Showing all posts tagged #annexclinic:

What Is Intermittent Fasting? A Naturopathic Perspective

Posted on March 31st, 2020

Everywhere you look, there are health and fitness “experts” telling you what to eat, how to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat.

Keto. Paleo. Vegan. Mediterranean. Raw food.

All of these diets have their pros and cons, and while some work great for one person, they might not be ideal for the next.

If you need assistance in sorting out all of these options, consider having a naturopathic consultation to discuss which diet or eating plan may be beneficial to you.

Today we are going to have a closer look at intermittent fasting - not another diet, per se, but a pattern which tells you when to eat and when to abstain from eating.

Keep reading to learn more about this way of eating, and the benefits it may offer.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Strictly speaking, intermittent fasting is an eating plan where you cycle between periods of eating and periods of fasting.

Common methods include:

16/8 in which only eat during an 8-hour period each day, and fast for the remaining 16 hours (for instance, one may eat between noon and 8 PM, and then fast between 8 PM and noon the next day)

5:2 (where on 5 days of the week you ear normally but restrict calories to 500-600 on two other days).

The 16/8 method is the most popular, as most people find it to be easier to stick to, and more sustainable in the long term.

What Happens When You Fast?

When you go for an extended period of time, there are a number of changes which occur in the body.

After approximately eight hours of fasting, the body has used its glucose stores and starts to burn fat instead.

Once the body runs out of fat as a source of energy, it will begin to breakdown muscle tissue, which, obviously, is something you want to avoid.

Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

There are a number of benefits of fasting, which can include:

Insulin levels in the blood drop, which helps the body to burn fat

There are positive changes in genes which can impact longevity and protect against disease

Cellular repair processes are initiated

Levels of human growth hormone increase, leading to muscle gains and fat burning

Increased brain function

Keep reading for a more detailed look at some of these benefits.

1. May Help You Lose Weight

A huge reason people start following new diets or eating plans is the goal to lose a few pounds.

Whether it’s for health reasons, to look better in a bathing suit, or a little bit of both, wanting to lose a few pounds is very common.

A 2000 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found during an 84-hour starvation period, resting energy expenditure (also known as resting metabolic rate) increased significantly.

Furthermore, by the very nature of restricting the times during which you eat, generally, the total calorie intake is lowered, so long as you don’t go overboard and binge during the times which you’re eating.

This combination of increased metabolism and fewer calories consumed can be a powerful combination for weight loss.

2. May Lower Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, lower blood sugar levels, and offer protection against the development of type-2 diabetes.

Studies on humans have shown that during fasting insulin may be reduced anywhere from 20 to 31 percent.

Furthermore, the effect of fasting on blood sugar is a reduction of three to six percent.

Both of these factors may lower your risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

3. May Be Good For Your Brain

There have been a few studies which have shown a positive impact of intermittent fasting on the brain.

In 2018, a study in the journal Nature Reviews, Neuroscience showed how cycles of fasting, combined with periods of eating, can optimize brain function.

This study showed benefits such as promoting neuroplasticity and resistance to brain injury and disease.

Another study, in Experimental Biology and Medicine showed intermittent fasting may be effective in protecting against cognitive deterioration as one ages.

4. May Help Reduce Inflammation

In 2007, a study in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism studied healthy volunteers who were fasting for the religious holiday of Ramadan and looked at the effects of fasting on inflammation.

This study found in participants who were fasting, inflammation levels were decreased.

5. May Increase Your Lifespan

A study in the journal Gerontology found intermittent fasting to have an impressive impact on the lifespan of rats, where those who were fed a fasting diet – eating only every other day – lived 83% longer than rats not on a fasting diet.

This said it is important to note that this research is still in its early stages and more research needs to be done, however even at this early stage, there is promise.

Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?

Just like any diet or eating plan, intermittent fasting is not without its side effects.

The main one being hunger - however, generally, this is only temporary, as your body adjusts to a new eating schedule.

Additionally, there is some research to show that intermittent fasting may not have as many benefits for women as it does for men.

Studies in rats have shown it to cause female rats to miss menstrual cycles, and make them infertile.

Anecdotally, skipped periods have been reported by women attempting intermittent fasting, only to have them return when they resumed their normal eating patterns.

If you have any of the following conditions, you should discuss with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting, or any other eating plan:


History of eating disorders


On medications

Medical issues regarding blood sugar regulation

Low blood pressure

Have a history of irregular periods

Are trying to become pregnant

Are currently pregnant, or breastfeeding

Overall, though, intermittent fasting is considered to be safe, if you’re otherwise in good health.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Trying to decide on a diet or eating plan to fit your lifestyle?

Perhaps you’re trying to lose weight or maybe gain muscle.

Maybe you just want to be sure you are eating in a way to best fuel your body to handle everyday tasks.

Annex Naturopathic can help.

We will perform a comprehensive health assessment, which looks at your medical history, lifestyle habits, and diet.

From there, one of our naturopathic doctors in Toronto will work with you to offer naturopathic solutions to any targeted issues you want to address, or just give you ways to stay healthier overall.

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

Get more ways about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic clinic in Toronto

Naturopathic Treatment For Endometriosis

Posted on March 26th, 2020

Endometriosis is a relatively common condition that can cause massive amounts of pain and discomfort, especially around your period.

Like many other chronic illnesses, endometriosis comes with inflammation – it’s this inflammation that may be the cause of endometriosis pain.

If you’re dealing with endometriosis, you aren’t alone — and there are naturopathic treatments to help alleviate your symptoms.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the most effective natural treatments for endometriosis.

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic disorder that causes tissue to grow endometrial tissue on organs outside your uterine cavity.

This tissue can grow on your ovaries, pelvic lining, and bowel.

Your uterine lining, or endometrium, is lined with a similar tissue.

Menstruation causes your hormone levels to fluctuate, which inflames this extra tissue.

The misplaced tissue will grow and thicken, eventually breaking down without any means of leaving your pelvic area.

This can lead to a number of uncomfortable and painful symptoms, which often spike around your period.

What Causes Endometriosis?

Unfortunately, the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown.

There are some theories that have circulated for years, such as "retrograde menstruation".

Retrograde menstruation occurs when menstrual blood enters your pelvic cavity via the fallopian tubes instead of leaving your body through your vagina like normal.

Another suspected cause theorizes that hormones cause the cells outside your uterus to transform into cells similar to those inside your uterus.

Others speculate endometriosis may be caused by an issue with the immune system, the transportation of uterine cells through the lymphatic system, or cell tissue misplaced during the fetal period reacting to hormones during puberty.

There are so many potential causes and yet, we do not ultimately know what causes endometriosis.

What we do know is it ranges in severity, which we track through four stages: minimal, mild, moderate, and severe.

Like many other chronic illnesses, the symptom severity can vary.

However, the degree of pain or discomfort you feel does not necessarily correlate to the severity of your condition.

Let’s look at the signs and symptoms associated with endometriosis.

Symptoms Of Endometriosis

Regardless of severity, the most commonly experienced symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain.

There are a number of additional symptoms caused by the inflamed misplaced tissue, including:


Fertility issues

Severe pain during menstruation

Lower back pain

Scar formation

Adhesions (tissue binding pelvic organs together)

Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, nausea, or constipation during menstruation

Endometrial cysts

Stress and low mood

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor to investigate whether endometriosis may be the cause.

Naturopathic Treatments For Endometriosis

Endometriosis can be immensely painful, especially during your period.

The efficacy of treatment options varies depending on your specific symptoms, and your naturopathic doctor or other medical provider can help you find which one is right for you and your body.

Endometriosis presents both acute and long-term issues, so some treatments are geared at reducing overall inflammation while others are meant to help with current symptoms.

Overall, it’s important to ease pain and your stress response while also tackling the bigger issues like supporting your immune system, balancing hormone levels, and encouraging a healthy inflammatory response.

Let’s look at five effective natural treatments for endometriosis.

1. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Hormone levels are crucial when it comes to managing the inflammation and symptoms of endometriosis.

Endometriosis has been connected to high levels of estrogen, which is responsible for endometrial tissue growth.

Reducing or limiting estrogen production can be beneficial for endometriosis treatment.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT, is the supplementation of two of your body’s natural hormones – estrogen and progesterone.

Progesterone is a hormone that counteracts estrogen, limiting the production of endometrial tissue and ultimately reducing your symptoms.

BHRT may be an effective natural solution for endometriosis, because it targets the problem at its source: fluctuating hormone levels, and improper tissue growth.

The natural progesterone used in this kind of BHRT is derived from plant oils and fats, and modified to be identical to the progesterone produced by your body.

If you’re interested in pursuing the benefits of this hormone therapy, talk to your naturopathic doctor for more information.

2. Curcumin

Known as the main compound in turmeric responsible for its bright orange-yellow hue, curcumin is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant.

Not only that, but it also slows the growth of endometrial cells by inhibiting estradiol production.

Estradiol is one of three types of estrogen produced by the human body.

Studies have shown how curcumin supplementation suppresses endometrial cell growth, thereby alleviating the symptoms of endometriosis.

Turmeric is the best dietary source of curcumin, though to ensure maximum absorption you should look to consume black pepper alongside turmeric.

This is because the piperine in black pepper boosts curcumin absorption.

Consuming turmeric alongside healthy fats also increases its effectiveness by causing the curcumin to be absorbed straight into your blood stream.

3. Omega-3 Oils

Inflammation can be caused and worsened by a variety of factors, but one of the main causes is prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are a group of fatty acids responsible for menstrual cramps and endometrial pain.

Not all prostaglandins are "bad", however; there are also "good" ones known to decrease inflammation.

The important thing is to ensure there is a balance of these fatty acids within your body.

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for those with endometriosis because your body converts them to anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Plus, they help reduce the production of "bad" prostaglandins that cause inflammation (which can be found in red meat and dairy).

The best dietary sources of omega-3s are fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as nuts and seeds.

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are also easy to find at most dispensaries and health food stores.

4. Acupuncture

The benefits of acupuncture are wide-reaching and may be an effective treatment to help with endometriosis.

Acupuncture, one of the main components of traditional Chinese medicine, is a process in which tiny needles are inserted along certain points of your body.

This treatment may alleviate inflammation and reduce stress, as well as reduce the abdominal and pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.

Additionally, acupuncture has an impact on the growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus.

5. Dietary Changes

The foods you eat can have a big impact on your health, especially if you’re suffering from a chronic inflammatory condition like endometriosis.

Studies have shown the link between diet and endometriosis, with foods like fruits and vegetables decreasing your risk of developing this disorder.

Certain foods are known to increase your chances of developing endometriosis and worsen inflammation in existing cases, such as red meat.

Another reason to avoid meat as well as high-fat dairy products is due to toxins known to accumulate in animal-based fats.

These toxins, dioxin and polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs), can exacerbate endometriosis symptoms and severity.

High-fibre foods are a great option to help regulate your gastrointestinal system, which has a strong overall impact on inflammation.

You may not have heard of isoflavones, but they are a powerful tool in your fight against endometriosis and its associated symptoms.

Isoflavones are plant-based chemicals that inhibit the conversion of androgens to estrogens, and they block more potent natural estrogens from binding to the relevant receptor.

Good dietary sources of isoflavones include:

Beans such as soybeans, chickpeas, and fava beans

Peanuts and pistachios



Indoles, an organic compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, have similar anti-estrogen effects.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

The pain of endometriosis can be unbearable, and it may seem like you’ve run out of options.

There are naturopathic treatment solutions that can have a profound impact on your condition, thereby improving your overall quality of life.

For more resources and information on natural endometriosis treatment options, contact us at Annex Naturopathic.

Our women-lead team of experienced naturopaths would love to work with you on a personalized treatment plan that fits your lifestyle.

You don’t have to suffer in silence — we’re here to help.

Book an appointment with 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. 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 ideas on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at:

Osteopathic Manual Therapy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Posted on March 18th, 2020

Are you experiencing digestive issues?

Do you have abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation?

If this sounds like you, it might be time to check in with your doctor because these are common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Luckily, there are ways, such as visiting a Toronto osteopathic manual practitioner, to help manage your symptoms.

But what is IBS?

And how would you know if you have it?

Keep reading to find out.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a chronic disorder that affects the digestive tract – and it’s pretty common.

In fact, 120,000 Canadians are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) each year.

It’s classified as a motility problem, which is how the bowel moves contents through the intestines,

The problem may be that motility is too fast, too slow, or that it fluctuates.

The symptoms of IBS vary depending on which motility problem is responsible for it.

If motility is too fast, it can result in diarrhea or loose stools.

If motility is too slow, it can lead to constipation.

A combination of the two issues can lead to mixed symptoms.

Additionally, IBS affects how your brain interprets signals from the nerves in the bowel.

This can result in abdominal pain, bloating, and/or anxiety.

What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Researchers haven’t yet been able to nail down one single cause of IBS.

But there are a number of commonly-known triggers, including:

Gut infections

• Food poisoning

Food allergies or intolerances

Chronic stress

IBS can also occur after a course of antibiotics or after surgery.

What Is Osteopathic Manual Therapy?

Osteopathic manual therapy is a holistic, hands-on therapy that aims to restore balance to the body and in doing so, restore its functions.

One of the core philosophies of this form of treatment, which is also known as classical osteopathy, is that your body knows how to heal itself.

Osteopathic manual therapy involves a practitioner evaluating your body’s movements in certain areas and, together with the patient, coming up with a plan to help.

Osteopathic manual practitioners (OMPs) work through manipulations of the tissues to support its natural self-regulation and healing.

How Does Osteopathic Manual Therapy Work?

In relation to IBS, the goal of an osteopathic manual therapy treatment is to provide an environment in which proper communication between the gut and brain is restored and maintained.

With digestive disorders, there are particular zones in your body that need greater attention, such as your nervous system.

Your OMP can feel the mobility of your organs, their functioning, as well as the blood flow to and from these structures to optimize the environment for the body to regulate itself.

Can Osteopathic Manual Therapy Help With Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

A 2014 review of 10 studies on the effectiveness of osteopathic manual therapy on the symptoms of IBS found preliminary evidence that osteopathic manual therapy may be beneficial in managing IBS.

One of the studies included in the review found that osteopathic manual therapy was effective in both the short and long-term.

In another study, a set of IBS patients underwent articular manipulations and soft tissue treatment while another set of IBS patients received placebo care: soft massage to the same areas.

Those that underwent articular manipulations noted a 25% improvement in the severity of IBS symptoms.

Yet another study showed an overall improvement in 68% of IBS patients who received osteopathic manual therapy treatments, compared to 18% of IBS patients receiving allopathic care up to six months after treatment.

Another place where classical osteopathy may be able to help is in abdominal adhesions.

If you recently had abdominal surgery, you may develop visceral or abdominal adhesions.

These are fibrous bands that can form between abdominal tissues and internal organs.

Due to the firm and fibrotic nature of these bands, they have the potential to interfere with normal intestinal motility and transit processes and thus cause IBS.

Though there are no diagnostic tests or imaging available to precisely diagnose visceral adhesions, well-trained osteopathic manual practitioners may be able to identify them through discussing your health history and conducting an abdominal physical exam.

Visceral manipulation is a form of osteopathic manual therapy and it may decrease the formation of adhesions and increase fluid movement.

It has also been shown to increase the range of motion in the pelvis and trunk, decreasing the volatility of the gut, which can lead to an improvement in many IBS symptoms.

IBS is a complex, multi-system disorder and osteopathic manual therapy can play a role in managing it.

With appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes, osteopathic manual therapy may be an effective treatment for IBS.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Have you recently had abdominal surgery?

Are you concerned that you might be experiencing symptoms of IBS?

Or do you want to find out more about osteopathic manual therapy?

If so, contact Annex Naturopathic to book an appointment.

We’ll gladly answer any questions you have and work on a treatment plan tailored specifically for you.

Contact us at 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. 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 more tips on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctors Toronto

What’s The Difference Between All The Milk Alternatives?

Posted on March 11th, 2020

There are many different varieties of milk products, with base ingredients ranging from dairy to nuts to grains.

Milk wasn’t ever mass-produced from this stuff in the past, so with so many options it can be difficult to know which milk alternative to choose.

There are lots of factors to consider when making your decision, including nutritional content and sustainability.

Some milk alternatives offer benefits for your gastrointestinal system, while some offer little nutrition but are generally well tolerated in those with food allergies.

If you’re looking for better digestive health solutions, look no further — we’re going to break down each milk alternative and help you decide which is best for you and your body.

1. Cow Milk

So this isn’t a milk alternative, obviously – but it’s still worth looking at.

With cow’s milk, you have many different options including skim/fat-free, 1 percent, 2 percent, and homo milk.

There are also varieties of lactose free cow’s milk, which has been processed to break down lactose sugars, since lactose intolerance is fairly common.


Although whole milk is the highest in calories, it’s ultimately a healthier choice than the low-fat alternatives.

Whole milk retains its natural components and is rich in calcium, proteins, and healthy fats.

Skim milk also offers these benefits, but the lack of fat hinders the absorption of these vitamins.

Typically, cow’s milk is fortified with various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and vitamin A.

Another advantage of cow’s milk is it is widely accessible, as it’s an affordable choice and usually found in basically any grocery store across Canada.


Despite the benefits of whole milk’s healthy fats, it also contains saturated fats and is high in calories.

Plus, lactose is one of the most common food allergens.

Some individuals who are not allergic to dairy may experience a slight intolerance or sensitivity.

The ethics of dairy farming are also an issue for some, with vegan lifestyles becoming more and more popular.

Dairy farms also produce high amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and consume more land than milk alternatives.

If you enjoy consuming cow’s milk but want to avoid the environmental deficit of factory farms, consider sourcing your dairy products from a local farm.

2. Almond Milk

Almond milk is one of the most popular nut milks, and it can usually be found in larger supermarkets.

It’s made from ground almonds and filtered water, with sweetened and unsweetened varieties.


If you’re looking for a lower calorie option, almond milk may be a good choice for you.

Compared to whole milk’s 150 calories per cup, unsweetened almond milk contains 30-60 calories depending on the brand.

Almond milk contains no saturated fats, which is good news for your cholesterol levels.

Like other nut milks, it’s completely vegan and naturally without lactose.


Despite the nutritional content of the nut itself, almond milk lacks calcium and protein.

It also may contain carrageenan, a common additive used to thicken and emulsify certain foods and beverages.

In some people, carrageenan is known to cause digestive issues and inflammation.

In fact, this 2019 study suggests that carrageenan might be the cause for allergic reactions to a number of different food products, including milk alternatives.

On another topic, when it comes to the environment, almond milk may not be the most conscientious option.

A report by the University of California San Francisco outlines the key issues with almond farming, which include how water-intense the crop is.

In fact, it takes more than a gallon of water to produce just a single almond – this is far more than any other milk alternative.

Bees are also a necessary part of almond cultivation, which puts stress on beekeepers and negatively affects bee populations.

3. Soy Milk

One of the most widely available milk alternatives, soy milk is made from soybeans and water.

Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this popular milk product.


Soy milk is naturally low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol.

Instead, it’s a great source of protein and potassium.

Many varieties of soy milk are fortified with calcium or probiotics, which are beneficial for your overall health especially if you have high blood pressure.

If you’re mindful of the environment, soy milk is regarded to be one of the more sustainable milk products – the crop grows just about anywhere, and doesn’t take as much water.


Soy is a relatively common allergen, so if you’re allergic to this ingredient you should avoid soy-based milk alternatives.

It can be a problematic ingredient for some due to how it acts like a natural estrogen.

Although they may have a positive effect on menopause symptoms, soy-based foods may cause fertility issues and lower sperm counts.

People with thyroid conditions may want to avoid soy milk for this reason.

However, you’d most likely have to consume massive amounts of soy products for it to have an effect on your hormones.

If you’re concerned about these potential effects, talk to your naturopathic doctor or other health practitioner for more information.

4. Rice Milk

Like other plant-based milks, rice milk is made from milled rice and water.

It’s naturally thinner in consistency and relatively sweet.


Milk, soy, and nuts are among the most common allergens in food, which is why rice milk is a great alternative for those wanting to avoid a reaction.

Rice milk is also naturally sweeter than other milks, which eliminates the need for sweetening agents.


Rice milk is higher in carbohydrates than most other milk alternatives.

Unlike other milks, rice milk is rarely fortified with vitamins and minerals and contains little protein.

Like the grain from which it’s made, rice milk contains notable levels of inorganic arsenic.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to not rely solely on rice products, especially for children and pregnant people.

Like almonds, rice production also requires large amounts of water, which causes an environmental strain.

5. Hazelnut Milk

One of the less well-known milk alternatives, hazelnut milk is rising in popularity due to its nutrition and flavour.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, consider keeping an eye out for this tasty and nutritious option.


Like other nuts, hazelnut trees extract carbon from the atmosphere, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, hazelnut farming is considered to be carbon-negative – according to this 2015 report from the University of Guelph, hazelnut orchards can play an important role in fighting climate change.

However, unlike almonds, hazelnuts are pollinated by the wind instead of bees.

Hazelnuts are high in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and folic acid, which are all beneficial for your health.


Hazelnuts are mostly harvested by hand, and worker exploitation can be common in this industry.

They are also relatively high in fat, which is both good and bad — healthy fats are great, while saturated fats may have adverse consequences for your heart.

6. Coconut Milk

This tropical milk is made from water and coconut cream, the latter of which is made from grated coconut flesh.

Despite the name, the coconut is not a nut — so this milk is safe to drink if you have a nut allergy.

There are different kinds of coconut milk that serve different purposes.

Cans of coconut milk are thicker and used for cooking, while coconut milk beverage is thinner and more diluted.


Coconut milk is high in fats, specifically medium-chain triglycerides.

These fatty acids, also known as MCTs, offer potential health benefits including weight loss and the increase of energy levels.

Coconut milk is not naturally high in calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin A, but it can be fortified to be a more nutritious option.


Although some fats are good for you, coconut milk is also high in saturated fats, which may not be the most heart-conscious choice.

Coconut milk is also not a good source of protein and often contains carrageenan.

The global demand of coconut milk contributes to this product being a less sustainable and ethical choice as well

Worker exploitation and climate destruction are important factors in the mass production of this milk alternative.

Because coconuts don’t grow anywhere near Canada, they need to be shipped from far away, contributing to greenhouse emissions.

7. Oat Milk

Oat milk is an exciting new milk alternative that shows great potential for growth due to its forecasted lack of environmental consequences.

It’s creamy and offers a neutral sweet flavour, even when unsweetened.


Even with its rapidly rising popularity, experts doubt oat milk will have any substantial environmental impact.

Oats are grown in Canada and northern USA’s cool climates, and are not associated with mass deforestation.

On top of that, because they’re grown so close, it takes quite a bit less fossil fuel to ship it to your local grocer.


During production, oats are usually sprayed down with pesticides.

From organic to conventionally grown oats, the active ingredient in these pesticides — glyphosate, a possible carcinogen — was found in at least one third of these products.

Some brands, however, advertise their products as certified glyphosate free – keep an eye out for them.

When it comes to nutrition, oat milk is often high in preservatives and additives.

Make sure you read the label when purchasing any milk alternative, including oat milk.

What’s The Best Option For You?

Whether you’re looking for a milk product that avoids an allergy, offers the most nutritional content, or takes less of a toll on the environment — there are many milk alternatives to choose from.

When making a decision that may impact your health, it’s best to do so with consultation from a health practitioner.

For natural nutrition advice and more, contact us at Annex Naturopathic.

We would love to work with you to develop a natural health plan that works for you and your lifestyle.

If you want to determine which milk alternative is best for you, we can help.

Book an appointment at our Toronto naturopathic clinic 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 ideas on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Toronto naturopathic clinic

Easing Your Menopausal Journey: Black Cohosh

Posted on March 5th, 2020

Menopause is a natural biological process you’ll one day experience if you menstruate, but the symptoms associated with this transitional period can be managed and mitigated naturally.

One of the most popular herbal treatments for symptoms of menopausal transition, or perimenopause, is black cohosh.

Black cohosh is a perennial herb with long, white flowers, and its root systems have been used as a solution for centuries in perimenopause symptom management.

Let’s look into the details of how perimenopause manifests in the body, and how black cohosh can be a powerful tool in relieving your symptoms.

What Is Perimenopause?

The prefix “peri-” means “around”, so perimenopause is the period during your body’s transition into menopause.

You may have heard the term “menopausal transition” — perimenopause is another term for this time.

You may experience this transition at different ages than others, with some symptoms such as irregular menstruation beginning in your 40s (or sometimes earlier, in your mid- to late-30s).

However, most people will experience the beginning of perimenopause around their mid 40’s.

What Happens During Perimenopause?

During perimenopause, your estrogen levels rise and fall in irregular intervals.

This hormonal change affects the length of your menstrual cycles, and it also affects ovulation.

Other symptoms of perimenopause are similar to those associated with menopause, including:

• Hot flashes

Vaginal dryness

Sleep problems

• Bladder infections or incontinence

• Decreased fertility and libido

After you’ve experienced 12 consecutive months without your period, the perimenopausal period is over and you’ve reached menopause.

What Is Black Cohosh?

Black cohosh, also known as bugbane or black snakeroot, is a medicinal plant.

It belongs to the buttercup family and is native to North America; in fact, the roots and rhizomes have been used as medicine by Native Americans for centuries.

Black cohosh is commonly used as a treatment for symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.

How Black Cohosh Can Help Relieve Perimenopausal Symptoms

Black cohosh contains phytochemicals, which affect your endocrine system and relieve the symptoms associated with estrogen imbalance.

Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants — one you may have heard of is beta-carotene.

Along with regulating the effects of estrogen in your body, black cohosh also helps to reduce inflammation and assist brain function.

Studies have shown black cohosh relieves night sweats and hot flashes, including this 2010 study by Shams Et Al.

Another study, this one from 2012 by Beer Et Al suggests it can be useful for a number of other menopausal concerns as well.

Research on this medicinal plant is still ongoing and uncovering more possible benefits, such as regulating body temperature.

So, how do you take black cohosh?

Black cohosh is usually dried and consumed orally in different forms, such as a powder or compressed into capsules.

Black cohosh tea is a popular option as well. It generally tastes fairly mild, and smells earthy.

These supplements are typically readily available at health food stores and some pharmacies.

Potential Risks From Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is not regulated by the FDA, so there is no recognized standard dosage and different sources of this herb may contain different potency levels.

It’s very important to consult with your naturopathic doctor or other medical practitioner before consuming any new herbal supplement.

Black cohosh may have potential long-term effects on your liver function, although this is not yet confirmed by research.

Occasional stomach discomfort is the one known side effect of this herb, but there may be other side effects that have not yet been discovered.

You should only consume black cohosh as a short-term treatment of perimenopause or menopausal symptoms as more research must be done before long-term usage is recommended.

Black cohosh should also be avoided if you are taking birth control pills, hormone therapy, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Lastly, if you have a history of breast cancer or uterine cancer, you should avoid using black cohosh because of how it works similarly to estrogen in the body.

Your naturopath can help you find the best quality herbal treatment options after discussing dosage and supplement forms.

Other Potential Benefits Of Black Cohosh

Research is still ongoing into the benefits of black cohosh. The items listed below all have varying levels of research behind them – make sure to consult with your naturopathic doctor before using black cohosh for any of the following:

• Decreasing risk of breast cancer

• As a fertility treatment

• To induce labour in pregnant people

• Reducing arthritic pain

• Decreasing risk of osteoporosis

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Black cohosh is a powerful herbal treatment known to relieve the uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms of perimenopause.

This bodily transition may be unavoidable, but you do not have to suffer these symptoms in silence.

For more information on whether black cohosh is right for you and your body, contact Annex Naturopathic.

We would love to work with you on an all-natural treatment plan to help ease your transition into menopause.

Herbal medicine has countless potential benefits, and we can tell you all about how these natural treatments can benefit your health.

Book an appointment with us at Annex Naturopathic today — 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

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

Health Benefits Of Polyphenols

Posted on February 27th, 2020

When you walk down the aisle of your local health food store, looking at the wall of supplements can be enough to make your head spin.

Some of them are simple enough to understand.

Most of us know about the essential vitamins and minerals we need, even if we don’t know exactly what each one does or when to supplement them.

But that wall of supplements goes far beyond just vitamins and minerals, doesn’t it?

Curcumin? Glutathione? Phosphatidylserine? What on Earth are these things?

The answers to those questions are for another article.

Today, we’ll take a look at polyphenols.

These natural nutrients can serve as great natural heart health solutions, and have a number of other health benefits.

Read on to find out more.

What Are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols are organic chemicals that come from a number of different plant-based foods.

From the plant’s perspective, they offer a number of different benefits. They play a role in signaling when the plant’s fruit ought to begin ripening, protecting against ultraviolet radiation, and fighting off microbial infections.

There are a number of different substances which fall under the category polyphenol, and some have names you might recognize.

Quercetin, for example, is one of the better known polyphenols.

If you’re a wine enthusiast, you may have heard discussion about tannins. Tannins are what give a wine its dryness, and they’re also considered polyphenols.

Wine tannins usually come from the grape seed, skin, or the oak of the barrel in which it was aged.

Other polyphenols include:







Health Benefits Of Polyphenols

From a human health perspective, polyphenols offer a number of different health benefits.

Let’s take a look at what they are.

1. May Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is one of your body’s responses to protect us from infection.

Sometimes, it’s a good thing.

For example, if you scrape your knee, part of your body’s way of repairing it is by inflaming the affected area.

However, chronic inflammation has been linked to many chronic illnesses, including:

Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis



Chronic ulcers

Reducing inflammation is one way to help manage these conditions.

A 2012 study by Liao Et Al found that an extract of the polyphenol-rich plant Cinnamomum cassia, or Chinese cinnamon, had excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

As well, curcumin is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin is what gives the spice turmeric its yellow colour. You can find it in many Indian foods, as well as in table mustard.

A 2015 study by Yan Et Al outlines its anti-inflammatory properties.

2. May Help Regulate Body Weight

Losing weight is an ongoing concern in modern society.

According to data from Statistics Canada, just over 1/3 of Canadians are considered to be overweight.

It seems like polyphenols may hold a solution for weight loss.

A 2011 study by Reza Rastmanesh found that a diet rich in polyphenols could help with weight loss by interacting with the gut’s microbiome.

Another study, this one in December 2019 by Peng Et Al found polyphenols from the plant Solanum nigrum, or black nightshade, were effective in reducing body fat by regulating lipid metabolism and decreasing the amount of adipocytes.

Adipocytes are cells your body uses to store fat.

And coming back to curcumin once more, a 2015 study by Di Pierro Et Al took a look at how curcumin could affect weight loss.

They gathered a group of people who’d made a concerted effort for 30 days to lose weight, without much success.

After that, they administered curcumin supplements along with phosphatidylserine, and found the rate of weight loss improved significantly.

3. May Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

One of the main concerns associated with type 2 diabetes is hyperglycemia – high blood sugar.

Insulin is a hormone your body uses to metabolize sugar.

When you’re diabetic, your body either doesn’t produce insulin at all – type 1 – or it doesn’t produce enough to manage the sugar in your system – type 2.

Polyphenols help stimulate the production of insulin in your body.

They can also prevent starches from being broken down into sugars, which leads to a blood sugar surge after you eat.

4. May Reduce Blood Pressure And LDL Cholesterol

Remember the classic phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”?

Part of the reason for that is because of the polyphenol content of apples.

A study from December 2019 by Koutsos Et Al found that two apples a day were able to lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) in rats.

LDL cholesterol build-up is one of the main reasons leading to conditions like atherosclerosis . And because atherosclerosis is one of the leading causes of death, this research is promising.

5. May Help Improve Digestion

Having a healthy gut microbiome is critical to healthy digestion.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to do that – support the growth of beneficial bacteria, and suppress the growth of harmful bacteria.

Polyphenols can help you do both.

In particular, they can promote the growth of bifidobacteria, and fight off salmonella, E. coli, and C. difficile.

As well, polyphenols have been shown effective in managing a number of digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases and peptic ulcers.

Dietary Sources Of Polyphenols

In general, you can get polyphenols from most plant-based foods. In particular, though, the following foods are particularly rich in them:



Star anise

Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate








Black beans







Red onions

Soy, particularly tempeh

Black tea

Green tea

Wine, particularly red wine

Potential Risks From Polyphenols

Scientific research has only been exploring the effects of polyphenols for a short time, so we’re not as far in our understanding of them as we’d like to be.

There do seem to be some risks which we don’t fully understand yet, but for the most part those are associated with polyphenol supplements.

So if you eat a plant-based diet or you enjoy a cup of green tea, you probably don’t need to worry.

Polyphenol supplements may interact with certain prescription medications though, so be mindful of that.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

If you’re interested in exploring what polyphenols can do for you, it’s best to speak with a naturopathic doctor.

Book an appointment at Annex Naturopathic today to find out more.

We’ll take the time to listen to your concerns, diagnose, and build a treatment plan designed to address those concerns.

Whether or not polyphenols are right for you is a more complex question than for certain other health supplements.

Book an appointment with 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

See more info on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctors

Natural Supplements For Healthier Skin

Posted on February 19th, 2020

Although the best way to care for your skin and your body in general is to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet, it can be difficult to ensure you’re getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals.

Supplements are an easy, accessible, and effective way to help your body’s natural processes keep your skin nourished and healthy.

Today, we’re going to look into six of the best supplements you can take to support the health of your skin.

Acne, hyper-pigmentation, scarring, and dryness are just a few ways your skin tells you it’s not doing as well as it could be.

You can give it a boost from the inside by incorporating some of these all-natural supplements.

If you’re looking to improve your visage from the inside out, keep reading for our natural solutions for healthier skin.

What’s Important When It Comes To Skin Care?

There are many factors that affect the condition of your skin.

Genetics and products can certainly play a role, but the true key to beautiful skin is internal health.

You may have noticed in the past that you break out after eating certain foods, or your skin feels and looks great after a period of clean eating.

Vitamin deficiencies are known to affect the health of your skin.

Although washing and moisturizing your face regularly and wearing SPF sunscreen every day can also be necessary for your skin’s wellbeing, ultimately the best thing you can do is make sure you’re getting plenty of key vitamins and minerals.

There are two crucial elements in your quest for great skin: knowledge of how your gut health plays a role, and what raw materials are necessary for your body to work its magic.

1. The Intestinal Microbiome

With the growing popularity of probiotics, more and more people are learning about why it’s important to encourage and support the good bacteria in your digestive system.

Your intestinal microbiome is responsible for the absorption of nutrients, which your body needs to function properly.

Not only is it vital for your overall health, but it really affects the appearance and underlying health of your skin.

Tuddenham and Sears published an article in 2015 that outlined their study of the gut microbiome. In it, they talk about its complexity – it includes 500-1000 species of gut flora, which work to digest food, extract nutrients, protect against infection, regulate your metabolism, and so much more.

Without proper gut health, your body won’t be as capable of absorbing the nutrients your skin needs.

Plus, you need to supply your intestinal microbiome with the right raw materials — vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients — so it can do its job.

2. The Raw Materials

Diet is your body’s number one source of nutrients, which are then absorbed by your intestinal microbiome and work to replenish and support your skin.

But which nutrients are most necessary for skin health?

Natural Supplements For Healthier Skin

Even when making a direct effort to get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, sometimes we all fall short.

Some deficiencies are more common in countries with particular weather; for example, Canadians are disproportionately deficient in vitamin D due to the lack of sun.

Supplementation can be a great way to support your organs and gut health, ultimately providing you with glowing skin.

Let’s look at the top six supplements for naturally beautiful skin,

1. Vitamin C

Nowadays, vitamin C is one of the most popular skincare product ingredients — but it’s even more effective when it’s working from the inside out.

If you’re dealing with hyper-pigmentation, redness, rosacea, scarring, or acne, vitamin C may help brighten your skin and eliminate dullness and inflammation.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, protects your cells from damage and toxins.

Free radicals are toxic compounds formed as a byproduct inside your body, and you’re also exposed to them by environmental factors such as pollution, the sun’s UV rays, and cigarette smoke.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that boosts collagen production, helps repair sun damage, hydrates your skin, and helps with healing.

It can also help with scarring and discolouration.

Although it’s found in many topical products, vitamin C can often be harsh on the skin & cause unwanted reactions.

Additionally, this vitamin is often easily lost in your urine, so it can be difficult to make sure your body is actually absorbing enough.

This is why supplementation is a great way to provide your skin with vitamin C.

2. Calcium

Calcium isn’t just great for your bones and teeth.

It’s also critical for the health of your skin.

Calcium is typically found in the top layer of your skin, and if it’s lacking your skin will appear dry, thin, and easily damaged.

It’s necessary for skin growth to and encourages cell turnover.

Many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D because the latter vitamin helps your body absorb calcium.

3. Vitamin E

When it comes to hydration and protection from free radicals, vitamin E is one of the most powerful tools you can include in your routine.

Not only does it lessen the effects of skin damage by improving skin durability and repairing damage such as sunburns, but it also supports your immune system — and we know a healthy immune system is the key foundation to healthy skin.

Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds with properties similar to antioxidants.

Similar to vitamin C, you can find vitamin E in both supplement form and in skincare products.

However, it’s more effective when taken as a supplement because of how it boosts your body’s internal systems to support healthy skin.

4. Vitamin D

The more time that passes, the more research we have on how vitamin D affects the wellbeing of your skin.

We know vitamin D plays a big role in healing and repairing discolouration, especially after sun damage.

Vitamin D also regulates your gut bacteria, which is crucial for the health of your skin.

However, if you have a vitamin D deficiency it may be triggering your acne break-outs.

Especially for us Canadians, in this vitamin, supplementation is important to ensure your body has sufficient vitamin D.

This is because we get our vitamin D by absorbing it through the Sun’s rays. And during the winter months, we don’t get enough Sun.

A vitamin D deficiency is also associated with an “increased incidence and worse prognosis of various types of cancer including melanoma”, as noted in this 2017 study.

5. Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body with the majority found in your dermis, or the second layer of skin beneath your epidermis.

It holds your body together by providing support and structure to your muscles and skeletal system.

However, that’s not all — it’s also important for the elasticity and hydration of your skin.

As you age, the amount of collagen your body produces becomes much lower.

This is why in older skin we see more wrinkles, sagging, and overall skin dullness.

Collagen supplements serve to not only provide your skin with more collagen, but also to encourage your body to produce more collagen.

You can find collagen in many different forms, from naturally flavoured powders to easy compressed capsules.

6. Probiotics

The health of your intestinal microbiome directly affects your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and send them to the right places.

Probiotics populate your gut with beneficial bacteria, and they also encourage your immune system to engage in anti-inflammatory responses.

This is why probiotics are a helpful supplement for anyone with a chronic inflammatory condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, acne, eczema, or premature aging.

For more information on which probiotic is right for you, ask your naturopathic doctor.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Everyone wants glowing, beautiful skin, and the secret to achieving it is ensuring your body has abundant vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Supplements are an excellent way to ensure the health of your skin.

If you want to create a natural skincare plan but don’t know which supplements to choose, contact us at Annex Naturopathic.

We would love to work with you to determine the best treatment options for you and your lifestyle.

Providing your body with the right compounds can make an astounding difference in the health and appearance of your skin.

Book an appointment with Annex Naturopathic today — 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 additional ideas about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Toronto naturopathic doctor

A Naturopathic Doctor’s Role During Menopause

Posted on February 14th, 2020

If you menstruate, you’ll eventually run up against menopause.

This can be a difficult time that can interfere with your daily life and routine.

Because this is a natural part of a life, there is no “cure” for menopause.

However, as we’ll see later in this article, there are some naturopathic solutions for menopause which can ease your transition through this process.

Keep reading to find out more.

What is Menopause?

Change of life, the Big M, or simply The Change: call it what you want, it will happen in anyone who menstruates.

In the US alone, two million people reach menopause every year.

Menopause is the natural biological process during which your reproductive hormones decrease, your ovaries stop producing eggs, and eventually your periods end.

The gradual transition to menopause is called perimenopause.

During this time hormones such as estrogen and progesterone begin to fluctuate and can cause a number of physical symptoms.

A Naturopathic Doctor’s Role During Menopause

By focusing on the whole person, a naturopathic doctor can help to address the factors that impact perimenopause and menopause.

By doing a full naturopathic evaluation, your naturopathic doctor can help to manage difficult symptoms and also take preventive measures to address changes that can impact heart, bone, and brain health.

Read on below to find out some of the ways a naturopathic doctor can help you with

1. Managing Your Physical Symptoms

Menopause can come with a great deal of physical symptoms.

While it is a natural part of life, these symptoms can cause a lot of frustration.

A naturopathic doctor can help you to deal with a number of the issues you may experience during your menopausal journey.

For example, as your hormone levels fluctuate during menopause, you’re likely to experience hot flashes and night sweats.

These can vary in length and frequency, and certain lifestyle factors might make them worse, like your environment, nutrition, stress level, and alcohol and tobacco use.

While hot flashes are common in menopause, it’s important to note they may pop up in other conditions as well.

So if you’re experiencing hot flashes, let’s make sure it’s actually menopause that’s causing them, and not hyperthyroidism, anxiety, or something else.

Another common symptom of menopause is vaginal dryness.

A decreased level of estrogen can cause vaginal tissue to become thinner, drier, and less elastic, which can cause penetration to be painful and can also leave you at risk for urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence.

A full evaluation will help to ensure that these symptoms are not caused by other health issues such as malignancies, vulvar dystrophies and dermatoses, infection, allergies, and skin conditions.

From there, your naturopathic doctor can provide solutions to manage your vaginal dryness naturally.

As menopause progresses, several skin changes can occur as well, such as brown spots, dryness, wrinkling, and easy bruising.

Skin is partially composed of collagen and 30 percent of skin collage is lost during the first five years of menopause.

Your naturopathic doctor will help you retain your skin’s elasticity, so you can continue to look and feel great as you age.

2. Manage Your Mental and Emotional Symptoms

The physical effects of menopause can often lead to mental and emotional symptoms.

If you’re in menopause or perimenopause, you might experience a decreased libido and other changes in sexual responses.

This is due to change in anatomy, hormone levels, physiology, psychological factors, and other stressors during menopausal transitions.

You may also experience depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

These symptoms, as well as increased irritability and panic or anxiety disorder, may be caused by the sleep disruption due to your hot flashes and other factors that aren’t related to hormonal changes.

Whatever it is that’s causing your changes to you mental health state, your naturopathic doctor will work to find the root cause.

From there, you’ll get a treatment plan designed to address that root cause, helping you get back to feeling balanced and back to your regular self.

3. Reduce Your Health Risks

As you make your way through menopause, your risk of certain health disorders increases.

For example, your bones will become weaker as you age, putting you at greater risk for osteoporosis.

So your naturopathic doctor may prescribe vitamin D and calcium and recommend bone strengthening dietary and exercise regimes to help reduce your risk.

As well, you’re at greater risk for a deteriorating memory as you get older.

As a result, your naturopathic doctor may suggest herbs such as the plant extract bacopa monnieri, or mind-body medicine techniques like meditation to help improve memory and prevent cognitive decline.

4. Keep Your Energy Levels Up

Let’s face it – menopause is exhausting.

A common symptom of menopause is insomnia. That’s partially due to the hot flashes you have to deal with, but there’s more to it than that.

A 2015 study in the Journal Of Sleep Disorders And Therapies found a comorbidity between menopause and a number of issues which could affect your sleep quality, including:



Obstructive sleep apnea

Restless leg syndrome

Your naturopathic doctor can help you find solutions for your sleep difficulties, easing your menopausal journey.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: A Potential Solution

Hormones are like chemical messengers that help your body to carry out a variety of major functions.

Hormones do things like tell you when you’re hungry, regulate emotions, and control your immune, digestive, and reproductive system.

When your hormones are out of balance, you can be faced with a variety of different health concerns.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a treatment in which your hormone levels can be supplemented to help ease your symptoms.

Since menopause is not a health disorder but instead a natural part of your life, BHRT is intended to ease your menopausal symptoms and not to eliminate menopause entirely.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help with symptoms such as mood swings, lost libido, insomnia, chronic fatigue, memory issues, weight gain, hot flashes, and night sweats.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Are you starting to approach a menopausal age, and concerned with how it’s going to affect your life?

Have you already begun down the menopausal path, and having trouble dealing with the symptoms?

Either way, Annex Naturopathic is here for you.

Book an appointment with us today, and speak to one of our naturopathic doctors on how you can get relief from your menopausal symptoms, naturally.

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 ideas on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopath Toronto

Health Benefits Of GABA

Posted on February 4th, 2020

Looking up at the wall of health supplements at your local health food store can be enough to make your head spin.

Sure, there are the vitamins and minerals to consider – those can be complex enough on their own.

But then, throw in all the other supplements. Glutathione? Omega-3’s? Polyphenols? What is all this stuff?

We’ve covered each of the above compounds in the past, to help you get a better understanding of how they can influence your health.

Today we’ll take a look at GABA.

What Is GABA?

GABA stands for gamma aminobutyric acid – you can see why abbreviating the word here is important.

It’s an amino acid. There are many different amino acids, and they each do something a little different in your body.

However, they all have in common the fact that they serve as the building blocks of proteins.

Since many of your body’s most important elements are made of proteins – including many of your hormones - these amino acids are critical for life.

GABA’s unique role is to act as a neurotransmitter in your brain.

It inhibits brain signals, decreasing activity in your nervous system. This has the effect of helping keep you calm.

Sources Of GABA

Your body naturally produces GABA on its own, but it’s difficult to get GABA directly from your diet.

The only readily available sources of it come from fermented foods like kimchi and tempeh.

As a result, it’s most commonly taken as a supplement.

Health Benefits Of GABA

Aside from the calming effect mentioned above, GABA has a number of health benefits.

Read on to find out more.

1. May Help With Insomnia

Because of GABA’s calming effect, researchers have focused on its effectiveness as a remedy for insomnia.

A 2018 study by Jung-Ick Byun Et Al studied 40 patients with insomnia, and provided them with either GABA supplements or a placebo.

They concluded that GABA supplements significantly improved the insomnia within the control group, and recommended its widespread use in the general population.

If you’re looking for a natural solution for insomnia, GABA might be the solution for you.

2. May Reduce Anxiety

Research on how GABA can affect anxiety is still ongoing.

Because of its role as a sleep aid, it’s thought GABA can help relieve anxiety as well.

The question, though, is how effective supplemental GABA is at getting to your brain via your bloodstream.

However, initial studies show promise.

3. May Help With High Blood Pressure

Again, GABA’s benefit with reducing high blood pressure ties back to its benefits for sleep.

One of the common symptoms of insomnia is high blood pressure, so in some cases solving one will solve the other.

Additionally, a 2018 study by Chen Et Al found that treating high blood pressure rats with GABA tea had a positive effect.

4. May Help Relieve PMS Symptoms

If you suffer from PMS, you’ll experience a variety of mood fluctuations, including irritability and emotional instability.

Part of this is due to hormonal fluctuations. After menstruation ends, your body will increase estrogen production in order to re-line your uterus.

About halfway through your cycle, though, your estrogen levels will begin to decrease, while your progesterone increases. It’s the spike in progesterone that can lead to your mood changes.

However, your neurotransmitter levels will also fluctuate, including GABA. Supplementing your GABA levels may help you relieve your PMS symptoms.

5. Other Possible Benefit

Research is still ongoing into the other potential benefits of GABA. If you’re dealing with one of the following conditions, it may help:

Motion sickness

Cerebral palsy

Cushing’s disease

Huntington’s disease




Pain relief

Weight loss

Side Effects Of GABA

Because GABA is a substance your body naturally produces, it’s likely safe to supplement with.

However, there are some reported side effects.

The one that should come as least surprise is drowsiness. Avoid taking GABA before driving or operating any heavy machinery.

Beyond that, though, you may also experience an upset stomach, minor headaches, or muscle weakness.

Studies on how GABA interacts with other medications or supplements are limited as well, so if you’re planning on adding GABA to your routine, be sure to speak with your naturopathic doctor first. The same goes for if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Are you having trouble sleeping?

Dealing with frustrating PMS symptoms?

Does GABA seem like a useful way to relieve your anxiety and improve your quality of life?

If so, book an appointment with us here at Annex Naturopathic.

You’ll get a chance to sit down with a naturopathic doctor and discuss your health concerns. From there, we’ll help you decide whether GABA, or another naturopathic service, is right for you.

Insomnia can be a crippling condition to deal with, but there are natural solutions available which may help.

Book your appointment with 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. 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 more ideas about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic clinic in Toronto

Naturopathic Treatments For Atherosclerosis

Posted on January 31st, 2020

In Canada, cardiovascular disorders are one of the leading causes of death.

According to a 2018 Statistics Canada census, heart disease was the second most common, just behind cancer.

There are a number of different types of heart disease, one of which is atherosclerosis.

Heart disease can be a frightening thing to deal with, but there are naturopathic treatments for atherosclerosis which may help.

Let’s talk about atherosclerosis.

What Is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis goes by many names.

You may hear it referred to as arteriosclerosis, or simply “hardening of the arteries”.

In fact, atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis. Sometimes the two are used as synonyms though.

Whatever you’d like to call it, it’s a disorder that affects your arteries.

Your arteries are your body’s highways – they carry oxygen and nutrients to the different parts of your body.

Over time, plaque can build up along the walls of your arteries. This can restrict blood flow and cause them to lose elasticity.

The plaque is made up mostly of cholesterol and fats.

If the plaques burst, it can lead to blood clots.

Symptoms Of Atherosclerosis

Disturbingly, you may not feel any symptoms of atherosclerosis at all until the blood flow through your arteries becomes restricted or blocked altogether.

At this point, symptoms include:

Chest pain that often gets worse with physical activity

Emotional stress

Pain in the jaw, neck, shoulders, back, or arms


Shortness of breath

Abnormal heartbeat

In some cases, atherosclerosis can lead to a stroke if the artery blocked is one that leads to your brain.

Symptoms of a stroke include:

Sudden confusion

Difficulty speaking

Difficulty comprehending others

Vision problems

Loss of balance

Sudden, severe headaches

Difficulty breathing

Difficulty walking

Numbness or paralysis on one side of your body

If you believe you or someone you know has just had a stroke, bring them to your nearest emergency room immediately.

What Causes Atherosclerosis?

Though research suggests this process begins as a result of an injury to the inner lining of the arteries, these injuries often come about due to unhealthy lifestyle factors.

Some of these factors include:

High cholesterol levels

High blood pressure

Tobacco use

Whatever the cause, your body will send white blood cells to repair the damage.

The muscular layer of your artery may grow as a result as well, which can restrict blood flow and cause fats to begin building up.

Lifestyle Changes As Treatment For Atherosclerosis

In most cases, atherosclerosis is preventable, and there are treatments available which can help.

In particular, here are some lifestyle factors which may help.

1. Quit Smoking

As if you needed yet another reason to give up the habit.

Tobacco use can be the initial cause of the damage to your arteries.

Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis. If you already have it, quitting can help prevent it from getting worse.

Quitting smoking will also reduce your risk of dozens of other illnesses, so let us join the chorus of health professionals in suggesting you quit.

2. Exercise

The research is very clear that regular exercise can prevent atherosclerosis by helping keep your arteries more supple as you age.

Exercise encourages blood circulation, as well as stimulating your body to actually replace aging and damaged cells inside your arteries.

It doesn’t take a lot of exercise either – simply going for a walk for a kilometre or two can make a significant difference.

3. Manage Your Stress

A 2019 study by Bo-chen Yao Et Al outlines how significant a factor chronic stress is to the development of atherosclerosis.

In fact, there’s a direct correlation between chronic stress and plaque buildup in the arteries.

Finding ways to manage your chronic stress can go a long way toward improving your atherosclerosis.

4. Eat A Cleaner Diet

A diet high in cholesterol and unhealthy fats can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries.

Avoid heavily processed foods and stick in general to a heart-healthy diet.

This includes fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts & seeds, legumes, and whole grains.

5. Maintain A Healthy Weight

Obesity is very clearly associated with atherosclerosis. There’s an abundance of research on this, including this 2016 study from Sandfort Et Al.

Fortunately, following the above factors will in most cases take care of this point on its own.

Natural Supplements For Atherosclerosis

Following the above lifestyle factors can help with atherosclerosis, but there are some natural supplements which have been proven to make a difference as well.

Read on to find out what they are.

1. Omega-3 Oils

Omega-3 oils have a well-earned reputation for being heart-healthy. They can lower levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) and increase levels of HDL cholesterol (the good stuff), as well as decrease inflammation.

In addition, a study published just a few weeks ago, in January 2020, found that low levels of omega-3 oils are associated with the earlier development of atherosclerosis.

2. Folic Acid

Folic acid, better known as vitamin B9, is increasingly being used to address atherosclerosis.

It helps by lowering the levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid which has been associated with atherosclerosis in higher levels.

In addition, a 2017 study found that folic acid supplementation may be an effective treatment for atherosclerosis.

3. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant found in a wide variety of different whole foods.

It helps by stopping LDL cholesterol from causing oxidative stress in your bloodstream. It also supports your heart’s general functioning.

Research into coenzyme Q10 for atherosclerosis is ongoing, but it seems promising. This study from late 2019 discusses it further.

Traditionally, the medical model has viewed atherosclerosis as tied specifically to arterial damage which ends up building up plaque, but we’re coming to understand the problem as much more nuanced than that.

Inflammation, the abundance of free radicals in the bloodstream, and issues with dysfunction in cellular mitochondria have all been linked with atherosclerosis. And because coenzyme Q10 helps address these issues in general, it’s thought to be able to help with atherosclerosis.

Further research needs to be done, but it seems promising.

Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic

Do you suffer from atherosclerosis?

Are you concerned you may be at risk for developing it?

If so, you don’t need to deal with it alone.

Book an appointment at Annex Naturopathic, and speak with one of our naturopathic doctors. We’ll help you understand your risks and options, and build a treatment plan that works with your lifestyle.

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 additional ways on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Toronto naturopathic clinic

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

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