Health Articles

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Placenta and skin health

Placenta is an organ which link foetus to mother. It transfers oxygen and nutrients to the foetus and removes foetal waste products to the mother. When the baby was born, placenta will also be discharged from the mother’s body. There has been a growing interest in placenta extraction as it is said to have high nutritional value. The nutritional substance includes cytokines, hormones, bioactive peptide, enzyme, growth factors, vitamins, and minerals.

Culturally, human rarely consume placenta, but recently there has been growing interest on consuming placenta be it from human or from animal. Mammal have been consuming placenta from years ago, it is called, placentophagia,whilst in human it is called placentophagy. The placenta could be served raw, cooked, or encapsulated and to be taken as supplements as it contains various nutritional benefits.


Rave on this started when many Hollywood celebrities started using placenta therapy as part of their skincare routine treatment. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, and even male celebrities like Harry Styles from One direction has said been using this for their skin to get baby looking skin.


Placenta consumption in Malaysia.


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



Benefits of placenta consumption.


Findings from research reported that nutrient which are delivered via the placenta could be retained even after the process of delivering the baby. The research also stated that placenta contains collagen, elastin, laminin, vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7 and B12. All these vitamins or better known as B complex vitamins play role in cell metabolism, cell division, cell development, and energy production.


Due to this aspect as well, it is said that it gives a lot of benefits to skin health. Placenta is even use in clinical setting such as for burn injuries and wound healing.  One study compared the effectiveness of topical placental extract dressings versus the povidone iodine dressings in various patients with diabetic wounds. Placenta wound dressing could significantly accelerate the rate of wound healing when compared to povidone iodine dressings as it contained amino acids, vitamins and nucleotides which accelerated wound healing recovery of seven to ten days.


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




Caution with regards to placenta in supplement


When it comes to placenta consumption in health supplement form, it is evaluated based on its safety use and quality of the product. Sheep placenta products must be hormone free in order to be safe. Since placenta usually contains hormone such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone thus being free from all the hormones are much essential for placenta-based supplement. You may perform online product search on National Pharmaceutical Registration Agency (NPRA) in order to confirm whether products that you are considering, or consuming have notified Ministry of Health. However, if product is not listed in DCA, it is not advisable to consume as the product safety and quality has not been evaluated and may pose health risks.




  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.


Younger looking skin has something to do with foods or genetics?

Skin is a window to your overall health. The condition and appearance of your skin is an indicator whether your overall health is well or not. When skin is in good condition it works hard to protect body from environmental stressors such as irritants, allergens, microbes, it helps to regulate temperature to make it looks and feels smooth, calm, well hydrated and even in colour (1).

But, what about when it does not in good condition? Is it hormonal? Is it because of food? Is it genetics? Or Is it all of these?


Yes, it is actually all of these!


Younger looking skin is closely related to lifestyle and genetics. Study found out that there is gene in human body that control our skin condition. Have you ever wondered why certain people who have similar age but have different appearance, one look younger than the actual age while another one look older? The study by dermatologist professor from Harvard, Alexa B. Kimball revealed that this has something to do with gene expressions. The study noted that people who have rapid gene expression makes the skin repairing process very quickly when exposed to external or internal stress which is why they are able to maintain younger looking skin. It is also noted that certain people who look young have rapid gene expression that mimic those in the younger age than their chronological age. The professor said that the skin looks younger because the skin behaved younger (1)!



To explain further, the one explained above is called intrinsic skin aging, which represents chronological aging and the way it affects skin is the same pattern it affects all internal organs. The second one is extrinsic skin aging, which we view as aged skin and is result from external factors such as environmental influence, mainly chronic sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation but also smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation and poor nutrition. Which is why when it comes to skin the best way is still to prevent from harm, which is from all these extrinsic factors (1).


Study which conducted among women from 20 to 70 years old comparing sun exposed skin (face and forearm) and sun protected skin (buttock) discovered that ultraviolet (UV) exposure is a main driver and accelerator of skin aging. Although exposure to the sun without any skin protection like sunscreen is dangerous to skin, but there is recommended amount of time needed to spend outdoor without sunscreen so that the penetration of UVB from sunshine can activate vitamin D3 in the skin. The recommended exposure needed is about 5 – 30 minutes only between 10 a.m to 3.00 p.m at least twice a week to face, arms, legs or back (2). In Malaysia, where are all year sunny, most of the time the over exposure to sun cause damage to the skin. Thus, if one of your 2021 resolution is to prevent sun damage then you need to start wearing sunscreen religiously!


Apart from smoking and exposure to pollution which can damage the skin, sleep deprivation may as well make skin looks older. Sleep works as a reset button to our whole health including skin. During sleep, the skin’s blood flow increases, and the organ rebuilds its collagen and repairs damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots. Study shows that sleep deprivation affects wound healing process, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation is also higher among individual who is sleep deprived, causing acne outbreaks, eczema, psoriasis, and sin allergies. In combating this, health experts recommend 7 – 9 hours of beauty sleep everyday to get a fluffy baby skin condition (3,4)!


Poor nutrition also is one of the biggest contributors to older looking skin and the biggest culprit of all is sugar! The process in which sugar interferes with skin is called glycation. Younger looking skin is always associated with firm and elastic condition which refers to the cross-linking structure between fibres in skin. This structure is able to repair on its own naturally, however with the consumption of sugar, the glycation process renders the structure and makes the skin unable to remodel into its original structure. Hence, making the young-looking skin condition is gone! Which is why consumption of sugar is not only bad due to all those metabolic conditions such as diabetes mellitus but as well as to skin condition.


In conclusion, skin is the biggest and fragile organs, it may seem strong and all withstanding all the external and internal harm that we cause upon it, but it as well needs to be pampered. Having a good skincare routine will helps with it condition but not only that it also needs good food, good hydration, and good sleep to keep everything in check and balance!



  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 dermatology28(4), 409-411.


Grapeseed Extract and its benefits.

Grapeseed extract (GSE) is usually extracted naturally from grape seed and it is usually used in dietary supplements for various purposes. It is made by removing, drying, and pulverizing the bitter taste seeds of grape.  It is rich with antioxidant contents such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins complexes (OPC). In fact, grapeseed extract is known as one of the best sources of proanthocyanidins.

Due to this there are various benefits of grapeseed extract to human body such as to help prevent disease, to protect against oxidative stress, tissue damages, inflammation and many more. In this article we are going to deep dive into potential health benefits of grapeseed extract (GSE) from studies:


Wound healing activity and antioxidant properties.


Numerous studies have shown that grape seed extract has high level of antioxidants properties. Studies using punctured wounded mice has shown that mice who were treated with GSE in the wound affected area, grow tissue in that area faster than mice who were treated with normal saline only. Another thing noted is that, more organized tissue formation and higher rate of collagen deposition in mice that were treated with GSE as compared to mice with placebo. Topical application of 2% of GSE cream in the area of post-surgery surgical wound also shows to completely heal wound on an average 8 days as compared to placebo which took 14 days for wound healing. It is as so, due to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) properties of GSE which promotes regeneration of the damaged blood vessels and increases the quantity of free radicals present at the wound site. Free radical helps in killing and clearing pathogenic bacteria and endotoxin from the site and helps in curing wound.


Apart from wound healing and skin health properties, it also has anti-ageing properties. Proanthocyanidins in GSE reduce lipid oxidation on the skin structure therefore delay skin ageing.


Cardiovascular and antihypertensive properties.


Cardiovascular disorders (CVD) are among one of the major problems that arises due to the modern and unhealthy lifestyles which results in the primary cause of death worldwide. In general, it refers to the disorder related to the condition and function of heart and blood vessels. Alteration of these two may lead to cardiac arrest, heart stroke, hypertension, chest pain and many more. Studies show that GSE may prevent atherosclerosis (condition where there is build-up of fats, cholesterol, etc in the blood vessels walls which can restrict blood flow), inhibit or limit the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol), reducing inflammation, inhibit platelet aggregation, and lower blood pressure. It lowers blood pressure by supressing the oxidative stress, and inhibit the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) and nitric oxide mediate vasodilation, hence making the constricted blood vessels dilate and improve blood pressure.



Antimicrobial activity.

GSE has shown that it has effective antimicrobial property against both gram positive ( baccilus cereus, staphylococcus aureus, bacillus coagulans, etc) and gram negative bacteria ( pseudomonal aeruginosa, escherichia coli, etc). GSE contains resevatrol, in which when apply topically it will then increase production of cathelicidin, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.


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.


Tips to have healthy looking skin before hari raya!

Tick tock tick tock…. it is one week left till hari raya! Although many are busy with raya preparation such as raya clothing, raya food, and raya home decoration let’s not forget about our face specifically SKIN during hari raya. Yaa… one might argue that its ok I have chosen my make up raya look, but wait, do you know that to have a really good make up it needs a really good canvas, which is your PREETY FACE!

So, this is the right time to start taking care and really pamper your skin so that its condition is top notch during hari raya!



TIP 1: Start drink and eat healthily!


During Ramadhan, many people tend to drink less water and consumed less healthy food which makes many are constipated. So, start now to drink 8 glasses of water everyday and consume healthy food. Water is essential in keeping skin moist and healthy!



 Consume healthy food means to consume variety of food, in balance, and in moderation. Try to include more fiber into your diet which will make you not only lose weight but also will give you a better-looking skin.


Consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day (3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits). Vegetables and fruits are rich with nutrients which can improve your radiance, skin texture, and moisten your skin. Consumption of fruits and vegetables especially pomegranate, guava, kiwi, orange, lemon, tomatoes, turnip greens, mustard green, and broccoli will help with your skin condition, as these are all vegetables and fruits that are rich with vitamin A, C, and E which we need not to talk about when it comes to its benefits to your skin!


Apart from the consumption of vitamin A, C, and E, antioxidant foods also will help with skin texture, radiance, and smoothness. Standard measure used to quantify antioxidant is ORAC value, the higher the ORAC value the more antioxidant a particular food posses, which is why certain patented ingredients such as red orange extract (red orange complex) and pomegranate fruit extract (viqua) are beneficial and can assure fast result as it contain about 12800 ORAC value.


Also, limit the consumption of sugary food, as sugary food can destroy the collagen in your skin thus making your skin less elastic and prone looking older.


TIP 2: Protect yourself from the sun.


According to study the number one thing which can really harm your skin is exposure to the sun. Which is why scientist suggest to limit activities outside from 10 AM to 4 PM as this is the prime time when the sun exposure is the greatest and can harm your skin. If you need to do activities outside and is exposed to the sun during this hour, it is best to apply sunscreen beforehand. Sunscreen generally takes 20 minutes to be activated, thus apply 20 minutes before you are out and reapply every 2 hourly or more if you sweat a lot or if you are swimming.



A lifetime sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, increase risk of skin cancer and many more, but it is still not too late for you to start wearing your sunscreen every day, any time you think you are exposed to sun.


TIP 3: Treat yourself skin gently, pamper your skin.


It is also important to establish a good skincare regime by this time. Make sure it includes cleansing, toning, moisturizing and sunscreen. It is not a good idea to introduce your skin to any new active ingredients at this point of time since you do not want to gamble your skin purging time or after effect of using any active ingredient during raya right?



TIP 4: Exercise and manage your stress.


Exercise regularly can improve blood circulation and blood flow in your body which makes skin appear more healthy, pinkish, and at the same time will reduce your stress. So, start exercise now!


It might be tricky to exercise during fasting month, so you must choose your exercise time wisely. Always try to exercise before you break your fast perhaps 30 minutes – 1 hour before or at night.


Lastly, it is still not too late to start your healthy-looking skin for hari raya project! Gather all the necessary equipment and start now and you will be thanking yourself for looking all fabulous this coming Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Also, Happy Hari Raya Aidil Fitri in advance.


Vitamin C and Skin Health

Vitamin C can be said as the most popular micronutrient among all. It serves various function from immune health to skin health. As of late, many skin care products have incorporated vitamin C as one of the ingredients or it stands alone in skincare products. Many studies found out that topical application of vitamin C show positive skin changes in improving skin complexion, improves skin hydration, fading out hyperpigmentation, and reduce the appearance of under eye-circle.

But, according to study there are various hindrance to the absorption of vitamin C apply topically, such as skin pH, penetration of vitamin C into skin layers, oxidation due to exposure to harsh environment before the skincare is even apply on skin and many more.


Which is why people started to dig what about the consumption of vitamin C? Will it help with skin health even better?


Study on roles of vitamin C in skin found that, the consumption of vitamin C helps with skin health via various pathways.



  • The promotion of collagen formation.


Vitamin C acts as a co-factor for the proline and lysine hydroxylase (enzyme) that stabilise the collagen structure in skin. In skin, collagen formation is carried mostly in dermis, it requires the enzyme lysine hydroxylase to form collagen, which is dependent on vitamin C. Which is why consumption of sufficient amount of vitamin C helps with intact looking skin due to the formation of collagen.


  • The ability to scavenge free radicals and dispose of toxic oxidants.


Another important role of vitamin C is that it acts as potent antioxidant which can neutralise and remove oxidants from environmental pollutants and after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. But most intervention studies carried out on to see the effect or the prevention of the damage using cocktail of other ingredients as well such as glutathione and vitamin E). Which is why, it is said that vitamin C is particularly effective when it is used in conjunction with vitamin E.


  • Inhibition of melanogenesis.

Vitamin C and its derivates including the weak one (magnesium phosphate ascorbyl derivatives) has been showed that it can treat skin hyperpigmentation in condition such as melisma or better known as age spot. This is due to that; it has been showed that it reduces melanin synthesis in skin by interfering with the action of tyrosinase (the rate limiting enzyme in the production of melanin).

These are all pathways in which vitamin C could helps with skin health. During the course of life, the skin is exposed to various challenges that affect structure, function, and appearance of skin including:


  1. Ageing – loss of elasticity and wrinkle formation.
  2. Exposure to elements leading to discoloration, dryness, and accelerated wrinkles.
  3. Chemical insults such as from soaps, hair dye, and detergents
  4. Direct injury such as wounding or bleeding.



Which with all the factors from internal and external being addressed, it is thought that can makes things clear that the consumption of vitamin C, is able to help with prevention of skin further damaged but at the same time must limit or reduced external factors which cause harm to skin, after all, prevention is better than cure, right?


Apart from this, 16 studies that investigate the consumption of vitamin C supplement or food shows that it improves skin appearance by improving: skin elasticity, facial wrinkling, roughness, and discoloration.


Another double-blind nutrition intervention using cocktails of supplementation such as that is high with antioxidants such as 10mg trans resveratrol, 60 mcg selenium, 10 mg vitamin E, and 50 mg vitamin C in papaya extraction among population between 40 to 65 years old, shows improved skin surface, brown spots, evenness, moisture, and elasticity after 90 days of supplementation.




Based on all these data, the study stated that the efficacy of consumption of vitamin C is better in improving skin health as compared to topical application only. As the efficacy of topical application is based on the prior skin condition. In one study, it suggests that when the health status is already optimal, meaning enough vitamin C, the topical application of vitamin C will not be absorbed into the skin. Hence ‘beauty form the inside’, via nutrition, may be more effective that topical application.




  1. Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients9(8), 866.
  2. Radiance by WebMD. Benefits of Vitamin For Your Skin Health. (Retrieved on May 3rd, 2021).
  3. 11 Reasons to add vitamin C serum to your skincare routine. (Retrieved on May 3rd, 2021).


What you need to know about hair falls and diet ?

There are many factors influencing number of hair falls, from disease related symptoms to simply due to nutrient deficiency. Some commonly heard causes of hair falls are alopecia, thyroid problems, and lupus. Which is why it is important to know how much hair falls is normal and when should you go and seek treatment.

According to America Academy of Dermatology, common hair falls per day is about 50 to 100 strands of hair, as we have more than about 100 000 hair follicles on head only, thus losing about 50 – 100 strands of hair per day will not causing you bald, patchiness, and spots, but of course if you have longer hair, losing hair is more noticeable as compared to if you have shorter hair. Also, formation of spots, patchiness, bald in your hair area, and pattern of clumps of hair loss, is a sign that you need to seek primary care doctors or dermatologist.



Generally, according to scientist it is hard to quantify normal number of hair loss since it is still depending on gender, the way hair is style and frequency of hair styling, frequency of hair colouring, washing, bleaches, brushing, and heat styling.  It is also noted that, women tend to loss hair more than man as 40% of women style hair a lot more than men and because women experience certain life events which makes them losing more hair such as during pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause.



But, if you are experiencing more hair loss than usual and it is not something due to diseases, or life events that makes you stress you might need to find solution in making your hair grow healthier again!


The answer to this is by improving your diet!


According to studies, minerals, and micronutrients such as biotin is responsible for keratin production which will help with hair growth. Vitamin C act as strong antioxidants to scavenge free radical in hair follicles resulting in strong hair root, it also helps to produce collagen which strengthen and prevent hair from becoming brittle and breaking. Vitamin C also helps to absorb more iron into the body which can prevent anaemia, that can lead to more hair loss.



Another important nutrient is vitamin A, vitamin A is abundance in yellowish -orange food, such as carrot but it is also in greenish food such as spinach. It helps skin gland to produce sebum, which will make hair less frizzy, brittle, and easily broken. Although vitamin A, can improve your hair condition but too much vitamin A might be dangerous to your body and can harm your hair! So, consume vitamin A rich food moderately.



Minerals that play an important role for hair growth and repair is zinc. It also helps to keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Zinc rich food such as oysters, spinach, beef, and meat, helps to reduce hair loss caused by zinc deficiencies.


In conclusion, by identifying the type of nutrient that is beneficial for your hair health might give idea on what can you improve and what are you lacking on your diet. In effort to improve hair health, hair care routine, such as washing hair when needed, avoid heat styling and excessive hair styling, avoid exposure of hair to colorant, chemical etc that can harm for some time can help to improve hair condition.


Collagen and it benefits to hair, skin, and nails.

Collagen is a type of protein that is necessary for formation of skin, nails, hair, cartilage, bones, teeth, and joint. It is in most of the organs in the body. It is the tissue that holds ligaments, joints, and bones together. Some collagen acts as a protective layer for organs in the body, such as the kidneys.

As we age, the production of collagen in the body decreases, it causes skin to become wrinkled. For certain people, even when they are still young due to exposure of skin to various harsh environments and conditions both internally and externally, collagen level in skin tend to diminish even quickly.


Collagen and skin


Collagen is the central element in the dermis layer (one of the skin layer), it comprises about 70%-80% of skin. Whenever skin is wounded, collagen helps in wound healing through providing an ideal environment for cells to proliferate, which will help with the healing process. It also plays a significant role in all phases of wound healing, including haemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodelling.


Studies shows that application of collagen in wounded skin is very beneficial since the collagen is highly porous and have interconnected pore structure. It is said that collagen is beneficial to wound healing to the extent of, there is study noted that collagen potentially can be used for skin substitute in full thickness wound healing.



Collagen and hair


Building block of hair is protein keratin, by consuming collagen rich food and/or collagen supplement, it will then be break down into variety types of amino acids compound.


There are 11 types of non- essential amino acids, which body can produce itself, and there are 9 types of essential amino acids which need to be consumed from diet since body cannot produced it. Collagen is made up from three types of essential amino acids, which is why it is best to consume collagen, collagen rich foods, or variety of protein rich foods, so you may get different types of amino acids compound especially the essential amino acids compound which body cannot synthesized, so that we can improve level of collagen in the body.


Collagen helps to fight damage to hair follicles by functioning as antioxidants which helps to fight free radical. Free radical could develop due to stress, smoking, dietary habits and many more. These are all factors that we are at risk of everyday, by consuming collagen it helps to reduce damage in the hair follicles thus lead to a healthier hair growth. It may also help to prevent thinning due to ageing and slow down the appearance of greying.



Collagen and nails


A study that was conducted among men and women who experience brittle nail syndrome, where their nail exhibits rough surface, raggedness, and peeling, noted that consumption of collagen promoted an increase of 12% nail growth rate and a decrease of 42% in the frequency of broken nails. Additionally, 64% of participants experienced an improvement 4-week post treatment. Most participants (80%) agreed that the use of collagen help with their brittle nail syndrome.



In conclusion, collagen consumption may helps with hair, nails, and skin condition since it is the building block of it. So, apart from practicing ‘prevention is better than cure’ measure once you have seen the symptoms in your hair, skin and nails, it is still not too late to help it with collagen.


Should you consider collagen supplementation ?

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

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




Research on collagen supplementation are mostly on joint and skin health. Although studies pertaining to this using human subjects are still lacking, but some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplementation improve skin elasticity. In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5 – 5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity as compared to those who did not. Another study found out that women who consume it for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth as compared with a control group (1,2, 3,4). 


Trials on collagen supplement and  joint health also found that it can improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain for people with osteoarthritis or in athletes (5). Collagen comprises about 60% of cartilage, a very firm tissue that surrounds bones and cushions them from the shock of high-impact movements; so a breakdown in collagen could lead to a loss of cartilage and joint problems.



Other than consumption of collagen based supplement, there are also foods that is rich with collagen, or that encourage collagen production other than lifestyles modification mentioned above. Food such as  tough cuts of meat full of connective tissue like pot roast, brisket, and chuck steak. However, a high intake of red meat is not recommended as part of a long-term healthy diet. Collagen is also found in the bones and skin of fresh and saltwater fish. Bone broth which require animal bones to simmer in water with small amount of vinegar for 4 – 24hours also is said to have high collagen properties. However, the amount of amino acids will vary among batches, depending on types of bones used, cooking period, and many more. Other foods that can help to with production of collagen are foods that is rich with zinc such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vitamin c rich food such as citrus fruits, bell peppers and tomatoes.




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



  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.

How to Pick Supplement For Your Skin?

There are many supplements on the market formulated for various purposes. Knowing what to look for in your supplements help you make a better choice in choosing supplements for your health, here we share some of the tips in choosing supplements for your skin!

Vitamin C and antioxidants

Vitamin C has many functions in the body, including function related to the skin health. It acts as a co -factor in collagen to stabilize the collagen structure on the skin. Vitamin C is required in the formation of an enzyme which is essential in forming collagen, which explains why sufficient consumption of vitamin C helps with wrinkle free looking skin due to the formation of collagen.


When choosing vitamin C supplementation, it is best to choose natural vitamin C, that derived from plant based vitamin C rich foods such as guava, berries, orange, pomegranate, etc., this will give better absorption of skin as compared to synthetic vitamin C to the body and will also give various function of antioxidants properties to overall body health not only skin!




High dosage of vitamin C, does not necessarily means that it is better. We are recommended to consume about 70 mg of vitamin C daily according to the Ministry of Health. It can be consumed from fruits, vegetables, and fortified food, however, for certain people it is hard to consume fruits and vegetables on daily basis due to various reasons. Thus consumption of vitamin C from supplement can be used as an alternative.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids


Omega 3 fatty acids are usually referring to as good fat. It serves to regulate the skin’s oil production, improved balance hydration, subdue breakout and minimize signs of aging. Furthermore, it can also help to soften rough, dry skin, and have a soothing effect on irritation and dermatitis if apply topically. Omega 3 rich foods can improve the composition of skin by balancing its inflammatory response towards the effect of sun damage and also improve sensitive skin condition by making it less dehydrated and dry.


Omega 3 rich foods can be found in food such as cat fish, terubok fish, patin fish, mackerel, spinach, mustard green, tofu and tempeh. People who consume lack of fish in their diet or who does not consume fish at all are at risk of lacking omega 3 nutrient (DHA & EPA) in their body. Thus, should actually obtain this from supplement.



When choosing supplement with omega 3, it is important to make sure that the supplement has enteric coated technology which will allow the nutrients to metabolize at its designated place that is small intestine and will not be broken down by stomach acid. A good Omega 3 supplementation also must undergo molecular distillation process to avoid any contamination such as mercury contamination from the fish oil source.




Our body can produce its own collagen, however the production of collagen gradually declined as we aged, which explains among the sign of aging is wrinkles, that is coming from skin that is less elastic, supple, and firm. We can get collagen from food and there are also foods which can stimulate production of collagen and break down existing collagen. Body makes collagen from combining proline and glycine (types of protein).Thus consuming food high with proline and glycine will help with restoring collagen level in the body.


Foods that are high with collagen are mostly diet from protein-rich foods such as bone broth, pork, chicken, beef, eggs, and fish. Plant based food also have added benefits to collagen rich food consumption since vegetables and fruits contain high level of antioxidants which can protect oxidative stress from reducing collagen.



Apart from these, you may consume collagen supplement for maintenance of your skin health and help with slowing wrinkle formation. It is hard to identify criteria for good collagen supplementation, but among things that one need to consider in choosing collagen supplementation is the other ingredients combining with it and for what purposes. Since combination of collagen with other ingredients might increase its bioavailability and making it has more functions not only to skin but also to overall body health.


Key -ingredients for skin hydration

In general there are three types of skin condition, oily skin, dry skin, and combination skin. Skin expert believe that every skin condition need certain amount of hydration in order to keep the skin in its healthy condition. 

There are  variety of products in the market formulated in order to moisturized and hydrate skin.But do you know that there is different between moisturizing skin and hydrating skin ?
  • Hydrating ingredients are ingredients that can be used to add water into the skin, as the ingredients have the ability to pull water into the skin.
  • Moisturized ingredients are ingredients which can help to keep the hydration in the skin by preventing Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL – A process which evaporates water from skin). 

Dry skin need both hydrating ingredients and moisturizing ingredients in order keep skin moist and healthy. Whereas for oily and combination skin, application skincare is depending on the type of skincare, its ingredients and also type of skin at the particular area.



All in all, there are three types of hydrating and moisturizing ingredients in the market. This includes humectants, emollient, and occlusive.


  • Humectants is the kind of ingredients that can attract water and moisture to the skin. When humectants are present on the skin, water from dermis is absorbed into the epidermis. (E.g.: Glycerin, Honey, Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxy Acids: Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid)
  • Emollients are chemicals that improved the ‘feel’ of the skin by filling the spaces in between skin cells and also provide lubrication, or imparting sense of softness in the skin. (E.g.: Dimethicone, Isopropyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Isopropyl Isostearate).
  • Occlusive is an agent that serve to reduce Trans-epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) by forming a non-friendly skin barrier  over the skin surface to prevent evaporation of water from the skin to the environment (E.g.: Mineral Oil, Squalene, Lanolin Acid, Lanolin)


Other that these, newly discovered ingredients that raved the skincare industry is the ceramide, thus many skincare company started to incorporate this holy ingredients into the skincare formulation. Study shows that the application of ceramide in 24h can lessen the Trans-epidermal Water Loss, which is a good indicator in order to moisturized and hydrates skin.


Other than this, study also look at the relationship between consumption of ceramide whether it can improve skin condition. Surprisingly, consumption of ceramide also helps in improving skin condition. Study found out that consumption of ceramide in 12 weeks is beneficial to especially dry skin condition as compared to placebo.


The study also look at the safety of ceramide consumption to the body and found out that ceramide is safe for consumption.


In conclusion, hydration and moisturization is important for skin. Combination of emollient, humectants, occlusive and ceramides is important in maintaining skin barrier and moisture. Consumption of supplements product containing high antioxidants properties and ceramides also help to improve skin condition.



  1. Tsuchiya, Y., Ban, M., Kishi, M., Ono, T., & Masaki, H. (2020). Safety and Efficacy of Oral Intake of Ceramide-Containing Acetic Acid Bacteria for Improving the Stratum Corneum Hydration: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study over 12 Weeks. Journal of Oleo Science69(11), 1497-1508.
  2. Spada, F., Barnes, T. M., & Greive, K. A. (2018). Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology11, 491.
  3. Science Becomes Her. Emollients, Occlusives, & Humectants, Moisturized explained.

Arghhhhh….Stress!!! How To Handle?

Stress can be defined as the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress.(1)

The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors. As a result, the person becomes overworked, and stress-related tension builds. The body’s autonomic nervous system has a built-in stress response that causes physiological changes to allow the body to combat stressful situations. This stress response, also known as the “fight or flight response”, is activated in case of an emergency. However, this response can become chronically activated during prolonged periods of stress. Prolonged activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body – both physical and emotional.(2)


Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress – a negative stress reaction. Distress can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomachelevated blood pressurechest painsexual dysfunction, and problems sleeping. Emotional problems can also result from distress. These problems include depressionpanic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases. Stress is linked to 6 of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.(3)


Stress also becomes harmful when people engage in the compulsive use of substances or behaviors to try to relieve their stress. These substances or behaviors include food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, sex, shopping, and the Internet. Rather than relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances and compulsive behaviors tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems. The distressed person becomes trapped in a vicious circle.


It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about your stress level. The bills aren’t going to stop coming, there will be never be more hours in the day for all you errands, and your career or family responsibility will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control that you might think. In fact, managing stress is all about taking charge of your thoughts, your emotion, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationship, relaxation, and fun plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. (4)


Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather that the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.


To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:


  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?


Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.



Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress


Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.


  • Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them.
  • Avoid people who stress you out.
  • Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route.
  • Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list.
  • Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks


Stress management strategy #2: Alter the situation


If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.


  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same.
  • Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them
  • Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress


Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor


If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.


  • Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective
  • Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation.
  • Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress.
  • Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts.


Stress management strategy #4: Accept the things you can’t change


Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.


  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people.
  • Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth.
  • Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist.
  • Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes


Stress management strategy #5: Make time for fun and relaxation


Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitably come.


Healthy ways to relax and recharge

  • Go for a walk.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Call a good friend.
  • Sweat out tension with a good workout.
  • Write in your journal.
  • Take a long bath.
  • Light scented candles
  • Savour a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Work in your garden.
  • Get a massage.
  • Curl up with a good book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch a comedy


Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.


  • Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule.
  • Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life.
  • Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
  • Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself


Stress management strategy #6: Adopt a healthy lifestyle


You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.


  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress
  • Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat.
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary.
  • Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body.




  1. Robinson, L., Smith, M. and Segal, R., 2011. Stress Management: How To Reduce, Prevent, And Cope With Stress | Brainline. [online] BrainLine. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 April 2020].
  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Fact sheet on stress Accessed 12/9/2014.
  3. American Psychological Association. Stress: the different kinds of stress Accessed 12/9/2014.
  4. Office on Women’s Health. Stress and your health fact sheet Accessed 12/9/2014

Ashwagandha? What is it?

Ashwagandha is the kind of herb that is commonly used in Ayurveda (traditional medicine system in India) system. It derived from Sanskrit word, which means the smell of horse, which refers to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength. Its botanical name is Whitania Somnifera, also known as ‘Indian winter cherry’ or ‘Indian ginseng’. Ashwagandha has this adaptogen properties that can help body to relieve stress.




Health benefits of ashwagandha (1,2,3)


Ashwagandha has been used for over 3000 years, thus from its mere traditional usage, it has evolved to the modern capsule supplement where people can get it easily, anywhere. Though there are many health benefits of ashwagandha, but some of it does not have a conclusive study finding.


The available scientific data support the conclusion that Ashwagandha is a regenerative tonic, due to its multiple pharmacological actions like anti-stress, neuroprotective, antitumor, anti-arthritic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It is useful for different types of diseases like Parkinson, dementia, memory loss, stress induced diseases, malignoma and others.



Ashwagandha and neurodegenerative disease (4, 1,2)


Neurodegenarative disease usually cause by cognitive impairment. Disease such as Alzhemier, Parkinson and Huntington are found to improve after the usage of ashwagandha, in the sense that it slows, stops, reverse, or removes neutritic athropy. It is also said can be used at any stage of the disease, even before a person has been diagnosed in the state of mild forgetfulness.


Ashwagandha and mental health (4,5)


Ashwagandha induced a calming anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect that was comparable to the drug Lorazepam in all three standard tests, anxiety tests (the elevated plus-maze), social interaction and the feeding latency in an unfamiliar environment. Moreover, both Ashwagandha and Lorazepam, reduced rat brain levels of tribulin, an (marker of level of anxiety).


Ashwagandha also exhibited an antidepressant effect, comparable with that induced by imipramine, in two standard tests, the forced swim-induced ‘behavioural despair’ and ‘learned helplessness’ tests. The investigations support the use of Ashwagandha as a mood stabilizer in clinical conditions of anxiety and depression.


Another study that was conducted using prospective, randomized controlled double-blind method found that, the group that was given ashwagandha root extract exhibit a significant reduction in hormone cortisol level (stress hormone) as compared to the group that receive placebo.



Ashwagandha and arthritis (4,1)


Ashwagandha is considered an analgesic since it has the ability to relieve pain. Ashwagandha acts on the nervous system to prevent pain signals from being sent. It is also thought to have some anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, some research has shown it to be effective in treating arthritis.




  1. Franziska Spritzler (2019). 12 Proven Health Benefits if Ashwagandha. (Accessed on September 1, 2020).
  2. Ashwagandha (n.d). (Accessed on September 1, 2020).
  3. Medical News Today. Benefits of ashwagandha (2016). (Accessed on September 1, 2020).
  4. Singh et. al. (2011). An Overview of Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (rejuvenator) of ayuverda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 208–213. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9
  5. Chandrasekar et. Al. (2012). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 255–262. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022


Sleep hygiene, is it important?

Sleep hygiene refers to the healthy routine sleep habit, that helps one to sleep throughout the night or get enough quality sleep. These habits are a cornerstone of cognitive behavioural therapy, the most effective long-term treatment for people with chronic insomnia.

There is certain habit that should be cultivated if you are experiencing poor sleeping habit before you opt to take medication or any remedies. You should consider practicing good sleeping hygiene such as go to bed at the same time every night and be consistent with it. Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing and at a comfortable temperature. Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphone, from the bedroom. Avoid large heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime, regularly exercise during the day is able to make one fall asleep easily at night.



How can all these habits help in getting good quality sleep? (3)


The behavior during the day and before bedtime have a major impact on sleep. Either it can promote healthy sleep or contribute to sleeplessness.


The daily routines include what we consume, the medication that we take, how we schedule our days and how do we spend our evening can significantly affect the quality of sleep. Sometimes, for a person who is experiencing trouble sleeping, it takes only slight adjustment in their daily routines, or in some cases they are require to write a two weeks diary to help them to understand their routines that affect their sleep quality.


Why good quality sleep is important? (3,4)


Insufficient sleep has major health consequences in adults, adolescents, and young children. Strong evidence exists that adult who have insufficient sleep has develop numerous health complications including incidence of chronic disease. Those who have short sleep duration, that is less than 7 hours per night and have poor sleep quality are associated with cardiovascular morbidity and metabolic disorders such as glucose intolerance, which also will lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Individuals who experience shorter sleep duration are at 1.48 times greater risk of developing and dying of coronary heart disease than those who have sufficient sleep and 1.15 times more likely to have a stroke.


Adults who sleep less than 7 hours per night also have greater difficulty in concentrating, remembering, and performing daily activities than those who sleep 7 to 9 hours per night.


When it comes to children, those who experiencing shorter sleep duration are more likely to become obese than those who do not. Insufficient sleep also affects immunologic function and development of mood disorders and is associated with depression; deficits in cognition, memory, and learning; and reduced quality of life.


One major consequence of insufficient sleep is daytime sleepiness, which reduces alertness and causes slow reaction time, leading to occupational and medical errors, workplace injuries, impaired driving, and motor vehicle accidents. In 2009, almost 5% of adults in 12 United States reported that during the previous 30 days they had nodded off or fallen asleep driving. In 2005, drowsy driving contributed to 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 15,000 deaths.



What need to be done? (4)


As medical practitioners be it doctors, nurses, pharmacist, nutritionist, etc one must consider the sleeping factor in advising for lifestyle modification. One must as well ensure that patient or customers is well informed regarding medication or supplement that they are taking which will induce symptoms that hinder them from sleeping such as tachycardia (irregular heart zate) etc thus they need to adjust the timing for medication consumption, sleeping time and daily activities. One must as well consider sleep factor in finding diagnosis or underlying cause for one’s health condition.


At this point, public as well must be reminded that sleep is a very essential factor in maintaining health especially for disease like hypertension. Thera are various factors that can hinder sleep or can cause trouble sleeping thus adjustment in the lifestyle sometimes need to be made for the improvement of life quality.





  1. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tips for better sleep (2016). (Accessed on September 4, 2020).
  2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Healthy Sleep Habits (2017). (Accessed on September 4, 2020).
  3. Sleep Foundation. Nilong Vyas. Sleep Hygiene (2020). (Accessed on September, 2020).
  4. Irish, L.A., et al. (2015). The Role of Sleeping Hygiene in Promoting Public Health: A Review of Empirical Evidence. Sleep Medicine Reviews. Volume 22, Pages 23-36.


Sleep and Chronic Disease

Sleep is always less likely linked with chronic diseases, since many people think that it is something that is not related. However, sleep disturbance might cause by symptoms of chronic diseases or the other way round, where, sleep disorder can eventually lead to chronic diseases. That is to describe on how tight the cycle between sleep and chronic diseases (1).


Chronic disease is the kind of disease that last for long time such as Diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases. It usually cannot be cured thus need to manage (1,2).


Among reasons contribute to sleep disorder among chronic disease individuals are due to fatigue and pain that they experience in their daily life. This condition makes them experience difficulty to fall asleep at night and sleepy throughout the day. Sleep disturbance at night among individuals with chronic diseases also can be attributed to the depression or anxiety that they experience with regards to their disease or not. In some cases, certain medication that is consume by individuals with chronic disease will sometimes trigger condition that makes them unable to fall asleep (1,2).



Sleep, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.



Diabetes and sleep problems often go hand in hand. Diabetes can cause sleep loss, not sleeping well can cause diabetes due to frequently eating at night which will then lead to obesity and various underlying factors (3,4).


Individuals with diabetes who experiencing spike up of blood sugar, will not have good quality sleep since, the kidney is trying hard to excrete the sugar by urinating, so individuals with spike up blood sugar level, usually will experience getting up and going to the bathroom all night long (3,4). Thus, the only solution to this is, to control blood glucose level, eat well during the day and you will eventually experience a good night sleep at night.


Touching on the not sleeping well can cause diabetes due to frequently eating at night, this is due to finding of the study confirming that, people who get less sleep tend to be heavier than those who sleep well, since being overweight is the risk factor for the development of diabetes (3,4).



Obese individuals also experiencing sleep apnoea, a condition of sleep disorder which indicated by loud snoring and paused breathing when you sleep. The culprit behind this may be the weight gained, which cause fat to deposit around the upper airway that obstruct breathing (3,4).


There are many effective treatments for sleep apnoea. These include lifestyle changes such as weight loss for mild cases and devices to open-up blocked airways for more significant cases (3,4).


As for sleep and cardiovascular diseases when we sleep our blood pressure goes down. This makes our body and mind relax and be calm. However, for individuals with sleep problems, their blood pressure level will stay higher in the long time since it does not get the chance to rest down, thus the condition of prolonged high blood pressure can lead to various heart disease problem such as stroke (5).


Also, with sleep apnea, it affects how much oxygen your body gets while you sleep thus increasing risk for health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.





Sleep is as important as eating. It acts as the reset button to the whole-body function. It allows body system to realign, grow and slow down before it kick-starts another day. Thus, do yourself a favour today by achieving enough quality sleep.


But, if you already having trouble sleeping, find out ways on improving it either by managing your underlying health condition that hinder you from getting good sleep, or follow some sleeping hygiene technique in order to train you body and mind to fall asleep. It is not a one-day job, it requires many days, weeks and perhaps months, but if you are consistent it will surely have a fruitful result. Happy sleeping and live your life to the fullest.


Megalive for better life!



  1. Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sleep and Sleep disorder. Sleep and Chronic Diseases.,disease%2C%20obesity%2C%20and%20depression. (Accessed on September 11, 2020).
  2. Sleep and Chronic Illness. (Accessed on September 11, 2020).
  3. The Sleep – Diabetes Connection. (Accessed on September 11,2020).
  4. Deepak Khandelwal, Deep Dutta, Sachin Chittawar, and Sanjay Kalra (2017). Sleep Disorders in Type 2 Diabetes. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 21(5): 758–761. DOI: 4103/ijem.IJEM_156_17
  5. Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). How does sleep affects your heart health.,attack%2C%20asthma%2C%20and%20depression.&text=Some%20of%20these%20health%20problems,High%20blood%20pressure. (Accessed on September 11, 2020).


Stress and Sleep

Stress is a response to challenging circumstance that we are in, it is also a response to things that happened in our daily life. Everything that happened be it in our daily life or not (happened to someone else) can somehow affect us emotionally, physically, and behaviorally. Stress is not all bad, the right amount of stress will act as a precursor to helps us to do our best, to keep us alert and energetic. However, too much of stress can make us tense, anxious and hinder our sleep quality (1,2).

What is making you stress might not make others stress and vice versa. When it comes to stress there are just no standard parameters to measure. Since the amount of stress that perceive by individuals differ from one another though it is stemming from the same source of stress (1,2,3).

Stress induce multiple body reactions, such as in our brain, nervous system, endocrine system (hormone), and immune system. Research called it ‘hyperarousal’ where it is a state when our body in the stress state. Which in another words our brain perceives the condition as on alert (1,2,4).


The signs of hyperarousal state include you cannot shut down your busy mind. Your mind seems to have no shut down button. It keeps going over and over your stress, worries, and frustrations contemplating from various angles. Which is also one of the reasons that hinder you from getting enough quality sleep. Secondly, when you are experiencing muscle tense for no reasons. It can be aches in areas such as neck, shoulder, or constant headache. Thirdly, is when you are experiencing heart race. This is particularly associated with the hormone cortisol (a stress hormone). This will then result in the condition where your body and brain are wide awake thus the condition is not conducive for you to fall asleep thus explain individuals who is stress experience sleep disturbance. (1)



It is unfair to discuss in the area that stress cause sleep disturbance only without noting that, there are condition which will makes individuals who experience stress sleep excessively as well. It is somewhat mystery to experts as well, though it is hypothesized due to different kind of stress that experience by individuals and again different coping mechanism developed by individuals in adapting to different stressors (3).


What to do (4)?


Fortunately, there are habits in which if you cultivate it diligently, it will train your mind to ease the stress and helps you to sleep. First, practice relaxation exercise such as progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing technique before turning in for the night. This technique can help you to unwind. It will help your body and mind to dial down the stress. It is also wise to actually have a relaxing pre-sleep rituals, such as change to your comfortable clothing for sleep, dim your bedroom light, be in the comfortable situation, take a warm bath or drink a cup of warm water or milk, avoid caffeinated drinks like soda, tea and coffee in the late afternoon, slowly nesting yourself.


Of course, this is not tips that will work for everybody, anyhow you just got to trial and error. You just got to give it a try and adjust it accordingly so that it will suit your condition better.


Lastly, if you have anything in your mind that is stressing you out, think of it as that is just the phase that you have to endure. Whatever situation that you are in, you know it better than anyone else, since you have the key to get yourself out of that condition. You are the master control of it, soon you will be out of this, think of positive thoughts and try to talk to someone you trust. If you think your condition is worsening its maybe a sign for you to seek medical help.




  1. Sleep National Sleep Foundation. Stress and Insomnia (July 2020). (Accessed on September 20, 2020).
  2. Sleep National Sleep Foundation. Relaxation Exercises for Falling Asleep (July 2020). (Accessed on September 20, 2020).
  3. Kim, E. J., & Dimsdale, J. E. (2007). The effect of psychosocial stress on sleep: a review of polysomnographic evidence. Behavioral sleep medicine5(4), 256-278.
  4. Tips to reduce stress and Sleep better (2019). (Accessed on September 20, 2020).

Sleep and sleep disorders

Sleep disorder is a group of condition that affects individuals’ ability to fall asleep on daily basis, in another word it is a disruption to sleep pattern. It is a wide spectrum of diseases, it refers to the alteration in the sleep quality, quantity, and pattern. It could be due to stress or it is an underlying problem to diseases. This condition can also persist in long term or short term. The recommended sleeping hour for normal adults are about 6-8 hours, whilst for children the sleeping hours is even longer (e.g: newborn up to 16 hours), however as for elderly usually it is shorter which is only about 4-5 hours of sleep.


Cause of sleep disorder?


Common cause of sleep disorders includes work in the shift hour, physical problems such as difficulty in breathing, frequent urination at night, pain (e.g: arthritis). It can also be due to psychological or psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and stress. Another condition that can lead to sleep disorder or sleep disruption includes drugs and alcohol abuse, or if individuals is exposed to environment that is not suitable for sleeping.


The interruptions or alterations in sleeping quality, quantity and pattern can affect body more than we think of, since sleep primary functions is to provide rest and restoring body’s energy levels.



Currently the problem with regards to sleeping has increase tremendously. If this condition prolonged individuals should quickly seek help from medical professionals.


Signs for sleep disorder?


The signs for sleep disorder is when individuals consistently taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, waking up several times in the middle of the night and remain awake for hours, easily irritate during the day (even after seven to eight hours of sleep at night), frequent and/or long nap during the day, difficult to concentrate at work or school, waking up too early in the morning, loud snoring while asleep, require stimulant such as caffeine to keep you awake during the day, sometimes certain people even experience irresistible urge to move legs, or a tingling or crawling feeling in the legs, particularly at bedtime.


Common sleep disorder is insomnia, it includes symptoms like, feeling not fresh in the morning even after you have sleep for 7 – 8 hours, waking up too early in the morning, and trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a first-line treatment for chronic insomnia in adults. Apart from this, sleep hygiene training is also recommended and should be introduce to individuals with insomnia. Sometimes, there are behaviour that interfere with difficulty in sleep thus by cultivating healthy sleeping habits it can help you to change some of these disruptive behaviours.


Apart from insomnia, sleep apnea is also one of the common sleep disorders. It is defined as interrupted sleep caused by periodic gasping or snorting noises, or the momentary suspension of breathing. A deviated septum or polyps in the sinuses can cause difficult breathing during sleep. Individuals with sleep apnea usually unable to get enough oxygen while sleeping thus causing sleep disturbance.


Other known sleep disorder includes, narcolepsy, a condition when a person cannot control when they fall asleep and they will have episodes of unwanted sleep. Circadian rhythm sleep disorder is a condition in which a person has trouble aligning their body natural inclination for sleep with the rising and setting of sun. Klein-Levin syndrome a.k.a sleeping beauty syndrome, a condition in which a person will sleep for period of two or more days at a time.


Sleep disorder happen, it can be either due to stress such the common one insomnia or due to symptoms of other disease or disorder such as sleep apnea and ‘beauty sleep’ syndrome, so if you happened to know anyone with such struggle or you, yourself experience it, quickly seek medical helps.


  1. Warning Signs of a Sleep Disorder. (Accessed on September 18, 20).
  2. Everything you need to know about insomnia. (Accessed on September 18, 20).
  3. Fighting Insomnia with Therapy. (Accessed on September 18, 20).
  4. Ministry of Health Malaysia. MyHealth Portal. Sleep Disorder. (Accessed on September 18, 20).


Sleeping Pills & Natural Sleep Aid

Sleeping pills are a class of sedatives which act on the central nervous system and help a person fall asleep quickly. There are a few types of medicines that can produce sedative effects. Examples are antidepressants, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are the most common anxiolytics and hypnotics. Some Benzodiazepines are used to relieve anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, panic disorders and certain seizures disorders.

Sleeping pills usually lose its effect after a while because body gets used to the medicine, thus explain why it can only be used for short duration. There is also common side effect from taking sleeping pills such as drowsiness, dizziness, lack of co-ordination and slurred speech


Natural Sleep Inducers, melatonin in Malaysia? (3)


Which is why for some people before they opt for sleeping pills, they prefer to try natural remedies to induce sleep. In Malaysia it is not common, and it is based upon prescription to obtain melatonin. However, in U.S melatonin is one of the common over the counter (OTC) medicine where people can just purchase to improve their sleep quality.


Milk and sleep? (4)


Among range of products of natural remedies where people can look for when it comes to sleep aid are, it is advisable to drink warm milk before sleep to induce sleep. The science behind it is due to tryptophan and melatonin compound in milk. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in a variety of protein-containing foods. It plays an important role in the production of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Serotonin boosts mood, promotes relaxation, and functions as a precursor in the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone, is released by your brain. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm and prepare your body for entering a sleep cycle. However, there is currently no evidence to suggest that a single glass of milk contains enough tryptophan or melatonin to significantly influence your body’s natural production of melatonin or to independently treat a disordered sleeping pattern. The same thing goes to the temperature of milk and how does it affect sleep, it is just that  warm liquids have calming effect on the nervous system and may be more effective for lulling you into sleep than cold drinks. However, result depends on the individual. According to studies, any bedtime ritual can actually improve sleeping quality, since it helps body to slow down and relax, it gives signal to body to shut down.



Valerian and sleep? (3,5)


Apart from this, valerian is usually use for centuries in helping individuals to sleep better. It is an herbal medicine made from the root of the plant. It has been noted to act as sedative, according to study, valerian can be helpful in treating insomnia and improving sleep quality. Although more research is needed to establish this, but studies show that taking valerian can reduce the amount it takes to fall asleep by about 15 to 20 minutes. Doses of 400-900 mg of valerian extract taken up to 2 hours before bed seem to work best. Continuous use for several days, even up to four weeks, may be needed before an effect is noticeable. Some studies show that valerian can help improve sleep when combined with other herbs, including hops and lemon balm. Taking valerian might also improve the sleep quality of people who are withdrawing from the use of sleeping pills. However, some research suggests that valerian does not relieve insomnia as fast as “sleeping pills.”


Chamomile and sleep? (3,6)


Chamomile is a gentle herb that has calming effect. It promotes relaxation and sleep. Although there is no standard dosage of chamomile, it can be used in several ways such as use dried chamomile flowers to make tea, steep prepared tea bags sold at your local grocery store, inhale or apply diluted chamomile essential oil to your skin. Herbal essential oil can be used in order to induce calm environment and prepare your body to sleep. It can be cultivated partly as sleeping ritual, so your body will adapt to it in such a way that its going to make you feel sleepy.



In conclusion…


Most of the non-medication kind of remedies such as milk, valerian, chamomile, and valerian, usually give slower effect as compared to medicated sleeping pills. However, it can be used to treat mild insomnia and withdrawal symptoms from medicated sleeping pills, since medicated sleeping pills cannot be taken in the long run. Thus, both medicated and non-medicated has its own pro and cons, you may consult pharmacist or doctors to better suit your situation in choosing for sleeping pills or natural sleep remedies in order to improve your sleep quality.



  1. Ministry of Health Malaysia. My Health Portal. Sleeping Pills (Sedatives).
  2. Sleeping Pills: What You Need To Know?
  3. 8 Natural Sleep Aids: What works?
  4. Should You Drink Milk Before Sleep?
  5. Valerian.,inability%20to%20sleep%20(insomnia).
  6. Natural Sleep Aids and Remedies.


Tips for Joint Health

Joint is the connection between two bones structure that allows you to bend and being flexible. Part of the structure are also, smooth tissue called cartilage, synovium and synovial. Synovial is fluid that act as lubricator in the joint area (1,2).


Below are few tips for healthy joint:


Maintaining healthy weight


Joint pain usually occurs as a result of the normal wear and tear thus it is no surprise that the heavier the person the more load joint must carry, thus,  in the long run this will develop pain in the joint. Study found out that, just by being obese an individual has four- to five-fold increase in the risk of developing osteoarthritis (1, 2).


So, now go and weigh your body and find out your healthy weight
(psssttttt you may talk to us as well)!





Exercise regularly


We always know that by being physically active it can lower the risk of getting diseases. However, what if one already has the joint problem? How can one exercise and be physically active?


Many do not know that by performing correct exercise and do it with correct technique, it can alleviate joint pain and/or numbness that usually people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis have.  Aerobic exercise (Exercise that can increase heart rate) such as swimming can improve joint health (2,3).


If you already experiencing joint pain and would like to alleviate the pain using exercise method in combination with trying to get healthy weight, bear in mind to apply heat, because heat can relax your joint and muscle, you can also try to use warm towel or hot pack. Always go for slow movement and warm up your body with stretching first for about 10minutes to 15 minutes. If you feel pain, take a break or slow down.


Another easy tip is that, do not be a couch potato! By not moving your joint it increases the tendency for your joint to become stiff hence in the long run you will experience joint pain (2, 3).



What about food?


Eat food that is high with Calcium and Vitamin D


Food plays a huge role in our daily life, not only that it nourishes our body with nutrient, vitamins and minerals but it also at the same time prevent us from getting diseases. Deficiency of minerals and vitamin such as Vitamin D and Calcium can lead to many problems such as joint problem (1,4,5).


Calcium is the healthy bone mineral. About 99% of the calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth. It is mineral that makes them hard strong. Study found out that, adequate amount of calcium intake lead to better bone and joint health.  In older adults, especially in post-menopausal women, bone is broken down at a faster rate than it is built. If calcium intake is too low, this can contribute to osteoporosis. Thus, consumption of food high with calcium content is very crucial since young (1,4,5).


Apart from dairy product, there are various other food that is close to Malaysians but people do not know that is high with calcium such as fish with edible bones (sardines and anchovies), beans and bean products such as yellow dhal, tofu, and tempeh, or locally processed food such as cencaluk, budu, vegetables like spinach, cekur manis, tapioca leaves, kailan and brocolli. In fact the bioavailability of calcium in broccoli is just about the same in milk!



Check this out…




Whilst for Vitamin D, usually we can get it from the exposure to sunlight, however, since nowadays we often stay indoors and use products with SPF when we are outside thus lesser vitamin D is able to absorb by our body. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium, even when there is enough calcium intake, when vitamin D is not enough in the body, calcium will then become a waste (1,4,5).




Thus, it is very important to consume calcium and vitamin D rich foods in order to take care of our bone and joint health. Since in most countries currently the ‘lockdown’ phase is still ongoing, thus if you notice that you may be suffer from not getting enough vitamin D, thus start consume vitamin D rich foods like the above. Read food labels and consume food that is fortified with vitamin D such as breakfast cereals and milk.




  1. Kristin L. Clarke. (2007). Nutritional Consideration in Joint Health. Vol 26. Issue 1 (1010-108). :
  2. WebMd (n.d). Tips for Taking Care of your Joints.
  3. WebMd (n.d). Tips to Keep Joint Healthy.
  4. Healthline (n.d). Is there are connection between Vitamin D and Joint Pain?
  5. Cleveland Clinic (2015). Osteoporosis Prevention with Calcium Treatment

Workout Tips and Tricks!

You’ve been told a hundred times that exercise is good for you, and it’s true, but to maintain or do it everyday is a problem right. Here are five very good tips to rock out during your next workout time.



Tip 1: Make an exercise goals that you can achieve.

Many people find that having a firm goal in mind motivates them to move ahead. Goals are most useful when they are specific, realistic, and important to you. So maybe you can start try to exercise on three weekdays and one weekend day for 30 minutes to start but if you can only do less but slowly increase the duration, that’s okay too. The point is to get moving and keep moving. You can also start with mini workouts for only 5 minute. After you get comfortable then challenge yourself by increase the duration until your exercise get 30 minutes (1).


Tip 2: Get a partner to work out together so both of you can support each other.

There will be someone to help motivate you. Doing with your exercise partner, however, makes it a lot easier. Men and women have different intensity level. People put more effort into their workout routine when they’re exercising with someone else. So you must to realize your partner can not always keep on with you if your partner is different gender . What feels like a good workout to one of you might be too much or too little for the other. The same goes for healthy eating. The identical meal may not be acceptable to both of you. You must meet nutritionist and get advice on tips for healthy eating (2). Fact! Men lose weight faster than women. It is due to the fact that they have more muscle mass and can burn 30 to 40 percent more calories during the same workout. You cannot compare your result with your partner. It’s not realistic to see the same results in the same time period (3).




Tip 3: Don’t stick only one place or one exercise.

Head outside. Do variety of exercise so you don’t get bore. One of the simplest reasons for working out at variety of places and do different exercise is that it will be more fun. Going to the gym day after day can start to feel routine, and the last thing you want is to dread your workouts. Instead, get some fresh air with a walk, run, bike ride or hike (2).


Tip 4: Play Some Music to Keep Your Energy Up.

Music could be just what you really need to motivate you to push further. Research has found that playing music while exercising increases the duration of workouts without a perceived increase in effort. This effect because music boosts mood and encourages rhythmic movement. When a song has a strong, steady beat, for example, you can pedal or run to the beat of that music, which tends to feel satisfying and may inspire you to exercise more. While any type of music is beneficial, some research suggests faster music is more effective than slow music.

Choosing music that you enjoy and that fits your exercise routine can help you get more out of your exercise experience. Since everyone has a different ideal workout pace and intensity (4).



Tip 5: Work Out in the Morning and Get It out of the Way.

Some people find it easy if they do it in the morning, getting it out of the way before an excuse comes up to skip it. By the end of the day, you’re often really tired, random things have come up, and there’s always something else to do instead of exercise.


Morning workouts have been shown to lower night time blood pressure and improve sleep quality and physical activity also improves focus and concentration, regardless of when you do it. But if you have trouble focusing during the day, a morning workout might be just the ticket. The most important thing is to find a routine or schedule and workout routine that you can stick with (5).



  1. WebMD (n.d). Setting Your Goals on Fitness.
  2. Sadie Trombetta. (2016). 12 Reasons To Exercise With A Partner, Because Everyone Should Have A Gym Buddy.
  3. Cari Nierenberg. (2018). Yes, Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women, Here’s Why.
  4. National Center for Health Research (n.d). Can Listening to Music Improve Your Workout?.
  5. Kirsten Nunez (n.d). 13 Benefits of Working Out in the Morning.

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 all these conditions, 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).

Should we consume milk every day?

Milk is the most single food that has almost all the nutrient or can also be recognized as food that has the most nutrients as compared to the other food. Which is why from the ancient times naturally it is the staples food for babies. This also explain why bedridden patient who cannot tolerate food well, usually the first oral nutrition supplement given is milk (1).


However, the issues with milk always is controversial. There are study saying that as adult we do not have to consume milk every day, while there are also study suggesting that milk should be consumed every day (1). Down below we list out reasons why you should consider your consumption of milk, whether to drink it every day or not!



Milk reduced obesity risk


Well, people always equate full fat-dairy products for gaining weight however, finding of the research found somewhat contrary. Full-fat dairy products may actually be better than low-fat variety for keeping off weight! According to Walter Willet, Harvard School of Public Health nutrition expert, the idea that all fats are bad emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, when saturated fat was linked to high cholesterol and increased heart disease risk (2).


What happened was that, when saturated fat is reduced in food products or in people’s diet, it is often replaced with sugar or carbohydrates. The problem with this is that it takes more carbohydrates to make we feel full and unlike fat carbohydrates does not promote satiety (the longer feeling of fullness) thus making us consume more food (2). Another study saying that, the more sugar we consume the more we are craving for its, its like addiction (3).



The kind of milk that we have nowadays


Since the demand of high fat milk is low, most of food manufacturer has lower down their amount of fat, which is replaced with sugars. Which explained why if you looked thoroughly on food label for low fat milk, the chance is it has higher sugar content. Thus, when it comes to milk, it is very tricky. Some more we have various kind of milk nowadays from animal-based milk to plant-based milk.


How to choose?


When it comes to milk, if you want to drink milk as a means to avoid you from eating more food, as it promote satiety, then choose full cream milk, however you need to monitor your calorie intake from other source of food and choose milk with low sugar. However, according to Vasanthi Malik of Harvard School of Public Health, as we often get our fat from other source of food, thus it is best if we consume low fat milk, but still…need to check on the sugar content. Bottom line, when it comes to milk, choose the one that has lowest sugar, saturated fat, and trans-fat. As these are the culprit behind various health complication.


As for plant-based milk, it is not necessarily healthier than cow’s milk, for example it might be that it has higher sugar content as well. However, they are the better choice if your primary concern is environmental impact, since soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and rice milk produce less carbon and greenhouse gas emission than cow’s milk.


Pro and cons of milk


Again, the decision on whether to impart milk on the daily diet is still debatable though it is in the guideline of food pyramid and even healthy plate. The consumption of milk everyday is still depending on your dietary intake and body weight. Let say if you have normal weight, thus consuming one glass of milk per day is enough, however if you are underweight you may consume more than one. Maybe two glass of milk. But again, as mentioned above, while you are getting your good fat from milk it is very important to reduce other bad fat from your diet such as deep fried food, food that has high trans-fat which is bad for you and also food with high saturated fat.


The actual scenario is in Malaysia many people are overweight and obese thus, perhaps we should look at the suggestion to actually drink milk everyday again. What we are trying to emphasized is if you already get your calcium from other sources of food such as anchovies, sardine, almond, kale and many other foods, then probably you have already got the 1000 mg of calcium that you need daily!



Fact Check (5,6)!


Saturated fat is the kind of fat that is usually high in animal-based food and in some plant-based food such as coconut milk (santan). Excessive intake associates with raised blood cholesterol and increases risk of heart disease. Anddd do you know that coconut milk (santan) does not have cholesterol like what been claimed by almost all coconut milk products? It really is cholesterol free it just that it has high saturated fat!


Trans fat is ‘man made’ fat usually derived from the hydrogenation process. It raises your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It is also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies, fast foods and cakes are examples of foods that may contain trans-fat.





  1. Ask the Experts: Is Milk is good for you? (Accessed on November 23, 2020).
  2. Harvard T.H. Chan School Public Health. Calcium and Milk. (Accessed on November 24, 2020).
  3. Avena, N. M., Rada, P., & Hoebel, B. G. (2008). Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 32(1), 20–39.
  4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Milk not necessary for adult, should be good option for kids. (Accessed on November 20, 2020)
  5. Ministry of Health (MOH). Fats and cholesterol. (Accessed on November 23, 2020).
  6. American Heart Association (AHA). Trans Fat. (Accessed on November 24, 2020).

Gout: What you need to know?

Gout is one of the most frequently recorded medical illness throughout history. It is caused by a condition known as hyperuricemia, a condition when there is too much uric acid in the body. Body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines. Purines are found in the body and foods that we consume. Example of food containing purine are steak, seafood, organ meat, alcohol drink, and many more.


Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through kidneys and excreted in urine.  But when there is too much uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) will build up in joints, fluids, and tissues within the body. The build up will become sharp needle like crystal compound in joint or in the surrounding tissue that will cause pain, inflammation and swelling in the affected joint area.


Sometimes hyperuricemia does not cause gout, which also refer to as asymptomatic hyperuricemia. This condition does not need to be treated but efforts should be made to lower the uric acid levels by encourage individuals to make changes in their diet or lifestyle.



What are the sign and symptoms for gout? (1,4)


Sign and symptoms for gout occur when there is appearance of inflammation and swelling in the joint are, this condition usually refers to as acute gout attack. Usually during this condition symptoms below can be seen:


Intense joint pain. Usually it affects the large joint in the big toe area, but it can occur in any joint. Other commonly affected joints include the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. The pain is likely to be most severe within the first 4 to 12 hours after its presence.


Lingering discomfort. After the most severe pain subsides, some joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks.


Inflammation and redness. The affected joint or joints become swollen, tender, warm and red.


Limited range of motion. As gout progresses, individuals may not be able to move joints normally, as it will becoming stiff.


For gout there will be times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when there are no symptoms at all, known as remission. Repeated attack of gout can lead to gouty arthritis, a worsening form of arthritis.


What are the risk factors for gout (5)?


There are factors which makes individuals are more susceptible to gout as compared to others:


  • Male


  • Being Obese



  • Have certain health condition such as hypertension, diabetes, and poor kidney function


  • Using certain medication such as diuretic pills


  • Excessive drinking of alcohol


  • Frequently have diet that is high with purine


How gout is diagnosed? (1,5)


 Doctor usually diagnose gout based a review of your medical history, physical examination, and the symptoms. However, as for gout as people in Malaysia rarely do blood test thus the only time, they found out that they have gout is when their big toe is already at stake. Usually when you meet doctor with presence of tophi or podagra, the doctor usually will manage or treat the condition as gout until proven otherwise. Doctor will usually further confirm this via X-ray to see if there is any stone, or through your blood result where your uric acid level will be measure. Sometimes doctor can also take fluid sample from your joint to confirm whether it contains uric acid (4).


How gout is treated? (1,5)


Gout is usually treated by managing the pain of flare. Treatment of flare consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti – inflammatory drug colchicine.



However as to prevent from the future flare, changes in lifestyles is a must. Losing weight, eat less purine-rich food (like red meat or organ meat), limit alcohol consumption, and drinking plenty of water will help to prevent future attack.


 In order to prevent gout from happening, it is none other than to live a healthy lifestyle, eat diet in balance, variety, and moderation manner. Exercise frequently. Always make sure your weight is in the healthy range of weight for your height and frequently conduct medical check up to see if there is any changes in your blood result as our age increases.




  1. Centre of Disease Control (CDC). Gout. (Accessed on November 26, 2020).
  2. What is gout? (Accessed on November 26, 2020).
  3. American Family Physician Foundation (AAFP). Gout and Hyperuricemia.,changes%20in%20diet%20or%20lifestyle. (Accessed on November 26, 2020).
  4. Mayo Clinic. Gout. (Accessed on November 26, 2020).
  5. Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG). Gout. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).

Low Purine Diet 101

Have you heard of low purine diet? Low purine diet is diet that is prescribed to individuals who have gout, or have symptoms of gout, or have high or borderline uric acid in their blood results. Low purine diet is not a first line mechanism in treating gout or hyperuricemia (a condition of high uric acid level). Usually in the condition of gout attack, or when individual have swollen joint (usually in the big toe area), doctor or pharmacist will prescribe medication to ease the inflammation and diuretic medication to help with the retention of uric acid crystal.

These two prescription usually will be accompanied with pain killer to ease the pain. Depending on severity, condition, and individuals’ level of uric acid, the acute attack will slowly resolve in few days or week. However, if individuals fail to be cautious on food that they consume, gout may attack again (1,5). So here in this article, we are going to explain on diet that is suitable for individual with gout. Some said that it can be used for people who have kidney stone as well, but it is best to seek medical advise on what kind of stone itself, such as sometimes it can be calcium stone, oxalate stone, and many more thus avoidance of food must be made according to what kind of stone in the individuals body. Again, in this article we focus on gout.


Purine is found on many types of food, the only different is the amount of purine in a particular food. Certain food has high amount of purine while the other have low amount of purine. Food that is high in purine is the kind of food that has to be avoided by individuals with gout since it will be broken down into uric acid which for individual with gout it will be a huge problem (1,5,3).





Most carbohydrate does not have high amount of purine; thus, it is okay for individual to consume carbohydrate within recommended intake. However, as for people who have gout and diabetic, it is very tricky since wholegrain product has high amount of purine but has low glycemic index and high fiber, which is meant for individuals with diabetes but not gout, thus for individual with both problems, they need to balance in the amount of carbohydrates taken from these two source, meaning to say, let’s take rice as an example, certain days individual has to consume white rice while other days it can be brown rice. The same thing works for bread and pasta etc (carbohydrate-based food) (2,3,6).




Most of gout individuals must be cautious when it comes to protein-based food. Fish such as anchovies, sardines, scallops, tuna, codfish, herring, and haddock has high level of purine thus need to be avoided. Meat such as from goose and duck and organ meat such as brain, heart, liver, and kidney also have high amount of purine thus must be avoided or limit it intake. Gravies that is made from meat, like red meat broth or soup or stocks also has high purine (2,4,6).


For individual with gout, protein rich food can be consumed from source such as chicken, lean meat, and prawn. However, the consumption of meat also must be limited to 2-3 ounces only per day. For individuals with gout it is best to consume protein from legumes and eggs since most of it does not has high purine, but for individuals with gout and high cholesterol level consumption of eggs need to be limit  as well. If for normal and gout individual consumption of egg is up to two eggs per day while for gout and high cholesterol need to limit to one only or better do not consume egg yolk for it can elevate your cholesterol level. You sure don’t want your cholesterol level rising while managing your uric acid level, don’t you ?



Vegetables and fruits



Most of the vegetables and fruits has low amount of purine except for asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, and mushroom. Thus, individuals with gout may consume vegetable without concern that it may elevate level of uric acid in the blood. As for individuals who has diabetes and gout, consuming a lot of vegetables also will help in the management of blood glucose level as well, but you need to consume fruits that has low glycemic index such as apple, strawberry, kiwi, and peach (2,3,7).



Milk and dairy products


Milk and dairy products are mostly low in purine. However, in consuming milk and dairy products, individuals need to be aware on the amount of fat they are ingesting. It is also not suitable for individual who has high cholesterol. Thus, always choose milk and dairy product that is low trans-fat, low saturated fat, and low sugar (2,3,7).



In conclusion,


Other than category of food mentioned above or in the picture above, alcohol consumption also must be taking in cautious, for gout individuals, wine is better than beer. And, if you are considering supplementation consumption, it is best to avoid supplement that contained yeast. Consumption of low purine diet also must be together with drinking plenty of water and exercise which can help you to maintain or lose weight, which is one of the risks for gout (2,3,6). You may follow the low purine diet table below to understand diet for gout individuals better!





  1. 7 Tips following a low-purine diet. (Accessed on December 1, 2020).
  2. com. Low Purine Diet. (Accessed on December 1, 2020).
  3. Mayo Clinic. Gout: What’s allowed what’s not. (Accessed on December 1, 2020).
  4. sg. Gout Diet: Top Carbohydrate, Dairy, Fruits, and Vegetables to eat. (Accessed on December 1, 2020).
  5. My Health Portal. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Gout. (Accessed on December 1, 2020).
  6. My Health Portal. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Diet Management for Gout. (Accessed on December 1, 2020).
  7. Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG). Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Gout.

Arthritis, what you need to know?

Arthritis is not a single disease; it is referring to joint pain or joint diseases. There are more than hundred types of arthritis and related condition. It can be due to various reasons and require different kind of treatment. Arthritis is more common among women, and it can affect just anyone but more frequently older and overweight/ obese individual. Two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (1,2).


Osteoarthritis cause cartilage (the tissue that cover the bone end) to break down. While rheumatoid arthritis attacks the join beginning with lining the joint. Another condition which often occur but to individual with younger age unlike osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are, gout, the condition is when the uric acid crystals form from too much uric acid in the blood (1,2).


Symptoms of arthritis?


The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness, redness, and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate, or severe but most often it is reported to be severe in the morning. The pain may stay about the same for years but can progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs (2,3).


Arthritis can also cause permanent joint change. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin as well as the joints (2,3).




What cause arthritis?


There are many causes to arthritis and different type of arthritis has different causes, as an example osteoarthritis (OA) occurs due to normal wear and tear, but an infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Also, if you have family history of OA the risk of developing OA is higher for you (2,3).



While for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) it occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium (a soft tissue in joints that function to nourishes cartilage and lubricates joint). RA is the kind of disease that will invade and destroy joint. It can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint. The exact cause of the immune system’s attacks is unknown. But scientists have discovered genetic markers that increase your risk of developing RA nowadays (2,3).



What to do?


When it comes to pain, if you notice some changes in your body, it is important for you to seek help so that you will get the accurate diagnosis on it, the earlier the better. So, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. You may be referred to a rheumatologist or orthopedic, or doctors who specialize in arthritis and related condition. There are many things that can be done to preserve joint function, improve its mobility, and quality of life. Learning about the options available for treatment will make you have higher chance to find the best solution fits you (3,4).



However, apart from learning the best solution for your joint pain, it is also best if you try to reduce your weight if you are obese or overweight. Try to maintain weight since weight has some impact on joint, regardless of where the joint is, by maintaining weight, you will start putting nutritious foods in your body that can reduce inflammation on your joint. The main goals when you have arthritis is to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life (3,4).






  1. Mayo Clinic. Arthritis.,are%20osteoarthritis%20and%20rheumatoid%20arthritis. (Accessed on December 4, 2020).
  2. Arthritis. (Accessed on December 4, 2020).
  3. Arthritis Foundation. What is arthritis? (Accessed on December 4, 2020).
  4. Arthritis. (Accessed on December 4, 2020).


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