Sunday, December 31, 2017

Have You Ever Wondered Why Your Blood Is Red?

By Dr. Mercola

The range of color in nature is amazing. Hues of all colors may be found in animals as a form of camouflage, protection, sexual behavior and even communication. Some animals are even translucent in order to improve their ability to escape predators.1

In the human body, color is an important way to differentiate tissues, organs, bones, tendon and muscle. Pathologists have a unique need to be aware of color differences as this sometimes translates into pathological processes that require identification for appropriate treatment. These color differences are evident in gross examination. In microscopic evaluation, cells often appear colorless.

In an effort to help pathologists differentiate the colors of healthy and abnormal tissue and to answer the question why human organs have different colors, researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center wrote a review article.2 Their objective was to start answering these questions and establish a groundwork of knowledge from which further study can grow.

Color variations may have been the foundation of the "humorism theory of disease," prevalent in ancient times.3 This theory was systematized in ancient Greece and central to the teachings of Hippocrates. It continued to influence medical practice well into the 1800s. Although initially integrated into medical practice, the four humours also found a place in psychological evaluation4 and in Shakespearean analysis of personality.5

How You See Color

This short video explains the small portion of light on the color spectrum that is available to the human eye and how we perceive specific colors. Your brain interprets color based on the wavelength of light transmitted from your retina to your brain. As light passes through your eye, it hits color cells called cones.

Your eye has three color cones that enable you to see a variety of color based on how the wavelengths are mixed. Your cones can see green, blue and red. When a light hits an object, some of the light is absorbed and some bounces back off the object.6 If that object is a red apple, most of the light wavelengths, except red, are absorbed and the red light bounces off. Your eye then sees the apple as red.

You have between 6 and 7 million cones, or photoreceptors, in your retinas that are concentrated into a small area, approximately 0.3 mm wide. With three different color cones, humans see color better than most mammals. However, there are other animals that see more of the light spectrum, such as some insects that may see ultraviolet light that is invisible to humans, or birds that have four types of cones, enabling them to see shorter wavelengths than humans.

The Importance of Color in Biology

While humans see only a short section of the light spectrum, the colors we do see are important in the evaluation and diagnosing of disease. The perception of color is also important in nature. For instance, as might be expected, when color perception in bees was altered genetically, their ability to perform daily tasks was significantly hampered.7

How we respond to color has roots in biology, while the way we group colors is determined by the culture in which you live.8 Alice Skelton, research and doctoral candidate at the University of Sussex, and her colleagues analyzed the response of over 175 babies between the ages of 4 and 6 months to learn what connects the way humans see color and how it is categorized as adults talk about color.

The results of the study9 suggest there is a biological origin to how color is categorized by different cultures, and also perceived. For instance, while babies can see the difference between green and blue within the first six months of life, Skelton says:10

"If you [use] a language that doesn't make a distinction between green and blue, for example, then as they grow up babies and children learn to no longer make that distinction."

This difference in how cultures differentiate color in their respective languages may have an impact in communication between cultures. Asifa Majid of Radboud University in the Netherlands believes the colors children are exposed to as infants may also predispose them to categorize color in different ways. This information may point to differences that need to be addressed as pathologists move forward in their quest to categorize pathological tissue based on color differentiation.

What Is in Your Blood?

The color of human tissue is not related to the color of your blood, even though blood flows through the tissue. For instance, drained of blood, your liver, spleen and kidneys are a red-brown color, your bones are white and your brain nuclei are brown-black.11

When you see blood it is actually composed of several different types of molecules. One of those is plasma, a yellow colored liquid that consists mostly of water and transports nutrients and hormones throughout your body.12 White blood cells fight infection, and platelets help your body to stop bleeding if you get cut. The cells in your blood that give it the red color are red blood cells (RBCs).

Your RBCs account for between 40 and 45 percent of the total volume of your blood.13 Each cell contains a hemoglobin protein that helps to carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Once oxygen is released at the cell level, the hemoglobin molecule picks up carbon dioxide, the result of cellular metabolism, and returns to the lungs where it can be exhaled.

The concentration, or percentage, of whole blood volume that is made of your red blood cells is called your hematocrit. This common measure of red blood cell level helps your physician diagnose anemia, long-term or recent blood loss, vitamin deficiencies, dehydration or lung or heart diseases.14 Your red blood cells have several characteristics that make them unusual:15

Red blood cells are shaped like a biconcave disc that appears like a round, flat shallow bowl

RBCs have no nucleus

Red cells have an amazing ability to change shape without rupturing or breaking as they move single file through small capillaries

The hemoglobin molecule can bind with up to four oxygen molecules as it makes a circuit from your lungs and around your body

What the Heme Molecule Binds to Changes the Color of Your Blood

The color of your blood is related to the structure of the hemoglobin molecule and the metal attached. To bind oxygen to the hemoglobin, each chain binds with one iron atom and each iron atom may bind with one molecule of oxygen. It is the iron on your hemoglobin molecule on your red blood cell that gives your blood its distinctive red color.16

However, in some animals the oxygen-binding molecule fixes to other metals, thereby changing the color of the blood. For instance, several species of octopuses have copper-rich protein that carries the oxygen in their blood, called hemocyanin, giving their blood a distinctive blue color.17

The ocellated ice fish lives in frigid waters off Antarctica and has blood that is colorless. It's transparent because it has neither hemoglobin nor hemocyanin. Since cold water has the ability to hold more concentrated amounts of oxygen than warm water, this fish doesn't need either molecule to transport oxygen. The ocellated ice fish also lacks scales, which scientists believe helps oxygen diffuse into the fish's body more readily.18

Blood also comes in the color green in Papua, New Guinea. The skink, a relative to the lizard family, uses hemoglobin and iron to carry oxygen through their body in the same way most mammals do. Used hemoglobin is then broken down in the liver into bilirubin and biliverdin. However, unlike humans who excrete these waste products in the intestines, the skink absorbs and thrives on high levels of biliverdin, to a point that the waste product turns the blood green. This amount of biliverdin in a human would be fatal.

How Your Blood Is Made

The production of your red blood cells is initiated in your kidneys. Your bone marrow produces stem cells that may grow into red cells, white cells or platelets. Special cells in your kidney, called peritubular cells, sense a drop in oxygen level in your blood as older red cells are cleaned up in the liver, or after blood loss, such as an injury or blood donation.19 These special cells trigger the secretion of erythropoietin, which then sends a message to the marrow stem cells to develop into red blood cells instead of white cells or platelets.

The hemoglobin molecule in your RBCs are encoded with genetic material. When there are mutations to those genes it may result in diseases such as thalassemia or sickle cell anemia.20 Thalassemia is an inherited disorder where the hemoglobin your body produces is abnormal and unable to efficiently transport oxygen. It also results in destruction of large numbers of red cells, leading to anemia.21

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic condition in which your red blood cells are abnormally shaped.22 To have the condition you must have two sickle cell genes, one from each parent. If you have one gene, you carry the sickle cell trait. The RBCs are shaped like a sickle and don't have a normal life span, leading to anemia. Children with sickle cell disease often do not live past childhood as the shape of the blood cells leads to clumping and sickle cell crisis, resulting in intense pain and organ damage.23

What Determines Your Blood Type?

Although all human blood is red, not all red blood is the same. There are eight different types of RBCs, differentiated by two different proteins on the cell. Blood type is identified by one or two letters and a positive or negative sign.24

The proteins on your RBCs are antigens involved in your immune system. Prior to 1901, without knowledge of these different antigens, blood transfusions were very dangerous. When different blood types were mixed during transfusion, it resulted in clumping of the blood and toxic reactions. On the surface of the RBC are one, two or no antigens. Scientists have labeled these antigens:25

Group A - only antigen A on the red cells (and B antibody in the plasma)

Group B - only antigen B on the red cells (and A antibody in the plasma)

Group AB - both antigens A and B on the red cells (but neither A nor B antibody in the plasma)

Group O - neither antigens A nor B on the red cells (but both A and B antibody are in the plasma)

In addition to these, you also have an Rh antigen that is either present (positive) or not present (negative). Both the A/AB/B/O and Rh antigens are genetically passed from both parents to their children. The Rh antigen is an important factor during pregnancy. If there is comingling of blood between an Rh- mother with an Rh+ baby during her pregnancy, the mother's body produces antibodies that affect the RBC production in her next baby. Untreated, this may result in severe anemia, brain damage, heart failure and even death.26

Rh incompatibility can now be treated with Rh immune-globulin injections to the mother during her 28th week of pregnancy and within the first 72 hours after giving birth. Today physicians test a new mother's blood type early in pregnancy to initiate treatment protocols and prevent damage to her future children.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

5 Simple Resolutions That Benefit Everyone

Annex Naturopathic

Healty New Year's Resolutions | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

The new year is a great time to reset and create intentions for the following months.

Health is the foundation of life.

Our health is not limited to our physical parameters.

It also includes our emotional and spiritual health.

Here are some resolutions alongside specific actions that you can implement this year.

And, if you need some help getting back on track in 2018, the NDs at Annex Naturopathic Clinic are here to support you.

1. Create healthy boundaries with technology and social media.

Here’s how:

  • Get an alarm clock so that your phone isn’t the first thing you look at in the morning and the last thing you interact with at night. Try to get 30 minutes of screen-free time before bed.
  • Leave your phone in you pocket/ purse (preferably on airplane mode) when you’re with friend and family.
  • Delete apps that you may have an addiction to. Take breaks from social media. Ask yourself, “is this adding value to my life?” If not, perhaps you can distance yourself from it.

2. Increase your vegetable (especially GREEN vegetable) intake.

Here’s how:

  • Ensure you have vegetables in your fridge. Great options include:
    • Pre-washed organic salads mixes. It’s easy to just add a healthy dressing like olive oil and balsamic vinegar, throw in a container and eat!
    • Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts are nutrient dense and keep well in the fridge. Simply chop up, steam or roast and eat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Choose the side salad option when eating out.
  • Throw a handful of spinach or mixed greens into your smoothie.

New Year's Resolutions Diet | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

3. Begin the day with a big glass of water.

Here’s how:

  • Upon rising, head straight to the kitchen and fill yourself a pint-sized glass of water.
  • Finishing drinking your water before having any caffeinated beverages (coffee and tea can be dehydrating- especially first thing in the morning).

4. Focus on what’s going “right” in your life.

Here how:

  • Write done 3 good things that happened to you each day.
  • Savour the moment- for at least 7 seconds. Moments to savour can be anything- like time spent in nature, a tasty meal or the comfort of a hot bath. Let yourself enjoy.
  • Celebrate the small wins. Taking note of the small steps forward and focusing on the little changesgives you a sense of accomplishment.

5. Spend more time in nature.

Here’s how:

  • Make use of city parks. Whether it be on your lunch break or on your walk home - spending some time outside, amongst the trees can help alleviate stress.
  • Take road trips outside the city and explore.
  • Camping (or glamping if you aren’t into roughing it) allows you to have some sustained time in the great outdoors and will often calm a part of your soul that needs it most.

Hopefully some of these resolutions - or intentions- resonate with 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,

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

To see more ways on health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: top naturopath toronto

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Are You Always Tired? Root Causes of Fatigue

Annex Naturopathic

The causes of fatigue | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

Many people wish they had more energy.

Chronic fatigue and generalized low energy are common concerns that naturopathic doctors excel in treating.

People feel “tired” in different ways. Some people feel sluggish and lethargic in their body, while others may feel mentally fatigued.

Identifying and addressing the root causes of fatigue and implementing targeted treatment enables people to have a significantly better quality of life.

Here are some reasons you may be tired:

1. Nutritional Deficiencies

Low Iron

Iron is the component of red blood cells that brings oxygen to all parts of your body.

Low iron can leave you tired, pale and irritable.

Many women have low iron because they menstruate (bleed) monthly.

Low B12

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient primarily found in animal products.

B12 plays a role in energy production, nerve health and red blood cell synthesis.

Vegan diets (purely plant based) are very low in B12 and require supplementation.

Additionally, people who have digestive concerns or take certain medications may not be able to properly absorb B12 and can become deficient.

Low Vitamin D

Most Canadians have insufficient amounts of circulating vitamin D.

Vitamin D is necessary for many different processes in the body, one of which is its role in bone and muscle health.

People who are vitamin D deficient may have weakening of the muscles which can make someone feel tired and heavy in their body.

Inadequate Macro-Nutrients

Some people may not be getting enough protein, fat or carbohydrates (also known as macro-nutrients) to meet their energy requirements throughout the day.

When there is insufficient calorie intake, the body will not be able to burn fuel and produce energy effectively.

2. Thyroid Problems

The thyroid regulates metabolism and energy production. When our thyroid is “under-active” or “hypo-functioning” fatigue is the hallmark symptom.

Certain factors can adversely affect the thyroid:


When someone is under chronic stress, cortisol increases and it signals to the thyroid to decrease thyroid hormone production.

Further more, when our body is persistently under stress, our body begins to convert “T4” (the abundant, yet inactive thyroid hormone) into “Reverse T3” instead of the active “T3” hormone.


When the immune system becomes dysregulated due to inflammation present in the body- often  because of irritation in the gut, obesity, poor diet, stress and infections- autoimmunity against the thyroid can occur.

This is referred to as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which can cause the thyroid to stop producing adequate amounts of hormone.

Nutritional deficiencies

The thyroid depends on certain nutrients to produce hormone.

Tyrosine, an amino acid found in protein sources, serves as the backbone of T3 and T4.

Iodine is the other essential component. Adequate amounts of zinc and selenium are also needed for the transport and production thyroid hormones.

Why you are always tired | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

3. Adrenal Fatigue

Amongst other functions, our adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream in response to stress and energy requirements.

Cortisol has many functions.

When the adrenal glands are overworked, inadequate and inconsistent production of cortisol can lead to adrenal fatigue, and thus, low energy.

These are the major contributing factors:


Chronic or repetitive stress will result in prolonged elevation of cortisol that ultimately exhausts the adrenal glands.

This leads to overall low cortisol production which can result in chronic fatigue and extreme difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.

Inconsistent Sleep

Our bodies rely on a diurnal (daily) rhythm including sleep pattern that remains relatively consistent.

This ensures that our cortisol rises in the morning, reaching its peak midday, and drops slowly, reaching its lowest point at night.

People who work night shifts, or go to bed and wake up at inconsistent times, dysregulate their diurnal pattern and cortisol pattern.

If you’re feeling tired- there is likely a reason.

The Naturopathic Doctors at Annex Naturopathic are experienced at treating the root causes of low energy.

Our NDs complete a compressive assessment and routine and specialized testing to identify thyroid and dysfunction, as well as nutrient deficiencies.


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

To find additional tips on health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: toronto naturopath

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Chicken of the Sea – Purr Purr eeE Natural Cat Food

To get more ways about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: - 

Ingredients:½ cup of canned mackerel (well rinsed)¼ cup of shrimp (peeled)1 baked sweet potato mashed and peeled2 tablespoons of mung bean or sunflower sprouts1 teaspoon of cat nip1 raw egg scrambled.Directions:Combine all the ingredients in a food process or use a potato masher to get it all mixed well.Store in a recyclable container.Feed ½ in the morning and the rest for the evening meal.Very nutritious, tasty and balanced.Keep Your Pets Healthy, NaturallyJust like us, domesticated animals like dogs and cats are affected by the health hazards of modern living. Pollution, poor nutrition, stress and unhealthy lifestyles can lead to a variety of illnesses and conditions that are very similar to those experienced by people.As our Native Remedies customers grew to...
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

5 Tips to Keep Your Health Stable During the Holiday Season

Annex Naturopathic

Tips to stay healthy during the holidays | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Happy Holidays from us at Annex Naturopathic Clinic!

It’s a shared feeling amongst most people that this is a crazy, hectic time of year.

This typically leads to most of us neglecting our good healthy habits and trading it up for stress-coping indulgences from the vast number of treats the holiday season has to offer.

While as naturopathic doctors, we understand and encourage giving in to the season, letting loose and participating in some of these indulgences.

It’s also important to be mindful of HOW MUCH you’re indulging and whether the extent of the indulgences is negatively affecting the both your physical and mental health.

Here are 5 tips that allows you to let loose and indulge, while maintaining healthy weight and stable mental health during this busy time of year.

Keep Hydrated:

Not only is keeping hydrated important for maintaining healthy skin during these DRY winter months, it will also keep your stomach full, preventing your from NEEDING those 3-5 extra cookies available in the lunch room, or from getting “too tipsy” and then “too hungover” from the holiday parties.

Staying hydrated doesn’t mean drinking only water - you can keep hydrated by sipping on herbal teas as well, as long as they aren’t caffeinated.

Drink at least 2L (8 cups) of water or tea daily (6 cups of water, 2 cups of tea) to keep yourself hydrated.

You can drink your water warm, squeeze some lemon in to it, or use teas like chamomile, ginger, lemon balm and peppermint to keep yourself warm and strengthen your digestion and help you cope with stress (two things that are typically imbalanced during this time of year).

Avoid Carbohydrates:

When attending a holiday lunch or dinner, try sticking to meals that are low in carbohydrates (especially wheat-based carbs) and higher in protein, fats.

Also make sure to get a healthy dose of vegetables (greens in particular) with your meals, despite if the other foods are not as healthy.

The vegetables will ensure you’re getting SOME nutrients with these meals, bind excess fat, and provide fibre.

Avoiding the carbs will make your full quicker which will help keep the weight down, prevent blood sugar spikes and dips, and maintain your energy.

Cutting out the carbs during your meals also gives you some more wiggle room for sugary treats that are offered during this season.

Limit your Sugary Snacks:

It’s not realistic to avoid the vast amount of sugar that is served up this season - especially if you happen to have a sweet tooth.

By reducing your carb intake at your meals, it allows you to have a bit more room in your body for the pretty cookies and chocolate.

But don’t go overboard.  Have ONE cookie, ONE piece of chocolate and wait - this allows you to taste the sweet, enjoy, and it won’t send you in to a frenzy of sugar highs and lows.

Blood sugar stabilization is extremely important in maintaining good energy during the day, maintaining weight and coping with the stress around us.

Sudden blood sugar spikes from indulging in too much sugar leads to sudden blood sugar drops, which make us tired, irritable, messes with our hormones that maintain our circadian rhythms, and makes us CRAVE more sugar in the long run!

how to stay healthy during the holidays | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Stick to low sugar drinks:

Starting off your night with a cold beer, nice glass of wine (or 2) with dinner, or a fancy cocktail its totally fine but if you decide to have a few drinks that night, it’s always wise to switch to drinks with a lower sugar content.

Not only will this prevent a nasty hangover, but it will also keep the waistline from expanding.

Mixing clear alcohols (like vodka, gin, tequila ) with club soda (not tonic!) with some lemon/lime, and ordering it in a “tall glass” with a “single shot” (therefore a higher club soda to alcohol ratio) will help you pace your alcohol so you don’t get too tipsy too quick, and keep you hydrated at the same time.

And most importantly NO POP - it’s not worth it.

Keep your indulgences to happy times, not stressful times:

This is an important aspect of mindful eating - you associate eating and drinking/indulging during times of socialization, relaxation and fun, instead of using sugar and alcohol for times when you’re stressed, need break or bored (eating sugar during in between work, or binging afterwork for no occasion).

This helps you disassociate from using these indulgences as a way to cope with stress and to “relax”, breaking the hard cycle that leads to ill-health in the long run.

Also, when you limit your indulgences to happy times, you’re less-likely to over-indulge, as you’re feeling happy, content and satisfied for many reasons, not just from food and drink.

These tips will allow you to enjoy your holiday indulgences guilt-free and let you start 2018 on a healthy path!

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

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

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top 5 Ways to Improve Digestion

Annex Naturopathic

Ways to Improve Digestion - Fresh Salad | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

Digestive concerns are very common issue that we see here at Annex Naturopathic Clinic.

The following are some important tips to consider if you currently are experiencing or do experience digestive problems.

1. Chew your food.

A wise man once said, “your stomach doesn’t have teeth” and that’s one of the reasons we must thoroughly chew our food.

An integral part of the digestive process starts in our mouths.

Chewing, alongside the digestive enzymes in our saliva, starts the process of breaking down food so that the stomach acid and other enzymes released further down the gastrointestinal tract are better able to function.

Not chewing your food leads to symptoms of indigestion and decreases nutrient absorption.

2. Stop multi-tasking.

Our brain and our gut are connected.

When our brain is focused on tasks other than eating (replying to emails, driving, Instagram, ect.) our body is not is an ideal position to digest food.

Not to mention we often we faster and larger quantities when we are multi-tasking.

3. Slow down and relax.

To build of the last point, when you stop multi-tasking and slow down before you eat you allow the body to settle into its “parasympathetic” nervous system, also know as our “rest and digest” nervous system.

When we are on-the-go, working or multi-tasking our “sympathetic” nervous system is predominant.

When we are in this state, we are primed to be on alert, with blood flow moving towards our brain and periphery- away from on digestive tract.

Taking a few deep breaths and relaxing while you eat (eating with others helps) you will digest your meal better.

Ways to Improve Digestion - Healthy Eating | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Naturopath Toronto

4. Avoid excess liquids around meals.

A common misconception regarding diet is that we should drink a lot of water with our meals.

This is problematic as excess liquid intake around meals will actually dilute our gastric juices- like stomach acid and other digestive enzymes- making it harder to break down food.

It is best to avoid drinking large quantities of water or other liquids 30 minutes before and after meals.

Sipping beverages with your meal will not cause an issues.

5. Eat when you are hungry.

Often people are eating for other reasons than hunger.

People eat because it is lunchtime- even though they may have ate a late breakfast.

People eat because they are tired, stressed, bored or sad.

Making sure you are actually hungry when you eat will improve digestion as your body is primed to receive food.

You’ll notice when you are hungry and you see your food and can sense you saliva production begin to increase.

At this point, you should implement the above 4 points and have significantly improved digestion.


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

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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Vanilla Pecan Milk Chai Lattes

So, by now you all know that I don't drink regular milk. I do enjoy cheese occasionally, and I love greek yogurt, but regular milk… no matter if it's just a little, it's just not my thing (although, my entire … Go to the recipe...

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