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A Seasonal Garlic Honey Recipe For Sore Throats

Annex Naturopathic

Honey Garlic Tonic Recipe for Colds | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

’Tis the season for sore throats!

The fluctuating temperatures of the change of seasons renders our immune system weak, making our bodies susceptible to these floating viruses waiting to find a host.

Or that person standing right near you is just waiting to pass on their strept infection (they may not even know they have it yet).

One of the most common symptoms people experience when catching a cold (or a more severe viral or bacterial infection) is a sore throat.

Being a naturopathic doctor in Toronto, regularly around this time of year I receive many inquiries on how to treat cold symptoms.

There are a number of ways to remedy a sore throat, but one of the most effective (and tasty!) ways is to take a spoonful of raw, unpasteurized HONEY, infused with garlic in order to soothe and heal this delicate mucus membrane.

Medical properties of Honey

Honey has been long used as medicine – with its use dating back to 5500BC until now, the properties of honey have been found to be efiective for infections (internal and external), wound healing, lowering cholesterol and cardiovascular risk.

Honey has potent anti-microbial properties, where studies have shown antimicrobial activity against a number of gram positive and gram negative bacteria, such as Haemophilus influenzae, the Streptococcus family, and the antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA.1

Anti-viral properties of honey have been studies, one finding that honey given to children with upper respiratory tract infections can reduce cough at night time.2

There are many mechanisms involved with the anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of honey, but one of the most simplest ones comes from the fact that honey blocks the attachment of “bugs” to the tissues they’re trying to infect.

This is important when you’re exposed to someone with strept throat, or sore throat in general – by taking honey after exposure, you may be able to prevent the actual attachment and incubation of this bacteria, steering clear of infection.

On top of it’s anti-viral and anti-microbial properties, honey is also very soothing to the throat; it’s strong wound-healing properties stimulates the repair of damaged tissues and protection of mucus membranes from inflammation.

Add garlic to increase the anti-microbial, anti-viral effect

The anti-viral and anti-microbial and immune boosting properties of garlic have been long known in the medical community,3,4 so it’s a no brainer that combining these two natural foods would be a great way to battle sore throats and fight infection.

Along with it’s ability to fight infection, garlic is full of antioxidants (vitamin C, selenium, B-vitamins etc.), which can help keep the immune system strong during an infection.

By adding honey to the garlic, the slow-moving viscous honey can coat the throat, allowing the anti-viral, antimicrobial properties of both honey and garlic act longer on the affected tissues.

Infused Garlic Honey for Sore Throats | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

Recipe

This is a very easy recipe – there are many on the web, but this is how I like to make this amazing remedy.

Ingredients

  • 125mL or 250mL jars – or larger if you want to make a big batch!
  • Raw, Unpasturized, Honey (Pasturization of honey rids this functional food of all it’s beneficial properties so isn’t beneficial to use)
  • 1 head of organic garlic for 125mL or 2 heads of garlic for 250mL (or enough garlic to fill about 1/3 of the jar you would like to use)

Directions

  • Break apart the garlic head. Crush the garlic with the flat surface of the knife (this will activate the garlic, release the juices, making it more potent, and it helps you peel the garlic quicker).
  • Peel garlic and place the activated garlic in the jar – filling 1/3 of the jar.
  • Fill the jar with honey
  • Close the lid and store in a dark, cool place for at least a month before use (giving a good shake every week)
  • Separate the cloves from the honey, to store in their own, air-tight jars. Keep the honey in a dark, cool place such as a cellar or the refrigerator.  If you’re saving the cloves, they should definitely go in to the refrigerator.

Medicinal Use

At first signs of infection, you can actually eat the garlic to fight off the infection, but if you don’t want to do this (it’s potent!!), discard.

You can use the cloves for cooking to reduce waste and to give your dishes some extra flare (ahem, it’s amazing in salsas, and coconut curries).

Keep them in the fridge.

The garlic cloves don’t keep as long so use within the month after infusing.

The garlic infused honey should be good for up to a year.

Take 1/2 to 1 tsp of honey when you’re feeling a sore throat.

You can take this up to 3-4x/day (it’s pretty sweet and sugary so you don’t want to take too much!).

A great way to use this is for when you or your family are waking up with a sore throat because congested sinuses are forcing you to breathe through the mouth throughout the night.

If this is the case, taking it before bed, and on waking can help.

Due to the potent antimicrobial and anti-fungal effects of garlic and honey, this will prevent bacterial (Clostridium botulinum) and mold buildup in the honey, so this can keep for a while (a whole season).

I’ve never encountered any contamination of my garlic honey, but make sure to use CLEAN equipment when making this, and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling any ingredient.

DO NOT GIVE HONEY TO CHILDREN UNDER 1.5 YEARS OLD.  Honey contains natural botulism spores. In kids over 1 and adults, our immune systems are strong and built up enough to naturally clear these spores.

Babies under 1 years old do not have the immune system to clear these spores and are at risk for botulism toxicity (floppy baby syndrome) and should NOT be fed honey.

Bees are special – they pollinate our plants, encourage genetic strength and survival of these plants by promoting cross-pollination, and are the only insects that produce food for human consumption.

They are important for our survival so please buy honey from ethical, sustainable farms.

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
https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


References

  • Israili ZH., Antimicrobial properties of honey.Am J Ther. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(4):304-23
  • Cotton MF, Innes S, Jaspan H, et al. Management of upper respiratory tract infections in children. So Afr Fam Pract. 2008;50:6–12
  • Goncagul G, Ayaz EAntimicrobial effect of garlic (Allium sativum).Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov. 2010 Jan;5(1):91-3.
  • Harris JC. et. al. Antimicrobial properties of Allium sativum (garlic).Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2001 Oct;57(3):282-6.

To see more ideas about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: naturopathic doctors toronto

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Breast Cancer: Understanding the Risk Factors

Annex Naturopathic

Breast Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention Awareness | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto

At our naturopathic clinic, one of our main areas of focus is naturopathy for women’s health.

We often see women or hear stories about others who have been affected by cancer in their live’s.

Today’s article’s goal is to provide further understanding around breast cancer, specifically risk factors and prevention, for both women and men.

Women and Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in women over the age of 20.

Research from the Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 Canadian Women will have breast cancer in her lifetime, and 1 in 31 will die from it.

Reducing risk and early detection are important factors in decreasing the amount of people affected by breast cancer.

Understanding the risk factors

There are 2 types of risk factors.

These factors are classified as those that are non-modifiable, such as age, family history, and genetics, and those that can be modified, such as physical activity or smoking.

Non-modifiable risk factors

Gender:

Breast cancer is significantly more common in Females.

Men with breast cancer make up fewer than 1% of all cases.

Age:

78% of new breast cancer diagnosis occur in women older than 501.

About half of all new cases of breast cancer occur in this age group.

Genetics:

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes – they play a role in the body’s ability to stop cancer from happening.

5-10% of all breast cancers are linked to mutations in these genes.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 occur in less than 1% of the populations, however, women with these gene mutations have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer by age 802.

Personal or family history of breast cancer:

A woman with cancer in one breast has a 3- to 4-fold increased risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast3.

Women who has first-degree relatives with a history of breast cancer has has an increased risk.

Someone with one first-degree relative with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s risk.

The more first-degree relatives (sister, mother, daughter) with breast cancer, the greater the risk.1

Menstrual History:

Women whose first period was at age 11 or younger and/or women who experience menopause after age 55 have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Those who have more menstrual cycles throughout her lifetime, have greater exposure to estrogen and its metabolites.

Similarly, women who have had one or more pregnancies, have a greater protection against breast cancer.

Pregnancy limits the exposure of breast cells to estrogen and lowers the total number of menstrual cycles a woman has in her lifetime.4

Breast Density:

Breast contain fatty tissue as well as dense tissue such as connective, gland and milk duct tissues.

Women with dense breast tissue in 75% or more of their breasts have a 4-5 fold greater risk of breast cancer.5

Modifiable Risk Factors

Body weight and physical activity:

Women who are overweight have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer may be influenced by the amount of estrogen tissue in the breast is exposed to over time.

In addition to the ovaries, estrogen is also produced in fat tissue.

Therefore, higher body-weight due to excess fat tissue can increase estrogen levels.

Those who do not exercise also have an increased risk.

Alcohol and smoking:

Smoking increases overall cancer risk, including breast cancer.

Alcohol consumption increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer.

Even low levels of alcohol consumption (just over 1 drink per day) can increase a woman’s risk.

The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.

Understanding Breast Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto

New Research Surrounding Possible Risk Factors

Lack of exposure to sunlight and low vitamin D levels:

There are multiple recent studies that demonstrate that vitamin D deficiency significantly increases breast cancer risk.

While at the same time, another study showed that women with elevated risk, who had high serum 25(OH) vitamin D levels because of regular vitamin D supplementation were associated with lower rates of incident, especially in the postmenopausal population.6,7

Diet and Nutritional Status:

There is some evidence to show that high intakes of saturated fats and and high glycemic load (simple sugars and refined carbohydrates) increases risk.8

Exposure to “Xeno-estrogens”:

Xenoestrogens are man-made compounds that mimic estrogen’s effects.

Postmenopausal women with high serum levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) and mono-ethyl phthalatehad elevated breast density. Elevated breast density is associated with increased risk.k.9

Prevention and Early Detection

Although people can’t change their genetics, age or whether or not they are born with ovaries- they can modify their lifestyle to reduce their breast cancer risk in other ways.

Leading a healthy lifestyle with appropriate diet and lifestyle, correcting for nutritional deficiencies (like vitamin D) and optimizing overall health will reduce the risk for breast cancer.

While at the same time, following Canada’s breast cancer screening guidelines and seeking medical attention if you notice any changes to your breasts can facilitate early detection and treatment.

Naturopathic doctors excel at helping their patients optimize their health and make the changes that reduce modifiable risk factors.

Through evidence-informed knowledge, and taking a preventative approach to healthcare we can help reduce the amount of women affected by breast cancer.

 

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
https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


References:

  1. National Cancer Institute. SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2004. Table IV-8. Available at: http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2004/results_merged/sect_04_breast.pdf. Accessed June 19, 2007.
  2. Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment: The expanding role of the Ob/Gyn. Available at: http://www.apgo.org/elearn/APGO_BC_Monograph.pdf. Accessed January 5, 2007.
  3. American Cancer Society. Detailed Guide: Breast Cancer: What are the risk factors for breast cancer? Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/
    content/CRI_2_4_2X_What_are_the_risk_factors_for_breast_cancer_5.asp?sitearea=
    . Accessed June 12, 2007.
  4. http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/risks/?region=bc#family_hx
  5. Lancet Oncol. 2005 Oct;6(10):798-808.
  6. Pak J Med Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 33(3): 645–649
  7. Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Jul 6;125(7):077004. doi: 10.1289/EHP943.
  8. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(4):1061-5.
  9. Breast Cancer Res. 2013 may 27;15(3):R45.

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Botanical of the Month – Boneset

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Boneset Botanical Medicine | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopaths

At our naturopathic clinic in the Annex we always get asked around cold and flu season what someone should take to ward these off.

I think it’s an appropriate time to write about a herb that is useful for the prevention and treatment viral infections.

We all know about echinacea and the fantastic benefits in the prevention of cold and flu, but one of the most underrated herbs that can also be used grows right in our forests and marshes.

Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset) is a beautiful three-branched, white flowered plant that grows along creeks and marshes and can grow up to 5 feet tall.

This plant is native to North America and flowers and matures from the mid-summer to fall.

It is one of the most coveted cold and flu remedy by Native medicine has been used extensively throughout Europe for these properties.

Parts Used: Aerial parts, tops and flowers.  Best to harvest when it first blooms.

Uses for Boneset

Edibility:

Boneset is very bitter (due to the constituents, sesquiterpene lactones), and has a strong profile of medicinal constituents so is not typically eaten as food.

Colds, Flus and Fevers:

Boneset is considered a panacea for treating acute and viral infections by traditional native medicine.

It was historically used to treat “bone-break” fevers, fevers caused by Dengue fever so intense that it was described like pain as if your bones are breaking, hence the common name.

Since then it has been traditionally used to treat any fever-inducing infection – this property is called a “diaphoretic”, in which it makes a person sweat during a fever, allowing the fever to break.

This is a great remedy for those with “intermittent fevers” where the fever produced is never strong enough to actually kill off the infection and “break”, causing the a person to stay ill for longer periods of time.

Boneset is thought to induce a fever by activating the immune system through stimulating white blood cells to fight off the infection. This herb also exhibits anti-microbial and anti-malarial properties, but more research is needed to confirm these effects.

Despite the presence of only preliminary evidence, Boneset is considered one of the best treatments for cold and flu by traditional herbalists, with many case reports revealing the powerful activity of this herb against cold and flus.

This warrants better and more detailed investigation of this herb by researchers interested in herbal remedies in infections.

Boneset is a good alternative to the herb Echinacea as Echinacea only tends to be strongly effective when taken at the beginning stages of the flu, while Boneset works well for beginning stages as well as during the active, mid-flu stages.

Botanical Medicine Wild Boneset | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopaths

Boneset has also been traditionally used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

A  number of constituents present in Eupatorium perfoliatum have been found to exhibit strong anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting the formation of a inflammatory factor, NF-Kappa-ß.

Boneset is taken in both tincture and tea/infusion forms.

Traditionally, hot infusions are taken for acute conditions when the patient needs to increase their body temperature for the fever to break and kill off the infection.

Then a cold infusion is taken as a tonic when the body needs to heal after the fever has broken.

The cold infusion in general is taken when the body is weak, making it a more suitable form for those feeling fatigued and pained.

As mentioned the book Medical Herbalism: Materia Medica and Pharmacy, this very dichotomy ofadministration represents the signature what the herb is meant to treat – dual symptoms (ie fevers and chills from infection).

The tincture is administered by drops as this herb is considered very strong and does not need to be given in high doses.

Caution:

This herb is to be taken in small amounts – it has a powerful “emetic” effect, which makes a person vomit and does have laxative effect.

These effects were actually used medicinally by traditional herbalists to help a sick person detoxify, but is considered undesirable effect in modern medicine.

For this reason, never take this herb unless you’re being monitored and treated by a healthcare professional who is familiar with the specific dosing of this herb.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use this effective herb during the upcoming cold and flu season, feel free to book an appointment.

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
https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


References: 

  1. Hensel A al Eupatorium perfoliatum L.: phytochemistry, traditional use and current applications.J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Dec 8;138(3):641-51.
  2. Herbapedia 2013. Silver Spring, Pennsylvania: The Herb Growing and Marketing Network, 2011
  3. Hoffman D. Medical Herbalism. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
  4. King, J. King’s American Dispensatory. Ohio Valley Company, 1898
  5. Medical Herbalism: Materia Medica and Pharmacy. Boulder, Colorado: Bergner Communications, 2001.

 

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What You Need To Know About Taking Health Supplements

Annex Naturopathic

Taking Health Supplements Advice | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctor

Should everyone be taking health supplements?

This is something that we, as naturopathic doctors here in Toronto, get asked a lot about from our patients

Walking into the supplement section of any grocery, health food or drug store can be overwhelming to say the least.

The options are endless and the prices are ever increasing.

It’s hard to keep track of what Dr. Oz or Dr. Google recommended.

Internet searches often give us expansive lists of contradictory information.

The Nutraceutical industry is rapidly growing and just as profit driven as pharmaceutical industry.

The following article will shed some light on how to approach supplementation in a critical and informed manner.

What are supplements?

In the true sense of the word, supplements are an addition of a macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) or micronutrient (vitamin or mineral) normally found in the diet.

Supplements can also be pharmaceutically synthesized molecules that are naturally occurring or built in the body (like GABA- a neurotransmitter or melatonin- a molecule involved in sleep).

Unlike drugs, whose components are synthesized and not found in the diet or naturally occurring within the body, supplements contain molecules which the body inherently knows how to absorb, metabolize and incorporate into physiological processes.

Drugs often change or inhibit a naturally occurring process, whereas supplementation corrects for deficiencies and optimizes inherent function.

What supplements should I actually be taking?

It depends. Each person has unique requirements based on individual factors and intended effect.

Most commonly, supplementation is indicated in cases of deficiency (common deficiencies include: iron, B12, vitamin D).

Symptoms vary depending on which nutrients are deficient. Deficiency can be caused by inadequate dietary sources or decreased absorption due to digestive dysfunction.

Many medications also deplete certain nutrients (the birth control pill for example, depletes vitamin B6). Many vitamins act as cofactors: molecules that make reactions happen- analogous to a catalyst in an engine.

As such, supplementation can also be used to up-regulate processes in the body.

For example, vitamin B6 is required for the synthesis of serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan.

Continuing with the car analogy, if we supplement with tryptophan, the gas, and B6, the catalyst, theoretically we should have increased serotonin- or a smoothly running car.

On the other (pharmaceutical) hand, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs/antidepressants) work by altering receptors so that more serotonin remains available.

How do I know how much to take?

Like pharmaceuticals, you need to take specific dosages of supplements in order for them to have their intended therapeutic effect.

Furthermore, many supplements have misleading dosing information on their labels.

For example, the therapeutic value fish oil lies in its omega-3 content (EPA and DHA). A 1000 mg Jameson fish oil has 180 mg EPA and 120 DHA mg in one capsule where as a professional line has 600 mg and 400 mg respectively.

You would need to take at least 3 capsules of Jameson brand fish oil to equal 1 capsule of the professional line.

Are all supplements safe and free of side effects?

No. High doses of certain supplements can be toxic and dangerous.

For example, high doses of supplemental vitamin D can cause kidney damage, niacin (vitamin B3) even at low doses can cause significant vasodilation (flushing), magnesium and vitamin C can cause diarrhoea, iron often causes constipation and zinc can induce nausea and vomiting.

Do You Need Health Supplements Advice | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctor

Can I get everything I need from a healthy diet?

It depends.

Assuming that a healthy diet is rich in fruits and vegetable, healthy fats (nuts and fish), and proteins (grains, legumes and meats) you may still fall short of certain nutrients due to inherent nutrient depletion in soil and decreased availability of certain foods.

Additionally, when supplements are prescribed at high dosages to enhance a specific function, it would be near impossible to achieve equal intake of that constituent through food alone.

For example, a dose of 4000 mg of vitamin C would require consumption of 80 oranges.

Does Vitamin D comes from the Sun?

Vitamin D doesn’t actually come from the sun.

However, exposure to the sun (specifically UVB light radiation) converts a precursor molecule to the active form of vitamin D.

This conversion happens subcutaneously (just underneath the skin) and requires sunlight.

The amount of skin exposed to the sun is proportional to how much vitamin D our skin makes. How much skin do Canadians expose to the sun in the winter?

Bottom line

Most supplementation should be individualized and supervised to have true therapeutic value.

Self prescribing can be ineffective and dangerous.

All supplements are not created equal.

When comparing brands, look at the amount of content in milligrams in each capsule.

For Canadians, supplementing vitamin D in the winter is appropriate in almost all circumstances

 

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
https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


To read additional ideas about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: naturopathic toronto

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5 Tips For Developing A Healthy Autumn Routine

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Healthy Autumn Routine Tips | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Hello, and Happy September!

As a naturopathic doctor in Toronto, seasonal shifts are factors that I take into account when helping patients develop healthy routines.

Theses seasonal shifts can’t be ignored as they have a real effect on the body and the health of each individual.

As we say goodbye to summer, it’s time to welcome the structure and seasonal shifts September brings.

At this time of year it can be difficult to:

1. Sleep

Prioritize restful sleep.

That means going to bed a little earlier, and saying no to that last episode on Netflix.

Waking up refreshed sets the stage for a great day.

Check out our top 5 tips for improving sleep quality to help you make the most of your time in bed.

2. Hydrate

Start off your day with a BIG glass of water. Aim for 2 litres throughout the day.

Not a big fan of water? Try putting lemon or cucumber slices in it for a little bit of flavour.

Remember – coffee and alcoholic beverages are dehydrating. Switch out that second cup of coffee for a big glass of water!

3. Meal Prep

Planning your meals ahead of time is definitely easier in theory than practice.

A good start to making is easy to meal plan for the week is thinking of your 3 favourite “go-to” meals, and making sure you have all the ingredients on hand.

Freeze leftovers in singles servings to be warmed up on days when you don’t have time to cook.

Exercise for a Healthy Autumn | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

4. Exercise

Start with short and sweet when it comes to exercise.

A half hour at the gym or walking briskly is enough when you’re getting back into the groove.

Schedule in your exercise at the beginning of the week and have your gym clothes ready the night before.

5. Set healthy boundaries with technology

Turn that gosh-darn phone off!Smartphones are very stimulating to the brain and can dysregulate the body’s stress response.

Give your brain a break from your phone daily.

You’ll have more time to tackle the other 4 items on this list!

Seek out professional help

For any reason you need some help, come see one of the Naturopathic Doctor’s at Annex Naturopathic Clinic – they will help you figure out a gameplan together!

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
https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


To see additional tips about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: natural health doctors

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Exploring the Menstrual Cycle: Common Concerns & How Birth Control Methods Work

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Menstrual Cycle Facts | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Womens Health

Women often have many concerns surrounding their menstrual cycle.

Many women seek interventions and guidance to avoid pregnancy.

Other women may need support conceiving.

Some women struggle with painful, long periods, while other women go months to years without a period at all.

Needless to say, there are many physiological, anatomical and biochemical factors that contribute to a healthy menstrual cycle.

Too add to the complexity, there is variability in what is considered “normal” amongst women’s menstrual cycles.

Therefore, an individualized approach to care is essential in determining what factors may be problematic- and- what type of support will create the conditions for optimal women’s health.

The naturopathic doctors at Annex Naturopathic excel in helping women understand and regulate their cycles naturally.

This is especially helpful given that with conventional medicine, options may be limited to synthetic hormonal contraceptives.

The birth control pill is an effective form of contraception, however, it may not always be in line with patient preference or address the root cause of a women’s menstrual concerns.

Common menstrual cycle concerns and why they may be happening

  • Heavy period flow which may be caused by a relative excess in estrogen.
  • A woman does not get her period. Lack of menstrual cycles can be the result of various mechanisms.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Periods are infrequent, often spaced out longer than one month apart. A combination of factors which includes elevated testosterone and high blood sugar and high insulin which reduces ovulation (egg release) and frequency of menstruation.
  • Dysmenorrhea: painful periods which may be caused by a general inflamed state and a relative excess of estrogen.

Differentiating contraceptive methods

  • The Oral Contraceptive Pill. Most are estrogen and progestin containing. Ovulation is inhibited because of the synthetic hormones. The pill also allows for thicker cervical mucus which makes the the uterus impenetrable to sperm. The placebo pills (at the end of the pill pack) cause uterine lining to shed due to drop in hormones in the body.
  • Transdermal Patch: Same mechanism as pill. The patch is worn for 3 weeks and taken off for one week.
  • Nuva Ring. Same mechanism as the oral contraceptive pill. The ring is put in for 3 weeks, removed for one week.
  • Mirena IUS/ Jaydess IUD (Intaruterine Device/System). This device sits in the uterus, and a low continuous dose of progestin is secreted. Ovulation may or may not occur. The progestin thickens the cervical mucus (which makes the uterus impenetrable to sperm), and the presence of the IUD makes the uterus inhospitable to fertilization and implantation.
  • Copper IUD. There are no hormones secreted by this IUD. It works by making the uterus inhospitable to fertilization and implantation.
  • Barrier methods. Prevent entry or sperm.
  • Fertility awareness. This involves consciously tracking the timing of the menstrual cycle combined with temperature and cervical mucous monitoring.

Birth Control Concerns | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Womens Health

Factors that affect your cycle and contraceptive methods

  • When cortisol, the stress hormone is high, the hypothalamus in the brain sends signals to decrease sex hormone production.
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances. Estrogen is recycled back into circulation in the gut by healthy gut bacteria. When there is a significant change in gut flora- which can happen because of antibiotic use, or gastrointestinal infection- the hormone balance can shift and the menstrual cycle may to.

REMEMBER: The best contraceptive method

  • Is the one you use consistently.
  • Encourages enjoyable sex and reduces stress.
  • Resonates with you and has minimal side affects.

For any reason you have concerns regarding your menstrual cycle, birth control methods or fertility, come see one of the NDs at our clinic.

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
https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


To get additional information on health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: downtown toronto naturopath

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Having Irregular Periods? You May Have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome | Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto Naturopath

As one of the top naturopathic clinic in Toronto, we have a special focus in treating women’s health issues.

We often discover that a significant amount of women today find themselves having irregular periods.

The cause can be for many reasons.

Although today we are going to discuss one important cause that women should be aware of – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS is a “syndrome” which is different than a disease. A disease is a pathological process that is well defined by what is causing it and the symptoms it causes.

On the other hand, a “syndrome” is a collection of symptoms we see together that are not necessarily caused by the same problem.

PCOS has symptoms relating to hormonal imbalances and problems with metabolism (how our body uses it’s fuel).

PCOS is very common in women of child bearing years. As many as 1 in 10 women fit the criteria for diagnosis.

Women with PCOS will have a varying degree of symptoms.

Symptoms of PCOS

1. Irregular periods. Few or no menstrual periods over a the span of a year.

2. Changes in hair growth. Excess hair on the face, chest, back, stomach. Thinning head hair.

3. Breakouts that become inflamed.

4. Women who have PCOS may have difficulty getting pregnant.

5. Weight gain. Difficulty achieving ideal weight, even with diet and exercise.

Why does PCOS happen?

These are a few of the factors that influence the development of PCOS.

1. There is several genes associated with PCOS. If a pregnant mother had PCOS, her daughters have a significantly higher risk of developing PCOS.

2. Insulin resistance and obesity. When blood sugar is high, insulin (the hormone responsible for helping the body use and store sugar) doesn’t work well.

The ovaries are very sensitive to insulin resistance and in response they don’t produce the appropriate amount of hormones necessary for ovulation and the body has too much testosterone circulating.

3. Exposure to “Endocrine-disrupting” chemicals. Chemicals like BPA found in plastics alter the activity of sex hormones.

BPA is know to interact with estrogen receptors which will decrease the bodies ability to ovulate.

Irregular periods and PCOS | Annex Naturopathic Clinic Toronto Naturopath

Treatment of PCOS

Conventional Approaches include regulating the cycle through use of oral contraceptives, regulating blood sugar with medications like metformin and fertility treatment if the individual is having difficulty conceiving.

How Annex Naturopathic Clinic approach PCOS

Naturopathic doctors look at addressing the root causes of PCOS and treatment is revolved around naturally restoring hormonal balance through:

  1. Dietary and exercise recommendations that reduce insulin sensitivity and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals.
  2. Nutritional supplementation that encourages insulin sensitivity and hormone balance.
  3. Herbal medicine that gently and effectively balances hormones and metabolism.
  4. Bioindentical hormones therapy if appropriate.

If you’re concerned with hormonal irregularities, come see us at Annex Naturopathic Clinic for a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan to help your body get back in balance.

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
https://goo.gl/maps/uVRBvcyoUa62


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