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Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10 or Ubiquinone) is a naturally occurring quinone that is found in most organisms from bacteria to mammals. It was first identified in 1940, and isolated from the mitochondria of the beef heart, in 1957. Coenzyme Q10 is also known as Coenzyme Q, CoQ, CoQ10, Ubiquinone, Ubiquinone-Q10, Ubidecarenone, or Vitamin Q10. The various types of Coenzyme Q can be distinguished by the number side chains they have. The most common Coenzyme Q is CoQ10. CoQ10 is ubiquitous in human tissues, although its level is varied.
Why do we need CoQ10?
CoQ10 main function is to act as an energy transfer molecule, where it is a co-factor in the production of energy. Essentially all cellular functions are dependent on an adequate supply of energy, thus explain why coq10 is vital for all the tissues and organs. CoQ10 is also one of the most significant lipid antioxidants that prevents generation of harmful substance production in the body such as free radical, which can lead to modification of protein, lipids, and DNA.
Antioxidant: Is defined as substance that inhibit oxidation process, or scavenger of free radical that produce from normal body process hence making body more stable.
Due to its function as antioxidants, not only that it can help with neutralizing free radicals and prevent the damage cause by free radical, but it can also improve energy and augments the immune system.
Who need CoQ10?
There are certain individuals who need to consume more CoQ10 as the amount of CoQ10 in the body is diminishing.
How much do we need CoQ10?
A typical CoQ10 dosage is about 30 – 90 mg per day, taken in divided doses, but the recommended amount can be as high as 200 mg per day. CoQ10 is fat soluble antioxidants, so it is better to be absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat. The clinical effect of CoQ10 may take up to eight weeks.
Food source with CoQ10?
Primary dietary sources of CoQ10 include oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), organ meats (such as liver), and whole grains. Most individuals obtain sufficient amounts of CoQ10 through a balanced diet, but supplementation may be useful for individuals with particular health conditions. CoQ10 is available as a supplement in several forms, including soft gel capsules, oral spray, hard shell capsules, and tablets.
Consumption of CoQ10 might not really be suitable for individual who consuming warfarin medication, pregnant lady, and breastfeeding mother.
Therapeutic benefit in hypertension.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood pressure rises above 120/80. CoQ10 has been shown in animal model studies to significantly reduce blood pressure levels while having no effect on other hypertension-related parameters such as plasma renin, serum/urine sodium and potassium, or urinary aldosterone. It is also suggested that varying COQ10 dosage results in a reduced need for medication. In a human study, taking 60 mg of CoQ10 twice daily for 8 weeks reduced blood pressure, plasma inulin, glucose, and several lipid compounds. Other human studies have ranged from 100 to 225mg/day for 4.4 to 10 months.
Therapeutic benefit in coronary artery disease.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your muscles become narrowed due to a gradual buildup of fatty material within their walls. The condition is also referred to as atherosclerosis. Pretreatment with CoQ10 has been shown in animal studies to reduce myocardial ischemia (occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is obstructed by a partial or complete blockage of plaque buildup (atherosclerosis)) and cardiac dysfunction. In human studies, a dose of 300 mg/day for 7 days straight improves heart efficiency as measured by oxygen consumption per energy formed. Another study on humans using a 150mg dose of CoQ10 found that the supplement increased treadmill exercise tolerance. However, because these two studies involved a small number of subjects, they are not statistically significant.
Therapeutic benefit of congestive heart failure
A small study of 17 patients with congestive heart failure discovered that using 30 mg/day of coenzyme Q10 improved the patients' condition, with 53% of the patients becoming asymptomatic after four weeks of treatment (no symptoms). Another large-scale study involving 2664 patients who took 50-100mg/day of coenzyme Q10 for three months found that 54% of patients improved in their symptoms of insomnia, nocturia, and vertigo.
Is CoQ10 recommended for heart health prevention and treatment?
In conclusion, it appears that CoQ10 may be beneficial for heart health prevention and treatment, particularly for people with coronary heart disease, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. This is due to its ability to prevent LDL oxidation. It also appears that the majority of patients with heart disease are deficient in coenzyme Q10, which can lead to a variety of heart-related complications later on.
There are two types of fiber, which are soluble fiber and insoluble fibre.
There are various studies confirming that consumption of diet high in fiber helps to make overall body function healthier.
In a Harvard study with over 40, 000 male health professionals, researcher found out that consumption of high fiber diet reduce 40% risk of getting coronary heart disease. Another study conducted by Harvard among females nurses also found the similar findings, high fiber diet lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (a combination factor of getting heart disease and diabetes). These factors are high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess weight, high triglycerides level, and low HDL level (good cholesterol level).
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.
Diet low in fiber and high in carbohydrates and fat can cause sudden spike in blood sugar, this can lead to increasing risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Both Harvard studies with female nurse and male health professionals, found that this type of diet increase more than doubled risk of type 2 diabetes.
Other studies such as Black Women’s Health Study and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition have shown similar results.
The fiber in wheat bran and oat bran is considered more effective than fiber from fruits and vegetables. Experts recommend increasing fiber intake gradually rather than suddenly, and because fiber absorbs water, beverage intake should be increased as well as fiber intake increases.
Fiber is shown to decreases risk of breast cancer through a large-scale study in 2016, where findings of the study indicates that higher fiber intake reduces breast cancer risk, suggesting that fiber intake during adolescents and early adulthood may be particularly important.
In another word, women who consume higher fiber foods during adolescents and young adulthood, including vegetables and fruits, may have significantly lower breast cancer risk than those who eat less dietary fiber when young.
In conclusion, consumption of sufficient fiber can gives various benefits to human body, according to Malaysia Food Pyramid 2020, it is recommended to consume 3 servings of vegetables and fruits daily. However, according to National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) about 95% of Malaysian do not consume enough vegetables and fruits daily, which is why sometimes consumption of fiber supplement can help to bridge the gap of poor dietary intake.
Dari masa ke semasa, badan melalui proses pertumbuhan seperti panjangnya kuku dan pertumbuhan rambut yang melibatkan aktiviti pengoksidaan. Proses pengoksidaan ini melibatkan pemberian dan pengambilan elektron, di mana akan menghasilkan elektron bebas yang tidak bergabung dengan mana – mana elektron yang lain. Elektron bebas ini juga dirujuk sebagai radikal bebas. Radikal bebas atau elektron bebas ini adalah elektron yang tidak stabil dan dapat memberikan pelbagai risiko penyakit termasuklah kanser. Fungsi antioksida adalah untuk bergabung dengan elektron bebas atau radikal bebas ini dan meneutralkan atau menstabilkan badan dari risiko pelbagai jenis penyakit.
Kebiasaannya badan dapat menghasilkan antioksida dengan sendiri, akan tetapi setelah lanjut usia, kebolehan badan untuk menghasilkan antioksida semakin berkurangan, ketidakseimbangan antioksida dan radikal bebas boleh meningkatkan risiko penyakit. Justeru, para profesional perubatan sering menasihatkan kita untuk makan makanan dari sumber semulajadi seperti sayur – sayuran, dan buah – buahan dengan banyak. Ini kerana, sayur – sayuran dan buah – buahan mempunyai tinggi sumber antioksida seperti beta karotena, lutein, likopena (lycopene), vitamin c, vitamin E dan pelbagai lagi.
Ikutlah saranan pengambilan makanan sihat oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Makan 3 sajian sayur dan dua sajian buah setiap hari untuk mendapatkan jumlah antioksida yang diperlukan badan. 1 sajian sayur adalah bersamaan dengan saiz satu saiz tapak tangan manakala, saiz sajian buah adalah mengikut kepada jenis buah tersebut seperti di bawah. Jika anda merasakan pengambilan sayur – sayuran dan buah – buahan anda tidak mencukupi di mana ia dapat memberi kesan kepada jumlah antioksida dalam badan, anda juga boleh menggunakan alternatif suplemen untuk mendapatkan jumlah antioksida yang cukup.
MegaLive menyambut baik saranan ini dengan turut sama mempromosikan amalan pemakanan sihat ini kepada semua.
Suku – suku separuh adalah diet yang merangkumi suku jumlah karbohidrat seperti nasi, mee, bihun, capati, roti dll, suku jumlah protein seperti ayam, ikan, sotong dll dan separuh jumlah sayur – sayuran dan buah – buahan. Pinggan yang dirujuk dalam saranan diet ini adalah pinggan berukuran 10 inci/ 25sm.
Contoh hidangan suku – suku separuh:
Terdapat 5 mesej utama dalam amalan diet suku – suku separuh.
Mesej Utama 1: Makan 3 Hidangan Utama yang sihat dalam sehari.
Makan sarapan, makan tengah hari, dan makan malam dengan sihat dengan mengikut konsep suku – suku separuh.
Makan pada waktu yang tetap juga membantu pengawalan porsi/ saiz hidangan makanan. Berikut adalah contoh waktu makan seharian.
Mesej Utama 2: Makan 1-2 Snek yang Sihat di antara Waktu Makan Jika Perlu
Bagi menggalakan pemakanan secara sihat secara holistik atau sebagai gaya hidup, anda juga digalakkan untuk mengambil snek sihat 1-2 kali dari sumber buah – buahan, kekacang, dan sayur – sayuran.
Contoh snek sihat yang boleh di ambil 1-2 sajian ialah:
Mesej Utama 3: Makan Sekurang-kurangnya Separuh Daripada Bijirin Anda Sebagai Bijirin Penuh
Malaysia adalah negara di mana, makanan rujinya adalah nasi, oleh itu tidak hairanlah jika kebanyakkan rakyat Malaysia masih berasa tidak kenyang selagi tidak makan nasi. Oleh yang demikian, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) menggariskan pengambilan karbohidrat hendaklah diambil kebanyakkannya dari sumber bijirin penuh, seperti dari sumber nasi beras perang, roti bijirin mil penuh, jagung, barli dll.
Contoh makanan berkarbohidrat yang tinggi serat:
Mesej Utama 4: Makan Hidangan Tidak Bergoreng dan Tanpa Santan Setiap Hari
Seterusnya, lauk -pauk di Malaysia begitu sinonim sekali dengan jenis lauk -pauk yang bergoreng menggunakan minyak yang sangat banyak iaitu menggunakan kaedah ‘deep -frying’. Makanan bergoreng dengan minyak banyak yang digunakan secara berulang – ulang dan makanan yang mengandungi jumlah santan yang tinggi boleh meningkatkan masalah kesihatan seperti masalah jantung, darah tinggi, kolesterol dan kanser.
Justeru, pengambilan makanan dengan cara masakan dan kandungan santan yang tinggi seperti masak lemak, kari, gulai, dan masakkan bergoreng hendaklah dihadkan.
Cara mengantikan pengambilan minyak dan santan dalam masakan dan makanan:
Mesej Utama 5: Makan Makanan yang dimasak di Rumah Lebih Kerap
Makanan yang dibeli di luar secara amnya mempunyai kandungan gula, garam, sos, kicap, perasa, dan monosodium glutamate (MSG) yang tinggi, ia juga kebanyakannya menggunakan kaedah memasak yang kurang sihat iaitu dengan cara menggoreng dengan minyak yang banyak dan berulang- ulang.
Kandungan makanan yang tinggi garam, gula, sos, kicap, perasa dan MSG boleh menyebabkan tinggi risiko kepada masalah kesihatan seperti diabetes, dan juga darah tinggi.
Selain daripada itu, pengambilan makanan dari luar juga seringkali mempunyai jumlah porsi yang tidak mengikut spesifikasi suku – suku separuh, hal ini menyebabkan individu lebih cenderung untuk makaan secara berlebihan dan mendapat lebih risiko untuk menjadi obes.
Cadangan hidangan harian di rumah:
Current medical science proves the old adage that "a man is as old as his arteries (blood vessels)," because we now know that blood vessels transport vital oxygen-rich blood to all body tissue. Maintaining artery health (blood vessel health) is thus analogous to maintaining overall health.
Endothelial cells line the inside of blood vessels and perform a variety of functions, the most important of which is the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is essential for keeping the lining of blood vessels smooth and slippery, preventing white blood cells and platelets from adhering and causing inflammation or blood clots. Aside from that, it relaxed the muscle cells in blood vessels to prevent spasms and keep arteries open.
A study of four groups of healthy people: young exercisers, young non-exercisers, elderly exercisers, and elderly non-exercisers discovered that while age had a significant impact on endothelial function and nitric oxide production, it had a smaller and more gradual impact on people who exercised regularly. This demonstrates that exercise does, in fact, keep blood vessels young!
Regular exercise benefits blood vessels by increasing nitric oxide production in endothelial cells, thereby maintaining oxygen supply throughout the body and heart health!
When you have a poor blood supply, your extremities, such as your hands and legs, are often affected.
Here are some exercises to improve blood circulation in your extremities;
In conclusion, because exercise is essential for maintaining healthy blood vessels, body movement will help in some ways to maintain healthy blood vessels. So get moving and don't be a couch potato!
Anemia is a common blood disorder. It is a condition when body does not have enough red blood cells and is unable to deliver enough oxygen throughout the body.
In the blood test, anemia is reported as a low hemoglobin or hematocrit. Hemoglobin is the main protein in the red blood cells. It carries oxygen, and delivers it throughout your body. If you have anemia, your hemoglobin level will be low too. If it is low enough, your tissues or organs may not get enough oxygen.
Symptoms of anemia
The most common symptoms of anemia is lethargic or tired. Other symptoms include pale skin, fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, light-headed.
Types of anemia
Among types of anemia are Sickle Cell Anemia, Iron Deficiency Anemia, Thalassemia, Aplastic Anemic and many more.
Each of these types of anemia has its own cause.
In conclusion, anemia must be treated depending on the cause, ranging from taking supplements to having medical procedures.
Most importantly, anemia can be prevented by consuming a healthy and varied diet.
Iron rich foods include boiled cockles, chickpea, fried soy bean curd, liver, dried anchovies, bitter gourd, spinach, and kangkung.
Individuals with poor blood circulation typically experience numbness and coldness in their extremities, particularly their hands and feet. It is often the result of an underlying condition to a more serious condition, such as uncontrolled diabetes or low blood pressure, but it can also be the result of poor posture, among other things.
Here are some tips on how to improve your blood circulation:
1. Go on regular walks
Walking can improve blood circulation. Contraction of the calf muscle causes venous blood to be pushed back up to the heart. The arteries dilate when patients walk and improve blood flow throughout the body. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of walking three times per week.
2. Reduce your weight
Being obese or overweight poses a greater health risk to your circulatory system because it increases your risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which lead to blood circulatory problems.
Consumption of food in moderation, balance and exercise regularly can help to prevent being obese and overweight.
3. Take more breaks at work
Taking more work breaks allows you to develop the habit of alternately sitting, standing, and walking. This reduces the demand on the circulatory system because sitting causes blood flow to slow and pool in your legs, resulting in muscle pain and fatigue. Thus, taking more breaks while working in an office is beneficial for improving blood flow and keeping your stress level in check.
Try to stretch every 15 to 20 minutes and get up and move every hour—even if it's just a power walk around your house.
4. Stay hydrated
When your body is dehydrated, it affects the amount of blood that circulates through it. It also causes your blood to retain more sodium, causing it to thicken and making it much more difficult for your circulatory system to function properly.
Checking your pee is the simplest way to ensure that you are getting enough fluid. A yellow light or clear urine indicates that you are drinking enough water; anything darker indicates that you need to up your water intake game!
5. Manage your blood pressure
High blood pressure causes your blood circulation to go haywire, putting more strain on your heart and blood vessels. If you do not manage your blood pressure properly, the heart and circulatory system will have to work harder to supply blood flow throughout the body.
High blood sugar levels can harm the lining of small blood vessels, causing blood circulation issues. This condition will also encourage the formation of plaque in your blood vessels, further complicating matters.
Exercise, limiting sodium intake, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and making changes to your lifestyle can all help to lower your blood pressure and improve your circulation. Ideally, your blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mmHg.
6. Elevate your legs
Elevating your legs relieves pressure on your veins because the blood does not have to work against gravity to return to the heart.
When you are watching TV or taking a nap, the most convenient time to elevate your legs is when you are lying down and prop your legs above your heart level for 15 minutes or more at a time. This will greatly improve overall blood circulation.
Ginkgo or maidenhair is an ancient Chinese herb ingredient. It is collected from the dried green leaves of the plant and is available as liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets. It is used for various reasons as a traditional herb supplement. Currently, many studies are still exploring whether ginkgo can improve health condition as per belief.
Ginkgo and blood circulation.
Ginkgo contains high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids, these are antioxidants that provide protection against oxidative cell damage from harmful free radicals. These antioxidants also help to improve blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the ‘stickiness’ of platelets.
Ginkgo’s apparent ability to increase blood flow to various parts of the body may be the origin of its many supposed benefits.
Ginkgo and brain function.
Studies found conflicting findings on whether gingko can help with preventing and slows down Alzheimer and dementia, but studies also found out that it can help with improving cognition, memory, and attention.
Generally, ginkgo appears to be safe for consumption in moderate amount, research does not support the use of the supplement to prevent or slow dementia. Many more research is needed to find out what role gingko might play in supporting brain function and treating other conditions.
There are many factors influencing skin condition, but in this post, we are going to share on tips on how to make your skin glow!
As much as smoking is bad to your lung so does it to your skin!
Cigarette smoke contain many harmful substances to our body, as we know. However as for the skin, it releases carbon monoxide which displace oxygen in your skin and nicotine which reduce blood flow which will make skin dry and discolored. Smoking also triggers the destruction of collagen in the skin hence skin loss its elasticity and produce wrinkles and fine lines!
When you are younger and a smoker you cannot really see the difference but as you get older, the damage on your appearance will be obvious and you will be looking older as compared to your actual age (1).
Sunscreen is a must!
Malaysia is a humid and warm country all year long, thus wearing sunscreen is a must! Sunscreen helps to protect skin from premature aging like wrinkles, fine line and hyper-pigmentation. Studies shows that people who is below 55 years old and wear sunscreen regularly can lower the risk of premature aging by 24% as compared to those who wear sunscreen occasionally or not wearing at all.
If you are a newbie looking for sunscreen, look for sunscreen with at least SPF 30 (Sun Protecting Factor) and choose sunscreen according to your skin type such as if you have dry skin choose aqua sunscreen which is meant for dry skin etc. You also must apply sunscreen after every 2 hours or after exercise. Sunscreen also is meant to be applied at least 30 minutes before you go out since it needs time to be absorbed by the skin and activated in order to protect your skin (2).
Move, Move, Move
We know that exercise regularly can keep our body fit and healthy, but do you know that it can as well makes your skin healthy?
Exercise increase blood circulation and flow throughout the body, hence making your skin radiant and glow. Pssttt…this can kill two bird using one stone, you can maintain your body lean and get healthy skin at the same time! (3)
Keep your body hydrated
Our skin is exposed to various condition, cold due to the air-conditioner, warm due to the water etc thus drink plenty of water will make our skin condition better. Everybody is born with a particular skin type, whether it is dry or oily or combination however, all these surrounding factors and age factor can change skin condition as well(4).
In order to see whether your skin is dry, try to pinch your skin in an area and see whether it has like wrinkle on it after your pinch or whether its bounce back after your pinch is an indicator for well hydrated skin. Wrinkles and less bouncy skin is and indicator for dry skin, it also sometimes can be seen based on your urine colour, if its too concentrated meaning your body does not get sufficient amount of water (4).
Lifestyle changes can reverse this, drink at least 8 glass of water per day. Limit the intake of alcohol and drink less caffeinated drink like coffee and tea can improve the dry skin condition (4).
Face it and manage it….your stress
We always thought that if we suppressed our feelings and emotion, that is better, it is better for everyone and even us. However, that is not always the case, we have to deal with it and manage it. Talk to someone if you have problem, share it with someone that you trust. Think positive.
Pick up some hobbies, distract yourself from overthink about it and slowly find solution to it. Doing outdoor activities can help in calming a person if your mind is too saturated with a lot of stuff, or spend time alone de- cluttered your mind and space like cleaning can sometimes help in making you a lot happier and will let you think better on the solution to your problem.
Established a skincare routine
Skin care is essential in maintaining skin condition. Good skin care routine will make skin condition become better, but of course with good products. First, you have to find out your skin type. Skin types can either be normal, dry skin, oily skin or combination skin.
To determine your skin type, start by washing your face and then waiting an hour. After it’s been an hour, dab your forehead and nose with a tissue and check to see if any oil rubbed off. If it did, it’s a sign that you have oily skin. If there isn’t any oil but your face feels dry and tight, you may have dry skin (4,5).
Once you have figured you skin types, find the right product for it. The common one should have cleanser, moisturizer, toner, sunscreen, exfoliator, make up removal. Start with cleansing your face at least twice per day. If needed exfoliate your skin at least twice a week, this is good to scrap all of the dead cells, dirt and blemishes on your face (5).
Once you have done these, now your skin is ready to absorb all the good nutrients from skincare, so this is the time for you to apply toner and moisturizer. Toner and moisturizer are good to hydrate skin. Leaving skin all moisturized after that. Then, now you can apply sunscreen. After sunscreen, it is time for you to wear you make up. If you are wearing make-up, make sure to thoroughly clean it at the end of the day using make up removal and star your night skin care routine as per daytime (5).
The different between daytime and night time skincare routine is just that usually during night, moisturizer that is used on skin is encouraged to be applied thick so that it will help skin not to be dry in the next morning!
There are also people who want to give extra care and boost to their skin, they can try to use serum. Serum is a product that is very concentrated with good vitamin for skin, like vitamin A, C, E. It’s usually used to fade scar or add more vitamins to skin. However, the correct order of using skincare products is important, if not, skin cannot absorb the nutrient that the product has, and it will just go wasted (5).
Diet vs skin condition
As much as sugary food is bad for your waistline so does it onto your skin! Sugary food can provoke acne and breakouts. Sugar and foods high on the glycemic index (meaning foods that, once ingested, convert quickly into glucose and cause your body’s insulin levels to elevate), lead to a burst of inflammation that goes throughout your entire body (6).
Vitamin C is a very common vitamin use to make skin become radiant and glow. Vitamin C rich foods are often commonly used to boost skin condition. Fruits like guava is really rich with vitamin C, it even has twice the content of vitamin C in orange!
However, if one is a picky eater it is also best to actually consume vitamin C supplement rather to apply it on your skin (topical application). On the market there are many types of vitamin C supplement. Most of it has really high vitamin C content such as 500 mg or 1000 mg. However according to RNI (Recommended Nutrient Intake) our body only need about 70mg of vitamin C only, so the higher dosage of vitamin will just be excreted through urine.
On the supplement ingredients content you may see, if the particular supplement is actually derived from natural ingredients or a synthetic one. Synthetic vitamin c is called ascorbic acid, it usually irritates tummy and has higher dosage of vitamin c as compared to vitamin C that is derived from natural fruits like berries, guava, orange etc.
Synthetic vitamin c or ascorbic acid also usually use, food coloring to make the supplement looks as if it has high content of vitamin C with really orange concentrated color, if you notice your soluble vitamin c supplement stain you glass water after being dilute into it, there s high probability that the supplement that you are taking has food coloring in it.
So be wise in choosing your vitamin C supplements, in order to to make your skin glow, know how to find good vitamin C as, remember it has to derived from natural source, no coloring and the content of vitamin C need not too high!
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths especially among women around the world. The development of breast cancer is a multi-step process involving multiple cell types, and its prevention remains challenging in the world. In general, breast cancer results from abnormal and uncontrolled division of the cells in the lobules (milk producing glands) or the ducts (11).
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Malaysia. One in 19 women in Malaysia are at risk compared to one in eight in Europe and the United States. According to Malaysia Breast Cancer Foundation, female breast cancer cases reported 65% of women were between age of 40 to 60 years old whereas a total number of incident with 59.7 Chinese women, 55.8 Indian women and 33.9 Malay women per 100,000 respectively. Unfortunately, 40% of the reported new cases were already in the very advanced stages of the disease (4).
However, of all breast disorders, palpable breast lump is the second most common presentation and important cause of anxiety and fear of cancer (8). Breast lump often found during breast self exam or breast exam by medical professional. Lumps found one of these ways are called palpable masses or palpable lesions where something that you can touch or feel (11).
How to know if a breast lump is normal or abnormal?
By comparison to breast cancer (carcinomas), benign breast lump often smooth, well demarcated dominant masses that are mobile whilst breast cancer is more likely to be malignant include firmness with poorly defined margins, irregular edges, immobility or fixation to the surrounding tissues (3,10).
“The most common causes of breast lump or palpable masses can be cysts, fibroadenomas, and carcinomas. Breast cysts is a fluid filled sacs or a water- filled balloon inside the breasts. Cysts are normally round or oval in shape which has distinct edges, smooth, firm and mobile (9). Meanwhile, fibroadenomas commonly found in women in their 20’s and 30’s, but they can be found in women at any age. They tend to shrink after a woan goes through menopause (2). Both cysts and fibroadenomas are generally benign or harmless but it is important for women to have regular breast exams or imaging test before any symptoms appear. Of all breast disorders, carcinomas is a type of malignant breast lump where a tumor or mass start in the epithelial cells that line organ and tissues such as adenocarcinoma (3).”
In short, breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it’s more likely to be treated successfully.
If a breast lump or palpable mass is found, doctor will do a mammogram or ultrasound (or both) to evaluate the mass. A biopsy may then be done to figure out if the mass is cancer. However, if a mammogram or ultrasound shows a palpable mass is benign, regular medical exams and mammograms is reasonable and safe alternative to immediately biopsy the mass (6).
Sign and Symptoms of Breast Cancer (1)
The most common symptom breast cancer is a new lump or mass that is painless, hard and has irregular edges. However, it can also be tender, soft or round and can even be painful.
Women need to be aware of changes in your breast and to know signs and symptoms of breast cancer. This is because sometimes mammograms or regular breasts check do not find every breast cancer.
Other possible symptoms of breast cancer may include:
Although some of the symptoms may be caused by things other than breast cancer, if you have them, they should be reported to health care professional and have screening tests.
Source: Breast Cancer Foundation
Risk Factors of Breast Cancer (5,11)
No one knows for certain what causes breast cancer. However, a number of risk factors are known to increase the chance of developing breast cancer. Some of the risk factors are beyond control, while some are linked to cancer-causing factors in the environment or due to lifestyle and personal choices such as pregnancy, smoking and drinking.
Woman is the most significant risk factor for developing breast cancer. This is due to women’s breast cells are constantly changing and growing as a results of the activity of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
As we age, you could be at higher risk of getting breast cancer. From age 30 to 39, the risk is 1 in 228, or .44%. That jumps to 1 in 29, or just under 3.5%, by the time you are in your 60s.
If you have a first-degree relative (mother, daughter, sister) or multiple relatives affected by breast or ovarian cancer (especially before they turned age 50), you could be at higher risk of getting breast cancer.
Women who have no children (nulliparity) or who had their first child after age 35 have a higher breast cancer risk.
Multiple pregnancy or become pregnant at an early age reduces breast cancer as breastfeeding will reduce their estrogen level and hence reduce the possibility of breast cancer risk.
Pregnancy changes the lobules inside the breast and that the lobules of women who have carried a pregnancy to term differ from those of a woman has not been pregnant. Thus, it may be that breast-feeding reduces breast cancer risk by changing the mammary gland in specific ways.
Women using oral contraceptive have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them.
Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause, particularly oestrogen and progesterone combined, may slightly increase your risk of breast cancer.
Use of alcohol slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Obesity has been found to be a breast cancer risk factor especially for women after menopause. Having more fat tissue can increase your oestrogen levels and increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer as fat tissues will produce estrogens as well.
Studies of fat in the diet have not clearly shown that this is a breast cancer risk factor. However, most studies found that breast cancer is less common in countries where the typical diet is low in total fat, low in polyunsaturated fat, and low in saturated fat.
Breastfeeding or lactating is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. However, nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months—a rate that has not improved in 2 decades. WHO and UNICEF recommend that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, however only 2 out of 5 babies are breastfeed within the first hour of birth. It is also recommended for baby to be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water. Yes, including water, cannot be given to baby at this period.
This is because, breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs. From the age of 6 months, children should begin eating safe and adequate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond. Other than that, breastmilk also contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses.
Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
However, how about the mother nutrition, should lactating mother eat more, for the sake of the baby?
Breastfeeding mothers generally need more calories to meet their nutritional needs while breastfeeding. An additional 450 to 500 kilocalories (kcal) of healthy food per day is recommended for well-nourished breastfeeding mothers, compared with the amount they were consuming before pregnancy (approximately 2,300 to 2,500 kcal per day for breastfeeding women verses 1,800 to 2,000 kcal per day for moderately active, non-pregnant women who are not breastfeeding). The number of additional calories needed for an individual breastfeeding woman is also affected by her age, body mass index, activity level, and extent of breastfeeding (exclusively breastfeeding verses breastfeeding and formula feeding).
To get these extra calories, focus on making healthy choices to help fuel your milk production. Choose for protein rich food, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils and seafood low in mercury. Choose variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables.
Eating a variety of foods while breast-feeding will make your baby have variety of complete nutrients through the breastmilk. But, if you are picky eater or a juggler who does not have time to eat, then discuss with your healthcare provider for daily multivitamin to consume until you wean your baby.
Another essential thing for mother when it comes to breastfeeding, is water consumption, it is very important for a breastfeeding mother especially to drink enough water in order to produce milk and to not making your dehydrate as well.
Be wary of juices and sugary drinks, however. Too much sugar can contribute to weight gain — or sabotage your efforts to lose pregnancy weight. Too much caffeine can be troublesome, too. Limit yourself to no more than 2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 ounces) of caffeinated drinks a day. Caffeine in your breast milk might agitate your baby or interfere with your baby’s sleep.
If you are exclusive pumping breastmilk for your baby, consider pumping your breastmilk every few hours in order to make sure the milk supply imitate the baby breastfeeding hour.
What foods and drinks should I limit or avoid while breast-feeding?
Certain foods and drinks deserve caution while you are breast-feeding. For example:
Alcohol. There is no level of alcohol in breast milk that is considered safe for a baby. If you drink, avoid breast-feeding until the alcohol has completely cleared your breast milk. This typically takes two to three hours for 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of 5% beer, 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of 11% wine or 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 40% liquor, depending on your body weight. Before you drink alcohol, consider pumping milk to feed your baby later.
Caffeine. Avoid drinking more than 2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 ounces) of caffeinated drinks a day. Caffeine in your breast milk might agitate your baby or interfere with your baby’s sleep.
Fish. Seafood can be a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Most seafood contains mercury or other contaminants, however. Exposure to excessive amounts of mercury through breast milk can pose a risk to a baby’s developing nervous system. To limit your baby’s exposure, avoid seafood that is high in mercury, including swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
Remember, there is no need to go on a special diet while you are breast-feeding. Simply focus on making healthy choices — and you and your baby will reap the rewards.
There is actually no specific study that has confirmed whether foods that have these lactogenic properties are able to increase milk production. However, usually foods that are suggested to be consumed in order to increase milk production are food that is rich in specific ingredients which can stimulate hormones used for milk production.
Factors influencing breastmilk production.
Breastmilk production is based on supply-demand system. The more the baby needs the more milk will be produced. However, this is also depending on the many factors as well such as hydration, stress level, separation between mother and child, new pregnancy and many more.
Mechanism of action of breastmilk production
Production of milk is directly influence by two types of hormones, oxytocin and prolactin. There are other hormones which influence production of milk indirectly such as oestrogen and progesterone. When a baby suckles at the breast, sensory impulse pass from the nipple to the brain. In response, part of brain will then secrete prolactin and another part will produce oxytocin.
Prolactin is important for the secretion of milk by the cells. The level of prolactin hormone in blood increases markedly during pregnancy and stimulates the growth and development of the mammary tissue, in preparation of the production of milk. However, milk is not secreted then because progesterone and oestrogen, these hormones of pregnancy, block action of prolactin. After delivery, the levels of progesterone and oestrogen will fall rapidly, thus prolactin is no longer blocked, and milk secretion begins.
Oxytocin hormone is the one who control the reflex in the breast for breastfeeding which call the “let-down reflex” or the “milk ejection reflex.” Oxytocin is produced more quickly than prolactin. It makes milk that is already in the breast flow and helps the baby to get the milk easily. Oxytocin starts working when a mother expects a feed as well as when the baby is suckling. The reflex becomes conditioned to the mother’s sensations and feelings, such as touching, smelling, or seeing her baby, or hearing her baby cry, or thinking lovingly about him or her. If a mother is in severe pain or emotionally upset, the oxytocin reflex may become inhibited, and her milk may suddenly stop flowing well. If she receives support, is helped to feel comfortable and lets the baby continue to breastfeed, the milk will flow again. It is important to understand the oxytocin reflex, because it explains why the mother and baby should be kept together and why they should have skin-to-skin contact. Oxytocin makes a mother’s uterus contract after delivery and helps to reduce bleeding. The contractions can cause severe uterine pain when a baby suckles during the first few days.
Lactogenic foods and breastmilk production
Thus far, there is no study established that lactogenic foods or galactagogues foods can increase breastmilk production. Since production of breastmilk is based on ‘demand-supply’ system. Thus, the frequent the breast is emptied the more milk will then be produced. However, eating healthy food, helps in transferring all the good nutrients to the baby. Food that is high with vitamins and minerals can help baby in their development as well, thus breastfeeding mother is suggest to eat healthily and increase her calorie intake to 2300 to 2500kcal per day as compared to moderately active women which is about 1800 to 2000 kcal. Breastfeeding mother also need to need avoid certain food such as caffeinated drinks.
Mother is suggested to consume protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils and seafood low in mercury. Choose a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables.
Eating a variety of foods while breast-feeding will change the flavor of your breast milk. This will expose your baby to different tastes, which might help him or her more easily accept solid foods down the road.
To make sure both mother and baby are getting all of the vitamins you need, it is recommended to continue take daily multivitamin such as vitamin B12 if you are vegetarian or if you are underweight, you may try to achieve the 2500 kcal diet, or you may use oral nutrition supplement to top up, your daily nutrient intake.
If you find that, certain food has that lactogenic properties on your body, you may continue consume it as it can increase your milk supply, but what works for you might not works for others. It can also be said that, eating food that you like can make you happy thus less stress and make you produce more milk, but again do not over consume it!
Calcium is among very common micronutrient heard by public and milk advertisement is the contributor to this. Through this many people know that calcium is very important for bone and teeth. Calcium can be found in various food products nowadays not only milk. It has becoming partly marketing strategy for food company to incorporate calcium in their food product especially if the target consumer is children or elderly since many people know that calcium is vital for these two groups, children, and elderly.
Function of Calcium?
Body needs calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also required to carry out important function such as for muscle to move, for nerves system to carry messages between brain and body parts, for blood vessels to move blood throughout the body, and for body to help release hormones and enzyme that affect almost every function in the human body (1,2,3).
How much calcium is needed?
Normal adult need about 1000 mg of calcium daily, however there are certain condition which require to consume up to 1300 mg of calcium daily such as for pregnant lady, lactating mother, post-menopausal women, and man who is above 70 years old of age (1,2,4).
Calcium and diet
Body does not produce calcium, so it needs to be consumed from foods. Luckily, calcium can be found in variety of foods such as dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, fish, and many other fortified food products (1,2,3). As for our local food products sardine, anchovies, cencaluk, budu, tofu, tempeh, broccoli, kalian, and tapioca leaves are among food that is high with calcium (4).
It is also important to take note that in order to absorb calcium, body needs vitamin D. Only a few foods containing small amount of natural vitamin D, such as egg yolks and salmon with bones. Mostly, we rely on the exposure to sunlight in order to get enough vitamin D, of course in Malaysia the country with sun all year long have no problem with this! However, as currently we are still in the so to say the ‘lockdown’ phase thus it is very important to remind everyone to get the sunlight every day at least 20 minutes for its vitamin D and calcium absorption (1,2,4).
Though all the foods stated above are easily found, but there are conditions which hinder individuals from getting enough calcium from diet thus require it from calcium supplementation.
Condition for calcium supplementation
Before considering calcium supplement, individuals must understand how much calcium needs by the body (stated above). Then individuals must seek help from nutritionist, dietitian, pharmacist, or doctors, where they will assess your calcium consumption from your diet through diet recall. If the calcium intake falls short thus you need to top up calcium from supplement.
Hypertensive individuals and diet with large amounts of sodium.
Several literature reviews on topic of total calcium intake from food and supplements with regards to hypertension suggested that there is possible link to lowering high blood pressure. However, since most of the study design have small number of subjects, and were tested with people from different background, and not to mention possess various kind of biases thus making it difficult for scientist to draw conclusion (1,2).
However, a large study subject (Women’s Health Study), found out that calcium intake was inversely associated with risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women, in terms of preventing hypertension (1,2).
The consumption of high sodium food lead to more calcium excretion through the urine, which will lead to constriction of blood vessels, which in the end resulting in high blood pressure. Drinking large water after consuming salty food, is not enough, as it may be making blood pressure return to its slightly normal condition, but it is not helping with the loss of calcium (1,2,5).
Pregnant and lactating mother
Often times, pregnant women is being reminded of how important is folic acid for the baby, even from the trying to conceive period, healthcare providers already advise them to consume folic acid, in order to prevent spina bifida to the baby. However, calcium is as well very important for mothers throughout pregnancy and lactating period especially for mother who is lack of calcium from diet (1).
Several professional organizations recommend calcium supplements during pregnancy for women with low calcium intakes to reduce the risk of preeclampsia (a condition where gestational hypertension always occur). For example, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ACOG) states that daily supplementation with 1,500–2,000 mg calcium may reduce the severity of preeclampsia in pregnant women who have calcium intakes less than 600 mg/day. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 1,500–2,000 mg calcium for pregnant women with low dietary calcium intakes, particularly those at higher risk of gestational hypertension (1).
As for normal healthy mother, the consumption of calcium is especially important during lactating period, mother may notice symptoms such as cramps which indicates lack of calcium during pregnancy and lactation period. Also if a mother is on iron supplementation as well, it is advisable to not consume both at the same time, it is best to gap several prior the consumption of these two since it can interfere with the absorption (1,2).
Post-menopausal women and elderly
Throughout the lifespan, bones are constantly being broken down and built up in a process known as remodelling. Bone cells called osteoblasts build bone, while other bone cells called osteoclasts break down bone if calcium is needed. In healthy individuals who get enough calcium and physical activity, bone production exceeds bone destruction up to about age 30. After that, destruction typically exceeds production. This is sometimes called “negative calcium balance,” which can lead to bone loss. Women tend to experience greater bone loss than men later in life due to menopause, a condition that lowers the amount of hormones that help to build and preserve bone (5).
Getting enough dietary calcium at all ages may help to slow the degree of bone loss, but calcium intakes at any level are not known to completely prevent bone loss. Calcium is less easily absorbed at later ages, and therefore eating a very high amount of calcium will not always resolve the problem (5).
Individuals with lactose intolerance and limit dairy products
Individuals with lactose intolerance usually, is unable to consume food that has high amount of calcium especially if it come from milk and dairy source of food. Thus, lactose intolerance individuals need to consume it form dark leafy vegetables and soy-based product. However, in most cases the consumption is not enough or individuals with lactose intolerance consume not enough vegetable rich with calcium or other food source rich with calcium, thus for this specific population calcium supplementation is needed either from fortified food product such as ready to eat cereals or from calcium supplementation tablet itself.
Individuals receiving treatment on certain medication in the long period
Well, there are certain medication which can influence the absorption of calcium. Medication such as to treat osteoporosis (bisphosphonates), antibiotics (fluroquinolone), medication to treat low thyroid problem (levothyroxine), anticonvulsant (phenytoin), diuretic medication (Lasix and bumex), antacids containing aluminium and magnesium and also glucocorticoids (prednisone). These are all either causing calcium loss in the urine or cause calcium depletion in the bone. Thus, if you are on these medication, it is advisable to take calcium rich foods four hours prior or after the intake of medication, so that it would not interfere with the absorption of calcium, it is also best if you consume calcium supplementation if you do have poor intake of calcium rich food as well (2).
In conclusion, in these situations, calcium supplements may help you meet your calcium requirements. Talk with your doctor or dietitian about whether calcium supplements are right for you.
Omega 3 rich foods
Omega 3 fatty acids are usually referring to as good fat. It serves to regulate skin’s oil production, improved balance hydration, subdue breakout and minimize signs of aging. Furthermore, it can also help to soften rough, dry skin, and have a soothing effect on irritation and dermatitis if apply topically. Omega 3 rich foods can improve the composition of skin by balancing its inflammatory response towards the effect of sun damage and also improve sensitive skin condition by making it less dehydrated and dry.
Foods that are rich with Omega 3 is fish! Fish oil specifically. Which is why if individual does not consuming fish at all or do not prefer to consume fish it is advisable to take Omega 3 and 6 supplements for their heart health. Fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardine and anchovies, salmon, and herring are good source of omega 3. In Malaysia, there are also freshwater fish which is rich with omega 3 such as catfish (ikan keli), patin fish, and terubok fish.
Apart from this, certain plant-based food also containing high level of omega 3 such as spinach (bayam), mustard leave (sawi), and ‘salad roket.’ There is also certain oil which can be used for cooking that is rich with omega 3 such as canola oil. Also, if you are keen to improve your skin health, instead of snacking chips or any unhealthy things, you may try to consume walnuts that is rich with omega 3 for your skin as well.
Antioxidants and vitamins rich foods
Antioxidants and vitamins rich foods are usually found in plant-based food such as vegetables and fruits. Fruits and vegetables which contain vitamins such as vitamins C, E, and A are known for ‘skin best friends.’ The way in which how all these vitamins works are usually when they engulf free radical or reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radical can produce through normal process in the body, or towards exposure of UV radiation and many more. In another words, it is commonly occurring to every human being. Which is why it is important to consume foods that are rich with vitamins and antioxidants to combat all the problem resulted from the formation of free radical.
According to Ministry of Health Malaysia, it is advisable to consume 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables daily. Serving size for vegetables is according to the cupped hand size. So 2 cupped hand size is equivalent to 2 servings. Whilst for fruit the serving size is depending on the type of fruit, medium size fruit such as apple, pear, and orange, 1 serving is equivalent to 1 fruit, as for bigger fruit, it is depending on the normal cut sized. So, to make it easy, if you consume 2 apples or 2 pear, or 2 banana, or 2 oranges per day is already met the requirement serving.
Specifically, foods that are rich with vitamin C is guava, orange, and lemon. Do you know that guava has twice amount of vitamin C than orange of the same size? Consuming 2 servings size of guava or 1 small guava already makes you met the requirement of vitamin C needed daily (75mg).
Some of the food that is rich with vitamin E are almond, pumpkin, corn, collard, red bell pepper and soy-based foods. Study shows that Vitamin E or tocopherol works synergistically with Vitamin C against UV radiation or exposure to sun damage.
Since most of the antioxidant rich foods and vitamin rich foods are mainly fruits and vegetables, thus it is essential to consume fruits and vegetables as per suggested to have young looking skin!
As many knows already sugar is bad for your health, as it can raised your blood sugar level, which will lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and all other metabolic diseases. Butttttt, it is also bad for skin.
Sugar in any form influences the two major causes of acne: hormones and inflammation. As you eat refined and processed carbohydrates like white sugar, your blood sugar levels increase at a faster rate, and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin. By eliminating sugar, you may be able to decrease the amount of insulin that your body makes, and as a result, oil and acne production will be increased too.
Food that is rich with sugar are dessert such as cakes, tart, cookies, ‘traditional’ kuih and bakery products. Our daily staple foods are as well refined carbohydrates or refined sugar, white rice, white bread, noodles, flour rich food are all refined carbohydrates in which for certain individual with sensitive it might make harm the skin condition in the long run.
In conclusion, eating healthy and well balance meal is the go-to way for younger looking skin. Consume a lot of fresh products, limit processed food, limit oily food containing trans fat and sugary food will not only helps with having younger looking skin but also healthier body!
Placenta is an organ which link foetus to mother. It transfers oxygen and nutrients to the foetus and removes foetal waste products to the mother. When the baby was born, placenta will also be discharged from the mother’s body. There has been a growing interest in placenta extraction as it is said to have high nutritional value. The nutritional substance includes cytokines, hormones, bioactive peptide, enzyme, growth factors, vitamins, and minerals.
Culturally, human rarely consume placenta, but recently there has been growing interest on consuming placenta be it from human or from animal. Mammal have been consuming placenta from years ago, it is called, placentophagia,whilst in human it is called placentophagy. The placenta could be served raw, cooked, or encapsulated and to be taken as supplements as it contains various nutritional benefits.
Rave on this started when many Hollywood celebrities started using placenta therapy as part of their skincare routine treatment. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, and even male celebrities like Harry Styles from One direction has said been using this for their skin to get baby looking skin.
Placenta consumption in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, it is rare for people to consume raw placenta. Usually, it comes in health supplement form and it is originating from deer or sheep. Hence, as it is in health supplements form any products containing placenta extract in a pharmaceutical dosage, will require to be registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) before it is being sold or used in Malaysia.
Benefits of placenta consumption.
Findings from research reported that nutrient which are delivered via the placenta could be retained even after the process of delivering the baby. The research also stated that placenta contains collagen, elastin, laminin, vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7 and B12. All these vitamins or better known as B complex vitamins play role in cell metabolism, cell division, cell development, and energy production.
Due to this aspect as well, it is said that it gives a lot of benefits to skin health. Placenta is even use in clinical setting such as for burn injuries and wound healing. One study compared the effectiveness of topical placental extract dressings versus the povidone iodine dressings in various patients with diabetic wounds. Placenta wound dressing could significantly accelerate the rate of wound healing when compared to povidone iodine dressings as it contained amino acids, vitamins and nucleotides which accelerated wound healing recovery of seven to ten days.
Due to all these effects many skincare products recently have incorporated placenta be it from sheep or deer in their skincare or supplement products.
Caution with regards to placenta in supplement
When it comes to placenta consumption in health supplement form, it is evaluated based on its safety use and quality of the product. Sheep placenta products must be hormone free in order to be safe. Since placenta usually contains hormone such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone thus being free from all the hormones are much essential for placenta-based supplement. You may perform online product search on National Pharmaceutical Registration Agency (NPRA) in order to confirm whether products that you are considering, or consuming have notified Ministry of Health. However, if product is not listed in DCA, it is not advisable to consume as the product safety and quality has not been evaluated and may pose health risks.
Skin is a window to your overall health. The condition and appearance of your skin is an indicator whether your overall health is well or not. When skin is in good condition it works hard to protect body from environmental stressors such as irritants, allergens, microbes, it helps to regulate temperature to make it looks and feels smooth, calm, well hydrated and even in colour (1).
But, what about when it does not in good condition? Is it hormonal? Is it because of food? Is it genetics? Or Is it all of these?
Yes, it is actually all of these!
Younger looking skin is closely related to lifestyle and genetics. Study found out that there is gene in human body that control our skin condition. Have you ever wondered why certain people who have similar age but have different appearance, one look younger than the actual age while another one look older? The study by dermatologist professor from Harvard, Alexa B. Kimball revealed that this has something to do with gene expressions. The study noted that people who have rapid gene expression makes the skin repairing process very quickly when exposed to external or internal stress which is why they are able to maintain younger looking skin. It is also noted that certain people who look young have rapid gene expression that mimic those in the younger age than their chronological age. The professor said that the skin looks younger because the skin behaved younger (1)!
To explain further, the one explained above is called intrinsic skin aging, which represents chronological aging and the way it affects skin is the same pattern it affects all internal organs. The second one is extrinsic skin aging, which we view as aged skin and is result from external factors such as environmental influence, mainly chronic sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation but also smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation and poor nutrition. Which is why when it comes to skin the best way is still to prevent from harm, which is from all these extrinsic factors (1).
Study which conducted among women from 20 to 70 years old comparing sun exposed skin (face and forearm) and sun protected skin (buttock) discovered that ultraviolet (UV) exposure is a main driver and accelerator of skin aging. Although exposure to the sun without any skin protection like sunscreen is dangerous to skin, but there is recommended amount of time needed to spend outdoor without sunscreen so that the penetration of UVB from sunshine can activate vitamin D3 in the skin. The recommended exposure needed is about 5 – 30 minutes only between 10 a.m to 3.00 p.m at least twice a week to face, arms, legs or back (2). In Malaysia, where are all year sunny, most of the time the over exposure to sun cause damage to the skin. Thus, if one of your 2021 resolution is to prevent sun damage then you need to start wearing sunscreen religiously!
Apart from smoking and exposure to pollution which can damage the skin, sleep deprivation may as well make skin looks older. Sleep works as a reset button to our whole health including skin. During sleep, the skin’s blood flow increases, and the organ rebuilds its collagen and repairs damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots. Study shows that sleep deprivation affects wound healing process, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation is also higher among individual who is sleep deprived, causing acne outbreaks, eczema, psoriasis, and sin allergies. In combating this, health experts recommend 7 – 9 hours of beauty sleep everyday to get a fluffy baby skin condition (3,4)!
Poor nutrition also is one of the biggest contributors to older looking skin and the biggest culprit of all is sugar! The process in which sugar interferes with skin is called glycation. Younger looking skin is always associated with firm and elastic condition which refers to the cross-linking structure between fibres in skin. This structure is able to repair on its own naturally, however with the consumption of sugar, the glycation process renders the structure and makes the skin unable to remodel into its original structure. Hence, making the young-looking skin condition is gone! Which is why consumption of sugar is not only bad due to all those metabolic conditions such as diabetes mellitus but as well as to skin condition.
In conclusion, skin is the biggest and fragile organs, it may seem strong and all withstanding all the external and internal harm that we cause upon it, but it as well needs to be pampered. Having a good skincare routine will helps with it condition but not only that it also needs good food, good hydration, and good sleep to keep everything in check and balance!
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) or also known as Evening star need no introduction, since people have been using this herbal remedy since years ago. This plant grows in region such as North America, Europe and many other regions with mild climate. Evening Primrose is famous for its oil, produced from the seeds of this unique plant. Evening primrose oil is used as one of the ingredients in various medicines and cosmetics products. The active ingredients in evening primrose oil are two types of Omegas 6 essential fatty acid, which are gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid. All these active ingredients have various functions and benefits to the body such as for growth and development (1).
Functions of EPO in Women’s Health.
There are various functions of EPO, such as for treating eczema, a condition in which skin becomes inflamed, itchy, scaly, and flaky, it is due to allergies or irritation. Besides, it also has been using to treat acne psoriasis, and other skin condition. Which explains why it is commonly used among women since pretty appearance is every women desire (1,2,3).
Apart from this, it has also been used to relief from the physical and psychological symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) such as cyclical mastalgia (breast pain) mood swings, headache, depression, food craving, period cramps, irritability, bloating, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and hormonal acne. According to study, 85% of menstruating women are affected of these symptoms, and study shows that there is significant improvement in the severity and duration of PMS in the group using EPO as compared to placebo group (1,2,4). Researchers believe that some women experience PMS because they are sensitive to the level of prolactin that is produce during ovulation and increase during luteal phase. So, what EPO does is that the active ingredients inside it (GLA) converts to prostaglandin E1 in the body which is able to help in preventing prolactin from triggering PMS (4).
As for women during menopausal age, EPO has been seen to helps with the menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes (the most common symptoms in the menopausal syndrome). A study among 56 menopausal women in the age of 45-59, observes that there is significant reduction of hot flash symptoms among menopausal women using EPO (4).
Dosage and what to be cautious of EPO.
Evening primrose oil is considered a herbal supplement, dosage of such is determined by various factors. Currently, many studies recommend dosage of 1 -3g daily (1,4). There are certain studies mentioning or using about higher dosage of EPO but, consumption of higher dosage of EPO requires advise from pharmacist and doctors since, there may be side effects for it. Also, consumption of medication such schizophrenic medications, antiplatelet medication, anticoagulant medication, and medication to treat seizures is contraindicated with consumption of EPO, thus why it is best to seek professional advice before consuming EPO as it might interfere with medication that you are consuming (1,4).
EPO can help women with their hormone regulation from they reach their puberty age, post-delivery of the baby, and during menopausal age. Which is why it can be said as women B.F.F (best friend forever) throughout their healthy journey!
Numerous studies have shown that grape seed extract has high level of antioxidants properties. Studies using punctured wounded mice has shown that mice who were treated with GSE in the wound affected area, grow tissue in that area faster than mice who were treated with normal saline only. Another thing noted is that, more organized tissue formation and higher rate of collagen deposition in mice that were treated with GSE as compared to mice with placebo. Topical application of 2% of GSE cream in the area of post-surgery surgical wound also shows to completely heal wound on an average 8 days as compared to placebo which took 14 days for wound healing. It is as so, due to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) properties of GSE which promotes regeneration of the damaged blood vessels and increases the quantity of free radicals present at the wound site. Free radical helps in killing and clearing pathogenic bacteria and endotoxin from the site and helps in curing wound.
Apart from wound healing and skin health properties, it also has anti-ageing properties. Proanthocyanidins in GSE reduce lipid oxidation on the skin structure therefore delay skin ageing.
Cardiovascular and antihypertensive properties.
Cardiovascular disorders (CVD) are among one of the major problems that arises due to the modern and unhealthy lifestyles which results in the primary cause of death worldwide. In general, it refers to the disorder related to the condition and function of heart and blood vessels. Alteration of these two may lead to cardiac arrest, heart stroke, hypertension, chest pain and many more. Studies show that GSE may prevent atherosclerosis (condition where there is build-up of fats, cholesterol, etc in the blood vessels walls which can restrict blood flow), inhibit or limit the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol), reducing inflammation, inhibit platelet aggregation, and lower blood pressure. It lowers blood pressure by supressing the oxidative stress, and inhibit the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) and nitric oxide mediate vasodilation, hence making the constricted blood vessels dilate and improve blood pressure.
GSE has shown that it has effective antimicrobial property against both gram positive ( baccilus cereus, staphylococcus aureus, bacillus coagulans, etc) and gram negative bacteria ( pseudomonal aeruginosa, escherichia coli, etc). GSE contains resevatrol, in which when apply topically it will then increase production of cathelicidin, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.
GSE has various benefits to health due to its high antioxidant properties, it is able to scavenge the free radicals which an essential feature that could help with various body functions.
Tick tock tick tock…. it is one week left till hari raya! Although many are busy with raya preparation such as raya clothing, raya food, and raya home decoration let’s not forget about our face specifically SKIN during hari raya. Yaa… one might argue that its ok I have chosen my make up raya look, but wait, do you know that to have a really good make up it needs a really good canvas, which is your PREETY FACE!
So, this is the right time to start taking care and really pamper your skin so that its condition is top notch during hari raya!
TIP 1: Start drink and eat healthily!
During Ramadhan, many people tend to drink less water and consumed less healthy food which makes many are constipated. So, start now to drink 8 glasses of water everyday and consume healthy food. Water is essential in keeping skin moist and healthy!
Consume healthy food means to consume variety of food, in balance, and in moderation. Try to include more fiber into your diet which will make you not only lose weight but also will give you a better-looking skin.
Consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day (3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits). Vegetables and fruits are rich with nutrients which can improve your radiance, skin texture, and moisten your skin. Consumption of fruits and vegetables especially pomegranate, guava, kiwi, orange, lemon, tomatoes, turnip greens, mustard green, and broccoli will help with your skin condition, as these are all vegetables and fruits that are rich with vitamin A, C, and E which we need not to talk about when it comes to its benefits to your skin!
Apart from the consumption of vitamin A, C, and E, antioxidant foods also will help with skin texture, radiance, and smoothness. Standard measure used to quantify antioxidant is ORAC value, the higher the ORAC value the more antioxidant a particular food posses, which is why certain patented ingredients such as red orange extract (red orange complex) and pomegranate fruit extract (viqua) are beneficial and can assure fast result as it contain about 12800 ORAC value.
Also, limit the consumption of sugary food, as sugary food can destroy the collagen in your skin thus making your skin less elastic and prone looking older.
TIP 2: Protect yourself from the sun.
According to study the number one thing which can really harm your skin is exposure to the sun. Which is why scientist suggest to limit activities outside from 10 AM to 4 PM as this is the prime time when the sun exposure is the greatest and can harm your skin. If you need to do activities outside and is exposed to the sun during this hour, it is best to apply sunscreen beforehand. Sunscreen generally takes 20 minutes to be activated, thus apply 20 minutes before you are out and reapply every 2 hourly or more if you sweat a lot or if you are swimming.
A lifetime sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, increase risk of skin cancer and many more, but it is still not too late for you to start wearing your sunscreen every day, any time you think you are exposed to sun.
TIP 3: Treat yourself skin gently, pamper your skin.
It is also important to establish a good skincare regime by this time. Make sure it includes cleansing, toning, moisturizing and sunscreen. It is not a good idea to introduce your skin to any new active ingredients at this point of time since you do not want to gamble your skin purging time or after effect of using any active ingredient during raya right?
TIP 4: Exercise and manage your stress.
Exercise regularly can improve blood circulation and blood flow in your body which makes skin appear more healthy, pinkish, and at the same time will reduce your stress. So, start exercise now!
It might be tricky to exercise during fasting month, so you must choose your exercise time wisely. Always try to exercise before you break your fast perhaps 30 minutes – 1 hour before or at night.
Lastly, it is still not too late to start your healthy-looking skin for hari raya project! Gather all the necessary equipment and start now and you will be thanking yourself for looking all fabulous this coming Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Also, Happy Hari Raya Aidil Fitri in advance.
There are many factors influencing number of hair falls, from disease related symptoms to simply due to nutrient deficiency. Some commonly heard causes of hair falls are alopecia, thyroid problems, and lupus. Which is why it is important to know how much hair falls is normal and when should you go and seek treatment.
According to America Academy of Dermatology, common hair falls per day is about 50 to 100 strands of hair, as we have more than about 100 000 hair follicles on head only, thus losing about 50 – 100 strands of hair per day will not causing you bald, patchiness, and spots, but of course if you have longer hair, losing hair is more noticeable as compared to if you have shorter hair. Also, formation of spots, patchiness, bald in your hair area, and pattern of clumps of hair loss, is a sign that you need to seek primary care doctors or dermatologist.
Generally, according to scientist it is hard to quantify normal number of hair loss since it is still depending on gender, the way hair is style and frequency of hair styling, frequency of hair colouring, washing, bleaches, brushing, and heat styling. It is also noted that, women tend to loss hair more than man as 40% of women style hair a lot more than men and because women experience certain life events which makes them losing more hair such as during pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause.
But, if you are experiencing more hair loss than usual and it is not something due to diseases, or life events that makes you stress you might need to find solution in making your hair grow healthier again!
The answer to this is by improving your diet!
According to studies, minerals, and micronutrients such as biotin is responsible for keratin production which will help with hair growth. Vitamin C act as strong antioxidants to scavenge free radical in hair follicles resulting in strong hair root, it also helps to produce collagen which strengthen and prevent hair from becoming brittle and breaking. Vitamin C also helps to absorb more iron into the body which can prevent anaemia, that can lead to more hair loss.
Another important nutrient is vitamin A, vitamin A is abundance in yellowish -orange food, such as carrot but it is also in greenish food such as spinach. It helps skin gland to produce sebum, which will make hair less frizzy, brittle, and easily broken. Although vitamin A, can improve your hair condition but too much vitamin A might be dangerous to your body and can harm your hair! So, consume vitamin A rich food moderately.
Minerals that play an important role for hair growth and repair is zinc. It also helps to keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Zinc rich food such as oysters, spinach, beef, and meat, helps to reduce hair loss caused by zinc deficiencies.
In conclusion, by identifying the type of nutrient that is beneficial for your hair health might give idea on what can you improve and what are you lacking on your diet. In effort to improve hair health, hair care routine, such as washing hair when needed, avoid heat styling and excessive hair styling, avoid exposure of hair to colorant, chemical etc that can harm for some time can help to improve hair condition.
Consumption of fish is really important as it is a good source of protein. It is recommended to consume one fish per day according to Malaysia food pyramid. This is because the consumption of fish in Malaysia is rarely equated to having risk of contamination of mercury etc unlike in western countries. This might be due to types of fish and size or fish that we are consuming here as compared to in the other part of the world. It is said that the bigger fish the more contamination that it has hence there is recommendation for pregnant mother to consume small fish rather than big fish to avoid the risk of contamination.
Research on the benefits of fish oil supplement also vary greatly, which is why in this article we are going to list out who might need fish oil supplement in their daily life!
Benefits of fish oil consumption vary greatly from one study to another, there is study link between mental health and disorder with omega, as it said that EPA and DHA can improve brain development ability, even in young children, there are also study noted that it can help with cardiovascular diseases, joint pain, and skin problem such as eczema. The question is, is true that fish oil consumption can help with these all ? (1)
Individual with mental health problem/disorder
Researchers examined link between suicide and consumption of fatty acids intake among more than 205, 000 participants in three long term studies from 1988 to 2008 found out that there is no evidence that intake of fatty acids or fish lowered the risk of suicide. “The vast majority of previous literature on whether there is a mental health benefit from fatty acid intake has been based on depression screening data. Our study represents one of the few times—and it is certainly the largest of its kind—that this relationship has been studied with hard data on suicide mortality.” (2)
Whilst for brain health, study noted that it is better to eat nutritious diet and be physically active than to take omega 3 fatty acids supplements or fish oil, Study showed little benefit of omega 3 supplements on memory of a 3073 elderly people at risk of macular degeneration (an age related cause of vision loss). The participants of the study were randomly assigned to take omega 3 pills or placebo for five years. The researcher concluded that supplement cannot replace a healthy dietary pattern, if you eat a healthy diet with high amounts of fruits, vegetables, and marine fish, you probably don’t need to take fish oil supplement. The overall dietary pattern is more important than a single nutrient (2).
Individual with cardiovascular disease
Recently there are many studies suggesting that Omega 3 will not lower the risk of heart problem. To answer this Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist from Harvard Medical School said that, he gathered 20 previous studies involving more than 68, 000 patient since 1989, overall, fish oil supplement neither harm nor good, since they found that the supplements did not significantly reduce people’s risk of mortality, cardiac death, heart attack, and stroke. But according to him, the research and link between the fish oil supplementation and heart problem is rather complex, since it does not only take fish oil to shield heart from various problems and diseases, it also take weight status, exercise frequency, cigarettes’ or substance use and many more (3,4,5).
Which is why interpreting the study, we would still recommend customers and patients to consume fish more as a first line measure. But, if you do not like fish, or you feel like your consumption of fish is not enough or you simply want to be sure that your body is getting omega 3, there is no harm in taking fish oil, it will certainly help with the nutrient essential nutrient, since omega 3 is a nutrient that your body cannot produce can only get form diet (3,4,5).
Individual with skin problem
A systematic review for the treatment of atopic dermatitis or eczema using fish oil supplementation is very scarce, the studies available are all only small sample size studies. Not only these three studies are small, it is also described as poor methodological studies from reviewer, as it has many confounding factors, but the outcomes of these studies shows positive outcome from eczema condition and overall daily living as compared to placebo (6,7).
Another convinced relationship between consumption of fish oil and skin health is that in a study where pregnant lady were given fish oil during pregnancy and follow up to 6 years found out that, consumption of fish oil during pregnancy lead to positive skin health outcome on babies skin health. The study also concluded that maternal supplementation with fish oil might have prophylactic potential for long-term prevention of asthma in offspring (6,7).
In conclusion, consumption of fish oil has mixing result in studies depending on what kind of problem that we are looking at to solve with fish oil. Since there are various factors influencing a particular health problem. There is no magic pill in this world honey! You need to however eat healthily, consume a lot of vegetables and fruits, and exercise, but if you think that you do not get enough omega 3 from diet, as you dislike fish, or you are afraid to consume fish regularly due to contamination etc, or you simply would like to make sure that your body has enough omega 3, then there is no harm in taking fish oil supplementation. It just that in order to make sure you get the right omega 3 for your body, buy it from pharmacy, make sure the product has Ministry of Health (MOH) notification number, and simply ask healthcare professional on which omega 3 supplementation suits you, simply for the dosage and perhaps current medication that you are on and you are good to go!
Collagen is a fiber-like structure that is used to make connective tissue, which connects other tissue together. It is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Collagen is a component that help to make tissue strong, resilient, and able to withstand stretching (1).
Although the saying that our bodies make less collagen as we age is true, but the production of collagen drops most not only because of this but also due to excessive exposure to sun, smoking including second hand smoke, excessive consumption of alcohol, lack of sleep and lack of exercise. As the collagen level in our skin diminish, the deep skin layers change from a tightly organized network of fibers to an unorganized maze. Environmental exposure to skin such as harsh weather can also damage collagen fibers by reducing their thickness and strength which can lead to wrinkles on the skin surface (1).
Research on collagen supplementation are mostly on joint and skin health. Although studies pertaining to this using human subjects are still lacking, but some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplementation improve skin elasticity. In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5 – 5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity as compared to those who did not. Another study found out that women who consume it for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth as compared with a control group (1,2, 3,4).
Trials on collagen supplement and joint health also found that it can improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain for people with osteoarthritis or in athletes (5). Collagen comprises about 60% of cartilage, a very firm tissue that surrounds bones and cushions them from the shock of high-impact movements; so a breakdown in collagen could lead to a loss of cartilage and joint problems.
Other than consumption of collagen based supplement, there are also foods that is rich with collagen, or that encourage collagen production other than lifestyles modification mentioned above. Food such as tough cuts of meat full of connective tissue like pot roast, brisket, and chuck steak. However, a high intake of red meat is not recommended as part of a long-term healthy diet. Collagen is also found in the bones and skin of fresh and saltwater fish. Bone broth which require animal bones to simmer in water with small amount of vinegar for 4 – 24hours also is said to have high collagen properties. However, the amount of amino acids will vary among batches, depending on types of bones used, cooking period, and many more. Other foods that can help to with production of collagen are foods that is rich with zinc such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vitamin c rich food such as citrus fruits, bell peppers and tomatoes.
Although studies on the effectiveness of collagen to health is still not in the solid, but many available research has not shown negative side effects in individuals given collagen supplements (6). Thus, it is worth to try for its said benefits especially if the benefits is your health concerns! But be sure to talk to your healthcare professionals on this based on your medication intake and your health issues before consuming any health supplement.
There are many supplements on the market formulated for various purposes. Knowing what to look for in your supplements help you make a better choice in choosing supplements for your health, here we share some of the tips in choosing supplements for your skin!
Vitamin C and antioxidants
Vitamin C has many functions in the body, including function related to the skin health. It acts as a co -factor in collagen to stabilize the collagen structure on the skin. Vitamin C is required in the formation of an enzyme which is essential in forming collagen, which explains why sufficient consumption of vitamin C helps with wrinkle free looking skin due to the formation of collagen.
When choosing vitamin C supplementation, it is best to choose natural vitamin C, that derived from plant based vitamin C rich foods such as guava, berries, orange, pomegranate, etc., this will give better absorption of skin as compared to synthetic vitamin C to the body and will also give various function of antioxidants properties to overall body health not only skin!
High dosage of vitamin C, does not necessarily means that it is better. We are recommended to consume about 70 mg of vitamin C daily according to the Ministry of Health. It can be consumed from fruits, vegetables, and fortified food, however, for certain people it is hard to consume fruits and vegetables on daily basis due to various reasons. Thus consumption of vitamin C from supplement can be used as an alternative.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are usually referring to as good fat. It serves to regulate the skin’s oil production, improved balance hydration, subdue breakout and minimize signs of aging. Furthermore, it can also help to soften rough, dry skin, and have a soothing effect on irritation and dermatitis if apply topically. Omega 3 rich foods can improve the composition of skin by balancing its inflammatory response towards the effect of sun damage and also improve sensitive skin condition by making it less dehydrated and dry.
Omega 3 rich foods can be found in food such as cat fish, terubok fish, patin fish, mackerel, spinach, mustard green, tofu and tempeh. People who consume lack of fish in their diet or who does not consume fish at all are at risk of lacking omega 3 nutrient (DHA & EPA) in their body. Thus, should actually obtain this from supplement.
When choosing supplement with omega 3, it is important to make sure that the supplement has enteric coated technology which will allow the nutrients to metabolize at its designated place that is small intestine and will not be broken down by stomach acid. A good Omega 3 supplementation also must undergo molecular distillation process to avoid any contamination such as mercury contamination from the fish oil source.
Our body can produce its own collagen, however the production of collagen gradually declined as we aged, which explains among the sign of aging is wrinkles, that is coming from skin that is less elastic, supple, and firm. We can get collagen from food and there are also foods which can stimulate production of collagen and break down existing collagen. Body makes collagen from combining proline and glycine (types of protein).Thus consuming food high with proline and glycine will help with restoring collagen level in the body.
Foods that are high with collagen are mostly diet from protein-rich foods such as bone broth, pork, chicken, beef, eggs, and fish. Plant based food also have added benefits to collagen rich food consumption since vegetables and fruits contain high level of antioxidants which can protect oxidative stress from reducing collagen.
Apart from these, you may consume collagen supplement for maintenance of your skin health and help with slowing wrinkle formation. It is hard to identify criteria for good collagen supplementation, but among things that one need to consider in choosing collagen supplementation is the other ingredients combining with it and for what purposes. Since combination of collagen with other ingredients might increase its bioavailability and making it has more functions not only to skin but also to overall body health.