would have been great for our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors.

Restorative Theory

Another theory of why we sleep is it restores and rejuvenates us.

This is backed-up by studies which have shown animals who are sleep-deprived lose immune function.

Additionally, some processes, such as muscle growth and repair occur primarily during sleep.

Sleeping can also restore cognitive function. During sleep, adenosine, which builds up in our brain during wakefulness has a chance to clear out.

Adenosine build-up can lead to a perception of tiredness. Flushing it out helps us feel more alert after having slept.

Inactivity Theory

The Inactivity theory goes back to the days where we lived in caves and had to steer clear of larger predators. It states inactivity during nighttime keeps us out of harm’s way when we're most vulnerable.

But if the goal is to remain safe, it seems like a better strategy would be to remain awake and alert, not asleep.

Brain Plasticity Theory

The Brain Plasticity theory says sleep correlates to changes of structure in the brain. Sleep has been shown to play an important role in brain development in infants.

In adults, sleep deprivation has been shown to impact the ability to learn and perform various tasks.

What's Causing Your Insomnia?

Now that we’ve looked at the reasons why sleep is important, let’s investigate why you might not be sleeping as well as you’d like to.

1. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid is overactive and producing too many hormones.

This can lead to the nervous system being overstimulated, making it difficult to sleep. Additionally, hyperthyroidism can cause night sweats, which can make it harder to stay asleep.

2. Anxiety & Depression

Sometimes, you can't sleep because you're nervous about an important job interview, or feeling depressed after the loss of a loved one.

But these feelings generally pass.

However, if you have chronic anxiety or depression, these can affect the length and quality of your sleep. Anxiety symptoms which can affect sleep include:

● Mulling over past events

● Worry about the future

● Feelings of being overwhelmed

● Being overstimulated

● Tension

Sleep issues can also show up as a symptom of depression, and insomnia can make changes in mood during depression more severe.

3. Poor Lifestyle Habits

If shouldn’t come as a surprise that consuming too much caffeine can affect your ability to sleep. It’s a stimulant which many people rely on to help them get through the day.

You don’t have to give up your morning cup of coffee or tea, but try to limit your intake, and not drink it within eight hours of bedtime.

As well, alcohol as a sleep disruptor may come as a surprise to some people.

It's a depressant and can make you feel sleepy. But although it might help you to fall asleep, drinking close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep later in the night.

Sometimes, we forget we haven’t drank water in a while because we’ve drank some coffee, tea, or alcohol. But while they are “wet”, they also contribute to dehydrating you. So make sure you’re drinking a lot of water.

Other lifestyle factors which can impede sleep include nicotine, which is a stimulant, and eating too much, too close to bedtime. Heavy meals can cause discomfort and make relaxing difficult.

4. Certain Prescription Drugs

Some prescription drugs can interfere with sleep.

These include antidepressants, and medications for asthma and blood pressure.

Certain medications may also include stimulants. These include some allergy medications, as well as weight-loss products. Always read the labels, and when in doubt, discuss with your doctor or pharmacist the best time to take medications.

5. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the airway becomes blocked during sleep.

This will result in a person waking up repeatedly through the night for brief periods of time.

6. Heart Disease

The medication used for heart disease can lead to loss of sleep and insomnia.

However it’s a two-way street, as insomnia is also linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

7. Digestive Disorders

Gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and GERD can cause discomfort. This often makes falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult.

People who experience insomnia are more likely to report GI issues than those who do not.

8. Menstrual Irregularities

Shifts in hormones during menstruation can play a role in how much sleep you get.

As well, night sweats and hot flashes during menopause can be disruptive to sleep, and insomnia is common during pregnancy.

9. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can cause pain and muscle stiffness throughout the joints and muscles. For people with fibromyalgia, the pain can make sleep more difficult to come by, but the lack of sleep then makes the pain worse.

People with fibromyalgia may use sleep aids, however their effectiveness over the long term has yet to be looked at.

10. Other Causes

Other factors which can affect sleep include:

• Your work schedule (for instance, shift work)

• Changes in sleep patterns as you age

• Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease

Book an Appointment with Annex Naturopathic

Are you having trouble getting enough sleep? Have you tried changing lifestyle factors, like no caffeine in the afternoon or not drinking alcohol close to bedtime, but you’re still having trouble falling or staying asleep? Annex Naturopathic can help.

Contact us for a consultation today - we can help you determine the reasons for you inability to get enough sleep, and work with you to find natural ways to help you get your Zzz’s.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

See more tips about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctor Toronto

Naturopathic Treatments For Men’s Fertility

Posted on November 25th, 2019

We don’t talk about male reproductive health as often as we should, considering how crucial it is for a man's emotional and physical well-being.

Thankfully, there are naturopathic treatments for men that work to improve your fertility by ensuring the overall health of your reproductive system.

But what are common male fertility issues, and what steps can you take from home to improve your fertility?

Let's dive into all there is to know about men's fertility, and the naturopathic solutions for your reproductive well-being.

Male Infertility By The Numbers

Infertility is known to affect approximately 15% of couples worldwide, with male infertility contributing to about 50% of cases.

Some of the important factors we look at when it comes to men's fertility include sperm quality and quantity.

Overall sperm counts are reported to have fallen almost 50% since the 1930s – although the exact number is impossible to know for sure, it's accepted that sperm counts have declined over the past few decades.

Potential Causes Of Fertility Issues In Men

Infertility can be a frustrating issue to solve, due to its emotional (and sometimes physical) toll.

In general, if your overall health is lacking, then your reproductive health may be lacking too.

Let's look at some of the most common causes of fertility issues in men.

1. A Thyroid Disorder

Thyroid disorders are indeed more common in women, but they can also affect men – and may be the cause of your issues with fertility.

The thyroid gland, located at the base of your neck, is responsible for producing the hormones that control your metabolism.

Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) and hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) are two common thyroid malfunctions, but there are other conditions that affect how your thyroid gland produces and regulates hormones.

In fact, one third of all hypothyroidism cases are male patients, and can lead to male infertility if left untreated.

Hypothyroidism can lead to infertility because of how it affects your semen quality and sperm count; plus, it can cause erectile dysfunction and reduced testicular function.

Typical symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, mood and energy level issues, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, cold sensitivity, insomnia, and constipation.

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism manifests in similar yet different ways: symptoms of an overactive thyroid gland often cause anxiety, increased appetite, rapid heart rate, heat sensitivity, and weight loss.

If you think you may have a thyroid condition impacting your infertility and your overall well-being, consider talking to your health provider about getting your hormone levels checked.

2. Low Sperm Count

Sperm count, or the average number of sperm per semen sample, is an important factor for male fertility

The World Health Organization states a healthy sperm count is 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen, or at least 39 million sperm per semen sample.

The reason why experts believe sperm counts are drastically declining across the world is ultimately unknown, but we do know some factors that impact sperm count and quality.

3. Certain Prescription Drugs

Some prescription drugs can affect how your body produces sperm, from quantity to quality.

These effects are not necessarily permanent, however – once you stop taking the drug in question, your sperm counts may go back to normal.

Some of these drugs include:

• Anti-androgens

• Anti-inflammatories

• Some antibiotics

• Anabolic steroids

• Antipsychotics

• Methadone

• Corticosteroids

If you are currently taking one of these drugs, it may be the culprit causing your fertility issues – make sure to consult with your doctor if you are having issues conceiving.

4. Poor Nutrition

Nutrition is another big factor that can interfere with healthy sperm production.

If you aren't eating a balanced diet of whole foods, your reproductive health may suffer the consequences.

Unhealthy fats are important to avoid – this 2014 study shows how the consumption of unhealthy fatty acids is linked to a proportionate decrease in sperm count.

Also, you should consider avoiding foods high in phytoestrogens such as soy products. These may reduce sperm production and testosterone bonding.

Plastics and canned foods are often high in synthetic estrogen, so eating a healthy diet of whole foods and avoiding prepackaged foods is a great way to set yourself up for success.

5. Emotional Stress

There are countless benefits to reducing stress, and fertility is no exception.

Stress causes your body to act defensively and direct energy away from reproduction.

You can reduce stress by exercising, sleeping well and enough, and participating in mindfulness techniques – but in general, how you manage your stress is up to you.

For natural tips on stress relief, talk to your naturopathic doctor.

Lifestyle Changes For Male Fertility

Some of the most important steps you can take to improve your fertility can be taken at home.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference when you're struggling to conceive.

1. Eat A Healthier Diet

Proper nutrition is incredibly important for your overall health, and it will have an impact on your reproductive health.

It's especially important to consume antioxidants because they help remove toxins, slow tissue damage, and have an effect on your sperm quantity and quality.

To ensure your sperm is bountiful and healthy, consider adding some of these antioxidant-rich foods to your diet:

• Fish and seafood

• Nuts and seeds

• Foods high in vitamin C (citrus, leafy greens, nightshades)

• Foods high in vitamin E (nuts, vegetable oils)

• Cruciferous vegetables

Healthy fats are also a great addition to your diet, including omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

They have a very positive effect on sperm development, and healthy fats actually contribute to the healthy development of the sperm membrane.

Other foods known to improve sperm count include:

• Dark chocolate

• Whole wheat and grains

• Bananas

• Vitamin D enhanced milk products

• Aromatics such as ginseng and turmeric

• Fermented nuts and seeds

2. Start Exercising

From stress relief to weight loss, exercise can positively affect your fertility in a number of ways.

Plus, regular exercise will help improve your sleep quality, which contributes to overall health and well-being.

Even light exercise, like walking instead of driving to work one day a week, can work to improve your sperm count and quality.

3. Supplement With Vitamin D

Approximately 32% of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D, and men typically have less vitamin D in their blood than women.

These numbers get even lower in the winter, when you're spending much less time outside in the sun.

There are a number of factors that contribute to our country-wide deficiency, from skin colour to dietary habits to sun position.

This deficiency is especially problematic if you’re trying to conceive, because low vitamin D intake affects healthy sperm development.

Although we know vitamin D is responsible for bone health, it also plays a big role in fertility.

This 2012 study shows the importance of vitamin D for reproductive health, highlighting the immense diversity of how this vitamin impacts your body.

4. Avoid Alcohol And Tobacco

We all know alcohol and tobacco are substances that can have negative impacts on our health.

However, those impacts can be easier to ignore if you aren't trying to conceive.

Cutting out smoking and drinking (or drinking in moderation) can have a great impact on your sperm count.

Alcohol in particular can affect your reproductive health in a number of ways, from a lowered libido to sperm quality to impotence.

Smoking is obviously terrible for your body in countless ways, but it’s especially damaging when it comes to fertility.

Talk to your medical provider for tips on how to cut these habits from your lifestyle at least a couple of months before trying to conceive.

5. Address The Root Cause Of Your Fertility Issues

The struggle for conception can be immensely frustrating when you don't know what is causing your fertility issues.

However, there are natural solutions that can help improve your fertility and give you a positive start on the path to fatherhood.

For more information and resources on men's fertility, contact us at Annex Naturopathic.

Our experienced naturopathic doctors will work with you to determine any potential causes or factors that may be impacting your ability to conceive.

If you have any questions about how naturopathic medicine can be a powerful tool in your quest to conceive, we would love to hear from you.

Contact Annex Naturopathic today.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Discover more tips about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic clinic Toronto

Naturopathic Solutions For Women’s Fertility

Posted on November 19th, 2019

Some women have dreamed their whole life of being a parent.

The feeling of creating life, making a mini version of yourself, and raising your new baby to be its own person.

However, naturally conceiving a child doesn’t come as easy for some and is often discovered after months or years for trying with no avail.

Luckily there are a number ofnaturopathic solutions for women which can help to optimize fertility, and make the dream of starting a family a reality.

Keep reading to learn more about the reasons for infertility, and what you can do about it.

Women's Infertility

When you’re trying to conceive and are seemingly unable, it can be frustrating and you might feel alone.

However the fact is that 1 in 6 Canadian couples are experiencing the same thing.

About 40% of the time it is because of the women, and there are many reasons for this. That's what we'll explore in this article.

Potential Causes of Fertility Issues in Women

Some of the reasons you might be experiencing infertility are due to factors beyond your control.

But not all of them.

Keep reading to learn more.

1. Age

One of the biggest factors for whether a woman is able to get pregnant is her age. Women under age 35 have a much higher likelihood of conceiving than those who are older.

As a woman ages, so do her eggs, which become less viable over time.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) creates a hormone imbalance which can impact ovulation. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility, with features such as high levels of insulin and androgens (“male hormones”) being a major contributor to hormonal imbalance and infertility.

3. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when tissue normally found in the uterus grows in other locations. This growth can lead to scarring that blocks the fallopian tubes. It can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus, and can cause damage to the sperm or egg.

4. A Thyroid Disorder

Sometimes having an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can affect your fertility.

This means that your body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, and can thus interfere with the release of eggs from your ovaries.

There are several different reasons for hypothyroidism, some of which have been linked with infertility on their own.

5. Hormonal Imbalance

An imbalance of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) can affect fertility.

These hormones are responsible for stimulating ovulation, and if they are out of balance it can mean an inability to conceive.

6. Male Infertility

Sometimes it’s not you, it’s him.

Next month, we'll have a closer look at hormonal imbalances in men which can lead to infertility.

However if you’re trying to conceive and have ruled out the above potential causes, it might be due to infertility of your partner.

Lifestyle Tips for Women to Improve Fertility

In some cases, you can improve your fertility by changing lifestyle factors. Let’s review some changes you might want to consider if you are looking to see a baby in your future.

1. Eat Foods Rich In Antioxidants

A 2007 study in the journal Human Reproduction Update found a positive link between antioxidant consumption (specifically folate) and oocyte quality and maturation, implantation, and placenta formation.

Additionally, it was found that zinc, which also has antioxidant properties, plays a role in ovulation and the menstrual cycle.

2. Reduce Your Weight

Being overweight can affect ovulation.

In particular, excess fat in the abdomen is linked with insulin resistance. This is a condition where your body has to work harder than normal to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. It's also linked with a decrease in a protein that regulates your sex hormones.

Among other issues, this can lead to irregular menstrual issues, which negatively impacts fertility.

One study found that obese women are significantly less likely to conceive a child after a year of stopping birth control than those of a healthy body weight.

As well, obese women are more likely to deal with anovulation, a disorder where your ovaries don't release eggs at all.

In addition, starting at a healthy weight can reduce complications once you do become pregnant.

3. Limit Your Tobacco, Caffeine, And Alcohol Intake

Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine intake can all have negative impacts on your ability to get pregnant.

Additionally, these negatively impact your baby's health once you do manage to conceive. It's a good idea for prospective mothers to limit consumption of these substances.

If you're having trouble ditching the cigarettes, the Ontario Government offers free programs to help.

4. Reduce Your Stress

Couples who have high amounts of psychological stress often have difficulty becoming pregnant.

Finding strategies to reduce day-to-day stressors can go a long way in preparing your body to carry a baby.

5. Address The Root Cause Of Your Fertility Issues

Are you reading these and still struggling to determine why you might not be able to conceive?

Are you looking for natural ways to deal with health concerns such as PCOS or endometriosis which might be impacting your ability to get pregnant?

Contact Annex Naturopathic today to book a free consultation.

We will help you get to the root cause of your infertility, and offer natural treatments to help make your dream of parenthood a reality.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Get additional info on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at:

Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Right For You?

Posted on November 11th, 2019

It's incredible how the different systems in our bodies can communicate with one another, and it's all due to the important work of hormones.

Hormones are like messengers that travel through your bloodstream to different parts of your body, and they affect every single system, from immune to reproductive.

This important purpose is why it's very dangerous to have an imbalance of hormone levels.

Hormone imbalances can cause all sorts of uncomfortable and painful symptoms, from chronic fatigue to skin issues to weight gain.

This myriad of symptoms can make hormone imbalances difficult to diagnose.

If you're showing signs of hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid gland cannot produce enough thyroid hormone, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be a beneficial treatment option for you.

Today, we're going to dive into what this therapy is and how it can help your hormone imbalance.

For more information, contact us here at Annex Naturopathic to learn more about bioidentical hormones for women's health.

In the meantime, let's start with the basics: what is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?

What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Everyone knows your body produces many different hormones in different amounts, and they are necessary for your body to function.

However, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Hormones control most of your body's basic functions.

They’re how your cells and internal systems communicate.

From your brain to your stomach to your immune system, hormones are responsible for their coordination and smooth operation.

So, when your hormone levels are out of whack, your health may be impacted in many different ways.

Hormone therapy has grown in popularity over the past few years for those who are experiencing imbalanced hormone levels.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT, is a treatment that comes in a variety of forms including injections, topicals (creams, gels), or patches – whatever is best for you and your lifestyle.

This kind of therapy is used to help your body regulate its hormone levels to achieve balance and minimize the symptoms often associated with imbalanced hormones.

Let's look at the difference between traditional and bioidentical hormones, and what makes the latter form of hormones particularly effective.

Traditional Vs. Bioidentical Hormones

You may be wondering what “bioidentical” means, and how these hormones are different from others used in similar treatments.

Bioidentical hormones are created to be chemically identical to the hormones naturally produced by your body.

They are usually compounded from plant estrogens, as opposed to the synthetic hormones used in traditional hormone replacement therapy.

As for how these hormones differ in terms of effectiveness – this 2006 study compares the disparities between synthetic and bioidentical hormones, and finds the latter tend to be more effective in addressing menopausal symptoms.

In fact, it concludes that “there is currently sufficient evidence to support their preferred use over that of their synthetic cousins”.

BHRT was also found to be not only more effective but also safer, with a lower risk of side effects.

Benefits Of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Due to the important role hormone balance plays in your health, there are many potential benefits to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Let's look at a few of the most common uses for BHRT.

1. May Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a relatively common bone disorder in those over 40 years of age.

In fact, Osteoporosis Canada states that at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from a fracture due to osteoporosis during their lifetime.

This is why it’s so important to address your musculoskeletal health as early as possible, to prevent as much bone density loss as possible.

A healthy bone is filled with little pockets, akin to a honeycomb, and osteoporosis causes these tiny spaces to enlarge.

This results in weak, thin bones, which are prone to painful fractures.

Osteoporosis may be caused by age, menopause, or a thyroid condition such as hyperthyroidism.

Menopause can be particularly problematic because of fluctuating hormone levels that cause you to lose bone mass very quickly over a short period of time.

Estrogen replacement therapy is approved for osteoporosis prevention, so if you're over the age of 40 or experiencing menopause, this kind of hormone therapy may help ensure your bones stay strong and healthy.

Although there is no ideal treatment for osteoporosis, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be effective in preventing bone loss and preventing fractures.

2. May Be Used As A Treatment For Fibromyalgia

For those suffering from fibromyalgia, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to find treatments that actually work.

Fibromyalgia is largely misunderstood, and we don't yet know exactly what causes it.

Part of this confusion stems from the wide variety of symptoms, including pain, sleep issues, memory loss, fatigue, and mood issues.

Something we do suspect about fibromyalgia is that it amplifies how your brain processes pain, which makes this disorder even more difficult to cope with.

Many individuals with fibro have turned to bioidential hormone replacement therapy for symptom relief, particularly for pain and fatigue.

Hormones such as progesterone have been used to minimize inflammation, which may affect your overall pain levels.

Your naturopath can work with you to formulate a specific treatment plan designed specifically for you and your body with the goal of lessening the uncomfortable symptoms of fibromyalgia.

3. May Help Reduce Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition that often flies under the radar for many years, due to its lack of noticeable symptoms.

When you're insulin resistant, the communication between the hormone insulin and the cells in your muscles and fat tissue fails.

This results in your cells leaving glucose in your bloodstream, rather than taking it and using it as fuel.

Signs of insulin resistance include high triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and being overweight – but the surest way to know is to have your blood glucose levels regularly checked.

BHRT can be a powerful tool in your toolbox if you're dealing with insulin resistance, as it helps your body regulate hormone levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Hormone therapy, specifically estrogen therapy, has been proven to positively affect insulin resistance and balance your hormones.

4. May Reduce The Symptoms Of Menopause

If you're a woman over the age of 40, you may already be experiencing symptoms of perimenopause.

Menopause is obviously not something that can be cured, but its often uncomfortable symptoms can be eased with certain natural therapies.

BHRT is a great treatment option if you're experiencing menopause and looking for relief from symptoms such as hot flashes, chills, sleep issues, mood changes, weight gain, vaginal dryness or discomfort, or thinning hair.

Regulating and balancing your hormone levels can have a big impact on your health, especially during a time when your body is drastically changing its production of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help ease your transition into this new period of your life, through menopause and beyond.

Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Right For You?

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a natural treatment option with a variety of different benefits, especially if you're suffering from a condition that impacts your body's hormone production.

When your hormones are imbalanced, you will feel the repercussions in numerous ways, from your brain to your musculoskeletal, immune, and reproductive systems.

For more information on if BHRT is right for you, contact Annex Naturopathic today.

Our experienced naturopathic doctors would love to talk to you about your specific health concerns, and formulate a specific plan for you and your health.

We can show you how bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can be an easy and effective part of your lifestyle.

Contact us at Annex Naturopathic – we can help.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Learn more tips on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Toronto naturopathic clinic

Natural Solutions For Colicky Babies

Posted on November 5th, 2019

New moms are extremely resourceful, because they have to be. It's why moms lean so heavily on each other for information and support.

Many moms nowadays are looking to natural infant care to complement traditional medicine.

There are many different reasons for this. One we sometimes hear from our patients is that they would prefer non-pharmaceutical strategies to help their babies and their symptoms.

Colic is one of those afflictions where parents are often presented with pharmaceuticals by their medical doctor. As a result, we have many parents turn to us for help finding alternatives to this recommendation.

One of these strategies includes finding out the reason WHY the baby is colicky.

Where does colic come from? Is a crying baby necessarily colicky? And what can you do about it?

Keep reading to find out more.

What Is Colic?

Everybody knows babies cry when they're upset. Whether they're cold, hungry, need their diaper changed, or just need some attention, babies cry. It's what they do.

Colic is the name given to an infant who cries despite there being no obvious reason.

Sometimes, usually in the first few months of life, a baby will cry furiously, despite being well taken care of.

Some people think that it can be a response to the unfamiliarity and overly-stimulating “outside” world. Often, they grow out of it as they acclimatize to life outside the womb.

However, there is no real evidence to measure this effect.

Is A Crying Baby Necessarily Colicky?

Not necessarily. It could be that they need a visit to the doctor to establish if there’s an internal issue. This could be a blockage, an internal injury, or another issue that isn’t readily observable.

However, if your doctor runs tests and can't find anything wrong, they may diagnose colic.

But just because they are crying without obvious reason doesn’t mean there isn’t something to cry about.

It could be that they are experiencing acid reflux (GERD), or gas that refuses to pass, making them feel bloated and exerting painful pressure on their little bodies.

Symptoms Of Infant Colic

A baby who is colicky is one who will cry loudly, ferociously, and often for quite some time.

Bouts of crying often happen in the latter half of the day and evening.

Infants with colic will cry so hard their faces may get red and flushed. They may also ball their hands into fists that shake as they exert themselves.

As well, their bodies can go quite rigid, with a tense stomach, and often their legs will be fully extended and locked straight.

What Causes Colic?

Because colic is the absence of recognizable symptoms, it’s hard to say what causes colic.

It's likely discomfort or pain in the gastro-intestinal system. But since your infant can’t describe it or tell you, they cry instead.

Don’t panic though: colic usually only lasts a few weeks, so you won’t have to deal with this forever.

Stay focused on finding out what the triggers are, trying different treatment options, take note of what works, and build a plan around that.

Natural Solutions For Colic

To help you out, since you may be reading this at 2am after hours of dealing with such a situation, we’ve put together some things you can do.

Some of these are quick solutions, and some are long-term, but knowing about them can help you understand what might be the problem.

1. An Elimination Diet

Moms who breastfeed are well aware that what they eat ends up in their breast milk.

That’s true for the coffee you finally caved and ordered, but also the milk in that extra-hot, no-foam latte.

Lactose intolerance is fairly common in infants, which means every time you cut another slice of brie, baby is more likely to feel it later.

By starting an elimination diet, you can cut out all possible allergens. From there, you can slowly reintroduce them to figure out which one is causing the problem.

Some new moms discover they need to go dairy-free for the duration. This may be a drag if you're a cheese lover, but it's worth the extra sleep and reduced stress.

One warning about this solution: make sure you speak to your naturopathic doctor before starting. Altering your diet and caloric intake as a breastfeeding mom can be problematic without the proper guidance.

As well, your infant depends on the nutrients delivered through your diet, so you need to make sure you're eating a well-balanced diet.

2. Hold Them Upright After You Feed Them

Holding babies upright in general seems to be favourable, but this is especially important after a feeding.

During feeding, babies tend to swallow less air if they're upright versus lying down. However, this position while feeding can be difficult to manage.

After they finish, hold them upright and help them burp. The easiest way to do this is usually by holding them against your chest with their chin on your shoulder.

Rubbing their back in a gentle motion with the occasional gentle tap will help to release the gas from their tummies.

They may need more than one burp, so if your baby is prone to colic, keep going until you’re sure they’re done.

3. Use A White Noise Machine

White noise machines are great for infants and adults alike, especially when it comes time to fall asleep.

However, for babies, a white noise machine can produce sounds that mimic what they heard inside the womb. This includes waves, which sound like the muffled noise from outside, and mama’s heartbeat.

For an immediate solution, you can always ‘shush’ into your baby’s ear gently, in a rhythmic fashion. This mimics the sound of your heart pumping blood through your body, which baby would have heard.

There are some great YouTube videos for white noise as well. Take a look at this one below - it's 10 hours straight of white noise.

Peep the comments while you're at it. There are loads of parents chatting with each other while they're awake at 3 am because they can't fall asleep and they can't close the video.

Maybe you’ll join in on their chat?

4. Try A Different Formula

If you’re using formula to feed your infant, then the problem could be the brand and its ingredients.

Try picking up a lactose-free formula, an elemental formula, or one with a different protein source.

Keep in mind that it will take at least two days to notice a change, so you’ll have to have patience to determine success for this remedy.

Another formula trick is to add a little bit of cereal to thicken the formula. This can prevent acid reflux. However you may then need a nipple with a larger hole for the thicker liquid.

Take note that this tip comes with a caveat: speak to your doctor first.

Giving infants cereal too early can cause them to get full too fast and not get enough of the nutrients in the formula that they need to grow.

There will be a delicate balance, and your doctor should first check out your child to ensure they’re healthy enough to proceed with this option.

5. Hold Them Close

Babies love to be held, for the most part. They're almost always happier when snuggled in someone’s arms than when they’re left alone.

It’s part of how they become socialized, develop emotions and learn.

However, some babies are born with a natural separation anxiety. This means if you put them down, they get uncomfortable with being alone.

If your baby is being particularly colicky, try holding them to stop the crying.

As well, anecdotal reports suggest that spending more time holding a baby in the early part of the day can help them be more settled at night.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

We know that being a new mom is a trying, exhausting, wonderful affair that can bring unusual challenges such as colic.

Call now to book a consultation with Annex Naturopathic to discuss your diet, how it’s affecting your infant, and how we can help.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Read more ideas on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctors

Whats The Story On Autoimmune Diseases?

Posted on October 18th, 2019

Autoimmune diseases have a bit of mystery around them which so you might not fully understand what they are. This is partially because autoimmune conditions have an unknown cause. Despite this though and thanks to a great deal of diligent study medical researchers have uncovered a good deal of intel on them. This helps your naturopathic doctor to put together a treatment plan that can help. There are currently no known cures for autoimmune diseases. There are however ways to make them easier to live with. This is how your naturopathic doctor can help. Let's talk more about autoimmune diseases. What they are where they come from and some information on the more common autoimmune conditions. What Is An Autoimmune Disease? An autoimmune disease is a disease that affects the immune system. Rather than fighting off invaders in form of viruses and illnesses an autoimmune condition causes your body to attack its own tissue. Its unknown what triggers this event. Autoimmune disease results in the immune system not being able to differentiate between foreign cells and host (your own bodys) cells. Often these immune responses are specifically-located. In other words one type of cell or body part is being mistaken for something dangerous. Because the cause is unknown treatments usually focus on trying to manage symptoms and triggers. What Causes Autoimmune Diseases? Although we dont know what actually causes an autoimmune disease we do know that some of them are hereditary. For instance lupus and multiple sclerosis run in families. Not everyone in the family will have the disease but you're more likely to develop this condition if your close relatives did. Another working theory is that autoimmune diseases are related to exposure to chemicals and solvents. Autoimmune diseases have been steadily increasing over the recent years. This suggests there is an environmental cause. Another course of study suggests that the rising diagnosis of autoimmune conditions may be related to our high-fat high-sugar highly-processed Western diet. The more scientists understand our gut microbiome the more we learn about how it influences our many other systems including our immune systems. Who's At Risk For Autoimmune Diseases? Studies have shown there are certain people more likely to get an autoimmune disease. For instance ethnic groups. Lupus is more prevalent among those of Hispanic and African descent. As well cis women deal with with autoimmune diseases twice as often as cis men. Finally if youre a woman who is prone to getting an autoimmune disease its more likely to manifest during childbearing years. How Many Autoimmune Diseases Are There? Because autoimmune diseases can be localized to a specific area of the body they are categorized as unique diseases. To-date there are at least one hundred different autoimmune diseases commonly accepted. Below weve explored a few of most common. 1. Rheumatoid Arthritis Arthritis is famously what causes sore stiff joints. However it's usually associated with old age. That's a different condition - osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand can affect people at any age. Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis focus on reducing the redness swelling and associated pain. 2. Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis attacks the protective coating around nerve cells (called the myelin sheath). When this sheath is damaged it slows the transmission of signals between your brain and spinal cord. The result includes symptoms of weakness numbness and difficulty with balance or walking. 3. Psoriasis Psoriasis is a skin-specific autoimmune disease. That means the immune system attacks cells in the epidermis. This creates red itchy patches with a scaly skin buildup resulting from the over-activity of the skin attempting to reproduce and heal. The skin is often raised and inflamed but it can range in severity from mild and painless to severe and in rare cases life-threatening. 4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes the inflammation of the lining of the intestinal wall. However IBD is an umbrella term. It refers to different types of inflammatory bowel disease that affect different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the more common conditions you may have heard of include: Ulcerative colitis - which primarily affects the colon and rectum Crohn's disease - which can attack any part of the GI tract Celiac disease - which primarily affects the small intestine 5. Graves' Disease Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. Your thyroid regulates the hormones related to your metabolism. When you have Graves disease your thyroid overproduces these hormones causing a condition called hyperthyroidism. This can cause a wide range of symptoms including: Anxiety Tachycardia Heat sensitivity Unexpected weight loss Menstrual fluctuations Chronic fatigue Heat intolerance Nervousness Contact Annex Naturopathic If youve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease naturopathic medicine can complement your medical treatment for it. If youre concerned you may have an autoimmune disease call Annex Naturopathic now to get a consultation. One of our doctors will be able to help you understand what's happening to your body. From there we'll explore the next steps and treatments targeted to your case. If youre curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us. Yours in Health Dr. Tanya Lee N.D Annex Naturopathic Clinic 572 Bloor St W #201 Toronto ON M6G 1K1 - Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck ND and Tanya Lee ND Learn additional info on health wellness naturopathy and medicine at: naturopathic doctors in Toronto

Natural Solutions For Acne

Posted on October 4th, 2019

Acne hits us at different times of life – most commonly during puberty, but as early as infancy and as late as old age.

If you're a new mom, you might be seeing the return of an old acquaintance you thought you'd long been rid of. Among all the other stresses and anxieties of pregnancy, acne is the icing on the cake.

So if you come to us for help with natural health care for your child or baby, acne might be on your mind as well.

So let's talk about acne. What is it, what causes it, and what you can do about it.

What Exactly Is Acne?

Acne occurs when the skin’s sebaceous glands secrete enough oil that it plugs your pores.

Large pores or openings generally result in blackheads, while small pores become whiteheads.

It doesn't matter which you experience, though. All forms of acne are unpleasant. They can all lead to inflammation, tenderness, and infection.

What Causes Acne?

There are two main causes for acne: heredity and hormones.

If your parents have acne, there's a good chance you'll face it as well. You'll have to do the best you can with the genes you have.

Hormones, on the other hand, fluctuate all the time. Depending on the month, the day, or the stage of life you're in, your hormones will fluctuate. It doesn't matter what gender you are.

These hormone fluctuations can lead to skin acne. This is part of the reason why teenage acne is so common - puberty is a time of heavily fluctuating hormones.

Puberty lasts to the early twenties, when puberty-related acne will wane and stop. However, keep in mind that adult acne still accounts for 20% of cases, so you may not ever truly be in the clear.

Aside from the above, bacteria can also cause problems. If the excess sebum closes the openings for your hair follicles, bacteria can lead to whiteheads or blackheadds.

Hair follicles clogged in this way are called comedones. If the bacteria grow into these comedones and builds up too much, it can cause the follicle wall to break and leak into nearby tissues.

This turns into a pustule or papule, and is called inflammatory acne. Larger, more severe pustules are called nodules.

One last cause of acne can be your choice of contraceptive. Oral contraceptives, injectable contraceptives and IUDs can cause acne for some women, but might actually clear it up for others.

What DOESN'T Cause Acne?

Now that we know what causes acne, it's time to dispel some of the myths around this troublesome skin condition.

First off, food. You may have heard binging on fried food and chocolate will cause acne outbreaks. This myth is common, but untrue.

What's more likely is that you went for the junk food because of a change in your hormones. And as we mentioned above, hormonal changes can lead to acne breakouts.

Likewise, stress isn't a direct cause of acne. If you've never dealt with acne before - you lucky devil - a stressful period is unlikely to cause acne.

However, it is clear that stress and a poor diet can aggravate your acne. So it's worth considering both when you're dealing with an outbreak.

Natural Solutions For Acne

There are pharmaceutical creams and pills that can help with acne. However, these tend to come with side effects that make them less attractive.

Instead, consider the many natural solutions – below are a few to get you started.

1. An Elimination Diet

While food doesn’t directly cause acne, it seems it can increase the odds of getting it.

In this case, dairy products seem to increase the chances in people ages 7-30. This may be because of all the hormones in milk, or due to an inflammatory response to an intolerance.

It’s for this reason naturopathic doctors often recommend an elimination diet. This is how to find out what foods aggravate your body’s natural hormone cycles, triggering acne breakouts.

To do this, you start with two weeks of a bland diet. The idea is to cut out anything that might be a typical allergen or cause an inflammation response in your body.

Once you have a baseline for what’s normal, you start to gradually add back foods, one at a time. All the while, pay close attention to the effect they have on your body, and in this case, your acne.

2. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antiseptic qualities. It's a naturally-derived product that comes from Australia.

Mix one part tea tree oil with nine parts water, and then dip a cotton swab and apply it to your acne; repeat once or twice a day.

Compared to other topical solutions – such as benzoyl peroxide – it may not work as fast. However, it also has fewer negative effects, such as dryness, irritation and burning.

If used consistently over a couple of months, it can have a significant impact on acne, and can be an effective treatment for mild and moderate acne.

3. Address Digestive Issues And Nutrient Deficiencies

As we pointed out in the elimination diet tip, the food going into your body can increase your chances of getting acne.

In this particular case, zinc supplements lead to a discernible reduction of acne after eight weeks.

Improving your diet so that your body is not stressed can help to reduce your acne. We’ve blogged extensively about the digestive system and gut health, and how it impacts all kinds of disorders and conditions – and acne is no different.

4. Reduce Stress

Stress causes a hormonal response in your body. This response can increase sebum production and skin inflammation, which makes acne worse.

There have been studies that have proven a significant link between stress and the severity of acne, especially in men.

Not only can it impact the severity of your acne, it can also slow down the healing process of lesions by up to 40%.

Some good ways to reduce your stress to help calm your skin include:

• Fitting in some physical activity

• Meditate or practice yoga

• Deep breathing

• Get more good-quality sleep

5. Exfoliate Your Skin

Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of skin from the epidermis. You can use a brush, with a scrub, or through applying a thin layer of acid to dissolve the dead skin cells.

It’s thought that by removing these dead cells, it allows medications, creams and treatments to penetrate better.

As well, it prevents clogging of pores with sebaceous deposits that can lead to blackheads or whiteheads.

While the research is limited, small studies have shown exfoliation treatments lead to clearer skin. In one study, 96% of the participants were happier with their complexions than before exfoliating.

To make your own at home, rather than pay for expensive treatments, mix equal parts sugar or salt with coconut oil.

Use this mixture to scrub your skin thoroughly, then rinse well; you can do this once daily to help reduce your acne.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

The nice thing about seeing a naturopathic doctor is that we pull on a wide variety of aids in helping you with your concerns and conditions.

The truth is that different people need help in different ways, and we’re happy to explore what works for you.

If you’re suffering from acne that’s making you want to hide away, call Annex Naturopathic now to book your appointment. We’ll help you put your best face forward again.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Find more ways on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Annex Naturopathic Clinic

Naturopathic Solutions For Psoriasis

Posted on October 2nd, 2019

Psoriasis isn’t generally a life-threatening condition. But it can still be severe enough to greatly impact people’s lives.

Unfortunately for those who suffer, psoriasis has no known cure. This is partly because it has no known cause.

That’s why people often turn to natural solutions for skin conditions such as psoriasis – because it’s sometimes the only help they can get.

Read on to find out more about psoriasis, and some natural solutions to help.

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is your body’s immune system attacking its own skin cells. It’s not clear why this happens.

There is no cure for psoriasis. The typical conventional treatments for psoriasis work to suppress your immune reaction. This has the effect of reducing the severity of the inflammation. These only help within a limit, and are often riddled with unwanted side effects.

While we understand that there are certain reasons why someone may have to be on these medications to control your symptoms, there are also natural solutions can help you manage your symptoms.

Types Of Psoriasis

There are different types of psoriasis, all with different symptoms, locations and triggers.

If you suffer from psoriasis, but you don’t know which, here’s an overview:

Plaque Psoriasis

To give you some idea, there are roughly 7.4 million Americans with psoriasis. Of those, 80% have plaque psoriasis (the rate is similar in Canada).

Plaque psoriasis shows up with red, inflamed patches, which will often have scales on top.

Plaque psoriasis is most often found on elbows, knees and scalp.

Guttate Psoriasis

This form of psoriasis is most common in childhood, and causes small pink spots on the skin.

Unlike other forms of psoriasis, guttate spots are not usually raised or inflamed.

Children will often develop guttate psoriasis on their arms, legs and torso.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis is just like it sounds: it looks like white, pus-filled blisters.

It is often surrounded by red and inflamed skin.

Pustular psoriasis is most frequently found on the hands and feet, and is more common in adults.

Inverse Psoriasis

Instead of being white and crusty, inverse psoriasis is patches of bright red, shiny, inflamed skin.

It usually breaks out in areas where the skin folds. For example: under the breasts or armpits, or around the genitals and groin.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

This is the one type of psoriasis that is so severe it can actually be life threatening, but it is luckily very rare.

This type can develop suddenly, and covers entire sections of the body all at the same time.

The skin may appear sunburned, but it will develop scales that fall off in entire sheets or sections. This can be dangerous.

People who develop erythrodermic psoriasis can become very sick, develop infections, and run a fever.

If you develop erythrodermic psoriasis, please see a doctor immediately.

Symptoms Of Psoriasis

Symptoms are an obvious buildup of skin in the form of scale.

The scale often comes with redness and itchiness.

Whatever it is that triggers the immune system, it focuses on a patch of skin, and starts producing extra skin cells in an attempt to ‘repair’ the perceived issue.

These scales can get dry and crack, which can also cause its own pain.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is still a bit of a mystery to scientists and doctors. The most commonly accepted theory currently is that it’s caused by an overactive immune response.

Psoriasis is a hereditary condition, so if your parents suffer from it, you’re more likely to have or develop it.

As well, it seems to worsen in response to stress or other triggers, although these aren’t technically a cause of psoriasis.

However, the fact that these can worsen your case is enough of a reason to be aware of your stress levels. Consider other factors that may affect your condition as well. These may include alcohol, hormones and cold weather.

Is Psoriasis Contagious?

The short answer is: no, it’s not at all contagious, so you can feel free to hug that friend.

It may look suspicious, due to the redness of the skin. But it's unlike other skin conditions you need to be wary of, as it’s completely harmless to anyone who doesn’t already have it.

Natural Solutions For Psoriasis

Because there is currently no known cure, we need to look at ways to deal with the symptoms. This includes reducing the frequency of flare-ups, scale build-up, and itchiness.

Here are some natural ways to manage your psoriasis, all topical.

If you’re ever advised to take any treatment, be sure to speak with your doctor. Certain medications - natural or otherwise - can interfere with other medications or be harmful for pregnant women.

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that has many uses.

It's gentle enough to apply directly to your skin, unless you’re allergic to it.

Shampoos with tea tree oil are a good way to deliver its helpful properties to scalp psoriasis as well. It has the added bonus of being a barrier to catching head lice.

Although many people report relief with tea tree oil, there are few scientific studies to prove it.

2. Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape – also known as Mahonia – is an herb with antimicrobial properties.

Make sure not to ingest this herb without medical supervision. Instead, apply it to the skin in a cream solution with 10% Oregon Grape.

The cream has been shown to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate psoriasis.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic apple cider vinegar is another good option. It can help reduce itchiness caused by scalp psoriasis, as well as other kinds of psoriasis.

Apply it to your scalp or skin several times a week. Be sure to rinse the area after application has dried, to avoid possible irritation.

If you feel a burning sensation when you apply the apple cider vinegar, dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio.

One last note: if you have cracked or bleeding skin, don’t use apple cider vinegar. It's going to hurt, a lot.

4. Curcumin

Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

It's an excellent natural way to fight inflammation in many forms, including the inflammation from psoriasis.

You can get curcumin in pill or supplement form. However, you can also find it in your spice cabinet – it’s the active ingredient in turmeric.

For better results, eat turmeric along with black pepper. The latter will increase the bioavailability of the curcumin.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been used for generations to help with skin conditions and injuries.

Research has proven it can help reduce redness and some of the scaling that patients with psoriasis suffer from.

You can put the gel from the plant itself directly on your skin, or look for a cream that contains .5% aloe.

If you suffer from psoriasis, consider keeping an aloe plant in your home as a great backup to other remedies. Just don't forget to water it every so often.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

If you’ve found your way here because you suffer from psoriasis, you’ve come to the right place.

Call Annex Naturopathic now to book a consultation. We can help you explore natural solutions to your psoriasis.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Find more tips about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto

5 Supplements For Immune System Health

Posted on September 26th, 2019

When we talk about eating to “stay healthy,” we're talking about eating food that supports our immune system. After all, it's our immune system that keeps us healthy.

Many people see naturopathic doctors to better understand what they need to do to strengthen their immune system.

Here are a few tips to make your immune system’s job easier.

What Does Your Immune System Do?

Your immune system is your body's defense against illness and infections.

Its job is to recognize structures that don’t belong in your bloodstream, work to remove them, and then remember this foreign structure so it’s properly equipped to fight it off if it comes back.

There are conditions where the immune system functions too weakly, and then other conditions when the immune system works “too well”.

One example when this system works too well is seasonal allergies. Pollen will trigger an immune response (when not necessary) that causes all the symptoms we endure.

Another example of this is in autoimmune disease. Your immune system becomes confused between what is foreign and what is “self” and starts attacking your own cells. This can cause all kinds of difficult-to-manage symptoms.

There are many different autoimmune diseases. Some of the more common ones include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and lupus.

What Happens When Your Immune System Is Weak?

The immune system needs to get the right nutrients to be in fighting form.

When it’s starved of what it needs, it grows weaker and weaker, until it is unable to properly combat viruses or illnesses.

Your body uses white blood cells – called macrophages – to patrol your body. They’re your first line of defense.

However, sometimes a virus can get by these cells and infect your system. This means your body needs stronger cells: T cells and B cells.

A healthy body will make upwards of a billion white blood cells every single day. But if it can’t produce enough, it can't mount an effective defense response.

Viruses are more likely to get past the macrophages if there aren’t enough of them to patrol properly.

If your body doesn't produce enough T cells and B cells, it may not be able to give you the “acquired immunity” to the virus. This means the same viral strain could make you sick again in the future.

5 Nutrients To Strengthen Your Immune System

So you see why it’s so important to ensure that your immune system gets the fuel it needs to function.

The good news is a healthy diet rich in the nutrients can help.

Read on below for our top five recommendations for a healthy immune system.

1. Vitamin C

We’ve heard it for years growing up: if you’re getting sick, you should start taking vitamin C.

But the truth is that if you’re getting sick, it’s too late – you need preventative vitamin C to stave off a cold.

You can get your vitamin C from citrus fruits, as just about everyone knows. But there are more plentiful sources, like kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries.

Last tip for vitamin C: save your money on supplementing. Many foods contain enough to keep you healthy.

Instead, take that money and invest it in other supplements for vitamins your body CAN’T absorb as easily, such as our next vitamin.

2. Vitamin D

Your doctor may have recommended vitamin D to you. This is because if you live in Canada, you're probably deficient in vitamin D

Do your best to take in vitamin D in the form of flax and fatty fishes, such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel. But for most, you'll need to supplement.

Not only can it help with your immune system, vitamin D can lift your mood. This can, in turn, have a positive effect on your immune response.

3. Iron

Although vegetarians and vegans have to be extra mindful of their iron intake, it might surprise you how much iron you can get from non-meat sources.

Kale, broccoli and beans are all excellent sources of iron.

For omnivores, you can get a massive dose of iron from oysters and other seafoods, or from lean poultry such as chicken and turkey.

4. Zinc

Zinc is a superhero among immunity-boosting vitamins. It helps slow down overactive immune responses, while also controlling inflammation.

Slowing an overactive immune response may seem like a counterproductive action for when you’re sick. You may be surprised to learn, though, that most of your symptoms while you’re sick is produced by the immune response, not the infection itself.

Slowing down the immune response means that Zinc can keep the immune system active enough to fight off the infection, but control the immune response enough that your symptoms are not out of control.

Oysters once again top the list, as well as lean meats and poultry, crab, beans, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and yogurt.

5. Selenium

Like zinc, selenium can slow the overactive immune response.

Get your selenium intake through sardines, tuna, garlic, broccoli, and Brazil nuts.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

If you’ve been feeling under the weather more often than not lately, it could be a problem with your immune system.

It might be time to boost your immunity with supplements and an improved diet.

Call Annex Naturopathic now to book an appointment. Let's create a personalized, targeted strategy to boost your immune in time for winter.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

See additional ideas about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopath Toronto

Is Your Child Deficient In Vitamin D?

Posted on September 22nd, 2019

Vitamin D keeps our bones strong and healthy. But did you know it's also one of the most common vitamin deficiencies especially in Canada? Vitamin D deficiency is an issue affecting people of all ages but especially children and teens. Whether it's due to lack of sunlight or picky eating it's important to ensure your child has sufficient vitamin D. It's necessary for a lot more than bone growth. But what are the signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency? And what can you do to make sure your child has all the necessary nutrients? You can find answers by contacting a naturopath for children in Toronto. Keep reading to learn more about this all-too-common vitamin deficiency. What Is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is an essential vitamin your skin produces or synthesizes after sunlight exposure. After it's synthesized your liver and kidneys transform it into the vitamin D your body needs. Vitamin D is important for many reasons. It helps you absorb other vitamins and minerals first of all. For example it increases your gut absorption of calcium magnesium phosphate and others. It's also necessary for healthy bone growth cardiovascular health balancing hormones and helping your immune system function properly. There are many benefits to making sure your child has enough vitamin D in their system. These benefits include: May reduce risk of multiple sclerosis or MS May reduce risk of certain types of cancer including colon and breast cancer May reduce risk of contracting the common cold May improves lung function especially in those with asthma and/or COPD What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency In Children? The most common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency you should keep an eye out for in your child are chronic fatigue and frequent illness. Severe vitamin D deficiencies happen but they are quite rare. If left untreated they can cause bone diseases such as rickets or osteomalacia. Additionally having a lack of vitamin D may cause a delay in the age your child starts walking. When it comes to infants low levels of vitamin D are linked to low birth weights. If your young one is always exhausted or comes down with a cold more often than you'd expect consider getting them tested for a vitamin D deficiency. Risk Factors For Vitamin D Deficiency There are a few risk factors that may increase your child's chances of developing a vitamin D deficiency. These factors include: Insufficient sun exposure You need sun exposure to generate the vitamin D your body needs. But for those of us who live in Toronto there isn't much direct sunlight for much of the year. In fact the higher you live in latitude the greater your risk of vitamin D deficiency. Even for those who live in tropical climates though our modern habits of spending most of our time indoors can cause vitamin d deficiency. Obesity Especially in children excess body weight is associated with vitamin D deficiency. This 2013 study highlights this. In general obesity is becoming a larger issue. According to this 2016 study one Canadian child in seven was found to be overweight or obese. Darker skin tone Melanin is known to naturally block UVB rays and interfere with vitamin D production. As a result those with more melanin in their skin are at greater risk of being deficient in vitamin D. How Common Is Vitamin D Deficiency In Children? Unfortunately vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies in Canada. This includes children. This is particularly problematic because vitamin D is necessary for healthy bone growth. So you want to ensure your child has all the building blocks necessary for their well-being. Although this 2011 study doesn't cite a specific number it does say that vitamin D deficiency among children is "common". Should You Give Your Child Vitamin D Supplements? Before you start shopping for supplements it's best to know exactly how much vitamin D your child needs. Getting them tested for vitamin deficiencies is a great way to do this. This is a common and simple blood test that your naturopathic doctor or family doctor can order for you. If you have a baby who is formula-fed however most formulas on the market are fortified with vitamin D. The general rule for breast-fed infants is to take 400 IU of vitamin D every day to prevent deficiency. For children over the age of 1 year (and adults up to age 70) the Institute of Medicine recommends 600 IU of vitamin D daily. However these are just guidelines. Not medical advice. Vitamin and mineral supplements can boost your health but you should consider consulting a naturopathic doctor when incorporating them into your family's routine. Contact Annex Naturopathic Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies affecting children. It can seriously impact bone growth respiratory health and overall well-being. Is your little one is feeling sluggish or fatigued? Are they not feeling their best? If so consider having them tested for a vitamin D deficiency. Thankfully there are natural solutions to help you and your family deal with vitamin deficiencies. Contact us at Annex Naturopathic for all-natural treatment options. We can tell you all there is to know about vitamin and mineral deficiencies how they affect your health and how you can get your family on the path to wellness. We understand the importance of your child's health and well-being and we can help. Contact Annex Naturopathic today. If youre curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us. Yours in Health Dr. Tanya Lee N.D Annex Naturopathic Clinic 572 Bloor St W #201 Toronto ON M6G 1K1 - Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck ND and Tanya Lee ND Learn more tips on health wellness naturopathy and medicine at: Annex Naturopathic Clinic

Does Your Baby Have A Food Allergy?

Posted on September 19th, 2019

What you eat affects not only you and your health, but the health of your baby as well.

Food allergies and sensitivities are a tricky one to figure out - they are difficult to pinpoint and difficult to effectively treat.

If you suspect your baby is experiencing a food allergy, contact a Toronto children’s health naturopath for natural solutions.

In the meantime, let's take a closer look at infant food allergies and sensitivities.

What are the symptoms? How are they developed? And how can you help your baby feel better?

Read on to find out.

Do Food Allergies Pass Into Your Breast Milk?

Certain food proteins pass to your baby through your breast milk. This can result in an allergic or sensitive reaction in your baby to that food.

Additionally, if one of the child’s parents have food allergies, the infant is more likely to have one as well.

Some foods are more likely to cause reactions than others. These include cow's milk, peanuts or tree nuts, gluten, soy, eggs, corn, fish, and shellfish.

In babies and young children, the most common food sensitivity/allergy to develop is to cow's milk.

A recent study conducted by the World Allergy Organization found that infants who are breast-fed exclusively are less likely to develop an allergy/sensitivity to cow's milk.

The study concludes that mothers of breast-fed infants with a cow's milk allergy should continue breast-feeding, but avoid foods containing cow's milk protein.

What Happens When Your Baby Has A Food Allergy?

There are various types of food allergies and immune reactions that may affect your baby.

The true allergy is the rarest and most serious form of allergic reaction.

This immune reaction (typically known as an anaphylactic reaction) happens quickly – within 2 hours of consuming food – and can result in anaphylaxis.

Food sensitivities are much more common than true allergies and the symptoms they produce are much less scary. Their symptoms can occur anywhere between a few hours to a few days after food intake.

Although food sensitivity reactions are immediately life-threatening, they have a few possible effects that can affect your body in the long term. Common consumption these foods can increase gut inflammation, alter your baby's immune balance, leading to discomfort and weakened immunity in your child.

When your little one is suffering from a food allergy or sensitivity, the symptoms can manifest in many different ways.

Let's take a more in-depth look at the symptoms of infant food allergies.

Symptoms Of Food Allergies In Babies

The primary symptom of the rare and life-threatening true food allergy is anaphylaxis. It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

• Difficulty swallowing and breathing

• Puffy, swollen lips and eyes

• Hives

• Diarrhea, vomiting, and/or abdominal pain

• Itchy mouth

If your baby is experiencing the above symptoms, contact emergency health services immediately.

As we mentioned earlier, the symptoms of food sensitivity reactions are more delayed and less serious than true allergies.

Typically, the following symptoms will occur if your little one is experiencing a reaction to a food sensitivity.

The most common signs of food sensitivity in an infant include:

Dermatological symptoms – hives, rashes, and eczema

Gastrointestinal symptoms – diarrhea, constipation, failure to thrive, colic or irritability, vomiting, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (or FPIES), lack of appetite

• Respiratory symptoms – chronic cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma, recurring illnesses (cold, flu, ear infections)

What To Do If Your Baby Shows Food Allergy Symptoms?

If you suspect that your baby may have an anaphylactic reaction to a certain food, consult your primary health care provider. They will refer you appropriately to an allergist that can perform the necessary testing to determine anaphylaxis. Do not attempt to figure this out on your own.

If you suspect your baby may be experiencing a food sensitivity, there are steps you can take to determine which food is causing the reaction.

The best method, and the only way to get to the bottom of your child's symptoms, is an elimination diet.

1. The Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is exactly what it sounds like. You eliminate certain foods from your diet. Then, you slowly start adding them back in to figure out which one is the culprit.

It's important to eliminate all the potentially allergens at the same time, instead of one at a time.

This is to give your baby the best chance to get healthy and feel better as soon as possible.

The foods you should eliminate in such a diet include:

• Dairy

• Eggs

• Soy

• Gluten

• Peanuts and tree nuts

• Fish and shellfish

• Corn

• Nightshades, a family of fruits/vegetables including tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers

• Caffeine

• Sugar

• Alcohol

• Citrus

Although it may be stressful, the elimination diet may leave you feeling a lot better.

It's possible you and your child may share a food sensitivity. This is because of the way your baby is exposed to your immune cells during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Therefore, if your baby is exclusively nursing, then you would be the one doing the elimination diet. If the baby is eating food, and is nursing, both mom and baby would have to do the elimination diet.

It's crucial you eat enough calories, both for your own health and also to maintain a good supply of breast milk.

There are many delicious and nutritious recipes available online that can make the elimination diet a lot easier to master.

You should continue eating without any of the above foods for 5-8 weeks before beginning the next step of the process. This step is reintroducing the potential allergenic foods to your diet.

2. Slowly Reintroduce Eliminated Foods

After you've eliminated potential allergens from your diet for the allotted period, it's time to slowly start bringing them back into your life.

It's key to test one food at a time, and monitor the health of you and your baby.

If either of you experience any symptoms at all after the first or second meal including the test food, stop eating it. After that, keep an eye out for further reactions.

It can be helpful to keep a written log of what foods you're testing, and what reactions are occurring in you or your baby.

If your baby still reacts to a specific food through this process, remove it from your diet completely for 6 months. After that, test it again.

The best and safest way to go about the elimination diet is to do it under the supervision of your naturopathic doctor. Call us to find out more about the specifics of this process.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

Food sensitivities and allergies can be frustrating and difficult to pin down. This is especially true when they're affecting the health and well-being of your baby.

But you're not alone – there are natural solutions available to you and your little one.

If you have questions about food allergies, sensitivities, or the elimination diet, contact us at Annex Naturopathic.

We'd love to get to know you and your baby, and help you diagnose and overcome tricky food sensitivities.

If you or your infant are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of a food sensitivity, we can help.

Contact Annex Naturopathic today.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Find more info about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctors in Toronto

Naturopathic & Alternative Treatments For Chronic Pain

Posted on August 13th, 2019

Pain. Its something most of us experience from time to time. However while much pain is acute or short-term - a stubbed toe burning your hand on the stove or a bee sting some people live with ongoing chronic pain which can affect their quality of life. Today we will look at some osteopathic manual therapy treatments which can be used to help manage chronic pain. Keep reading to learn more. What Is Chronic Pain? Chronic pain is usually defined as any pain which lasts more than 12 weeks. The definition of chronic is persisting for a long time or constantly recurring. Although it may start because of an injury or trauma it continues even after the initial cause has healed. Acute pain on the other hand is generally a response to a physical issue such as disease inflammation or trauma however it goes away once the initial cause has healed. You often but not always know the cause of your acute pain but chronic pain may be a mystery. Causes Of Chronic Pain There are a number of reasons someone could be experiencing chronic pain. For some individuals the aging process and changes in the bones and joints can be the cause of chronic pain. Depending on the location of the pain there could be any number of causes - for instance chronic back pain may be caused by any one of the following factors or a combination of: Poor posture Improper lifting technique Congenital conditions Pressure on the back and knees due to being overweight Wearing high heels Injury Sleeping on a poor mattress Another source of chronic pain for could be chronic illness or disease such as arthritis fibromyalgia or cancer. In many cases the source can be difficult to pinpoint and sometimes involves a combination of a number of potential causes. Problems with Medical Treatment for Chronic Pain So someone has chronic pain. Cant their doctor just prescribe something to help with it? There are certainly medications which can be effective however these come with their own set of problems. One of the first treatments many people think of for chronic pain are opioids however these must be carefully managed in order to attempt to avoid addiction. Opioid addiction occurs when an individual has a compulsion to continue using opioids even though they are no longer medically required. Even when used correctly and as-per prescription opioids can be extremely addictive which can result in individuals attempting to find them through illicit means when they are no longer being prescribed the drugs. Another issue with opioids is even though they may treat the pain itself they dont help with the source or cause of the pain. Natural Treatments For Chronic Pain There are a number of natural treatments which can be used to manage chronic pain. It should be noted that these treatments are not a one size fits all however - the best treatment for any given ailment will depend on the nature and cause of the pain itself. Lets take a look at some common natural treatments for chronic pain and how they can be used. 1. Acupuncture Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for some types of chronic pain. These include pain due to fibromyalgia osteoarthritis sports injuries and back injuries. The exact mechanism by which acupuncture treats pain is unknown however it could be because it blocks pain signals coming from nerves or possibly triggers the brain to release pain-numbing chemicals. 2. Osteopathic Manual Manipulation Osteopathy is a manipulation therapy which deals with the interconnectivity and relationships within the body. Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) involves your OMT Practitioner assessing the joints and movement of the body and developing a treatment plan based on what is - and isnt - moving. 3. Exercise Regular physical activity can be beneficial for individuals with a variety of chronic conditions. Physical activity can help to relieve chronic pain as well as boost energy and mood. It is always wise to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program and they may give you guidance on exercises to avoid especially if you are new to exercising on a regular basis. 4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) A 2006 study in the journal of Surgical Neurology studied the use of Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory and as an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - a class of drugs which includes aspirin ibuprofen and naproxen. In a study of patients with non-surgical neck or back pain 59% discontinued use of their prescription NSAID medications for pain 60% stated their pain improved and 88% said they would continue to use fish oil. Use of Omega-3s for pain means avoiding some of the side effects of NSAIDs such as risk of gastrointestinal problems kidney disease and adverse cardiovascular effects. 5. Capsaicin A 2017 study in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews looked at the use of topical capsaicin in high concentrations for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. It showed study participants who used high-concentration topical capsaicin reported moderate or substantial levels of pain relief compared to those who used a placebo. Along with improved pain relief subject also experienced better sleep less depression and overall better quality of life. 6. Turmeric Turmeric is getting a reputation as a powerful supplement these days. This root which is a part of the ginger family can be used to help reduce inflammation. Use it to add spice and flavour to your meals drink it as a tea or if you arent a fan of the flavour it can be taken in capsule form. 7. Vitamin D Vitamin D is important for a number of functions in the body including bone strength cell growth and immune function. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to fibromyalgia a condition which can cause chronic pain for those who suffer from in. If your pain is linked to fibromyalgia consider low vitamin D may be a factor and supplements can act as an effective treatment. Contact Annex Naturopathic Do you suffer from chronic pain? Are you worried about the side effects of over-the-counter pain relievers or the potential addictive properties of opioids? Perhaps youve tried everything else little or no relief and are ready to go a different route. Annex Naturopathic can help. Contact us today to set up your consultation and well work together to put together a treatment plan to help you live pain-free again. If youre curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us. Yours in Health Dr. Marnie Luck N.D Annex Naturopathic Clinic 572 Bloor St W #201 Toronto ON M6G 1K1 - Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck ND and Tanya Lee ND Learn additional tips on health wellness naturopathy and medicine at: naturopathic clinic Toronto

Natural Solutions For Estrogen Dominance Part 2

Posted on July 18th, 2019

There are a number of things which can cause hormonal imbalances in people. In our last article in this two-part series on estrogen dominance we looked at some of the causes of this particular condition. In this follow-up we will look at some ways this particular imbalance can be controlled naturally. In case you missed the first part click here to get caught up. Recap: What Is Estrogen Dominance? Estrogen dominance occurs when there is an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the body. In particular its when there is more estrogen than progesterone. Diagnosing Estrogen Dominance If you suspect your symptoms are due to estrogen dominance keep track of which symptoms you are experiencing and when they happen in relation to your menstrual cycle. Once youve done this book an appointment here at Annex Naturopathic to discuss your symptoms. From there we can order tests to check your hormone levels. Depending on your symptoms we may use urine or blood tests to measure your levels of FSH LH E2 P and TSH. From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we may check for liver qi stagnation since these symptoms closely mimic those of estrogen dominance. How Does Estrogen Dominance Affect Pregnancy? Having trouble conceiving? Estrogen dominance may be to blame as it can be linked to fertility issues. When an egg is released the empty follicle then starts to produce progesterone. If ovulation does not occur and no egg is released progesterone is not produced and estrogen dominance occurs. Keeping estrogen and progesterone levels in balance is an essential part of becoming and staying pregnant. Natural Solutions For Estrogen Dominance If you feel that you have estrogen dominance its important to consult with your naturopathic doctor or other primary health care provider before beginning any treatment. If you want to avoid taking artificial hormones there are a number of natural treatment options which may help. Lets have a closer look at some of these. Maintain A Healthy Weight Shedding excess pounds can help with estrogen dominance as estrogen can be stored in fat cells. Not only that but because estrogen is produced in fat cells maintaining a healthy body weight will not only slow estrogen production but take away one of the places where it can be stored. Aim for a body fat percentage of 28% or lower. Controlling estrogen dominance isnt the only reason to aim to maintain a healthy weight - it can also reduce your risk for many other conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Decrease Your Stress Level When you are under stress your body creates cortisol instead of progesterone. Keep stress levels at bay and you will also have more progesterone in your system to keep estrogen levels at bay. Of course reducing stress also has many other benefits such as increased productivity improved sleep and better interpersonal relationships. Include More Fibre In Your Diet Excess estrogen is eliminated by the body through bowel movements. If a stool takes too long to make its way through your intestines estrogen can actually get reabsorbed into the body. Prevent this by eating a diet high in insoluble fibre to help keep things moving. Avoid Caffeine Regular caffeine intake has been linked to estrogen dominance. Studies have indicated women who drink 500 milligrams (about 5 cups) or more of caffeine daily have 70% more estrogen than those who have less than 100 milligrams. So if giving up coffee entirely sounds scary (to yourself or your coworkers) you may not have to give it up completely but stick to 1 cup (and skip the 2nd 3rd and 4th and so on). Eat A Healthy Diet A diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables adequate protein (avoid soy and meat grown with hormones) and dark leafy green vegetables is important for metabolism of estrogen. Organic fruits and vegetables are important because the pesticides used on some crops can result in higher levels of estrogen in the body. Contact Annex Naturopathic Are you concerned your hormone levels are off-kilter? At Annex Naturopathic we offer bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help manage estrogen dominance and other hormone-related conditions. Contact us today to set up a consultation. If youre curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us. Yours in Health Dr. Tanya Lee N.D Annex Naturopathic Clinic 572 Bloor St W #201 Toronto ON M6G 1K1 - Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck ND and Tanya Lee ND Find more information about health wellness naturopathy and medicine at:

How Our Microbiota Keep Us Healthy

Posted on January 25th, 2018

Annex Naturopathic

I’m going to be writing more on the new research that I read on the microbiome.

The existing and emerging research continuously reinforces the fascinatingly strong influence these bugs have on our current health and heath outcomes.

I will get in to specifics in future blogs, but today I wanted to give a brief synopsis on how the microbiome influences our health.

This dynamic, complex system (technically, organ) of bacteria, known as the Microbiome, that resides all over and inside our bodies has been found to have such an important role in our health and the way we adapt to our external environment.

The largest portion of the human microbiome is housed in the large intestine (the gut), containing over 10 trillion bacteria (to put that in to context, that is about 10 times more than the amount of human cells in your body).

One of the most important roles of the gut microbiota is the influence on our immune system.

The our immune cells read “codes” called Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs) on the bacteria that tell our immune systems what to do - these codes are specific to each bacteria - good “commensal” teaches our immune system to be balanced, and pathogenic bacteria contain codes that signal dysregulation.

Imbalances in the immune system play a role in virtually every disease.

Many seemingly separate conditions have been tied to the same imbalances of the immune system; inflammation and it’s role in hypertension, mental health and the development of cancer, and autoimmune processes and their affinity on multiple organ systems in the body.

What’s interesting about the microbiome is that these bugs are what teach our immune systems how to react and adapt to the given environment.

We have a mutualistic interaction with our microbiome, especially the gut microbiome. When the microbiome is well-balanced, nourished and overall healthy, we are the same.

The interactions of a healthy microbiome with the “host” (us) results in immune regulation/balance, efficient energy production and metabolism, great digestive health and a well-functioning liver.

Healthy microbes teach the immune system how to properly adapt to the environment, preventing unnecessary inflammation, and they also produce biochemicals and vitamins that help our bodies function efficiently.

A healthy microbiome will also protect you from invasive pathogens that want in on the real estate.

When the microbiome becomes “dysbiotic” (which means overgrowth with bad kinds of microbes, or even too much of a good type), it sends the immune system the wrong signals, promoting inflammation, and producing noxious metabolites that burden our bodies rather than helping it.

Dysbiosis of the gut microbiome in particular has been linked to many diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, allergies, autoimmune disease and asthma.

Dysbiosis can be caused by many different factors.

For many people it actually starts from birth.

It’s been established and well-accepted by the scientific community that babies born via C-section, or who are not breast-fed, have a different, dysbiotic, gut microbiome than babies who were born vaginally or are exclusively breast fed, leading to higher rates of asthma, allergies, Celiac disease and obesity.

This is why it’s important to intervene early with probiotics a child is not born vaginally or is not breast-fed for many reasons.

Dysbiosis can also be caused by taking multiple rounds of antibiotics, especially if not counteracted by using probiotic during and after using the antibiotics.

As antibiotics wipe out the infective bacteria, it wipes out some of our good bacteria with it, leaving space.

This type of dysbiosis makes us more susceptible to catching bad, invasive bacteria and parasites that now have opportunity to occupy this space.

Dysbiosis can also occur if you’ve caught a parasite, or some invasive bug while drinking water in a different part of the world, or if you eat something not quite cooked.

Most importantly, dysbiosis is highly promoted by an unhealthy diet.

Just like us, your microbiome needs to be fed the right substances to be healthy, strong and efficient.

If you feed it bad food, such as refined sugars and starches, transfats, a diet full of meat, and nutrient-void foods, your microbiome will not be strong, leading to poor health.

You’d be surprised how many of our everyday foods actually are considered “prebiotics” and aid in the health of our gut microbiome.

You won’t be surprised to hear that colour fruits and vegetables, healthy fibres from non-GMO grains, and colour spices are great sources of prebiotics.

Fermented foods such as saurkraut, kimchi, kefir, and properly made yogurts are major sources of prebiotics if you want to get serious about feeding the microbiome.

Naturopathic doctors have been aware of and treating the microbiome for decades - we are excellent sources for dietary recommendations on how to maintain the health of your microbiome as well as strategic treatments on how to rebalance your gut microbial flora.

Obvious signs that you might have problems with the balance of your microbiome include digestive problems, or recurrent infections of any sort - if you suffer from these afflictions, it would be helpful to consult with a doctor that can help you rebalance your flora and prevent chronic disease.

Stay tuned for more up-to-date information and interesting research on the microbiome and its affect on your daily health.

If you’re curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1



Azad MB et. al. Gut microbiota of healthy Canadian infants: profiles by mode of delivery and infant diet at 4 months. 2013 Mar 19;185(5):385-94

Min YW, Rhee PL.The Role of Microbiota on the Gut Immunology.Clin Ther. 2015 May 1;37(5):968-75.

Palm NW et. al. Immune-microbiota interactions in health and disease.Clin Immunol. 2015 Aug;159(2):122-127

Rutayisire E. et. al. The mode of delivery affects the diversity and colonization pattern of the gut microbiota during the first year of infants' life: a systematic review.BMC Gastroenterol. 2016 Jul 30;16(1):86

Schnabl B, Brenner DA. Interactions between the intestinal microbiome and liver diseases. 2014 May;146(6):1513-24

To discover more ways about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: ontario naturopath

Marnie Luck

Annex Naturopathic Clinic ( is a clinic in downtown Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions. Drs. Marnie Luck and Tanya Lee, ND, offer treatments such as diet, exercise, and lifestyle counselling, nutritional supplementation, vitamin injection therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and musculoskeletal manipulation, among others. You can also find us at: 572 Bloor St W Suite #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1 647-624-5800