Health Articles

Find out more about your health here from our health professionals!

Your Immunity Booster!


Your Immunity Booster!

What to consume to boost immune system ?!

 

Since 1970s vitamin C has been used widely to fight and prevent against common cold. Nowadays, everyone knows that taking vitamin C is able to helps in preventing and fighting against common cold (1).

 

 

Study shows that vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular function. Vitamin C helps  phagocytes ( cells that ingest harmful bacteria to body) to move, increase uptake, engulf and kill microbes (which can cause harm to body) thus improving immune system and protect against diseases(2).

 

The almost similar ways vitamins C works in improving immune system, probiotics does too.

 

But, what is probiotics?

 

Probiotics  is the live microorganism which when administered in adequate amount confer health benefits on the host (human body). Study found out that, long term consumption of probiotics could stimulate and improve the immune system. With regards to current pandemic novel Coronavirus, how can probiotics help with virus like corona? Well, corona is the virus that attack lung thus;

 

Probiotics is able to help lung health, but, how?

 

The truth is, the physiology and pathology of respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts are closely related. This may explained why smoker who is diagnosed with chronic obstrutive pulmonary disease (COPD) usually have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as well(3).

 

The mechanism in which it works is actually once oral probiotics is administered it will then interact with cells in the gut and improve the composition and activity of microbiota in the gut, this will then sends signal to activate Immunoglobulin A (antibody that have protective function) in the intestine, bronchus (part of lung) and mammary gland and suppress the pathogen (bad bacteria) which in return will improve the respiratory system and overall immune health(4).

 

Using probiotics alongside with taking precaution measures such as frequently wash hands, use sanitizers, use mask and avoid contacted people is the go to way to prevent the widespread of the disease and at the same time improving immune function, since probiotics is ubiquitous and affordable!

 

References

  1. WebMD. Vitamin C for the common cold.
  2. Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients9(11), 1211. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211
  3. Esmaeil Mortaz, Ian M. Adock, Gert Folkters, Peters J. Barnes, Arjan Paul Vos and Johan Garssen (2013). Probiotics in the management of Lung Disease. Hindawi, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/751068
  4. Carolina Maldonado Galdeano, Silvia Ines Cazorla, Jose Maria Lemme Dumit, Eva Velez, Gabriela Perdigon      (2019). Beneficial effect of Probiotic consumption on the Immune System. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism     74(115-124). DOI: 10.

Colostrum is beneficial for baby, but does it work for adult as well?


Colostrum is beneficial for baby, but does it work for adult as well?

Colostrum is a breast milk produce by mammals including human, before breast milk is released, it is usually thicker in consistency and containing high levels of antibodies. This high nutrient in the colostrum is aimed to promotes growth and health of the newborn mammals, which is why it is the most nutritious form of milk (1).

 

 

For human, the consumption of colostrum for newborn is very much encouraged, apart from the exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months and 2 years promotion by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH), mothers are as well encouraged to give skin to skin support while breastfeeding newborn for the colostrum few hours after delivery.

The colostrum is said to have various benefits on the newborn life as they get older (2).

 

 

But what about for adult? Is the consumption of bovine colostrum in adult have the same effect as colostrum from mother to newborn?

 

Bovine colostrum is nutritious than the regular milk. It has higher protein, fat, carbohydrate, magnesium, A, C, B, and E vitamins than the regular milk. Due to this, studies found out that the consumption of bovine colostrum in adult is useful in boosting the immune system and as well as in improving gut health (1,3).

 

The linked between colostrum and immunity is due to the content of lactoferrin in the colostrum. Lactoferin is a naturally present protein in the body. It is a very versatile protein, where it is a bi-lobed protein that has the ability to bind an atom of iron (4). This iron binding glycoprotein from the transferrin family is the major component of the mammalian immune system. Due to this, it provides lactoferrin with protective effects which range from direct antimicrobial activities to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities (4).

 

 

Apart from this, colostrum also contains antibodies. Antibodies are proteins, also known as immunoglobulins, used by the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. Bovine colostrum is rich in the antibodies IgA, IgG, and IgM (1, 2). This is as well essential in fighting pathogen and improve immune system.

 

Since bovine colostrum is loaded with nutrients that fight disease and promote growth, it is able to boost immunity, treat infections, and offer more related benefits in humans throughout life. Thus, the consumption of bovine colostrum may have the same effect as human colostrum, it is just that the absorption of colostrum from bovine to human body is different, but with all the spectacular ingredients that colostrum possess it may possess the same effect as to boost immunity!

 

References

1. Healthline. What is the colostrum? Nutrition, Benefits and Downsides. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bovine-colostrum (Accessed on July
9, 2020).

2. Bloomlife. Breastfeeding Tips To Know Before the Baby Arrives. https://bloomlife.com/preg-u/breastfeeding-tipscolostrum/#:~:text=Studies%20show%20that%20expressing%20colostrum,in
%20her%20first%20few%20days. (Accessed on July 9, 2020).

3. WebMD. Bovine Colostrum. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-785/bovinecolostrum (Accessed on July 9, 2020).

4. Bioquad Lifesciences. https://bio-quad.com/blogs/article-1/whatislactoferrin(Accessed on July 9, 2020).

Cordyceps, more than just for cough!


Cordyceps, more than just for cough!

Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects. When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue of long sprout and slender stems that grow outside the host’s body. The remains of the insect and fungi have been hand-collected, dried, and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease and low sex drive (3).

 

Since there is now increase shifting of attention from synthetic drugs to natural herbal product, not only to treat common cold and flu but as well as to prevent chronic diseases, thus people start to consume various kind of  traditional medicine in the effort to prevent diseases or to control diseases (2).

 

Since, cordyceps lives only on certain caterpillar in the high mountain regions of China, thus natural cordyceps is hard to get and is expansive. Most supplements are made with cordyceps grown in the laboratory, which is also known as cordyceps, CS-4. People start to market the products containing cordyceps in the supplement form or as functional food since many studies start to dig on its benefits. Of more than 400 species of cordyceps discovered only two types of cordyceps are commonly used, which is cordyceps sinensis and cordyceps militaris (3).

 

 

Traditionally people use cordyceps for various purposes, until now certain people whom able to get wild cordyceps still used this in their daily life. Some people mix it with milk, it is said to improve sex drive, it is also sometimes mix with alcohol, which refers to as ‘chang’ where people drink it in the morning as tonic (5).

 

As for the modern studies apart from the usage of cordyceps in the cough syrup, cordyceps also  have various other health benefits, such as anti hyperglycemic. Study on diabetic rats found out that,  4g/kg/day that is administered to diabetic rats does not effect  its fasting insulin level. When oral administration of cordyceps at 150 mg/kg/day and 500mg/kg/day are ingested by mice for 4 weeks it significantly prolonged the swimming time of mice by about 20 to 24 minutes, respectively, thus showing that consumption of cordyceps also improved fatigue condition. It is due to the involvement of cordyceps in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (energy)  production that accounts for a decrease in physical fatigue when it is administered. Apart from that, the administration of cordyceps decreased the airway inflammation in ovalbumin-induced mice, thus ease breathing for individuals with cough and flu (6).

 

 

However, most of studies with regards to cordyceps is conducted the mice subject not human subject thus the findings is considered as to have insufficient evidence (1,3,4).

 

However, it is safe to consume cordyceps supplement with other medication if you have any other medical condition, since the government of China use cordyceps as the natural drugs in their hospital to treat patients (1,3,4).

 

References

1. Mehra A, Zaidi KU, Mani A, Thawani V. The health benefits of Cordyceps militaris a review. Kavaka. 2017;48(1):27-32.

2. Nxumalo W, Elateeq AA, Sun Y. Can Cordyceps cicadae be used as an alternative to Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis?-A review. Journal on Etnopharmacology. 2020 Apr 16:112879.

3. Healthline. 6 Benefits of Cordyceps all backed by Science. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cordyceps-benefits (Accessed on Oct 23, 2020).

4. WebMD. Cordyceps. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-602/cordyceps (Accessed on Oct 23, 2020).
5. Pradhan BK. Caterpillar mushroom, Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Ascomycetes): a potential bioresource for commercialization in Sikkim Himalaya, India. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2016;18(4).
6. Bao-qin Lin and Shao-ping Li. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID-19?


Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID-19?

Since years ago, vitamin C has gained its popularity to be used for various functions from prevention of illnesses, alleviating symptoms for illnesses, and even in the cosmetics industry for skin care purposes. It has becoming popular after the Nobel prized scientist Linus Pauling started to consumed it (1). Following that there are many studies conducted on vitamin C and many people started to question its effectiveness and there are also many people who started to consume vitamin C for various purposes.

 

 

With regards to COVID-19 pandemic, many people started wanting to boost their immune system thus making the demand for vitamin C supplementation and food products containing vitamin C is even higher. However, is it true that vitamin C can boost immune system and prevent or treat COVID19?

 

 

What is vitamin C and how does it improve immune system?(2)

 

Vitamin C or also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. It can also act as antioxidant, which helps in protecting cells against free radicals thus helps with various kind of diseases. Vitamin C improves our white blood cells  (WBC) which function in fighting the viruses, bacteria, and generally foreign materials in the body. There are various studies with regards to this, one of it is the study that compare the administration of vitamin C and vitamin E as antioxidant, finding of the study noted that vitamin C give greater effect on body immunity as compared to vitamin E.

 

 

Vitamin C supplementation (4,5,6,7)

 

Vitamin C is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables especially citrus food. Also, if you look closely on the food labelled, there are food that is fortified with vitamin C such as breakfast cereal, milk etc. Local fruit that is high with vitamin C is guava, the amount of vitamin C in guava is even higher than in the orange.

 

As for cold, vitamin C has been a long popular remedy for common cold, which is why many people started to consume it when the pandemic strikes. Research shows that vitamin C does not reduce risk of getting common cold. Well, being sick once in a while, or get common cold once in a while is a good thing actually, it helps  antibodies to fight against pathogen (bad bacteria and viruses) and improve the immune system naturally. However, the consumption of vitamin C can lead to  a shorter period of common cold with milder symptoms. But the consumption of vitamin C after the symptoms of common cold is showing does not appear to be helpful.

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19. However, since the symptoms is the same as common cold thus it is thought that it can be used to alleviate the same symptoms present. Currently researchers and physicians are studying the effect of vitamin C via (high dose intravenous) (IV) and also on the effect of supplementation taking on the new COVID19.

 

In conclusion, 

 

It is safe to say that, there is no harm in consuming vitamin C with the purpose to boost immune system in this pandemic situation, but also it has to be hand in hand with the other safety precautions such as only go out when it is necessary, must always adhere to the one meter social distance measure, must always wear mask when you are outside, must wash hands frequently using soap or hand sanitizer.

 

 

 

References

 

  1. Oregon State University. Pauling Recommendation (2004).https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C/pauling-recommendation (Accessed on November, 16, 2020).
  2. Healthline. 7 Impressive ways Vitamin C benefits your body. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits ( Accessed on Nov 16, 2020)
  3. 8 Nutrients that will optimize your eye health. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-nutrients-for-eyes. (Accessed on Aug 26, 2020)
  4. All About Vision. Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Eye and vision benefits. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/lutein.htm (Accessed on Aug, 26, 2020)
  5. Simonson W. (2020). Vitamin C and coronavirus. Geriatric nursing (New York, N.Y.)41(3), 331–332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2020.05.002
  6. Medical News Today (MNT). Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID19.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-vitamin-c-prevent-or-treat-covid-19 (Accessed on November 16, 2020).
  7. Healthline. Can Vitamin C Protect you from Vitamin C. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-coronavirus (Accessed on November 16, 2020)

Ministry of Health Malaysia is using Vitamin C in treating COVID19 patients?


Ministry of Health Malaysia is using Vitamin C in treating COVID19 patients?

Vitamin C usage

 

Vitamin C or its actual name is ascorbic acid, is the antioxidants used for various reasons. It becomes famous after the ‘Linus Pauling effect’ all around the world. The Nobel Laurette scientist claims that the consumption of vitamin C can treat various kind of diseases. Starting from that many manufacturers claim various benefits of Vitamin C consumption. Many researchers have then started to publish articles and studies on the benefits of vitamin C, but so far, in Malaysia the studies are still somewhat lacking for it to be used partly in treatment of a particular diseases.

 

Pandemic COVID-19

 

The outbreak of Coronavirus disease began at Wuhan, China in December 2019, thus far it has infected more that 46 million of individual all around the world and has caused more than 1.2 million of deaths. The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, dyspnoea, and myalgia. Some proportion of confirmed cases also developed severe diseases which involves acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which can precipitated into multiple organ failure and death. This is also one of the reasons why infection occur to the high-risk individuals are more likely be getting serious or lead to complications as compared to healthy individuals.

 

 

It has been reported that the condition is called ‘cytokine storm’, a condition where the host immune response becomes dysfunction due to the attack from the virus to body’s immune system. In the absence of approved vaccine to prevent this from happening, management of critically ill COVID19 patients include administration of azithromycin (antibiotic) and hydroxychloroquine (malaria medicine), this is due to that there is no specific medication yet for COVID-19.

 

However, growing study interest is seen on the administration of COVID-19 recently, where even in Malaysia, Ministry of Health has conducted few studies to see whether the usage of vitamin C among critically ill COVID-19 patients is beneficial. The first study was conducted among 17 patients, the critically ill patients were given 1g of vitamin C in every 8 hour for three days. Although the findings are promising, but according to Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Dr, Noor Azmi Ghazali, it cannot still be used as management of critically ill COVID-19 patients as the sample size of the studies is too small for the result to be used.

 

Another study involving critically ill COVID-19 patients, divide between two groups of critically ill patients, the one administered with Vitamin C and the one without administration of vitamin C. The result found out that group with vitamin C administration has 57% lower on mortality rate, 9 days shorter of hospital stay, 5.6 days faster in successful extubating, and 7.5 days faster in weaning off oxygen support.

 

 

There is another unpublished study that was conducted among critically ill COVID-19 patients in two different tertiary hospital in Malaysia comparing individual treated with vitamin C against those who are not treated with vitamin C. Both groups show similar clinical background, comorbidity, illness severity, and severity score on admission. The finding shows that the vitamin C group has lower mortality rate (14.3%) as compared to the group without vitamin C (71.4%). Duration of days on the ventilator were also shorter in vitamin C groups compared to non-vitamin C group (14 vs 19.6 days). Similarly, the duration to complete weaning of oxygen therapy was also shorter in vitamin C group (16 vs 23.5 days). Since the result is very promising currently, a multicenter randomized controlled trial is underway in evaluating the effectiveness of high dosage of intravenous vitamin C for the treatment for severe COVID-19 patients.

 

Usage of Vitamin C as prophylaxis to COVID-19 for general population

 

Apart from vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin it is also a potent antioxidant. It acts as free radical scavenger and has its anti-inflammatory properties, which influence cellular immunity and vascular integrity. Which explain why it is being studied as one of the treatments for COVID-19. As for general population, National Health Service (NHS) U.K. treatment guideline stated that for non critically ill COVID-19 individuals and for non-COVID19 individuals there is insufficient data to recommend usage of high dosage of vitamin C in combating COVID-19. This being stated because, in critically ill COVID-19 individuals they experience high oxidative stress and severe inflammation, which may be helpful with the administration of vitamin C but unlike non COVID19 and non critical COVID19 individuals.

 

 

In general, sufficient consumption of vitamin C and healthy eating habit may helps with combating COVID-19 pandemic. A proper diet can help to ensure that the body is in the strongest possible state to battle the virus. Certain precaution with regards to food safety as well may helps in combating the virus although researchers have found that there is no source of virus contamination via food packaging or food. However, good food practices are always recommended to minimize the risk of contamination and to ensure that there is no window for the virus to weaken immune system.

 

  • Eat plenty of fruits daily ( such as guava, apple, banana, strawberry, cantaloupe melon, grapefruit, pineapple, papaya, orange, Longman fruit, blackcurrant, pumelo) these are fruits have high vitamin C.
  • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables daily (such as green bell peppers, garlic, ginger, kale, lime, coriander, broccoli, green chili pepper). Do not overcook vegetables as it leads to the loss of important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat whole grains and nuts, which have high amount of good fats! Limit intake of red meat, processed and fast foods.
  • For snacks, choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than foods that are high in sugar, salt or fat.
  • Limit the salt intake to less than 6g/day.
  • Drink 8–10 glasses of water every day. It helps to transport nutrients in the blood, gets rid of waste, and regulates the body temperature.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise, meditation, and regular sleep. Adequate sleep will help to support immune function.
  • Eat at home to avoid contact with other people and try to reduce the chance of being exposed to COVID-19.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits before eating.
  • Wash, rinse, and disinfect objects and surfaces every time before and after use.
  • Keep cooked and raw foods separate, as it would prevent the harmful microbes from raw foods spreading to cooked foods. Use different chopping boards and utensils for cooked and raw foods to prevent cross-contamination.

 

References

  1. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Kajian dan Penyelidikan MahTAS COVID-19 rapid evidence update. Intravenous Vitamin C for COVID-19. Based on the availa le evidence up to 16 November 2020. http://covid-19.moh.gov.my/kajian-dan-penyelidikan/mahtas-covid-19-rapid-evidence-updates/12_INTRAVENOUS_VITAMIN_C_FOR_COVID-19_editted.pdf (Access on Feb 2, 2021).
  2. New Straits Times (NST). Vitamin C injections not used in COVID-19 treatment in Malaysia. https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/637714/vitamin-c-injection-not-used-covid-19-treatment-malaysia (Accessed on Feb 2, 2021).
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH). Vitamin C usage and COVID-19. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/adjunctive-therapy/vitamin-c/ (Accessed on Feb 2, 2021).
  4. Feyaerts, A. F., & Luyten, W. (2020). Vitamin C as prophylaxis and adjunctive medical treatment for COVID-19? Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.)79-80, 110948. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2020.110948
  5. Aman, F., & Masood, S. (2020). How Nutrition can help to fight against COVID-19 Pandemic. Pakistan journal of medical sciences36(COVID19-S4), S121–S123. https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.36.COVID19-S4.2776

Can EPA & DHA help with COVID19?


Can EPA & DHA help with COVID19?

Unsaturated fat can be divided into two, Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), usually rich in food such as olive oil, canola oil, cashew, and groundnuts, whilst another type is polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which can further be divided into Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are also referred to as omega 3 Fatty acids. It can be found in fatty fish and algae.

 

Benefits of EPA and DHA

 

There are various benefits of EPA and DHA, among well studied one is its relation to cardiovascular disease. Many studies show that consuming food high with EPA and DHA or consume it from dietary supplement is able to reduce level of triglycerides. Which is why American Heart Association (AHA) recommend people who have high risk of getting heart disease consuming about 1g of EPA plus DHA daily. According to Joseph C. Maroon, MD, professor of the department of neurological surgery at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and author of Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory book; large enough amount of omega 3 will reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions. Which is why many other diseases which have the genesis of inflammation such as arthritis problem, dry eyes, age related macular degeneration (AMD), dementia, Alzheimer and cognitive problem may also help with the consumption of omega 3 for it has the anti-inflammatory effect. But what about COVID-19?

 

 

 

EPA & DHA with COVID19?

 

As COVID-19 is a new disease, there are many things that is not yet discovered about the disease by the scientist but among potential management and treatment that scientist is looking at is regarding the relation between EPA and DHA with COVID19. Since many well documented studies suggest that EPA and DHA have potential benefits for COVID19 due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

 

COVID19 is a disease where it attacks body’s immune system. The attack causes the body to activate its immune system and fight the disease. During the war, body defense system work by releasing cytokine. This is what scientist refers to as ‘cytokine storm’. The higher the cytokine in the body, the less possibility for the body to win the war. This is based on study that was conducted previously among sepsis (a condition when body’s response to an infection damages its own tissue) patients. When EPA and DHA is administered, resolvin is release which involve in promoting restoration to the cellular function following inflammation that occurs after tissue injury. Which explains why administration and consumption of diet high with EPA and DHA is being studied as a potential mechanism for COVID19. Other than this study, a meta-analysis study also reported that significant reduction in ventilator-free days, organ failures, length of stay in the ICU and low mortality rate among individuals with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is also seen with the administration of high EPA and DHA through parenteral and enteral nutrition. Since ARDS is one of the complications occur to COVID19 critically ill patients thus the same outcome is postulated to be seen.

 

 

Other parameter that is use in measuring severity of COVID19 especially among critically ill COVID19 patients are their body’s coagulation ability. It is said that, among non-survivor of COVID19 patients are those who has higher ability of platelet aggregation and activation. Easily translate, the patients’ blood are easily clump which makes it have higher risk of thrombosis (clotting) which will result in death threatening condition. An investigation using moderate amount of three species of high omega 3 (EPA & DHA) fish in 18 days by 23 healthy men revealed that it can improved bleeding time and decreased platelet aggregation which will reduce risk of thrombosis among COVID19 patients. Another study also noted that healthy subject that is supplemented with EPA for 4 weeks also showed reduction of platelet activation (an early step of platelet aggregation).

 

In conclusion  

 

 Administration or consumption of EPA and DHA may help with critically ill COVID19 patients’ conditions. However, the usage of EPA and DHA among healthy individuals as prophylaxis to COVID19 must be investigated since little known about the virus pathology and how the characteristics of the patients are involved in the recovery. Thus, studies suggest that randomized and controlled trials need to be carried out, taking into account the type of supplementation, dosage, individuals’ characteristics, adverse effects and the combination of medication and antioxidants using.

 

References

  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact sheet for consumer. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/ (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact sheet for Health Professionals. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).
  3. Nourish by WebMD. What to know about Omega 3 and fish? Annie Stuart. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/what-to-know-about-omega-3s-and-fish#1 (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).
  4. Rogero, M. M., Leão, M. D. C., Santana, T. M., de MB Pimentel, M. V., Carlini, G. C., da Silveira, T. F., … & Castro, I. A. (2020). Potential benefits and risks of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation to patients with COVID-19. Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
  5. Bistrian B. R. (2020). Parenteral Fish-Oil Emulsions in Critically Ill COVID-19 Emulsions.  Journal of parenteral and enteral nutrition44(7), 1168. https://doi.org/10.1002/jpen.1871.

 


Can Diet Helps with Immunity?

Can Diet Helps with Immunity?

 

With regards to COVID19, many people have started to consume food which they believe will help with their immune system. Citrus fruits, chicken soup, tea with honey, probiotics & prebiotics and many others are among examples of foods that commonly associated with immune booster. However, research have shown that the design of our immune system is rather complex and influenced by an ideal balance of many factors, and NOT JUST DIET, and especially not by any one specific food or nutrients. However, a balanced diet consisting of a range of vitamins and minerals, combined with healthy lifestyle factors like adequate sleep and exercise and low stress, most effectively primes the body to fight infection and diseases including COVID19!

 

 

What is immunity?

 

Immunity is referring to the system in the body which protects body from harm. Immune system is a network of intricate stages and pathways in the body, that protects us against these harmful microbes as well as certain diseases. It recognized foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites thus take immediate action towards it. There are two type of immunity in human body: innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is referring to body first line defense from pathogens that try to enter body, achieved through protective barriers, such as skin, mucus that traps pathogens, stomach acid that destroys pathogens and enzymes in our sweat and tears that help to create antibacterial compound. While adaptive of acquired immunity is a system that learns to recognize a pathogen. When a foreign substance enters the body, our body create antibodies which fight the foreign substance, and not only that it also adapts by remembering the foreign substance so that if it enters again, these antibodies will be more efficient and quicker to destroy it.

 

 

Immune boosting diet?

 

Well, frankly speaking as mentioned above, not a particular food can prevent individual from getting disease. It is through variety, moderate, and balanced diet where individual may achieve diet that will prevent from getting various kind of diseases be it chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases or infectious diseases like COVID19. However, certain dietary patterns may better prepare body for microbial attacks and excess inflammation. Each stage of the body’s immune response relies on the presence of many micronutrient, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein. And all these nutrients can be found in variety of foods.

 

 

 

Diet that are limited in variety and lower in nutrients, such as processed food can negatively affect a healthy immune system. Research also shows that typical western diet, that is high with refined sugar and red meat and low in fruits and vegetables can cause disturbances in healthy intestinal microorganism, resulting in chronic inflammation of the gut, and associated with suppressed immune health.

 

 

Steps to support healthy immune system.

 

  1. Eat a balanced diet that is rich with whole fruits (guava, orange, kiwi) vegetables (green leafy vegetables) lean, fresh protein, whole grains, and plenty of water.
  2. If a balanced diet is not readily accessible or your lifestyles does not promote healthy eating, consider taking a multivitamin containing nutrient sufficient for everyday use. Talk to your healthcare provider for the advice on suitable multivitamin for you. You may talk to use as well!
  3. Do not smoke (it will increase inflammation) and drink alcohol in moderation.
  4. Perform regular exercise (30-45 minutes of exercise in most of the days in a week is sufficient).
  5. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep nightly. Try to keep a sleep schedule, waking up and going to bed around the same time each day will help with our body clock (circadian rhythm), having a good circadian rhythm makes it easier for individual to enter deep sleep (a restful sleep).
  6. Manage stress. This is easier said than done but try to find some healthy strategies in managing your stress, it can be exercise, meditation, journaling, talking to a trusted friend. Another tip is to practice regular conscious breathing when feeling of stress/ overwhelm/ anxiety arise.
  7. Wash hands throughout the day especially after touching surfaces, when coming in form outdoors, before and after preparing food, after using the toilet, after coughing or blowing your nose.
  8. Lastly, practice social distance and wear mask when you are outside.

 

References

  1. Harvard Health. Nutrition and Immunity. www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity/    (Accessed on Feb 9, 2021)
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Health essentials. 3 Vitamins that are best for boosting your immunity.  https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-vitamins-best-boosting-immunity/ (Accessed on Feb 9, 2021).
  3. 9 Ways to boost your body’s natural defences. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health

Boost your kids’ immune health


Boost your kids’ immune health

In this pandemic COVID19 era, people have started to consume foods which can boost their immunity. People have started to practice wearing mask in public, normalize social distancing and some even goes to the extent of not exposing children in public places for the fear of virus spreading. We know that children are even fragile than us adult, thus taking extra care for them especially children who fall sick easily is a must for parents in this COVID19 situation. Here we share with you some tips that you can practice to boost your children immunity system!

 

  1. Guard against germ spread.

 

Fighting germs does not technically boost immunity, but it is a great way to reduce stress on your child’s immune system. Make sure your children wash their hands often (with soap) especially before and after using toilet, before and after meals, after playing outside, arrive home from day care, handling pets, or blowing their nose. To cultivate the habits, you may also let them pick up their own choice of handkerchief, soap, and scents!

 

You must also always make sure that your hands are clean before you touch them!

 

Whenever you are bringing them outside make sure you carry antibacterial disposable wet wipes with you for your quick clean ups. Oh, you may also practice to let your children wear face shield if you are outside or in public area if they cannot wear mask yet! Make sure to sanitize or clean the face shield frequently and keep it properly as well!

 

 

Another key germ busting strategy according to health professionals is whenever your child is sick throw away their toothbrush as the germs from outside or from the toothbrush can hop from toothbrush to toothbrush infecting other family members. If it is a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, your child can reinfect themselves with the same germs that got them sick in the first place. In that case, tossing the toothbrush protects both your child and the rest of your family.

 

  1. Make sure your children eat healthily.

 

It is normal for kids to dislike healthy foods if the parents dislike it, or rarely consume it! If you feel like your children eating habit are more into unhealthy habit check back your food preference most of the times it is a reflection!

 

Try to eat healthily as much as you can, make sure that every main mealtime there is vegetables and fruit serve for your whole family, it can be just a simple blanched carrot and broccoli, or it can be stir fried vegetables or it can be simply raw salad with dressings! If your children are okay with consuming vegetables and fruits in every main mealtime, start introducing healthy snacks using fruits and vegetables as well.

 

 

They may eat cakes, biscuits, and dessert occasionally still! If your children are still below 6 months young, try to breastfeed them as much as you can, as breastmilk has naturals antibody which is passed from mothers to baby which is beneficial for children during this pandemic situation.

 

Apart from vegetables and fruits, consuming yogurt which contains high amount of probiotics and prebiotics also helps with immune health.

 

  1. Boost sleep time!

 

Studies show that sleep deprivation make individuals more susceptible to illness by reducing natural killer cells (immune-system weapons that attack microbes and cancer cells). Required sleeping hours for children is vary according to their age, but on average children need to nap during the day for at least one hour and sleep throughout the night for at least 10 hours.

 

Try to help your children into having a fixed routine helps with their sleeping time. Try to tone down screen time and makes them do a lot of physical activity in the evening also helps with sleeping earlier during the night. Children who does not nap during the day may sleep even earlier at night according to expert, but still nap is important for children, which is why try to cultivate habits which makes them easier to nap during the day. This will not only be beneficial for their immunity but as well as for their growth and development.

 

 

 

References.

  1. 7 Ways to Boost Immunity for your child’s Immunity. https://www.parents.com/health/cold-flu/cold/boost-childs-immunity/ (Accessed on Feb 15, 2021).
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials. How to boost your kids’ immunity heading into the new school year. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-boost-your-kids-immunity-heading-into-the-new-school-year/ (Accessed on Feb 15, 2021).
  2. Grow by WebMD. Immunity bosting snacks for kids. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/immune-system#1 (Accessed on Feb 15, 2021).

Children and repeated infections

Children and repeated infections

 

Whenever a child frequently being infected it makes parents worry a lot. According to study on average children get infected about 4 to 8 times annually. A big why for this is because they spend most their time at school or in day-care centers where they are in close contact with other kids most of the day. Also, it partly because kids are not conscientious enough about covering sneezing with elbow or frequent hand washing. Apart from this, it is also because their young immune systems are still developing and not strong enough to fight colds.

 

However, it is not practical to avoid your children from all the exposure altogether since exposure to all these things are somewhat things that build up their immune health stronger and better, but we must control the exposure and make sure that their immune health is strong enough to fight the infection.

 

Here are some of the tips which you may practice to help your children to stay as healthy as possible:

 

  • Make sure that your child get all the required vaccines under the National Immunization Program. You may also add more vaccines based on your child condition and needs but talk to your pediatrician first!

 

 

  • Make sure that your child is getting the nutrition that they need to help them with their immune system. Ensure that your child get enough protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Minimize sugar and processed foods as their tummy is only little if they fill it with all these unhealthy stuff they will have no appetite anymore for nutritious foods. Encourage children to consume fruits such as orange, kiwi, and guava that is rich with vitamin C. Limit the intake of dessert, sugary drinks, sausage, meatballs etc.

 

 

  • Discourage the habit of thumb sucking or using pacifier as your infant gets older, as a contaminated finger, thumb, or pacifier can be a route for germs transmission which can lead to infection.

 

  • Always keep your child’s utensils and bottle clean. If you are still breastfeeding your child, or is using breastmilk pump, make sure you frequently boiled it, or steam all the equipments.

 

  • Try to instils good hygiene practice since young, such as wash hands as soon as reach home, after going to the toilet, and whenever they sneeze or cough and covered it with their hand.

 

 

Most importantly, understand that frequent infections are very common in the first two years of life especially if they are in day care with many other children and after they no longer breastfed. All in all, all these will help them to make their immune health better but at the same time as a parents we need to help the children to build their immune health by providing nutritious foods, clean environment and instill good hygiene practice.


Probiotics and COVID-19

Probiotics and COVID-19

 

World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer health benefits on the host. It can be found in fermented food (E.g.: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi), dietary supplements, and cosmetics.

 

Probiotics may contain variety of microorganisms. The most common are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There are also other bacteria being used as probiotics (e.g.: Saccharomyces boulardii.)

 

According to studies, different types of bacteria exert different effect to human body. Therefore, choosing the right strains and types of probiotics is essential for it to works on the said health concern.

 

How does probiotics help to maintain health?

 

There are variety of ‘bugs’ that coexist naturally in the body such as bacteria, fungi, parasite and viruses, these are what scientists refer to as microbiome. In the body of a healthy person, all these bugs coexist peacefully. The role of the microbiome is to promote smooth daily operation of human body. However, conditions such as infectious illness, certain diet, prolonged use of antibiotics and/or other bacteria-destroying medications, can lead to body becoming more susceptible to diseases.

 

Due to this, scientists believe that consumption of probiotics influence bacteria colonization process, which can lead to speedy restoration of healthy microbiome and lower risk of being sick.

 

 

 

Probiotics and COVID-19?

 

Probiotic is link with COVID19 due to its ability to boost the immune system. Currently, most extensive researched on probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Escherichia Coli, Enterococcus, etc. Although probiotics mechanism profoundly focuses on the gastrointestinal tract, the effect of probiotics is not confined to the digestive system only. Probiotics can act on the entire body via immune modulation. Not only that, it also facilitate the immune system development and maturation and regulate the interaction between host and pathogen by killing the pathogen and regulate the immune responses towards it.

 

One might argue that, but COVID-19 is a viral infection unlike others. A systematic review described probiotics’ efficacy against viral diseases where more than 20 strains of probiotics showed the anti-inflammatory effects on the body and antibody production against viruses.

 

Moreover, study found out that viral loads were lowered upon probiotics supplementation, it is postulated due to immune modulation by microbiota that fights against COVID-19 directly and decrease the risk of secondary infections due to prolonged antibiotics exposure from multiple experimental COVID19 treatment.

 

China’s National Health Commission recommended probiotics for severe COVID-19 patients to restore the intestinal balance and protect from secondary infections. Moreover, gut microbiota’s role in modulating lung diseases has been demonstrated.

 

 

In conclusion, scientists in this study suggest that many more studies should be established on the effectiveness of using probiotics as prevention and especially treatment of COVID-19. As of now, apart from practicing social distancing, wearing mask, adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP), individuals may also benefits from probiotics rich foods and supplementation for its boosting immunity properties and fight against COVID-19.

 

Reference

  1. Kurian, S. J., Unnikrishnan, M. K., Miraj, S. S., Bagchi, D., Banerjee, M., Reddy, B. S., Rodrigues, G. S., Manu, M. K., Saravu, K., Mukhopadhyay, C., & Rao, M. (2021). Probiotics in Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19: Current Perspective and Future Prospects. Archives of medical research52(6), 582–594. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2021.03.002

Asthma in Children


Asthma in Children


 

What is asthma in children ?

 

Asthma is a major Non-Communicable Disease (NCD), affecting children and adult. It is a condition when the air passage in the lungs become narrow due to inflammation and tightening of the muscle around the small airways. This lead to asthma symptoms such as cough, wheeze, shortness of breast and chest tightness. These symptoms are usually on and off while the asthma disease itself is a long -term condition. Asthma triggers vary from person to person, but it can also be due to viral infection (colds), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in the weather, grass and tree pollen, feather, strong soap, perfume, animal fur and many more.

 

Causes of asthma in children. 

 

Although it is often difficult to find a single, direct cause, it is believe to have a multiple complex causes. Many different factors have been linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, such as

 

  • Have a close family members with asthma and/or eczema such as parents or siblings
  • Have other allergic conditions such as rhinitis etc.
  • Urbanization is associated with increased asthma prevalence, probably due to multiple lifestyle factors.

 

 
  • Events in early life affect the developing lungs and can increase the risk of asthma. These include low-birth weight, prematurity, exposure to tobacco smoke and other sources of air pollution, as well as viral respiratory infections.
  • Exposure to a range of environmental allergens and irritants are also thought to increase the risk of asthma, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, house dust mites, molds, and occupational exposure to chemicals, fumes, or dust.

 

Prevention & Control of asthma

 

Asthma cannot be cured, but good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.

 

There are two main types of inhaler:

 

  • bronchodilators (such as salbutamol), that open the air passages and relieve symptoms; and
  • steroids (such as beclometasone), that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduces the risk of severe asthma attacks and death.

 

 

People with asthma may need to use their inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the different types of inhalers available.

 

It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler – especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a “spacer” device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine to reach the lungs more effectively.

 

Other than this, it is also best to avoid triggers for asthma. Triggers vary between person to person, as asthmatic children grow, parents should be able to identify things that triggers their asthma attack, it can be as simple as changes in weather / temperature etc.

 

In conclusion, asthma is a life long disease, it best to manage/ control it by avoiding trigger to asthma in children and also by adhering to their medication based on doctors’ suggestion.

 

References

  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Asthma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma
  2. Mayo Clinic. Childhood Asthma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma
  3. Better Health Chanel. Asthma in children. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/asthma-in-children#causes-of-asthma-in-children
Showing 1 to 11 of 11 (1 Pages)