Health Articles

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

How can exercise improve blood circulation?

Many experts recommend doing exercise or at least moving around to improve blood circulation. This is because exercise leads muscles to require more oxygen, which improves blood circulation.


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;


  1. Ankle rotation
  2. Walking
  3. Heel and toe raises
  4. Knee flexions
  5. Squat
  6. Using exercise ball
  7. Yoga movement that requires movement of hands and legs

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!

What Is Anemia?

Anemia is a common blood disorder. It is a condition when the body does not have enough red blood cells and is unable to deliver enough oxygen throughout the body.


Anemia is diagnosed by a low haemoglobin or hematocrit level in a blood test. The main protein in red blood cells is haemoglobin. It transports and distributes oxygen throughout your body. Your haemoglobin level will be low if you have anaemia. If it falls below a certain level, your tissues or organs may not receive enough oxygen.



Symptoms of anemia


Lethargic or tiredness are the most common symptoms of anemia. Other symptoms include pale skin, an irregular or fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and light-headedness.


Types of anemia


Among the types of anemia are sickle cell anemia, iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, 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, chickpeas, fried soy bean curd, liver, dried anchovies, bitter gourd, spinach, and kangkung.


How to improve your blood circulation?

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.

Benefits of Ginkgo

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.

How do you make your skin glow?

Skin is the largest organ in our body. Not only that it functions as to protect our body from microbes and the elements, it also helps to regulate body temperature and permits the sensation of touch, heat and cold.

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 protect skin from premature ageing like wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Studies show that people who are under 55 years old and wear sunscreen regularly can lower their risk of premature ageing by 24% as compared to those who wear sunscreen occasionally or not 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 aqua sunscreen, which is meant for dry skin, etc. You also must apply sunscreen every 2 hours or after exercise. Sunscreen should also be applied at least 30 minutes before going out, as it requires time to be absorbed by the skin and activated in order to protect your skin (2). 


Move, Move, Move


We know that exercising regularly can keep our bodies fit and healthy, but did you know that it can also keep your skin healthy?


Exercise increases blood circulation and flow throughout the body, hence making your skin radiant and glowing. Pssttt…you can kill twoi birds with one stone by doing this; you can keep your body lean while also getting healthy skin! (3)


Keep your body hydrated


Our skin is exposed to various conditions: cold due to the air conditioner, warm due to the water, etc., so drinking plenty of water will make our skin condition better. Everybody is born with a particular skin type, whether it is dry, oily, or a combination; however, all these surrounding factors and age factor can change skin condition as well (4, 5).


In order to see whether your skin is dry, try to pinch it in an area and see whether it has a wrinkle on it after your pinch or whether it bounces back after your pinch, which is an indicator for well-hydrated skin. Wrinkles and less bouncy skin are indicators of dry skin; it can also sometimes be seen based on your urine colour if it is too concentrated, meaning your body does not get a sufficient amount of water (4, 5).


Lifestyle changes can reverse this; drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Limiting the intake of alcohol and drinking less caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea can improve the dry skin condition (4).


Face and manage your stress. 


We used to believe that suppressing our feelings and emotions was better for everyone, including ourselves. However, that is not always the case; we have to deal with it and manage it. Talk to someone if you have a problem; share it with someone that you trust. Think positive.


Pick up some hobbies, distract yourself from overthinking about it, and slowly find solutions. Doing outdoor activities can help calm a person if their mind is too saturated with a lot of stuff, or spending time alone can de-clutter their mind and create more space. Cleaning can sometimes make you a lot happier and help you think better about the solution to your problem.


Established a skincare routine


Skin care is essential for keeping skin in good condition. A good skin care routine will improve skin condition, but only if the products used are of high quality.First, you have to find out your skin type. Normal skin, dry skin, oily skin, and combination skin are the four skin types.


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 has 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 out your skin type, find the right product for it. The common one should have cleanser, moisturizer, toner, sunscreen, exfoliator, and makeup removal. Start with cleansing your face at least twice per day. If you need to exfoliate your skin at least twice a week, this is a good time to remove all of the dead cells, dirt, and blemishes on your face (5).


Once you have done these, your skin is now ready to absorb all the good nutrients from your skincare, so now is the time for you to apply toner and moisturizer. Toner and moisturiser are good for hydrating the skin. After that, the skin is completely moisturized.You can now apply sunscreen.After sunscreen, it is time for you to wear makeup. If you are wearing make-up, make sure to thoroughly clean it at the end of the day using make-up removal and start your nighttime skin care routine as per daytime (5).


The only difference between a daytime and nighttime skincare routine is that moisturiser used on the skin is encouraged to be applied thickly at night so that the skin is not dry in the morning!


There are also people who want to give extra care and a boost to their skin; they can try to use serum. Serum is a product that is very concentrated with good vitamins for the skin, like vitamin A, C, and E. It’s usually used to fade scars or add more vitamins to the skin. However, the correct order of using skincare products is important; if not, skin cannot absorb the nutrients that the product has, and it will just go to waste (5).


Diet vs skin condition


 As much as sugary food is bad for your waistline, so is it for your skin! Acne and breakouts can be exacerbated by sugary foods.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


Vitamin C is a very common vitamin used to make skin become radiant and glow. Vitamin C-rich foods are often used to boost skin conditions. Fruits like guava are really rich with vitamin C; it even has twice the content of vitamin C in an orange!


However, if one is a picky eater, it is also best to actually consume a vitamin C supplement rather than apply it topically (topical application). On the market, there are many types of vitamin C supplements. Most of it has really high vitamin C content, such as 500 mg or 1000 mg. However, according to the RNI (recommended nutrient intake), our body only needs about 70 mg of vitamin C, so the higher dosage of the vitamin will just be excreted through urine.


On the supplement ingredients list, you can see whether the supplement is made from natural or synthetic ingredients.Synthetic vitamin C is called ascorbic acid; it usually irritates the stomach and has a higher dosage of vitamin C as compared to vitamin C that is derived from natural fruits like berries, guavas, oranges, etc.


Synthetic vitamin C or ascorbic acid is also usually coloured with food colouring to make the supplement look as if it has a high content of vitamin C. If you notice that your soluble vitamin C supplement stains your glass of water after being diluted in it, there is a high probability that the supplement that you are taking has food colouring in it.


So be wise in choosing your vitamin C supplements. In order to make your skin glow, know how to find good vitamin C. Remember,  it has to be derived from a natural source with no coloring, and the content of the vitamin C does not need to be too high!




  1. Health (May, 15 2012). 15 Ways Smoking Ruins you Skin.
  2. Skin Cancer Foundation (June, 2019). All about Sunscreen, Why you need it and how it works for you?.
  3. WebMD (n.d). Exercise for Healthy Skin.
  4. Healthline March, 2, 2018). Is My Skin Dehydrated?
  5. Kari Molvar. The New York Times (n.d). How to Build a Skincare Routine.
  6. Forbes (n.d). Does Eating Sugar really Caue Acne?

Breast Lump, Is this Cancer?

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 incidents 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 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 woman 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 are a type of malignant breast lump where a tumor or mass start in the epithelial cells that line organtissues 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 is 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:

  • Skin dimpling
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction or inverted
  • Red or pitted skin over your breast
  • Change of the appearance of the skin on your breast.
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Swollen lymph nodes (sometimes breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump

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.

  • Gender

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.

  • Age

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.

  • Family history of breast cancer

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.

  • Not having children (parity) or late pregnancies

Women who have no children (nulliparity) or who had their first child after age 35 have a higher breast cancer risk.

  • Breastfeeding

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.

  • Oral contraceptive use

Women using oral contraceptive have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them.

  • Hormone replacement therapy 

Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause, particularly oestrogen and progesterone combined, may slightly increase your risk of breast cancer. 

  • Alcohol

Use of alcohol slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer.

  • Obesity and high-fat diets

Obesity has been found to be a breast cancer risk factor especially for women after menopause. Having more fat tissue can increase your estrogen 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.



  1. American Cancer Society. 2019. Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms [online]. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  2. American Cancer Society. 2019. Fibroadenomas of the Breast. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  3. American Cancer Society. 2019. Type of Breast Cancer [online]. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  4. Breast Cancer Foundation. (n.d). About Breast Cancer [online]. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  5. Breast Cancer Organization. 2016. Breast Cancer Risk Factors [online]. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  6. Breast Cancer Organization. 2019. Keep an Eye on Benign Breast Lumps is Safe Alternative to Immediate Biopsy [online]. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  7. Jaime, H. and Kimberly, H. 2019. A Comprehensive Guide to Breast Cancer: Breast cancer overview [online]. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  8. Kumar, A., Vohra, L., S., Bhargava, S. and Reddy, P., S. 2017. INVESTIGATION OF BREAST LUMP: AN EVALUATION. Medical Journal Armed Forces India 55(4): 299-302.
  9. Mayo Clinic. 2018. Breast cysts [online]. Available from [Accessed on 13 April 2020].
  10. Sandhya, P. 2001. Detection and Evaluation of a Palpable Breast Mass. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 76 (6): 641-648.
  11. Sun, Y., S., Zhao, Z., Zhang, N., Y., Fang, X., Hang, J., L., Zhi, Y., Z, Wen, S., Jiang, J., M., Yao, P., P. and Han, P., Z. 2017. Risk Factors and Preventions of Breast Cancer. International Journal of Biological Sciences. 13 (11): 1387-1397.


Why should mother choose to breastfeed?

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.



  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Fact Sheet on Breastfeeding. (Accessed on June 4, 2020)
  2. Centre of Disease Control (CDC). Maternal Diet, Diet Consideration for breastfeeding mothers. (Accessed on July 4, 2020).
  3. Mayo Clinic. Infant and Toddlers Diet. (Accessed on July 4, 2020)
  4. Breastfeeding Diet 101 – What to Eat While Breastfeeding. (Accessed on July 4, 2020)



Lactogenic Food, Is it Necessary for Breastfeeding Women?

Lactogenic food or medically known as galactagogues, is the kind of food, herb or spices that is said can be used to improve breastmilk production. Lactogenic comes from Latin word where ‘lacto’ means milk and ‘genic’ means production. Example of food that can increase breastmilk is almond, garlic, dark green vegetables, oat and many more.

How does it work?

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!



  1. Centre of Disease Prevention (CDC). Maternal Diet during Breastfeeding.,per%20day%20for%20moderately%20active (Accessed on July 20, 2020)
  2. Breastfeeding Diet 101. What to eat while breastfeeding. (Accessed on July 20, 2020).
  3. Mayo Clinic. Breastfeeding Nutrition: Tips for Moms. (Accessed on July 20, 2020).
  4. Health Engine. Nutrition During Breastfeeding. (Accessed on July 20, 2020).
  5. Making Breastfeeding the Decision. (Accessed on July, 2020).




Calcium Supplementation, Who Needs 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).


Studies on calcium intake and bone density in postmenopausal women have mixed results that could be due to various reasons. Because the results of some large trials found that higher calcium intakes (usually achieved with a supplement) was associated with improved bone density and slightly lower risk of hip fractures, the RDA for calcium for postmenopausal women is higher than at younger ages. Some studies suggest that frail elderly (80 years and older living in institutions) may benefit from supplementation more than “younger” elderly who live independently in the community (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.




  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). Department of Health and Human Service. Calcium. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. (Accessed on November 18, 2020).
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). Department of Health and Human Service. Calcium. Fact Sheet for Consumers. (Accessed on November 18, 2020).
  3. Mayo Clinic. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Healthy Lifestyle. Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance. (Accessed on November 18, 2020).
  4. Ministry of Health (MOH). National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition. Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI): A Report of the Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines (2017).
  5. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. Calcium. (Accessed on November 18, 2020).

Foods that can MAKE or BREAK your skin!

Our skin is one of the largest organs in our bodies. It is our body's main defense organ against external insults such as radiation, ultraviolet rays, pathogenic microorganisms (bad bacteria), and mechanical and chemical stress (1). The condition of the skin or the skin barrier is greatly supported by the foods that we eat, whether we like it or not. There are foods that can benefit your skin and foods that can harm your skin. The foods listed below can either make or break your skin!

Omega-3-rich foods


The term "good fat" usually refers to omega-3 fatty acids. It regulates skin oil production, improves hydration balance, controls breakouts, and reduces signs of ageing. Furthermore, when applied topically, it can help soften rough, dry skin and soothe irritation and dermatitis. Omega-3-rich foods can improve skin composition by balancing its inflammatory response to sun damage, as well as improve sensitive skin condition by making it less dehydrated and dry.



Fish is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Specifically, fish oil. As a result, if an individual does not consume fish at all or prefers not to consume fish, it is recommended that they take Omega 3 and 6 supplements for their heart health. Omega-3-rich fish include mackerel, tuna, sardine and anchovies, salmon, and herring. Freshwater fish rich in omega 3 are also available in Malaysia, including catfish (ikan keli), patin fish, and terubok fish.


Aside from that, certain plant-based foods, such as spinach (bayam), mustard leaf (sawi), and 'salad roket,' contain high levels of omega 3. There are also omega-3-rich oils that can be used in cooking, such as canola oil. Also, if you want to improve the health of your skin, instead of snacking on chips or other unhealthy foods, try eating walnuts, which are high in omega 3.


Antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods


Plant-based foods, such as vegetables and fruits, are typically high in antioxidants and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamins like C, E, and A are known as skin best friends.' All of these vitamins work in the same way when they engulf free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radicals can be produced naturally in the body, or as a result of UV radiation exposure, among other things. In other words, it is something that happens to everyone. As a result, it is critical to consume foods high in vitamins and antioxidants to combat all of the problems caused by free radical formation.


The Malaysian Ministry of Health recommends eating two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day. The cupped hand size is used to determine vegetable serving size. As a result, 2 cupped hand size equals 2 servings. While the serving size for fruit varies depending on the type of fruit, 1 serving is equivalent to 1 fruit for medium-sized fruit such as apple, pear, and orange, while larger fruit is dependent on the normal cut sized. To simplify things, if you eat two apples, two pear, two bananas, or two oranges per day, you've already met the daily serving requirement.


Guava, orange, and lemon are examples of vitamin C-rich foods. Did you know that guava has twice the vitamin C content of an orange of the same size? Consuming 2 servings of guava or 1 small guava already meets your daily vitamin C requirement (75mg).



Almond, pumpkin, corn, collard, red bell pepper, and soy-based foods are examples of vitamin E-rich foods. According to research, Vitamin E or tocopherol works synergistically with Vitamin C to protect against UV radiation or sun damage.


Since most of the antioxidant- and vitamin-rich foods are mainly fruits and vegetables, it is essential to consume fruits and vegetables as suggested to have young looking skin! 




Sugar, as many people already know, is bad for your health because it raises your blood sugar level, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other metabolic diseases. But it's also bad for your skin.


Sugar, in any form, has an impact on the two main causes of acne: hormones and inflammation. When you consume refined and processed carbohydrates, such as white sugar, your blood sugar levels rise faster, and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin. By avoiding sugar, you may be able to reduce the amount of insulin your body produces, which will reduce the oil and acne production.


Desserts such as cakes, tarts, cookies, 'traditional' kuih, and bakery products are high in sugar. Our daily staple foods are also high in refined carbohydrates or refined sugar. White rice, white bread, noodles, and flour-rich foods are all high in refined carbohydrates, which can harm the skin condition in the long run.


In conclusion, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is the best way to achieve younger-looking skin. Consuming a lot of fresh products, limiting processed foods, oily foods containing trans fat, and sugary foods will help you not only have younger looking skin but also a healthier body!



  1. Cleveland Clinic. 23 Foods that are good to your skin. (Accessed on January 8, 2020).
  2. Food fix: Healthier skin. (Accessed on January 8, 2020).
  3. Dattola, A., Silvestri, M., Bennardo, L., Passante, M., Scali, E., Patruno, C., & Nisticò, S. P. (2020). Role of Vitamins in Skin Health: A Systematic Review. Current Nutrition Reports, 1-10.
  4. Schagen, S. K., Zampeli, V. A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 298-307.
  5. Cao, C., Xiao, Z., Wu, Y., & Ge, C. (2020). Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients, 12(3), 870.
  6. Siong, T. E., ASEAN, K. L. M., Noor, M. I., Azudin, M. N., & Idris, K. (1988). Nutrient composition of Malaysian foods.



Placenta and skin health

The placenta is an organ that connects the foetus to the mother. It transfers oxygen and nutrients to the foetus and removes foetal waste products to the mother. When the baby is born, the 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 peptides, enzymes, growth factors, vitamins, and minerals.

Culturally, humans rarely consume placenta, but recently there has been growing interest in consuming placenta, be it from humans or animals. Mammals have been consuming placenta since years ago; it is called placentophagia, while in humans it is called placentophagy. The placenta could be served raw, cooked, or encapsulated and taken as a supplement 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 have said they have been using this for their skin to get baby-soft skin.


Placenta consumption in Malaysia.


In Malaysia, it is rare for people to consume raw placenta. Usually, it comes in health supplement form and is derived from deer or sheep. Hence, as it is in health supplement form, any products containing placenta extract in a pharmaceutical dosage will require to be registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) before they are sold or used in Malaysia.



Benefits of placenta consumption.


Findings from research reported that nutrients that are delivered via the placenta could be retained even after the process of delivering the baby. The research also stated that the placenta contains collagen, elastin, laminin, and vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, and B12. All these vitamins, better known as B complex vitamins, play roles 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 used in clinical settings, such as for burn injuries and wound healing. In one study, researchers compared the efficacy of topical placental extract dressings versus povidone iodine dressings in diabetic wounds in a variety of patients. Placenta wound dressings could significantly accelerate the rate of wound healing when compared to povidone-iodine dressings as they contained amino acids, vitamins, and nucleotides, which accelerated wound healing recovery by seven to ten days.


Due to all these effects, many skincare products have recently incorporated placenta, be it from sheep or deer, in their skincare or supplement products.




Caution with regard to placenta in the supplement


When it comes to placenta consumption as a health supplement, it is evaluated based on its safety of use and product quality. To be safe, sheep placenta products must be hormone-free. Because placenta typically contains hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen, and progesterone, being hormone-free is much more important for a placenta-based supplement. To confirm whether the products you are considering or consuming have been notified by the Ministry of Health, you can conduct an online product search on the National Pharmaceutical Registration Agency (NPRA). However, if the product is not listed in the DCA, it is not recommended that you consume it because its safety and quality have not been evaluated, and it may pose a health risk.





  1. Ministry of Health (MOH). MyHealth Portal. Sheep Placenta. (Accessed on January 13, 2021)
  2. Pan, S. Y., Chan, M. K., Wong, M. B., Klokol, D., & Chernykh, V. (2017). Placental Therapy: An insight to their biological and therapeutic properties. blood4(11), 12.



Does Having Younger Looking Skin Have Anything To Do With Foods Or Genetics?

Skin is a window to your overall health. The condition and appearance of your skin is an indicator of how well your overall health is. When skin is in good condition, it works hard to protect the body from environmental stressors such as irritants, allergens, and microbes. It also helps to regulate temperature, making it look and feel smooth, calm, hydrated, and even in colour (1).

But, what if it is not in good condition? Is it hormonal in nature? Is it related to food? Is it hereditary? Is it any of these?


Yes, it is indeed all of these!


Skin that appears younger is closely related to lifestyle and genetics. According to research, there is a gene in the human body that controls our skin condition. Have you ever wondered why certain people of similar age but different appearances appear younger than their actual age while others appear older? The study by dermatologist professor Alexa B. Kimball from Harvard revealed that this has something to do with gene expressions.


According to the study, people with rapid gene expression speed up the skin-repairing process when exposed to external or internal stress, which is why they can maintain younger-looking skin. It has also been observed that some people who appear young have rapid gene expression that mimics those who are younger than their chronological age. According to the professor, the skin appears younger because it behaved younger (1)!


To elaborate, the one described above is known as intrinsic skin ageing, and it represents chronological ageing, with the same pattern affecting all internal organs. Extrinsic skin ageing, also known as aged skin, is caused by external factors such as environmental influence, particularly chronic sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, but also smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation, and poor nutrition. As a result, when it comes to skin, the best way to avoid harm is to avoid all of these extrinsic factors (1).


A study that compared sun-exposed skin (face and forearm) to sun-protected skin (buttock) among women aged 20 to 70 years old discovered that ultraviolet (UV) exposure is a major driver and accelerator of skin ageing. Although sun exposure without any skin protection, such as sunscreen, is harmful to the skin, there is a recommended amount of time spent outdoors without sunscreen so that UVB from the sun can activate vitamin D3 in the skin. The recommended exposure time is 5 - 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at least twice a week, to the face, arms, legs, or back (2). In Malaysia, where the weather is sunny all year, excessive sun exposure can cause skin damage. As a result, if one of your 2021 resolutions is to avoid sun damage, you should start wearing sunscreen religiously!


Apart from smoking and pollution, which can both cause skin damage, sleep deprivation can also cause skin to appear older. Sleep serves as a reset button for our entire health, including our skin. During sleep, the blood flow to the skin increases, and the organ rebuilds collagen and repairs UV damage, reducing wrinkles and age spots. According to research, sleep deprivation affects wound healing, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation is also higher in sleep-deprived individuals, causing acne outbreaks, eczema, psoriasis, and sin allergies. To combat this, health experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of beauty sleep per day to achieve fluffy baby skin (3,4)!


Poor nutrition is also a major contributor to the appearance of older skin, and the worst culprit of all is sugar! Glycation is the process by which sugar interacts with skin. Younger-looking skin is always associated with firm and elastic skin, which refers to the cross-linking structure of skin fibres. This structure can repair itself naturally; however, when sugar is consumed, the glycation process renders the structure and renders the skin unable to remodel into its original structure. As a result, the youthful skin condition has vanished! This explain, sugar consumption is not only bad for metabolic conditions like diabetes mellitus, but also for skin conditions.


To summarise, the skin is the largest and most delicate organ; it may appear strong and capable of withstanding all of the external and internal harm that we inflict on it, but it, too, requires pampering. A good skincare routine will help with its condition, but it also requires good food, hydration, and sleep to keep everything in check and balance!




  1. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2017, November 28). Expression of certain genes may be key to more youthful looking skin: Certain gene expression patterns identified in women who appear younger than their chronologic age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 18, 2021 from
  2. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). MyHealth Portal. Vitamin D and sunlight.
  3. Kahan V, Andersen ML, Tomimori J, Tufik S. Can poor sleep affect skin integrity? Med Hypotheses. 2010 Dec;75(6):535-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2010.07.018. Epub 2010 Aug 1. PMID: 20678867.
  4. 6 Ways to Maximize Your Beauty Sleep for #wokeuplikethis skin. (Accessed on January 19, 2021).
  5. Danby, F. W. (2010). Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation. Clinics in dermatology, 28(4), 409-411.



What is Evening Primrose?

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), also known as Evening Star, needs no introduction since people have been using this herbal remedy for years. This plant grows in regions such as North America, Europe, and many other regions with mild climates. 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 cosmetic products. The active ingredients in evening primrose oil are two types of Omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid. All these active ingredients have various functions and benefits for the body, such as growth and development (1).

Functions of EPO in Women’s Health.

There are various functions of EPO, such as treating eczema, a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed, itchy, scaly, and flaky due to allergies or irritation. Besides, it has also been used to treat acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. Which explains why it is commonly used among women since a pretty appearance is something every woman desires (1, 2, 3).


Apart from this, it has also been used to relieve the physical and psychological symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), such as cyclical mastalgia (breast pain), mood swings, headaches, depression, food cravings, period cramps, irritability, bloating, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and hormonal acne. According to the study, 85% of menstruating women are affected by these symptoms, and the study shows that there is significant improvement in the severity and duration of PMS in the group using EPO as compared to the placebo group (1, 2, 4). Researchers believe that some women experience PMS because they are sensitive to the level of prolactin that is produced during ovulation and increases during the luteal phase. So, what EPO does is that the active ingredients inside it (GLA) convert to prostaglandin E1 in the body, which is able to help prevent prolactin from triggering PMS (4).


As for women during menopausal age, EPO has been seen to help with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes (the most common symptoms in the menopausal syndrome). A study among 56 menopausal women in the age range of 45–59 observed that there is a significant reduction in hot flash symptoms among menopausal women using EPO (4).

Dosage and what to be cautious of with EPO

Evening primrose oil is classified as a herbal supplement, and the dosage is determined by a variety of factors. Many studies currently recommend a daily dose of 1 -3g (1,4). There are some studies that mention or use higher dosages of EPO, but using higher dosages of EPO requires advice from pharmacist or doctor because it may have side effects. Consumption of medication such as schizophrenic medications, antiplatelet medication, anticoagulant medication, and seizure medication is also contraindicated with EPO consumption, which is why it is best to seek professional advice before consuming EPO as it may interfere with medication that you are consuming (1,4).


In conclusion,

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!



  1. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Evening Primrose Oil (EPO). primrose-oil-epo-2/
  2. 10 Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) and How to Use it. primrose-oil
  3. WebMD. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO). primrose-oil 
  4. Mahboubi, M. (2019). Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) oil in management of female ailments. Journal of menopausal medicine25(2), 74


Grapeseed Extract and its benefits.

 Grape seed extract (GSE) is derived naturally from grape seed and is commonly used in dietary supplements for a variety of purposes. It is created by removing, drying, and pulverising the bitter tasting grape seeds. It contains a lot of antioxidants like phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins complexes (OPC). Grape seed extract, in fact, is regarded as one of the best sources of proanthocyanidins. As a result, grape seed extract provides numerous benefits to the human body, including disease prevention, protection against oxidative stress, tissue damage, inflammation, and many more. In this article, we will look in depth at the potential health benefits of grape seed extract (GSE) based on studies:
Wound healing activity and antioxidant properties. 

Numerous studies have shown that grape seed extract contains a high level of antioxidants. Using punctured wounded mice, researchers discovered that mice treated with GSE in the wound affected area grew tissue faster than mice treated with only normal saline. Another difference between GSE-treated mice and placebo-treated mice was more organized tissue formation and a higher rate of collagen deposition.


Topical application of 2% GSE cream in the area of a post-surgery surgical wound heals the wound completely in an average of 8 days, compared to 14 days for placebo. This is due to GSE's vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) properties, which promote the regeneration of damaged blood vessels while increasing the amount of free radicals present at the wound site. Free radicals aid in the killing and removal of pathogenic bacteria and endotoxin from the site, as well as in the healing of wounds


Apart from wound healing and skin health properties, it also has anti-ageing properties. GSE proanthocyanidins delay skin ageing by reducing lipid oxidation on the skin structure.


Cardiovascular and antihypertensive properties. 


Cardiovascular disorders (CVD) are among the major problems that arise due to modern, unhealthy lifestyles, which are the primary cause of death worldwide. It is a disorder that affects the condition and function of the heart and blood vessels in general. Changes in these two can result in cardiac arrest, heart stroke, hypertension, chest pain, and other complications. Studies show that GSE may prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where there is a build-up of fats, cholesterol, etc. in the blood vessel walls, which can restrict blood flow), inhibit or limit the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol), reduce inflammation, inhibit platelet aggregation, and lower blood pressure. It lowers blood pressure by suppressing oxidative stress and inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and nitric oxide, which mediate vasodilation, hence making the constricted blood vessels dilate and improving blood pressure.



Antimicrobial activity 


GSE has been shown to have antimicrobial properties; for example, when applied topically, resveratrol in GSE increases the production of cathelicidin, which inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. In another study, quercetin, caffeic acid, and quercetin-3-0-rutinoside in GSE were responsible for the inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes. It is also worth noting that GSE had the highest inhibition activity against almost all Listeria species. The review on the benefits of GSE also reported that the antimicrobial effect of GSE is attributed to changes in cell morphology and DNA content. 


Cosmetic and nutraceuticals

Skin ageing is a natural process which occurs due to the external and internal factors involving genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. GSE is rich in proanthocyanidin help to reduces the lipid oxidation of cellular structure of the skin and inhibit the production of free radicals. A study was carried out in which the anti-ageing effect of GSE was investigate. The study concluded that GSE has a promising role as an anti-ageing compound.

GSE help skin structure by strengthening the collagen-based tissue (by increasing the collagen cross links). It also increases the synthesis of collagen and the conversion of collagen from soluble into insoluble one.


In conclusions,

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.



  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NICCH). Grape Seed Extract. (Accessed on March 15, 2021)
  2. 10 Benefits of Grape Seed Extract, Based on Science. (Accessed on March 15, 2021).
  3. Gupta, M., Dey, S., Marbaniang, D., Pal, P., Ray, S., & Mazumder, B. (2020). Grape seed extract: Having a potential health benefit. Journal of food science and technology, 57(4), 1205-1215.

Fish Oil Supplementation

Consumption of fish is important as it is a good source of protein. It is recommended to consume one fish per day, according to the Malaysian food pyramid. This is because the consumption of fish in Malaysia is rarely equated with a risk of contamination with mercury, etc., unlike in western countries. This might be due to the types of fish and sizes of fish that we are consuming here as compared to other parts of the world. It is said that the bigger the fish, the more contamination it has; hence, there is a recommendation for pregnant mothers to consume small fish rather than big fish to avoid the risk of contamination.


Research on the benefits of fish oil supplementation also varies greatly, which is why in this article we are going to list out who might need a fish oil supplementation in their daily lives!


The benefits of ingesting fish oil can differ significantly between studies. A study found a connection between these omega-3 fatty acids and mental health disorders and that EPA and DHA can speed up brain development even in young children. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that it can help treat cardiovascular diseases, joint pain, and eczema. The question is, is it true that all of these effects can be obtained from fish oil consumption? (1)



Individual with mental health problems/disorders


In three lengthy studies spanning the years 1988 to 2008, researchers looked at the relationship between fatty acid intake and suicide risk among more than 205 000 participants. They discovered no proof that eating fish or fatty acids reduced the risk of suicide. "The vast majority of earlier research on whether fatty acid intake has any positive effects on mental health has been based on results from depression screening. The only time this relationship has been studied with concrete data on suicide mortality is in our study, which is also the largest of its kind.” (2)


While a study found that eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are better for brain health than taking fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid supplements, A study of 3073 elderly people at risk of macular degeneration, an age-related cause of vision loss, found little benefit from omega-3 supplements on memory. Omega 3 supplements or a placebo were given to study participants at random for a five-year period.  According to the researcher, a healthy diet cannot be replaced by a supplement; therefore, if you eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and marine fish, you probably don't need to take a fish oil supplement. According to this study, the overall dietary pattern is more important than a single nutrient (2).


Individuals with cardiovascular disease


Recently, there have been many studies suggesting that Omega 3 will not lower the risk of heart problems. To answer this, Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist from Harvard Medical School, said that he gathered 20 previous studies involving more than 68, 000 patients since 1989 and found that, overall, fish oil supplements did neither harm nor good since they did not significantly reduce people’s risk of mortality, cardiac death, heart attack, or stroke. But according to him, the research link between fish oil supplementation and heart problems is rather complex since it does not only take fish oil to shield the heart from various problems and diseases; it also takes weight status, exercise frequency, cigarette or substance use, and many more (3,4,5).


Which is why, interpreting the study, we would still recommend customers and patients consume more fish 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 essential nutrient, since omega 3 is a nutrient that your body cannot produce and can only get from diet (3,4,5).


Individuals 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 small-sample studies. Not only are these three studies small, but they are also described as poor methodological studies by the reviewer, as they have many confounding factors. However, the outcomes of these studies show positive outcomes for eczema and overall daily living as compared to placebo (6, 7).


Another convincing relationship between consumption of fish oil and skin health is that in a study where pregnant women were given fish oil during pregnancy and followed up for 6 years, it was found that consumption of fish oil during pregnancy led to a positive skin health outcome for babies skin. 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 mixed results in studies depending on what kind of problem we are looking 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 your diet because you dislike fish, are afraid to consume fish regularly due to contamination, etc., or simply would like to make sure that your body has enough omega 3, then there is no harm in taking fish oil supplementation. It's just that in order to make sure you get the right omega 3 for your body, buy it from a pharmacy, make sure the product has a Ministry of Health (MOH) notification number, and simply ask a healthcare professional which omega 3 supplementation suits you, simply for the dosage and perhaps current medication that you are on, and you are good to go!




  1. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. Fish: Friend or Foe?

  2. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. No mental health benefit from fish oil.\

  3. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health.

  4. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. Major Meta Analysis in Clinical Trial Omega 3 Supplemeny link with lower risk of CVD.

  5. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. Fish Oil Supplementation and Heart Health.

  6. Schlichte, M. J., Vandersall, A., & Katta, R. (2016). Diet and eczema: a review of dietary supplements for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Dermatology practical & conceptual, 6(3), 23–29.

  7. Huang, T. H., Wang, P. W., Yang, S. C., Chou, W. L., & Fang, J. Y. (2018). Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin. Marine drugs, 16(8), 256.



Should you consider collagen supplementation?

Collagen is a fibre-like structure that is used to make connective tissue, which connects other tissues together. It is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Collagen is a component that helps make tissue strong, resilient, and able to withstand stretching (1).


Although the saying that our bodies make less collagen as we age is true, the production of collagen drops most not only because of this but also due to excessive exposure to the sun, smoking, including secondhand smoke, excessive consumption of alcohol, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise. As the collagen levels in our skin diminish, the deep skin layers change from a tightly organised network of fibres to an unorganised maze. Environmental exposure to the skin, such as harsh weather, can also damage collagen fibres by reducing their thickness and strength, which can lead to wrinkles on the skin surface (1).


Research on collagen supplementation focuses mostly on joint and skin health. Although studies pertaining to this using human subjects are still lacking, some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplementation improves skin elasticity. In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grammes 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 that women who consumed 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 supplements and joint health also found that they can improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain in 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 the consumption of collagen-based supplements, there are also foods that are rich in collagen or that encourage collagen production other than the lifestyle modifications mentioned above. Foods 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 freshwater and saltwater fish. Bone broth, which requires animal bones to simmer in water with a small amount of vinegar for 4–24 hours, is also said to have high collagen properties. However, the amount of amino acids will vary among batches depending on the types of bones used, the cooking period, and many other factors. Other foods that can help with the production of collagen are foods that are rich in zinc, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, and tomatoes.



Although studies on the effectiveness of collagen for health are still lacking,  many available studies have not shown negative side effects in individuals given collagen supplements (6). Thus, it is worth trying for its said benefits, especially if the benefits are your health concerns! But be sure to talk to your healthcare professionals about this based on your medication intake and your health issues before consuming any health supplement.



  1. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. Collagen.
  2. Healthline. Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements.
  3. Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376. Epub 2013 Aug 14. PMID: 23949208.
  4. Borumand, M., & Sibilla, S. (2015). Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals4(1), 47.
  5. Bello AE, Oesser S. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Current medical research and opinion. 2006 Nov 1;22(11):2221-32.
  6. Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral intake of low-molecular-weight collagen peptide improves hydration, elasticity, and wrinkling in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrients. 2018 Jul;10(7):826.


Understanding calories

Calories are a unit of measurement for the amount of energy in food and beverages.


We put energy into our bodies when we eat and drink. This energy will then be used in our daily activities, such as breathing, sleeping, and running.


To maintain a stable weight, we must balance the energy we put into our bodies with the energy we use through normal body functions and daily activities. Simply put, the more calories you put into your body, the more activities you need to do to burn them off, and vice versa.


General calories intake


Men on average need about 2500 kcal per day, while women need about 2000 kcal per day. However, as mentioned above, the amount of recommended nutrient intake varies from person to person based on their daily activities, occupation, frequency of exercise, lifestyle habits, and also body metabolism.


The more vigorously you engage in an activity, the more calories you will expend. Fast walking, for example, burns more calories than moderate walking. If you're gaining weight, it could be because you've been eating and drinking more calories than you've been burning. To lose weight, you must expend more energy than you consume; this can be accomplished by eating less or exercising more vigorously. Doing this consistently over time will get you to your desired weight.


When people try to lose weight, they tend to restrict their food intake and often do not enjoy their diet changes. A healthy diet should also be a sustainable diet, which means gradually but consistently reducing unhealthy food consumption, consuming more healthier food options, and being mindful of the amount of food consumed.


Calorie counter


Nowadays, there are various apps that can be used on a mobile phone to track not only your calorie intake but also your steps, exercise, and the energy that you burn. Using all these apps and gadgets is helpful in making sure that you are on track with your diet and exercise.


One of the apps developed by the Ministry of Health Malaysia that is compatible with the Malaysian variety of foods is My Nutri Diary 2.0. The app is helpful in monitoring your calorie intake and your weight progress. Often, when we use calorie tracking apps, it frustrates users that the app does not know how many calories a nasi lemak has (or any local food), but with my nutri diary, it covers a variety of Malaysian food options, which can be helpful for our daily food consumption.


Gap between unhealthy diet and body needs


While trying to lose, put on, or maintain weight, imbalanced consumption of foods may lead to the loss of some essential nutrients. Hence, to bridge the gap between the lack of nutrients in food and what the body needs, consumption of multivitamins and multiminerals is helpful.


Other conditions include denture problems, loss of appetite, a hectic lifestyle, and many more.




What is Anemia?

Anemia is a common blood disorder. It is a condition when the body does not have enough red blood cells and is unable to deliver enough oxygen throughout the body.


Anemia is diagnosed by a low haemoglobin or hematocrit level in a blood test. The main protein in red blood cells is haemoglobin. It transports and distributes oxygen throughout your body. Your haemoglobin level will be low if you have anaemia. If it falls below a certain level, your tissues or organs may not receive enough oxygen.


Symptoms of anemia


Lethargic or tiredness are the most common symptoms of anemia. Other symptoms include pale skin, an irregular or fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and light-headedness.


Types of anemia


Among the types of anemia are sickle cell anemia, iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, 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, chickpeas, fried soy bean curd, liver, dried anchovies, bitter gourd, spinach, and kangkung.

Is it compulsory to consume iron supplements during pregnancy?

Iron is a mineral found in many proteins and enzymes that the body needs in order to stay healthy. Most of the iron in the body is found in haemoglobin, the pigment of red blood cells. Haemoglobin transports oxygen to all of the tissues and organs in the body. If there is an insufficient amount of iron in the blood, the amount of haemoglobin in the blood decreases too. This will reduce the oxygen supply to cells and organs.


During pregnancy, a haemoglobin level of 11 g/dl or above is considered normal. Between 3 to 6 months of pregnancy, a small drop of 10.5 g/dl is also considered normal. Lower levels of haemoglobin are usually due to a lack of iron (iron deficiency). Usually, the level of iron in the blood is measured in order to find out whether a low haemoglobin level is due to a lack of iron.


For a pregnant lady with a normal level of iron in her blood, it is not compulsory to consume an iron supplement; some people might consume it as a precautionary measure, but studies involving more than 40, 000 women show that there are no noticeable health benefits for the pregnancy or the baby. Although iron supplements were found to lower the risk of anaemia, they did not influence the number of preterm births, the number of babies with low birth weights, or infections in pregnant women.


However, it is important to know some of the examples of iron-rich foods that can be beneficial during pregnancy and for overall health, such as pistachios, sesame, rolled oats, whole grain rice and pasta, tofu, strawberries, tuna, shrimp, lettuce, chickpeas, peas, meat, and internal organs (liver).


In conclusion, we normally get iron from the food we eat. Meat has a lot of iron in it from haemoglobin in the animal’s body. The liver (internal organ) is particularly high in iron. Other than these foods, iron can be taken in the form of iron supplement too.



1. Pregnancy and birth: Do all pregnant women need to take iron supplements? December 22, 2009. Last update March 22, 2018. National Library of Medicine. National Centre of Biotechnology Information. National Institute of Health (NIH).

Your Prostate Health Matters!

Many men do not care about or even know the importance of their reproductive organs, especially the prostate gland. The prostate gland has an important job, which is to produce a thick, milky-white fluid that becomes part of the semen, the liquid ejaculated during sexual activity. The prostate isn’t that big—about the size of a walnut or golf ball. The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also wraps around the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. That means prostate problems can affect urination and sexual function.

What are the problems? If your "man" has problems like pain during urination or often urinates at night, you have to check and detect the problem early and take precautions. While you may not have any problems related to this, you have to know ways to prevent them from developing.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Is extremely common in older men. It is not cancerous, but it has the characteristic of enlarging the organ. The prostate goes through a period of rapid enlargement during puberty, but this levelled off once puberty was completed. The prostate will begin to grow again in midlife, but at a slower rate. These periods of growth are thought to be caused by increased levels of male hormones such as testosterone. The prostate grows throughout a man's life because testosterone is produced throughout his life.

The most common symptom of BPH is difficulty urinating or dribbling after you urinate. Also, you may feel the need to urinate a lot, often at night (5).


It starts with a bacterial infection or prostate inflammation. Prostatitis can result in burning or painful urination, an urgent need to urinate, difficulty urinating, difficult or painful ejaculation, and pain between the scrotum and the rectum or in the lower back. Prostatitis is classified into two types: acute bacterial prostatic and chronic bacterial prostatic. It only causes mild urination difficulties and can cause fever, chills, or pain. A bacterial infection is also the starting point. The second is chronic bacterial prostatic disease, which occurs when an infection recurs frequently. This is a rare and difficult to treat condition. To feel better, you may need to consult your doctor (5).

Prostate Cancer

It is the most common type of male cancer. Prostate cancer typically grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause significant harm. The development of cancerous cells within the prostate gland, which may spread to other parts of the body. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may require little or no treatment, others are aggressive and spread quickly. It primarily affects older men (1, 5).

Here are a few simple tips on how you can manage or care for your prostate gland. There is also a way to prevent it.

Healthy Eating – Better Health!

First and foremost, you must strive for a healthy eating pattern, which is easier than you might think. Adhering to a heart-healthy, low-animal-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. You must substitute whole-grain bread for white bread, as well as whole-grain pasta and cereal. Choose healthy fats like olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans), and avocados. Limit your intake of saturated fats from dairy and other animal products. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats), which are found in many processed foods and fast foods. Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants are always beneficial to your body in preventing cancer-causing oxidants. Consume more fish because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Because obesity has been linked to prostate problems, you should limit your sugar intake as well. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and many fruit juices (1, 2, 3, 4). 

Exercise For Everyone!

You should stay active in addition to eating a healthy diet. Regular exercise will lower your risk of developing certain problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Although relatively few studies have directly assessed the impact of exercise on prostate health, those that have concluded that exercise is beneficial in the majority of cases.

If you have any kind of symptom, such as pain when urinating, you urinate frequently, especially at night. Screening for prostate problems is recommended between the ages of 55 and 70. Your doctor may perform a rectal exam as a physical test and blood testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (5).



  1. Jennifer H. Cohen, Alan R. Kristal, Janet L. Stanford. (2000). Fruit and Vegetable Intakes and Prostate Cancer Risk. Vol 92. Issue 1 (61-68)
  2. Katie M. Di Sebastiono, Marina Mourtzakis. (2014). The Role of Dietary Fat throughout the Prostate Cancer Trajectory.
  3. Paul Turek. (2014). How To Keep Your Prostate Happy
  4. Harvard Health (n.d). 10 Diet & Exercise Tips for Prostate Health.
  5. MedicineNet (n.d). Prostate Problems.


Erectile Dysfunction: Is it taboo or a health concern?

In Malaysia, erectile dysfunction (ED) is not uncommon. Three out of ten Malaysian men reported having difficulty getting hard enough. Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is the inability of a male to produce or maintain an erection during sexual activity, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey Malaysia (NHMS).

Globally, it is estimated that 100 million men have ED problems, but even with such a figure, ED is considered a taboo topic to discuss because it is considered an embarrassment, and people do not want to seek medical help for it. It is not taboo to discuss ED because it is a health issue. Sexual well-being is one component of overall health, and as we age, our bodies do not function as well as they used to, which is why ED is common in men aged 40 and older.


ED can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical, psychological, and social factors. Physical factors such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, liver or kidney problems, Peyronie's disease, and alcoholism are common among older men. These medical conditions typically affect the nerves and blood vessels that control erections, which explains why people with such conditions are more likely to develop ED. Psychological factors can also contribute to ED. Worry about being unable to achieve or maintain an erection, as well as prolonged emotional distress related to economic, professional, social issues, relationship conflicts, and depression can all distract a man of any age from becoming aroused. 


Stendra (avanafil), Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra or Staxyn (vardenafil) are some of the most commonly prescribed erectile dysfunction treatments. Aside from medication, lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, stress management, and adequate sleep will also aid in the treatment of this condition.


According to the study, not all types of exercise help with ED; exercise such as cycling might not be helpful for ED, according to the National Health Service, UK; however, weight-bearing exercise can increase the natural production of testosterone, which is a significant factor in erectile strength and sex drive. Apart from weight-bearing exercise, kegel exercises, which improve your pelvic floor, yoga, and aerobic exercise, which are targeted to improve stamina and overall fitness, also help. In general, exercise will improve sexual health as it improves blood circulation, hormone regulation, stamina, and endurance, thus improving sex drive and erection problems.



Apart from exercise, nutrition also plays an important role in ED. A study found that men with a 42-inch waist are 50% more likely developing ED than men with a 32-inch waist. Also, being obese increases men's risk of getting vascular diseases and diabetes, which contributes to ED. Reduce or stop smoking, and consuming alcohol has also shown tremendous positive effects on ED problems. Smoking for a long time affects the vascular health; it causes the blood supply to the penis to become restricted due to blockage or narrowing of the arteries, thus causing the erection problem. While, as for the consumption of alcohol, it suppresses the central nervous system that is responsible for releasing nitric oxide (a chemical that is responsible for producing and maintaining an erection), which is why the more men drink alcohol, the more likely they are to have an ED problem.


In conclusion, talk to your doctor regarding your condition. You might think that your condition is too petty to discuss, but by letting your doctor know about it, it gives a different perspective to your whole treatment plan.



  1. Everyday Health (n.d). Naturqal Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  2. Healthline (n.d). Erection Problems. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  3. Medical News Today (n.d). Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  4. National Health Service, United Kingdom. Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  5. National Institute of Health (NIH), National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  6. Mayo Clinic. Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  7. Everything you need to know about ED. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).


Menopause in men

While some claim that men go through menopause, others assert that this is not the case for men. Which is accurate? Men can experience this type of menopausal period under certain circumstances, but it would be inaccurate to refer to it as menopause since the process is different from what women go through (6).


The pathway by which men's testosterone levels decline is when older men's testosterone levels fall as a result of declining Leydig cell mass in the testicles or a malfunction in hypothalamic-luteinizing hormone, which in turn results in low testosterone production (6).


In men who are 50 or older, andropause causes a decrease in testosterone production. The term andropause is frequently used by doctors to refer to male hormone changes brought on by ageing. While testosterone production does decrease as men get older, it also does so when they have diseases like diabetes, among others.


Hormone changes occur naturally as we get older. There are several ways in which male menopause differs from female menopause, and not all men go through it. Your reproductive system won't completely shut down as a result. However, because of your lower hormone levels, there might be sexual issues. The decline of testosterone in men happens more gradually than it does in women during menopause, when hormone production completely stops. In contrast to the ovaries, the testes never run out of the substance required to produce testosterone. A healthy male may continue to produce sperm well into his 80s or beyond. Men's testosterone levels vary greatly. The testosterone levels of older men are typically lower than those of younger men. Throughout adulthood, testosterone levels gradually decrease (1, 2).



What are the signs and symptoms of andropause?

Recognizable signs and symptoms of low testosterone levels may include:

  • Changes in sexual function.

Testosterone plays a key role in libido in men. However, someone with low testosterone will likely experience a more drastic drop in their desire to have sex. This might include reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and fewer spontaneous erections. Your testes might become smaller as well.

  • Changes in sleep patterns.

Sometimes low testosterone causes sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or increased sleepiness.

  • Physical changes. 

Various physical changes are possible, including increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density. Swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia) and loss of body hair are possible. Rarely, you might experience hot flashes and have less energy. Low testosterone levels in the body can also contribute to smaller-than-average-sized testicles.

  • Emotional changes. 

Low testosterone might contribute to a decrease in motivation or self-confidence. You might feel sad or depressed or have trouble concentrating or remembering things.



How do men stay healthy?

The most common type of treatment for symptoms of male menopause is making healthier lifestyle choices. For example, your doctor might advise you to:

  • Eat a healthy diet.

What you eat has a major impact on testosterone as well as other hormone levels. Therefore, you must pay attention to your long-term calorie intake and diet strategy. Constant dieting or overeating may disrupt your testosterone levels. Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss, which is also associated with testosterone.

  • Get regular exercise.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent many lifestyle-related diseases. Interestingly, it can also boost your testosterone.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Reduce your stress.

What are the andropause treatments?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), men who experience a drop in testosterone level should be offered treatment with testosterone replacement therapy in addition to leading a healthy lifestyle to prevent or reduce the risk of andropause happening.

It is therefore best to seek medical advice if you ever experience any of these symptoms. If a lifestyle or psychological factor is the root of the issue, the appropriate action will be taken to deal with it. It might be brought on by stress, depression, low self-esteem, obesity, being overweight, smoking, or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.



  1. WebMD (n.d). Male Menopause
  2. Healthline (n.d). What Is Male Menopause?
  3. Adam Fellman. (2018). Is The Male Menopause Real?
  4. Mayoclinic (n.d). Male Menopause: Myth or Reality? Https://
  5. NHS. (2019). The ‘male menopause’
  6. Duncan, C.G. & Richard, P. (2000). The Male Menopause: Does it exist? For some men need investigation and testosterone treatment. West J. Med. 173(2): 76–78. DOI10.1136/ewjm.173.2.76

Oysters and Men’s Health

In general, oysters are a type of shellfish. Not only is it important for ecosystems since one of its functions is to filter pollutants out of the water and provide habitats for other species, like barnacles and mussels, but it is also an excellent source of zinc, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium. Since oysters are rich in nutrients, they are also used in the supplement product for various reasons.

Oyster supplementation (1, 2, 3)

When it comes to oyster supplementation, people always thought that it came from its shell and not the meat, but the truth is, it comes from its creamy flesh meat!

The creamy flesh of oysters is cleaned and depurated. It is then processed and made into capsules, powder, and tablets. This is actually good news for those who cannot consume slimy, meaty food and thus can take it in tablet or capsule form.

Many people have started to consume oysters for their known ability to increase testosterone levels in men. It is also well known for its benefits in supporting men’s reproductive health as it contains a high level of zinc.

Since oysters are high in zinc, oyster extraction supplementation is highly recommended for those who are deficient in this nutrient. This is a very important nutrient that can help your immune system and improve your body’s metabolism as well. 

Zinc is a trace mineral that is essential for various body functions, such as protein synthesis, collagen formation, wound healing, and healthy immune function. Apart from that, it is also needed to support prostate and reproductive health, especially for males. Individuals who have digestive disorders such as Celiac Disease and Chron’s Disease and/or are on a vegan diet are at higher risk of being zinc deficient and thus require zinc supplementation. 

Zinc deficiency can lead to fatigue, impaired senses of taste and smell, poor appetite, slow wound healing, poor immunity, and hair loss as well. 

What do the study's findings say? (4,5)

In 2003, a study in Japan used oysters, which contain a significant amount of zinc, to investigate whether they could improve the reproductive health of mice. This study was conducted on three groups of mice, where the first group was supplemented with a diet rich in zinc from oysters, the second group was supplemented with zinc from zinc carbonate, and the third group was fed a diet deficient in zinc.

This study found that mice supplemented with zinc either from oyster extraction or zinc carbonate had improved serum levels of zinc, improved sperm motility and maturation, increased successful pregnancy rates, increased maternal weight gain, increased the number of live fetuses, increased fetal body weight, and had better embryonic development as compared to mice fed a diet deficient in zinc. Thus, this study suggested that oyster extraction is a useful supplement that can prevent reproductive defects from zinc deficiency, and the bioavailability of zinc may be identical to zinc carbonate.

Another recent study that was conducted in 2018 with regards to men’s reproductive health and oysters is the review article that concluded that zinc is vital in men’s reproductive health since the adequacy of zinc content in seminal plasma is needed for men’s germination, normal sperm function, and fertilization. The review also noted that seminal fluid deficiency causes infertility, and many studies prove the association of the seminal plasma zinc concentration with the physiology and pathogenesis of sperm and its quality. The study also indicates that men who are smokers have a higher possibility of becoming infertile, as the toxin in cigarettes can lead to oxidative stress that can hinder the efficacy of seminal fluid and sperm parameters.

In conclusion

To date, there has been no meta-analysis or systematic study with regards to oysters specifically and men’s reproductive health. However, randomised controlled trials and review articles from a few studies, such as the two above, are able to portray that zinc deficiency may hinder sperm quality and fertility in men. Since oysters have a significant amount of zinc, they can be used to treat or prevent men’s reproductive health problems. Furthermore, the study also noted that the content of taurine and glycogen will also help alleviate this problem.




  1. Men’s Health Online Magazine. Take This Supplement to Improve you Sex Life. (Accessed on August 13, 2020).
  2. Men’s Health Online Magazine. Oyster Nutrition Facts. (Accessed on August 13, 2020).
  3. Are Oysters Good for you? Benefits and Danger. (Accessed on August 13, 2020).

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate is enlarged but not cancerous. It is also known by a few other names, such as benign prostatic obstruction, benign prostatic hypertrophy, and enlargement of the prostate. According to the National Health Morbidity Survey Malaysia (NHMS), 16% of Malaysian men over the age of 40 suffer from this problem. The signs and symptoms of this problem usually worsen as men get older, which is why the NHMS reported that the percentage of men with symptomatic BPH increased from 10% among 40-year-old men to 33% among 75-year-old men.

Among the signs and symptoms of this problem are:

  • Frequent or urgent urinating problem.
  • Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia).
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • A weak or interrupted urine stream.
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Urine incontinence
  • Pain after ejaculation or during urination
  • Unusual urine colour or smell
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder.

Most of these symptoms usually come from a blocked urethra or an overworked bladder from trying to pass the urine through the blockage in the bladder. For BPH, the size of the prostate does not necessarily indicate the severity of the problem; men can have a greatly enlarged prostate with little blockage and a few symptoms or a minimally enlarged prostate with greater blockage and more symptoms.

The cause of this condition is rather poorly understood, but there are probably two reasons for this, according to scientists. First, throughout their lives, men produce testosterone (male hormone) and a small amount of oestrogen (female hormone), but as men age, the amount of active testosterone decreases, leaving a higher proportion of oestrogen, which promotes prostate cell growth, hence the enlargement of the prostate. Second, it is due to the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone, which plays roles in prostate development and growth. As men get older, they continue to produce and accumulate high levels of DHT in the prostate, which encourages prostate cells to continue growing. This is also theorised because men who do not produce DHT do not develop BPH.

 There are various treatments that can help with BPH, depending on the individual's severity and condition. Discuss your condition with your healthcare professionals so they may suggest a better treatment plan for you. The treatment plan usually involves lifestyle modifications such as:Urinating as soon as you feel the urge

  •  Go to the bathroom to urinate, even when you don’t feel the urge.

  • avoiding over-the-counter decongestants or antihistamine medications, which can make it harder for the bladder to empty.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially in the hours after dinner.

  • Reduce your stress level, as nervousness can increase the frequency of urination.

  • Exercise regularly, as a lack of exercise can aggravate your symptoms.

  • Learn and practise Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.

  • Keep warm, since being cold can make symptoms worse. 

As for the treatment from healthcare professionals, its usually includes prescription of medication (alpha blockers, alpha reductase inhibitors, etc.), minimally invasive procedures (transurethral needle ablation, high intensity focus ultrasound, prostatic stent insertion), and surgery (laser surgery, open prostatectomy, transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP). Bottom line: talk to your doctor regarding your condition. No matter how insignificant you may think things that occur to you are, they might actually be a symptom of a disease.


  1. Mayo Clinic. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).

  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).

  3. What do you want to know about enlarged prostate? (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).

  4. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2018) Infographic Booklet  






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