What Is an Alkaline Food?

What Is an Alkaline Food?

The alkaline diet is a diet that is based on regulating the acidity or the pH level of your body. The human body is slightly alkaline, with a blood pH around 7.4.

However, your stomach needs to be acidic so that it can break down foods and has a pH of 3.5 or below.

For comparison's sake, 14 is completely alkaline, 7 is neutral and 0 is completely acidic.

The theory behind the alkaline diet is that high acidity foods cause your body's pH to become too acidic. This can cause inflammation, weight gain, and disease.

Instead, you should eat foods that are more alkaline to influence the pH in your body to a more alkaline level and to keep your pH at a level where your body is able to function optimally.

The alkaline diet divides foods into two basic categories to help dieters create some structure. There are alkaline foods and non-alkaline foods.

The non-alkaline foods include:

* Animal proteins like beef, chicken, and pork

* Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese

* Sugar

* Starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and even white rice

* Alcohol

The good news for people on an alkaline diet is that it's not an all-or-nothing diet. The goal is to make sure that 80 percent of your diet comes from alkaline foods.

That means you can still eat some of the foods that you love because 20 percent of your diet can come from non-alkaline foods. So what are the alkaline foods? Let's take a look.

What is an Alkaline Food?Generally speaking, all fruits and vegetables are alkaline. It can be a little confusing, though. A lemon, for example, is an acidic fruit. However, it causes an alkaline response in your body.

In fact, lemon water can be a big part of the alkaline diet, which also stresses hydration. Other foods that are alkaline include some whole grains like millet and quinoa.

An alkaline diet is rich in fruits and vegetables along with foods that are high in minerals. Minerals are often supplemented because they're essential for cellular functions and because they can be difficult to get in your diet.

When starting an alkaline diet, the common recommendation is to ease into it. Most people are not able to completely shift their focus to a diet that is primarily vegetarian.

You can start by reducing your consumption of the non-alkaline foods one at a time. Reduce the sugar that you eat, reduce your meat consumption, and start replacing those items with fruits and vegetables.

You'll notice an almost immediate change in your health and wellbeing. You'll likely lose weight too. The alkaline diet is a lifestyle change that promises improved health. If you're struggling with energy levels, weight gain, and chronic illness, it may be the right choice for you.

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Environmental Causes Of Male Infertility

Enviromental Causes Of Male Infertility | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Male infertility is on the rise across the globe with average sperm counts dropping by more than 50 percent over the past 40 years.

Many diagnosed with male infertility often have no idea what is causing it.

Although male infertility has established itself as a prevalent and growing issue, it often goes unaddressed.

There are numerous factors that affect fertility, but environmental causes in particular may create a staggering impact on the body's ability to conceive.

Recognizing these environmental factors and their effects on your body can make a significant difference if you're struggling with infertility.

If you're interested in changing your lifestyle to address your reproductive health issues, you may benefit from natural treatment options for male infertility.

Let's delve into the different kinds of environmental factors that may be causing your male infertility.

What Is Male Infertility?

Simply put, male infertility is the inability to conceive despite frequent and unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer.

There are many possible causes of male infertility.

Low sperm production or abnormal sperm function may be the culprit, and they can be influenced by everyday lifestyle choices.

Symptoms Of Male Infertility

Male infertility often shows no signs other than simply not being able to conceive a child.

Occasionally there are symptoms associated with male infertility, such as erectile dysfunction, difficulty with ejaculation, discomfort or swelling in the testicular area, and recurring respiratory infections.

Factors That Contribute To Male Infertility

There are a number of environmental factors that contribute to male infertility.

If any of the following are present in your life and you're experiencing male infertility, there may be a causal relationship.

1. Smoking

We all know the negative side effects that come from smoking cigarettes.

However, did you know that cigarette smoke can lead to male infertility?

Men who smoke have a lower sperm count, decreased sperm function, and a higher concentration of abnormally formed sperm.

Prenatal exposure to smoke can also lead to future issues with fertility and reproductive health.

Although smoking is not likely to be the sole cause of male infertility, it is a significant contributing factor.

Male infertility linked to enviromental causes | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

2. Endocrine disruption

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, also known as EDCs, are everywhere in our society.

Some common EDCs that you may recognize are phthalates, triclosan, and BPAs, which are found in many kinds of plastic.

EDCs interfere with your endocrine system, which regulates your body's hormones.

Even the smallest exposure can lead to serious consequences down the road for your whole body, from your brain to your reproductive system.

3. Chronic stress

Chronic stress is incredibly harmful to your health, and its role in your fertility is no different.

Stress may affect the concentration and quality of your sperm, thereby contributing to issues with conception.

Even if you're otherwise healthy, the impact of chronic stress on your hormones can interfere with your sperm's ability to fertilize an egg.

4. Hormone imbalance

Male infertility can result from low testosterone or other imbalances in your hormonal system.

Your hormone balance is affected by diet, stress, alcohol use, and the aforementioned endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

If your hormones are out of whack, your sperm count and quality will be as well.

Some signs that you're experiencing a hormonal imbalance include erectile dysfunction, low libido, and excessive hair growth.

5. Obesity

As instances of male infertility have been on the rise, so have obesity rates.

Obesity in men means lower testosterone and higher estrogen levels, which affect how testes - and, as a result, sperm - function.

This is because excess adipose tissue increases the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, leading to the hyperconversion of testosterone to estrogen.

Along with impaired sperm quality, obesity may also introduce the issue of sexual dysfunction.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

With male infertility rates rising and showing no sign of stopping, we have to embrace the conversation about how to address it.

Dealing with infertility can be incredibly frustrating, especially when there are often no signs or symptoms, other than the inability to conceive, that could potentially help you figure out the cause.

Recognizing which environmental factors may be affecting your infertility is the first step towards finding a solution.

Here at Annex Naturopathic, we can help you investigate and understand the causes, environmental or otherwise, of your male infertility.

We can also help you take a preventative approach to avoid having to deal with any issues related to your fertility down the line.

Contact Annex Naturopathic to find out what your treatment options are for your male reproductive health concerns 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,

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


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

Get more info on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Toronto naturopathic clinic

How To Control Acne During Pregnancy

How To Control Acne During Pregnancy | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

You're older now, settled down with your partner, maybe even bought a house.

And it's time to start a family.

Just in time to hear back from an old friend.


You thought you left those annoying red bumps back in high school, but here they are, back with a vengeance.

Due to changes in your body, acne during pregnancy is a common issue many women have to deal with.

So what causes acne during pregnancy?

And what is the best way to treat it?

Let's have a closer look.

What Causes Acne During Pregnancy?

Are you dealing with acne during your pregnancy?

Over 50% of pregnant women develop acne, so it may be a little comforting at least to know you're not alone.

The reason for this has to do with increased hormone levels, especially in the first trimester.

This can cause an increase in the production of natural oils in your skin, which in turn often leads to acne.

If you have a history of acne, or flare-ups during menstruation, then you're also more susceptible to pregnancy acne.

Try to look on the bright side - the formation of pregnancy acne means your hormones are preparing your body to support a healthy pregnancy.

Let's have a look at what else can be done.

Why Many Medical Treatments for Acne Don't Work during Pregnancy

There is no shortage of medical acne treatments available.

Pills, creams, even shots.

Unfortunately, many common medical treatments for acne can be harmful to the fetus.

Common oral treatments include retinoids, anti-androgen medications and oral tetracycline, but side effects of these drugs include miscarriage, birth defects, and premature birth.

Most topical creams are unlikely to be prescribed to you by your doctor as well for similar reasons.

So, without many of the conventional options, what can you do?

Keep reading for some natural solutions.

Natural Solutions for Acne during Pregnancy

Acne during pregnancy | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

What are the best ways to combat pregnancy acne with safe and natural methods?

There are a number of treatments, however it is important to remember these will only treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause (which are hormones that are good for you in pregnancy - remember?).

Let's look at a few options:

1. Zinc

The recommended daily allowance of Zinc during pregnancy according to the Mayo Clinic is 15mg.

Zinc can help to regulate hormone balance, and as we discussed hormone imbalance is a key cause of acne during pregnancy.

It can also help with carrying vitamin A to the skin and with the renewal of skin cells.

Zinc can usually be obtained through a proper diet - foods such as beef, pork and chicken are high in zinc.

Don't eat meat? You can also find it in spinach, kidney and lima beans and many seeds, including flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

If you're worried about deficiency you can talk to us at Annex Naturopathic about supervised supplementation.

2. Omega-3

You've probably heard about Omega-3 fatty acids.

But what do they actually DO?

Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and can also help control sebum production.

These can be found in wild salmon, avocado and chia seeds.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C can help with collagen formation, controlling inflammation and strengthening capillaries.

The best way to get vitamin C is through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, kiwi and cantaloupe.

There are also vitamin C creams, however these can sometimes have side effects including dryness and redness.

Because your skin during pregnancy will likely be more sensitive than usual, it's a good idea to test a small amount of cream on your neck or another discreet area and wait a couple of days to ensure there's no adverse reaction.

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A can help stimulate skin cell grown, as well as the shedding of dead cells which can clog the pores.

Try a prenatal vitamin if you want to supplement, most will contain vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene which is safer for pregnancy.

Of course, the best source of any vitamin is always to get it naturally, through your diet.

Look for yellow, orange and leafy-green fruits and vegetables.

However, higher doses of vitamin A may lead to birth defects or other pregnancy complications, so consult with a naturopathic doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner before you start supplementing heavily.

5. Lifestyle changes

Are you drinking enough water?

Getting enough sleep?

What about exercise?

What I'm about to say probably won't come as a surprise, but all of these can be factors in acne (pregnancy related or not).

Aim for a minimum of eight cups of water per day.

Make sure you're getting enough sleep (figure out what “enough” looks like for you).

If you're experiencing high levels of stress, exercise and meditation can help.

And yes you can exercise while pregnant, you just may need to modify your routine.

Be sure to wash and replace pillow-cases and face clothes and towels a couple of times per week as well, to minimize your exposure to acne-causing bacteria.

And whatever you do - resist the urge to pop those pimples, as this can spread infection and cause scarring.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

Are you struggling with pregnancy acne?

Tried the tricks and tips given here but still putting up with unsightly spots?

Want to try a supplement but worried about doing it on your own?

Contact us at Annex Naturopathic today.

We can set up a consultation and discuss your concerns, and outline a supervised treatment plan with the goal of keeping your baby healthy and happy, and keeping you looking great.


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,

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


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

Read additional ideas about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: natural doctors

5 Herbal Solutions For PMS

5 Herbal Solutions For PMS | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Need relief from your Premenstrual (PMS) Symptoms?

Most individuals who menstruate experience and understand the burden of PMS pain, but did you know it can be managed using natural solutions?

Read more about natural treatments for your PMS.

You can also visit Annex Naturopathic Clinic, where our team of naturopathic doctors can help you find natural solutions for PMS.

We are a team of women who understand PMS and want to help you say goodbye to this bothersome group of symptoms.

What Is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, describes a group of symptoms that people who experience menstruation experience before the start of their monthly cycle.

It occurs in the days leading up to your period, and may include a number of different physical, emotional, and behavioural changes

Depending on your individual makeup, these changes could be subtle, mildly frustrating, up to debilitating.

Some people may experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more extreme version of PMS, that includes severe emotional changes such as depression, irritability, and tension. along with your typical PMS symptoms

Generally, PMS symptoms will be relieved by the start of the menstrual flow.

What are the symptoms of PMS?

If you suffer from PMS you may experience a range of symptoms.

These could be physical symptoms including:

· Headaches

· Bloating

· Cramps

· Indigestion

· Acne

· Weight gain

· Sleep problems

· Food cravings

· Breast tenderness and pain

Or emotional symptoms such as:

· Sadness

· Anxiety

· Depression

· Mood swings

· Irritability

It's common for individuals who menstruate to have a combination of these symptoms, but you may experience one more extremely than the other.

The type and severity of PMS symptoms can change from cycle to cycle, with one cycle exhibiting no symptoms at all, to moderate-severe symptoms during the next cycle.

What Causes PMS?

Causes and severity of PMS can be linked to hormonal fluctuations that occur during a typical menstural cycle and the impact of these changes on the entire body.

Hormone and neurochemical imbalances can play a large role in the severity of PMS symptoms one may experience.

There are a number of external factors that have been found to exacerbate PMS symptoms

· Stress

· Smoking

· Lack of sleep

· Binge drinking

· Overeating alcohol salt, red meat or sugar

There are also pre-existing health conditions that have been linked to the incidence of PMS - If you're prone to migraines, or have asthma or environmental allergies, you may be more prone to PMS symptoms.

PMS Herbal Solutions | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Herbal PMS Solutions

Many people don't realize that there are a number of non-pharmaceutical options that are excellent for improving the symptomology of PMS

One of the most common modalities NDs use to manage PMS symptoms is through herbal medicine.

The following are a list of herbs that have been found effective in the treatment of PMS

1. Curcumin

Curcumin is constituent of turmeric which is a member of the ginger family of plants

It is a natural anti-inflammatory herb that can help treat PMS.

In particular, PMS symptoms like mood swings and cramping have been found to be relieved with the help of curcumin.

2. Chasteberry

Chasteberry is a shrub that grows in Central Asia and in parts of Southern Europe and is one the most common herbs used to treat generalized PMS.

It's often used when PMS symptoms stem from low progesterone during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.

Chasteberry may help with your bloating and cramping, and can lessen/minimize your food cravings.

3. St. John's Wort (Hypericum)

St. John's wort is an anti-inflammatory flowering plant that has been used medicinally for centuries.

The ancient Greeks used St. John's wort to treat mood disorders and it continues to be used to treat anxiety and depression, symptoms often experienced during the PMS time.

A 2010 study in the journal CSN Drugs revealed that St. John's wort could help with common physical and behavior PMS symptoms.

4. Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil comes from the seeds of the primrose plant.

Primrose oil is high in essential fatty acids, particularly the anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid GLA.

Evening primrose oi has been found to help ease feelings of depression and relieve breast tenderness, swelling, and bloating commonly experienced during PMS.

5. Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest tree species on Earth and can actually be found in abundance here in Toronto.

You'll find plenty of them growing along the streets here in the Annex and in Parkdale and along the Don Valley, but they can be seen just about anywhere in the city.

You can spot them due to their distinctive fan-shaped leaves, which is where most of its medicinal properties are found.

As shown in a 2009 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, gingko biloba can reduce the severity of PMS symptoms.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

If you're experiencing PMS or PMDD symptoms, or you have other frustrations related to your monthly cycle, call us here at Annex Naturopathic.

You'll have a chance to sit down with one of our licensed naturopathic doctors who will take the time to listen to your concerns, understand your options, and put together a treatment plan that works for you.

Naturopathic treatments are available which may help ease your PMS symptoms. Contact Annex Naturopathic today to find out more.


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,

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


width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">

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

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

Is Your Chronic Fatigue Linked With Low Vitamin D?

Is Your Chronic Fatigue Linked With Low Vitamin D? | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Are you stumped at the cause of your chronic fatigue?

Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in Canada.

In fact, roughly 1 billion people worldwide have insufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood and many people are unaware that it could be contributing to daily fatigue symptoms.

If you're experiencing chronic fatigue or any of the following signs and symptoms, you may benefit from naturopathic solutions for chronic fatigue.

Let's look into what exactly a vitamin D deficiency means for you and your body.

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a family of active and inactive steroid molecules, most widely known for its crucial role in bone development and health.

Your body produces vitamin D from cholesterol when exposed to sunlight.

Recent research shows that sufficient levels of vitamin D positively influences your heart health, immune system, mood, and behaviour.

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?

The recommended daily intake is around 400-800 IU, though many experts say that an even higher intake is ideal.

Although diet is a significant factor in your vitamin D levels, there are many other factors that affect your ability to absorb and utilize vitamin D

These factors include your age, genetics, skin pigmentation, sunscreen use, and sun exposure.

Even if you're regularly exposed to the sun, you may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency.

The Link Between Vitamin D And Chronic Fatigue

Vitamin D deficiency is often overlooked as a cause of chronic fatigue, but there are numerous studies which have shown a link between the two.

In a 2014 study conducted by the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, over one hundred adult patients with complaints of chronic fatigue were monitored before and after receiving treatment for their vitamin D deficiencies.

77.2% of the patients involved in the study had low levels of vitamin D and experienced chronic fatigue, but after raising the patients' vitamin D levels, their fatigue symptoms improved dramatically.

If you're experiencing chronic fatigue, it's wise to have your vitamin D levels assessed.

Other Symptoms Of Low Vitamin D

Other signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency may not be so clear cut as these symptoms are typically caused by a multitude of factors, not just vitamin D deficiency.

However, realizing that you have insufficient vitamin D levels may be the first step towards greatly improving your quality of life.

Below are five commonly experienced symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D can be linked to chronic fatigue? | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

1. Depression

Vitamin D has a significant impact on your mood and behaviour.

In fact, dozens of studies over the years have linked low levels of vitamin D with depression, including this 2014 study by Shaffer et. al in Psychosomatic Medicine.

If you're regularly experiencing feelings of sadness and depression, especially during the winter months, your vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor.

2. Weak immune system

Vitamin D directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for supporting your immune system and fighting off infection.

Multiple studies, including this 2011 study by Aranow published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, have shown taking vitamin D has a positive impact on your immune system.

Supplementing your vitamin D may reduce your risk of contracting a respiratory infection such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and the common cold.

If you get sick often, this may be a result of insufficient vitamin D.

3. Hair loss

Although hair loss is commonly attributed to stress, significant hair loss is often a result of low vitamin D levels.

A lack of vitamin D has been associated with the autoimmune condition alopecia areata, which results in extreme hair loss.

Hair loss in women has been associated with low vitamin D levels and increasing these levels has shown to reduce hair loss.

4. Sore bones & bone loss

Vitamin D is known for its relationship to bone strength.

There is a relationship between vitamin D levels and bone pain, especially pain in your back, ribs, legs, and joints.

Low bone density may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency and can lead to an increased risk of fractures.

On top of this, vitamin D actually improves your body's absorption of calcium, which further contributes to your bone density and health.

5. Chronic pain

Vitamin D deficiency has a significant impact on different kinds of chronic pain, including muscle pain, bone pain, and joint pain.

Some theories for this include that this correlation is due to the presence of a vitamin D receptor in nerve cells called nociceptors, which sense pain.

Vitamin D also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce overall pain and discomfort, especially in conditions with chronic inflammation such as arthritis

The reasons aren't fully understood, but we do recognize that supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to reduce chronic pain.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

If you suffer from chronic fatigue or any of the above symptoms, you may be experiencing the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency.

The best time to have your vitamin D levels assess is in the fall (October) to see where your levels stand after you summer dose of vitamin D and moving in the winter.

If we detect that your vitamin D is deficient/insufficient even after the summer, supplementing vitamin D to lift your levels moving in to the winter can help prevent cold/flus, the winter blues, improve energy and overall improve your quality of life.

Having low levels of vitamin D can greatly impact your quality of life without you even knowing.

We can help.

Contact us here at Annex Naturopathic to book a health consultation.

We'll help you understand your levels of vitamin D as well as other health factors which may be contributing to your chronic fatigue or other symptoms, and help you develop a treatment plan to get you feeling great again.

For naturopathic solutions to your chronic fatigue, 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. 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 ways about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctor