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6 Tips to prevent flu

The most effective way to prevent flu or other communicable illnesses and its complications is by getting a yearly vaccine. However, adopting some healthy habits can also work wonders in preventing the spread of germs and steering clear of respiratory illnesses like the flu. Here are six tips that can help you shield yourself from the flu and stop those pesky germs in their tracks.

  1. Avoid close contact

Avoid hanging out with people who are under the weather. When you're feeling under the weather, give others some space to keep them from catching what you've got.

  1. Stay at home when you are sick

If you are feeling unwell, consider taking a break from your usual routine. Stay home from work, school, and errands to prevent passing on your illness to others.

  1. Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk.

  1. Clean your hands

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use and alcohol-based hand rub.

  1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs can easily hop from contaminated surfaces to your face, so a hands-off approach is your best defense.

  1. Practice other good health habits.

Take it a step further by keeping your surroundings clean. Regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces, especially if someone is feeling a bit under the weather. Don't forget to catch enough sleep, stay active, manage stress, hydrate, and eat well – it all adds up to a healthier you.

Remember, these small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in staying flu-free and keeping those germs in check.


  1. Red Cross. Flu Safety.,when%20you%20cough%20and%20sneeze.
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). Five simple steps to protect against flu.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Influenza (Flu).

Types of Vitamin C supplementation

There are many different kinds of vitamin C supplements available on the market due to the growth of the dietary supplement industry. Do you wonder if these vitamin C supplements are all the same or different from one another? You can look into the following varieties of vitamin C available on the market:

  1. Plain ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid that is identical to that which occurs naturally in food, but usually entirely synthetic and not sourced from any foods or fruits. While it has good absorption at low dosages, some people may find it too acidic for their stomachs and unable to tolerate high dosages.


  • Cheap
  • Effective
  • Good absorption at lower dosage
  • Taste good in chewable form


  • Acidic to the stomach
  • Absorption is poor at high dosage
  • Short half-life
  1. Mineral ascorbates

Also known as ‘buffered’ vitamin C. Buffered means neutralised in a way; hence, the buffered type of vitamin C is usually stomach-friendly and can be consumed without food.


  • Stomach friendly


  • Cost more
  1. Time release vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin; hence, consumption of a high dosage in a single dose might end up being wasted in the toilet bowl as urine. Thus, a time-release formula aims to solve this problem without taking multiple tablets and by releasing vitamin C slowly throughout the day. Depending on the formulation, the duration of vitamin C in the body can be prolonged anywhere between 8-12 hours. The duration is usually affected by the type of food we eat, etc.


  • Longer half-life of vitamin C


  • Cost more
  1. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids

Polyphenolic compounds called bioflavonoids, also called flavonoids, are present in plants and are particularly abundant in plant foods high in vitamin C.  Plants produce flavonoids in response to microbial infection; there are approximately 5,000 distinct varieties of flavonoids. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids are frequently found in combination in supplements that work synergistically.  This is due to the fact that though some studies have found no difference, others have found that adding flavonoids may help to increase the absorption of vitamin C from supplements.

  1. Fully natural vitamin C from fruits/ vegetables

This kind of vitamin C comes from the direct extraction of fruits that are high in the vitamin. It typically has unique benefits when extracted from fruits, such as a pleasant flavour and chewability.

While the actual vitamin C molecule and synthetic vitamin C are identical, natural vitamin C has higher absorption rates, can lower oxidative stress and inflammation, and is therefore considered to have stronger antioxidant qualities. 


  1. Oregan State University. Micronutrient Information Centre.
  2. Care Of. What Is the Form of Best Vitamin C for Absorption? The Science Explained.
  3. Nutriadvanced.

Vitamin C 101

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It is important in forming collagen. Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue, which plays a vital role in wound healing and gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. It also helps maintain capillaries, bones, and teeth, and aids in the absorption of iron. Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including vitamin E. Ongoing research is examining whether vitamin C, by limiting the damaging effects of free radicals through its antioxidant activity, might help prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases in which oxidative stress plays a causal role. In addition to its biosynthetic and antioxidant functions, vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of nonheme iron, the form of iron present in plant-based foods. Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue, widespread connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility.

Vitamin C can be found ubiquitously in fresh fruits and leafy vegetables such as guava, mango, papaya, cabbage, mustard leaves, and spinach. Animal sources of vitamin C includes meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Based on Malaysia Dietary Food Guideline, it is advisable to consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, if this recommendation is followed, daily intake of ascorbic acid will be around 210mg to 280mg, depending types of food consumed. However, due to its instability, vitamin C is always fortified in other types of foods and drinks, this is due to its easily destroyed during food process. Hence, best consumed fresh from fruits and vegetables.

Apart from this, there are several things that affect how our bodies absorb vitamin C, like our gender and how different nutrients interact. Even though the absorption of vitamin C decreases when we take a lot of it at once (more than 1g), our bodies still absorb a good amount—around 70-90% of the typical daily intake (30-180 mg/day). Researchers studied how much vitamin C body can absorb and found out that a 200 mg dose of vitamin C our bodies can be completely absorbed at once, and they found that none of it was peed out by most people until the dose reached 100 mg. However, when people took a single dose of 500 mg or more, the amount absorbed decreased, and the excess vitamin C was excreted.


In general, based on Malaysia Recommended Nutrient Intake 2005, vitamin C should be around

RNI for children

1 – 3 years 30 mg/day

4 – 6 years 30 mg/day

 7 – 9 years 35 mg/day

RNI for adolescents

Boys 10 - 18 years 65 mg/day

Girls 10 - 18 years 65 mg/day

RNI for adults

Men 19 – 65 years 70 mg/day

Women 19 – 65 years 70 mg/day

RNI for elderly

Men > 65 years 70 mg/day

Women > 65 years 70 mg/day

RNI for

Pregnancy 80 mg/day

Lactation 95 mg/day


Common side effects of consuming more than upper tolerable intake level of vitamin C include,

  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

To sum it up, it's generally best to get your vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables. If you can't get enough through your diet, you can consider taking supplements. Taking up to 1000mg of vitamin C per day is usually safe, but it's important not to overdo it as excessive amounts could be harmful. Aim for an optimal intake of about 100mg to 200mg of vitamin C each day.



  1. Harvard T.H Chan. Nutrition Source.

  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). Vitamin C.

  3. National Health Service (NHS) U.K.

  4. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Nutrition Department. Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI).

Your Immunity Booster

Since 1970, vitamin C has been widely used to fight and prevent the common cold. Nowadays, everyone knows that taking vitamin C can help prevent and fight the common cold (1)

A study shows that vitamin C contributes to immune defence by supporting various cellular functions. Vitamin C helps phagocytes (cells that ingest harmful bacteria into the body) to move, increase uptake, engulf, and kill microbes (which can cause harm to the body), thus improving the immune system and protecting against diseases (2).

Probiotics work in a similar way to vitamin C in improving the immune system.

But ,what are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in an adequate amount, confer health benefits on the host (the human body). A study found that long-term consumption of probiotics could stimulate and improve the immune system. With regards to the current pandemic novel Coronavirus, how can probiotics help with viruses like Corona? Well, Corona is the virus that attacks the lung, thus;


Probiotics are able to help lung health, but how?


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


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



Using probiotics along with taking precautionary measures such as frequently washing hands, using sanitizers, wearing a mask, and avoiding contact with people is the go-to way to prevent the widespread spread of the disease while at the same time improving immune function since probiotics are ubiquitous and affordable!




  1. WebMD. Vitamin C for the common cold.

  2. Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211.

  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.

  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 to babies, but does it also benefit adults?

Colostrum is a type of breast milk produced by mammals, including humans. Before breast milk is released, it is usually thicker in consistency and contains high levels of antibodies. This high concentration of nutrients in the colostrum is aimed at promoting the growth and health of newborn mammals, which is why it is the most nutritious form of milk (1).

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

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

 What about the adults? Does adult consumption of bovine colostrum have the same effect as mother-to-newborn colostrum?


Bovine colostrum is more nutritious than regular milk. It contains more protein, fat, carbohydrates, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, B, and E than regular milk. Due to this, studies have found that the consumption of bovine colostrum by adults is useful in boosting the immune system as well as improving gut health (1, 3).


The presence of lactoferrin in colostrum contributes to the link between colostrum and immunity. Lactoferin is a protein that occurs naturally in the body. It is a very versatile protein because it is a bi-lobed protein that can bind an iron atom (4). This transferrin-family iron-binding glycoprotein is an important component of the mammalian immune system. As a result, it provides lactoferrin with protective effects ranging from direct antimicrobial to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer (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 also essential for fighting pathogens and improving the 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 to humans throughout their lives. Thus, the consumption of bovine colostrum may have the same effect as human colostrum; it is just that the absorption of colostrum from a bovine to a human body is different, but with all the spectacular ingredients that colostrum possesses, it may possess the same effect as boosting immunity!



  1. Healthline. What is the colostrum? Nutrition, Benefits and Downsides. (Accessed on July 9, 2020).
  2. Bloomlife. Breastfeeding Tips To Know Before the Baby Arrives.,in%20her%20first%20few%20days  (Accessed on July 9, 2020).
  3. WebMD. Bovine Colostrum. (Accessed on July 9, 2020).
  4. Bioquad Lifesciences. (Accessed on July 9, 2020).


Cordyceps, more than just for coughs

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


Since there is now an increased shift of attention from synthetic drugs to natural herbal products, not only to treat the common cold and flu but also to prevent chronic diseases, people start to consume various kinds of traditional medicine in an effort to prevent or control diseases (2).


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


Traditionally, people used cordyceps for various purposes; until now, certain people who were able to get wild cordyceps still used this in their daily lives. Some people mix it with milk; it is said to improve sexual drive. It is also sometimes mixed with alcohol, which is referred to as ‘chang', in which people drink it in the morning as tonic (5).


As for modern studies, apart from the usage of cordyceps in cough syrup, cordyceps also have various other health benefits, such as antihyperglycemic. A study on diabetic rats found that the 4g/kg/day that is administered to diabetic rats does not affect their fasting insulin level. When oral administration of cordyceps at 150 mg/kg/day and 500mg/kg/day is ingested by mice for 4 weeks, it significantly prolongs the swimming time of mice by about 20 to 24 minutes, respectively, thus showing that consumption of cordyceps also improves fatigue conditions. It is 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 easing breathing for individuals with cough and flu (6).


However, most studies with regards to cordyceps are conducted on mice, not humans, so the findings are considered to have insufficient evidence (1, 3, 4).


However, it is safe to consume cordyceps supplements with other medications if you have any other medical condition since the government of China uses cordyceps as a natural drug in their hospitals to treat patients (1, 3, 4).




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. (Accessed on Oct 23, 2020).


4. WebMD. 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?

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.





  1. Oregon State University. Pauling Recommendation (2004). (Accessed on November, 16, 2020).
  2. Healthline. 7 Impressive ways Vitamin C benefits your body. ( Accessed on Nov 16, 2020)
  3. 8 Nutrients that will optimize your eye health. (Accessed on Aug 26, 2020)
  4. All About Vision. Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Eye and vision benefits. (Accessed on Aug, 26, 2020)
  5. Simonson W. (2020). Vitamin C and coronavirus. Geriatric nursing (New York, N.Y.)41(3), 331–332.
  6. Medical News Today (MNT). Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID19. (Accessed on November 16, 2020).
  7. Healthline. Can Vitamin C Protect you from Vitamin C. (Accessed on November 16, 2020).




Vitamin C as prophylaxis for COVID-19?

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.



  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. (Access on Feb 2, 2021).
  2. New Straits Times (NST). Vitamin C injections not used in COVID-19 treatment in Malaysia. (Accessed on Feb 2, 2021).
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH). Vitamin C usage and COVID-19. (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.
  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.

Can DHA & EPA help with COVID-19?

Unsaturated fats can be classified into two main categories: Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, canola oil, cashews, and groundnuts. On the other hand, PUFA can be further divided into Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), also known as omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA are commonly found in fatty fish and algae.

Benefits of EPA and DHA

EPA and DHA offer a range of benefits, with one well-studied area being their connection to cardiovascular health. Multiple studies indicate that incorporating EPA and DHA-rich foods or supplements into the diet can lower triglyceride levels. Consequently, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a daily intake of about 1g of EPA plus DHA for individuals at high risk of heart disease. Joseph C. Maroon, MD, a professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and author of "Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory," emphasizes that sufficient omega-3 intake can reduce the inflammatory processes linked to various chronic conditions. This anti-inflammatory effect could potentially extend to diseases like arthritis, dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), dementia, Alzheimer's, and cognitive issues. However, what about its relevance to COVID-19?

EPA & DHA in the Context of COVID-19

COVID-19 remains a novel disease, with many aspects still unknown to scientists. Among the potential management and treatment avenues being explored is the relationship between EPA and DHA and COVID-19. Numerous well-documented studies suggest that EPA and DHA's anti-inflammatory properties could have potential benefits for COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 primarily targets the body's immune system, triggering an immune response to combat the disease. During this battle, the body releases cytokines, a phenomenon referred to as a "cytokine storm." Studies on sepsis patients have shown that administering EPA and DHA leads to the release of resolvins, which aid in restoring cellular function post-inflammation and tissue injury. This insight underlines why the administration and consumption of EPA and DHA-rich diets are being examined as potential mechanisms against COVID-19. Furthermore, a meta-analysis indicates that high EPA and DHA supplementation through parenteral and enteral nutrition can significantly reduce ventilator-free days, organ failures, ICU stays, and mortality rates among individuals with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Given that ARDS is a common complication of critically ill COVID-19 patients, these findings suggest a potential positive impact.

Another critical parameter in assessing COVID-19 severity, particularly in critically ill patients, is coagulation ability. Non-survivors of COVID-19 are often those with heightened platelet aggregation and activation, resulting in a higher risk of life-threatening blood clotting. A study involving a moderate intake of three omega-3-rich fish species over 18 days showed improved bleeding time and reduced platelet aggregation, potentially decreasing thrombosis risk among COVID-19 patients. Similarly, a study supplementing healthy subjects with EPA for four weeks demonstrated decreased platelet activation, an early step in platelet aggregation.

In conclusion, the administration or consumption of EPA and DHA could potentially aid critically ill COVID-19 patients. However, using EPA and DHA as a prophylactic among healthy individuals requires further investigation due to the limited understanding of the virus's pathology and its interaction with patients' characteristics during recovery. Therefore, it's advisable to conduct randomized controlled trials that consider supplementation type, dosage, individual characteristics, adverse effects, and potential combinations with medication and antioxidants.


  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact sheet for consumer. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).

  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact sheet for Health Professionals. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).

  3. Nourish by WebMD. What to know about Omega 3 and fish? Annie Stuart. (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.


Can diet boost imunity?

With regards to COVID-19, many people have started to consume foods that they believe will help their immune systems. Citrus fruits, chicken soup, tea with honey, probiotics and prebiotics, and many others are examples of foods that are commonly associated with immune boosters. However, research has shown that the design of our immune system is rather complex and influenced by an ideal balance of many factors, not just diet, and especially not by any one specific food or nutrient. However, a balanced diet consisting of a range of vitamins and minerals, combined with healthy lifestyle factors like adequate sleep, exercise, and low stress, most effectively primes the body to fight infections and diseases, including COVID-19!

What is immunity?


Immunity refers to the system in the body that protects the body from harm. The 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 recognised foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites and took immediate action against them. There are two types of immunity in the human body: innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity refers to the body's first line of defence from pathogens that try to enter the 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 compounds. While adaptive immunity is a system that learns to recognise a pathogen, When a foreign substance enters the body, our body creates antibodies that 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, no particular food can prevent an individual from getting disease. It is through variety, moderation, and a balanced diet that individuals may achieve a diet that will prevent them from getting various kinds of diseases, be they chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases or infectious diseases like COVID-19. However, certain dietary patterns may better prepare the body for microbial attacks and excess inflammation. Each stage of the body’s immune response relies on the presence of many micronutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein. And all these nutrients can be found in a variety of foods.


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


Steps to support a healthy immune system


  1. Eat a balanced diet that is rich in whole fruits (guava, orange, and 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 lifestyle does not promote healthy eating, consider taking a multivitamin containing nutrients sufficient for everyday use. Talk to your healthcare provider for advice on a suitable multivitamin for you. You may talk to us as well!

  3. Do not smoke (it will increase inflammation), and drink alcohol in moderation.

  4. Perform regular exercise (30–45 minutes of exercise on most days of the week is sufficient).

  5. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. 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 individuals to enter deep sleep (restful sleep).

  6. Manage stress. This is easier said than done, but try to find some healthy strategies for managing your stress. These can be exercise, meditation, journaling, or talking to a trusted friend. Another tip is to practise regular conscious breathing when feelings of stress, overwhelm, or anxiety arise.

  7. Wash hands throughout the day, especially after touching surfaces, when coming in from the outdoors, before and after preparing food, after using the toilet, and after coughing or blowing your nose.

  8. Lastly, practise social distance and wear a mask when you are outside.




  1. Harvard Health. Nutrition and Immunity.    (Accessed on Feb 9, 2021)
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Health essentials. 3 Vitamins that are best for boosting your immunity. (Accessed on Feb 9, 2021).
  3. 9 Ways to boost your body’s natural defences.

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!
  • 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.


  • 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.


  •  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.





  1. 7 Ways to Boost Immunity for your child’s Immunity. (Accessed on Feb 15, 2021).
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials. 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. (Accessed on Feb 15, 2021).

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

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines probiotics as live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits on the host. It can be found in fermented foods (e.g., yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi), dietary supplements, and cosmetics.

Probiotics can contain a wide range of microorganisms. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common. Other bacteria, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, are also used as probiotics.

According to research, different types of bacteria have different effects on the human body. As a result, selecting the right strains and types of probiotics is critical for it to work on the said health concern.


How do probiotics aid in health maintenance?

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

Due to this, scientists believe that consumption of probiotics influences the colonisation process of bacteria, which can lead to a speedy restoration of a healthy microbiome and a lower risk of getting sick

Probiotics and COVID-19

Probiotics are linked with COVID-19 due to their ability to boost the immune system. Currently, the most extensive research on probiotics includes Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, etc. Although probiotics mechanisms profoundly focus on the gastrointestinal tract, their effects are not confined to the digestive system alone. Probiotics can act on the entire body via immune modulation. Not only that, it also facilitates the immune system's development and maturation and regulates the interaction between host and pathogen by killing the pathogen and regulating the immune responses towards it.

One could argue that, but COVID-19 is a viral infection, not a bacterial infection. A systematic review described the efficacy of probiotics against viral diseases, with over 20 strains of probiotics demonstrating anti-inflammatory effects on the body and antibody production against viruses.

Furthermore, the study discovered that probiotics supplementation reduced viral loads. This is thought to be due to immune modulation by microbiota, which fights COVID-19 directly and reduces the risk of secondary infections caused by prolonged antibiotic exposure from multiple experimental COVID-19 treatments.

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, the researchers in this study believe that many more studies on the effectiveness of using probiotics for COVID-19 prevention and treatment should be conducted. Individuals may now benefit from probiotics rich foods and supplementation for its boosting immunity properties and fight against COVID-19, in addition to practising social distancing, wearing masks, and adhering to standard operating procedures (SOP).



  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.

Asthma in Children

What is asthma in children?


Asthma is a major non-communicable disease (NCD), affecting children and adults. It is a condition in which the airway in the lung narrows due to inflammation and tightening of the muscle surrounding the small airway. As a result, asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness developed. 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 they can also be due to a viral infection (cold), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in the weather, grass and tree pollen, feathers, 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 believed to have multiple complex causes. Many factors have been linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, such as

  • Have a close family member 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, premature birth, 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 is 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 inhalers:


  • Bronchodilators (such as Salbutamol), that open the air passages and relieve symptoms
  • Steroids (such as Beclomethasone), that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduce the risk of severe asthma attack and death.

People with asthma may need to use an inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the 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 reach the lung more effectively.

People with asthma may need to use an inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the 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 reach the lung more effectively. 

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

In conclusion, since asthma is a lifelong disease, it is best to manage or control it by avoiding triggers in children and by adhering to the medication based on a doctor's suggestion.


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Asthma.
  2. Mayo Clinic. Childhood Asthma.
  3. Better Health Chanel. Asthma in children.




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