Health Articles

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What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects people over the age of 50. It is the leading cause of vision loss in older people. Individuals with AMD are not completely blind, but they are losing their central vision, making it difficult for them to see faces, read, drive, or do close-up work around the house such as cooking or fixing things. Individuals suffering from AMD are unable to see fine details, whether they are looking at something close or far away.

AMD progresses slowly in some people and quickly in others. AMD is a type of eye disease that causes blurring of the central vision of the eyes due to damage to the macula. The macula is a part of the retina that controls sharp, straight, and ahead vision.

Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD:

Dry AMD

The most common type of AMD, accounting for approximately 80% of all AMD. Dry AMD occurs when parts of the macula thin with age and tiny clumps of protein known as drusen form.

Wet AMD

A less common type of late AMD known as advance neovascular AMD causes faster vision loss. Wet AMD can develop at any stage of dry AMD, but it is always the late stage of AMD. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop in the back of the eye, causing damage to the macula. The good news is that there are treatment options for wet AMD.



Stages of AMD

Early dry AMD causes no symptoms.

Some people with intermediate dry AMD still have no symptoms. Others may experience mild symptoms such as mild blurriness in their central vision or difficulty seeing in low light.

Many people who have late AMD (both wet and dry type) have noticed that straight lines become wavy or crooked. People may also notice a blurry area near the center of their vision. This blurry vision may worsen over time, and people may notice blank spots.

Treatment for AMD

There is currently no treatment that can help AMD in its early stages. Individuals with a lot of drusen or severe vision loss, on the other hand, may benefit from a specific combination of nutritional supplements based on the National Eye Institute's (NEI) AREDS and AREDS 2 eye surveys (Age-Related Eye Disease Studies). Vitamins like C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper.

Aside from that, the eye doctor will usually schedule follow-up appointments to monitor/track how the eyes are doing with regular eye exams. Consuming healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and quit smoking can all help prevent and improve eye problems.

In the advanced stages of AMD, an eye doctor will consult with individuals about the necessary treatment to slow the progression of the eye problem.

References

1.   National Eye Institute (NEI). Age related macular degeneration (AMD). https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/age-related-macular-degeneration (Retrieved on January 5, 2023).

2.   American Academy of Ophtalmology (AAO). What is macular degeneration?   https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration (Retrieved on January 5, 2023).

3.   National Health Services (NHS, UK). What is AMD? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/ (Retrieved on January 5, 2023). 


Be aware of blue light and its effects.

Sunlight constitutes of red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, and violet. When these colours combine, they form the white light that we see. Each of these colours has a different wavelength and energy level, with blue having a shorter wavelength and more energy and red having a longer wavelength and less energy. Light that appears white may contain more blue wavelengths. Sunlight is the most abundant source of blue light. Fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, flat-screen LED televisions, computer monitors, smart phones, and tablet screens are among the others.




Almost all visible blue light is absorbed by the cornea and lens before reaching the retina. This light could impair vision and prematurely age the eyes. According to preliminary research, excessive blue light exposure may cause (1) digital eyestrain (2) retinal damage.


At night, blue light, which appears to be beneficial during the day, appears to be the most disruptive. Blue light is beneficial during the day because it can improve attention, reaction times, and mood; however, with the proliferation of electronics with screens and energy efficient lighting, humans are constantly exposed to blue wavelength, particularly after sundown.



According to research, exposure to blue wavelengths after sundown affects the body's circadian rhythm, increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

A Harvard study found a possible link between light after sundown, the body's circadian rhythm, diabetes, and obesity. The researchers put ten people on a schedule that gradually shifted their circadian rhythm timing. Their blood sugar levels increase, putting them at risk of diabetes, and their leptin levels increase as well (a hormone that promotes feeling full after a meal, went down).


Another blue light study compared the effects of 6.5 hours of blue light exposure to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. Blue light suppressed melatonin about twice as much as green light during the same exposure period, which shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).


In conclusion, blue light after sundown can affect health in a variety of ways. While we need this to progress in this modern society, we can also make minor adjustments to make things work without jeopardizing health.


  •        For night lights, use dim red lights because red light is less likely to disrupt the circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  •       Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two or three hours before sleep.
  •       Consider wearing blue-blocking glasses at night if you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices.
  •       Allow yourself to be exposed to a lot of bright light during the day, which will improve your ability to sleep at night as well as your mood and alertness during the day.

References

  1.       Blue light has a dark side. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).
  2.       Seeing blue: How can blue light affect your health. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/blue-light-health (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).
  3.       What is blue light. Prevent blindness. https://preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes/ (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).  

 

 

Healthy Living, Healthy Vision.

Tips for eye care are closely related to living a healthy lifestyle in general. Most eye problems, if they are not genetic (based on family history), are caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, and artery narrowing or hardening. All of these issues, if left untreated, will result in vision loss.

 

Eat Healthy Food

 

It is commonly assumed that the health of your eyes is unrelated to what you consume, but the truth is that it is. Consuming nutrient-dense foods will allow you to maintain good health, thereby avoiding complications that may arise in your eyes as a result of your health complications.

 

As part of a healthy diet, choose foods high in antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C, which have been shown to benefit eye health. Foods high in vitamins A and C include green leafy vegetables and foods with bright colours like orange and red. It also contains carotenoid, which is beneficial to the eyes. Carotenoid is an antioxidant found in plants that are brightly coloured, such as red, orange, yellow, and green. Aside from that, it can act as a cancer-fighting agent. Carotenoid works in the macular (the most sensitive part of the retina responsible for vision production and colour perception).


Lutein and zeaxhantin are types of carotenoids.



Inadequate antioxidant intake, alcohol consumption, or saturated fat consumption may result in free-radical reactions that harm the macula. High-fat diets can also cause deposits in the arteries that restrict blood flow. Because of the small size of the blood vessels that feed the eyes, they are especially sensitive to this.



Exercise regularly

 

By exercise regularly, body will have lower risk of getting various kind of metabolic disease such as diabetes, kidney problem and heart problem, thus lower the risk of getting complication that can impair eyes function. Example of metabolic disease that can impair eyes directly is, diabetes, which in the later stage can cause diabetic retinopathy. The condition where blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina) is damaged. At first, it may cause no symptoms or mild blurry vision, eventually it can cause blindness.



 

Wear sunglasses

 

The American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO) encourages people to protect their eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays. Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement; they are also a wise and healthy choice. Long-term sun exposure without adequate protection can increase the risk of eye disease such as cataract, macular degeneration, eye growth, and a rare form of eye cancer.

 

While short-term exposure can also damage the eyes. Sun reflecting off water can cause a painful sunburn on the front part of the eye, called photokeratitis. It causes redness, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light, and in rare cases, even temporary vision loss.

 

The good news is that prevention is simple: Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.


 

Quit smoking

 

Smoking is not only bad for your lungs. It can hurt your eyes, as well. Smoking increases your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.

 

Eye care in conclusion

 

People usually take their eyesight and health for granted; it was only when we began to lose the ability that we began to take it seriously. Start taking care of your eyes now by doing the above. If you are constantly looking at a screen, you can also give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you have a family history of eye problems, schedule a comprehensive dilate eye exam on a regular basis. If you wear contact lenses, make sure to disinfect them and replace them on a regular basis. Also, remember to wash your hands before touching your eyes or face

 

References


 


Why screening is bad for eye health ?

In this fast-changing world that we are in today, people want things to be done quick and always ready! People use various kind of devices and gadgets to speed up process of doing work. Initially, computer was built not for the sake of email and doing work, but it is actually to calculate and tabulate census for United States of America population since the population has grown bigger, it was started with a machine sort of punch card machine in 1880, where due to this the government save about $5 million in order to tabulate the census. From that sort of punch card machine, Alan Turing then presents another universal machine which capable of computing anything that is computable, the central concept of modern computer today is based on his ideas. Few years later, in 1939 Hewlet – Packard is founded by David Packard and Bill Hewlett in California, until today the computer that we are using is evolve from time to time, to the small smartphone on our hands that is capable of doing so many thing just like the bulky desktop (1).

 

 

All these technologies make us even more connected to devices like smartphone to connect with other people or to get things done. From paying bills, to designing, networking, sales, work, presentation, you name it all must be done using laptop, computer, smart phone, and the devices. The fact is everyone everyday is looking at the screen for long time, when the recommended hour to look at the screen is only 2 hours per day (2).

 

Why screening is bad for eyes?

 

White light that we see from sun and electronic devices is a combination from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. Each of these lights has different energy and wavelength. Rays on red have longer wavelength and less energy, while the blue rays have shorter wavelength and more energy. Light that looks white can have a large blue component, which can expose the eye to a higher amount of wavelength from the blue end spectrum (3).

 

 

Sun also have this blue light, but blue light exposure from screen is small compared to exposure from sun, thus why makes it bad for eyes. Furthermore, screen exposure has closer proximity to eyes and the time spent looking at screen is longer than at the sun (3,4).

 

Almost all visible blue light penetrates the eyes through cornea, lens and reaches the retina, due to this, it makes eyes prematurely aging.

 

Blue light from computer screens and digital devices can decrease contrast leading to digital eyestrain. Fatigue, dry eyes, bad lighting, or how you sit in front of the computer can cause eyestrain. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing. Apart from that, studies also suggested that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retina cells. This condition can cause problems like age-related macular degeneration (4).

 

Macular degeneration is the result of photoreceptor cell death in the retina. The function of the photoreceptor cells is to capture visual images and signal them to the brain using a molecule called retinal. Retinal, which is produced by the eye, is triggered by blue light and causes various chemical reactions. These reactions within the eye can be poisonous to the photoreceptor cell molecules rendering them damaged. When these photoreceptor cells die, there’s no regeneration (4).

 

 

What can we do?

 

With the current work requirements where most of work and stuff need to be accomplished through the usage of electronic devices thus screening is very much essential, makes it even harder to take care eyes from the screen. No! There are actually ways to take care of your eyes still, apart from consume food that is high with antioxidants and vitamins that can improve eyesight condition you may also try and practice the tips below (5)!

 

 


The benefits of antioxidants for eyes.

As humans, we never truly appreciate our senses until we lose them. One of the many things we should be thankful for is our senses of smell, touch, sound, taste, and sight. Isn't it horrible to wake up one day and not be able to see, touch, hear sound, or smell?

 

Many people take their sense of sight for granted because they believe that vision problems can be corrected with the help of lenses or spectacles. People even take it lightly now that we have advanced technology, such as Lasik surgery, because they believe there is a cure. When, in fact, there are numerous health complications or conditions that can impair your ability to see, such as being diagnosed with diabetes. Isn't it terrifying?

 

The good news is that nutrition can prevent this from happening! A varied and balanced diet can help to prevent many diseases, including blindness. Many studies have found that consuming antioxidants, also known as cancer fighting agents, can help prevent vision loss. Antioxidants are compounds that aid in the scavenging of free radicals that can cause cell mutation and cancer.

 

Since many of these antioxidants are found in plant-based diets such as vegetables and fruits, one mechanism for this is said to be due to the prevention of other chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, lowering the risk of vision loss. Lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin A, omega 3, and vitamin C are all antioxidants that have been linked to vision health (2). 


Lutein and zeaxanthin are members of the carotenoid family, which is a well-known antioxidant for eye health. Apart from being found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, it can also be found in yellowish, orange-red plant-based foods like capsicum. In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to protect plants from overexposure to sunlight, particularly high-energy light rays known as blue light. While in the human body, lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant in the macula of the human eye, the name 'macula lutea' is derived from lutein, which means yellow spot.





The National Eyes Institute (NEI) conducted research on lutein, zeaxanthin, and the effect of carotenoids supplement taking in May 2013. It is the second largest eye- disease research study, namely, AREDS2. The purpose of this study was to see how nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, affected the prevention of AMD and other age-related eye diseases. For five years, participants in this study were given 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin every day. The use of daily antioxidant supplementation reduces the risk of progressive Age-related-Macular Degeneration (AMD) by 25% among those with early and intermediate macular degeneration, according to this study. However, it is unclear whether it can aid in the prevention of cataracts and their complications.

 

Vitamin A is another common antioxidant for the eyes. Night blindness is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin A. Vitamin A functions as photoreceptors, where it aids in the maintenance of light-sensing cells in the eyes. It's found in animal-based foods like dairy and egg yolk.

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (1,2)


EPA and DHA, which are derived from omega-3 fatty acids, are essential not only for brain development during infancy, but also for vision health. A study of people with dry eyes found that taking EPA and DHA supplements daily for three months significantly reduced dry eye symptoms by increasing tear fluid production (lacrimal fluid). Oily fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, and microalgae supplements are also available.



 

Vitamin E (1,3)


Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects fatty acids from oxidation. Because the retina contains a high concentration of fatty acids, adequate vitamin E intake is essential for good eye health. A study that supplemented 7 mg of vitamins E found that it can reduce the risk of age-related cataracts by 6%. However, a randomized controlled study discovered that vitamin E supplementation does not slow or prevent the progression of people who already have eye problems. Almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed oil are good sources of vitamin E.

 

 

Vitamin C (1,3)

 

Vitamin C is commonly consumed for skin purposes, but since many studies have discovered that vitamin C is an important antioxidant for eye health as well, many supplements are now beginning to incorporate vitamin c rich sources in eye supplementation. It's a good thing because it gives you two effects in one!

 

Zinc (1,3)

 

Zinc is abundant in the eyes. It functions as a transporter for vitamin A, which is later involved in the formation of visual pigments in the retina known as melanin. As a result, zinc deficiency has been linked to night blindness. Oysters are a natural dietary resource high in zinc that is also beneficial to men's health!

 

In conclusion


Taking care of your vision health entails more than just avoiding screens and wearing sunglasses when you go outside. It is also what you put inside your body. Again, healthy eating is important for overall health, including vision!

 

References


 


How to make your skin glowww??

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

There are many factors influencing skin condition, but in this post, we are going to share on tips on how to make your skin glow!

 


As much as smoking is bad to your lung so does it to your skin

 

Cigarette smoke contain many harmful substances to our body, as we know. However as for the skin, it releases carbon monoxide which displace oxygen in your skin and nicotine which reduce blood flow which will make skin dry and discolored. Smoking also triggers the destruction of collagen in the skin hence skin loss its elasticity and produce wrinkles and fine lines!

 

When you are younger and a smoker you cannot really see the difference but as you get older, the damage on your appearance will be obvious and you will be looking older as compared to your actual age (1).

 

 

Sunscreen is a must

 

Malaysia is a humid and warm country all year long, thus wearing sunscreen is a must! Sunscreen helps to protect skin from premature aging like wrinkles, fine line and hyper-pigmentation. Studies shows that people who is below 55 years old and wear sunscreen regularly can lower the risk of premature aging by 24% as compared to those who wear sunscreen occasionally or not wearing at all.

 

If you are a newbie looking for sunscreen, look for sunscreen with at least SPF 30 (Sun Protecting Factor) and choose sunscreen according to your skin type such as if you have dry skin choose aqua sunscreen which is meant for dry skin etc. You also must apply sunscreen after every 2 hours or after exercise. Sunscreen also is meant to be applied at least 30 minutes before you go out since it needs time to be absorbed by the skin and activated in order to protect your skin (2). 

 

Move, Move, Move

 

We know that exercise regularly can keep our body fit and healthy, but do you know that it can as well makes your skin healthy?

 

Exercise increase blood circulation and flow throughout the body, hence making your skin radiant and glow. Pssttt…this can kill two bird using one stone, you can maintain your body lean and get healthy skin at the same time! (3)

 

Keep your body hydrated

 

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

 

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

 

Lifestyle changes can reverse this, drink at least 8 glass of water per day. Limit the intake of alcohol and drink less caffeinated drink like coffee and tea can improve the dry skin condition (4). 

 

Face it and manage it….your stress

 

We always thought that if we suppressed our feelings and emotion, that is better, it is better for everyone and even us. However, that is not always the case, we have to deal with it and manage it. Talk to someone if you have problem, share it with someone that you trust. Think positive.

 

Pick up some hobbies, distract yourself from overthink about it and slowly find solution to it. Doing outdoor activities can help in calming a person if your mind is too saturated with a lot of stuff, or spend time alone de- cluttered your mind and space like cleaning can sometimes help in making you a lot happier and will let you think better on the solution to your problem. 

 

Established a skincare routine

 

Skin care is essential in maintaining skin condition. Good skin care routine will make skin condition become better, but of course with good products. First, you have to find out your skin type. Skin types can either be normal, dry skin, oily skin or combination skin.

 

To determine your skin type, start by washing your face and then waiting an hour. After it’s been an hour, dab your forehead and nose with a tissue and check to see if any oil rubbed off. If it did, it’s a sign that you have oily skin. If there isn’t any oil but your face feels dry and tight, you may have dry skin (4,5).

 

Once you have figured you skin types, find the right product for it. The common one should have cleanser, moisturizer, toner, sunscreen, exfoliator, make up removal. Start with cleansing your face at least twice per day. If needed exfoliate your skin at least twice a week, this is good to scrap all of the dead cells, dirt and blemishes on your face (5).

 

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

 

The different between daytime and night time skincare routine is just that usually during night, moisturizer that is used on skin is encouraged to be applied thick so that it will help skin not to be dry in the next morning!

 

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

 

 

Diet vs skin condition

 

 As much as sugary food is bad for your waistline so does it onto your skin! Sugary food can provoke acne and breakouts. Sugar and foods high on the glycemic index (meaning foods that, once ingested, convert quickly into glucose and cause your body’s insulin levels to elevate), lead to a burst of inflammation that goes throughout your entire body (6).

 

Vitamin C

 

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

 

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

 

On the supplement ingredients content you may see, if the particular supplement is actually derived from natural ingredients or a synthetic one. Synthetic vitamin c is called ascorbic acid, it usually irritates tummy and has higher dosage of vitamin c as compared to vitamin C that is derived from natural fruits like berries, guava, orange etc. 

 

Synthetic vitamin c or ascorbic acid also usually use, food coloring to make the supplement looks as if it has high content of vitamin C with really orange concentrated color, if you notice your soluble vitamin c supplement stain you glass water after being dilute into it, there s high probability that the supplement that you are taking has food coloring in it.

 

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

 

References


  1. Health (May, 15 2012). 15 Ways Smoking Ruins you Skin. https://www.health.com/condition/smoking/15-ways-smoking-ruins-your-looks
  2. Skin Cancer Foundation (June, 2019). All about Sunscreen, Why you need it and how it works for you?. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/
  3. WebMD (n.d). Exercise for Healthy Skin. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise#
  4. Healthline March, 2, 2018). Is My Skin Dehydrated? https://www.healthline.com/health/dehydrated-skin
  5. Kari Molvar. The New York Times (n.d). How to Build a Skincare Routine. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/tmagazine/skincare-routine
  6. Forbes (n.d). Does Eating Sugar really Caue Acne? https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/01/20/does-eating-sugar-really-cause-acne/#14aa38515af4


Collagen, what you need to know?

The word collagen comes from Greek word “kola” which means glue, and that basically function of collagen which is to hold protein and/ or non -protein substance together. As an example, in skin, collagen function is to hold all the skin structure together.  Collagen is a protein that provides structure to many parts of the body, including bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. It accounts for about one-third of body protein composition. It is one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth 

Types of collagen

 

There is various type of collagen, but the main type of collagen is type I, type II, type III, and type IV.

 

Type I: Most of your body’s collagen is made of type I. It is densely packed fibres which provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.

Type II: This type is made of more loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions the joints.

Type III: This type supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.

Type IV: This type helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.

 

Collagen in skin, do we need it?

 

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.

 

 

Researchers also revealed that women lose collagen faster than men causing women’s skin aging faster than men. Apart from gender, nutrition and recreational drugs,  environmental stress such as sun exposure and exposure to toxins such as pollutants, and cigarette smoke can also affect collagen in the body.

 

Where can we get collagen from?

 

Good news is, collagen can be gotten from food, there are foods which can stimulate production of collagen and break down 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.

 

According to Dr. Bradley from Cleveland Clinic, your body cannot make them if they don’t have them, which means all the nutrients such as glycine and proline are essential to produce collagen, but if we do not acquire it from diet then our body might not be able to produce collagen. 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. Whilst, food that can break down collagen are sugary foods and refined carbs.

 

 

As for supplement containing collagen, it is usually in the form of hydrolysed collagen. The source of hydrolysed collagen can be from fish, marine seaweed, pork skin and food source that has high collagen contents. It is also said that hydrolysed collagen is much easier to be absorbed by body as compared to food.

 

 To date studies that report whether consumption of collagen has benefits to skin, joint health, muscle mass, bone and many more is inconsistent. It is depending on various factors such as the source of collagen, the bioavailability of collagen, the frequency of consuming it, the severity of skin condition or joint condition previously and many more. Thus, it is advisable for individual to check on the supplement ingredients  prior consuming any kind of supplement.

 

Since consuming collagen supplement can also be harmful such as to individual with cyst problem and cancer problem. Again, which is why it is best to seek professionals helps before consuming any supplement. Certain supplement is contraindicated with medicine that you currently taking and many more.

 

References


  1. Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplement. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits#_noHeaderPrefixedContent (Accessed on December 29, 2020)
  2. (n.d). Collagen, what is it and what it is good for? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen (Accessed on December 29, 2020).
  3. Atikah Khalim (2015). Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). My Health Portal. Collagen. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/collagen/
  4. Fadzilah kahar (2015). Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). My Health Portal Collagen and its source. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/kolagen-dan-sumbernya/
  5. Cleveland Clinic. The best way you can get more collagen. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-way-you-can-get-more-collagen/ (Accessed on December 29, 2020).
  6. What is collagen. https://www.livescience.com/collagen.html#:~:text=Collagen%20refers%20to%20a%20family,in%20the%20body%20by%20mass. (Accessed on December 29, 2020).

 

 


Foods that can MAKE or BREAK your skin!

Skin is the largest organs in our body. It is the main defense organ in our body against external insults such as radiation, ultraviolet radiations, infections by pathogenic microorganism (bad bacteria), and mechanical and chemical stress (1). The condition of skin or skin barrier are much supported by the foods that we eat, liking or not, there are food which can give benefits to your skin and also foods that can harm your skin. List below are foods that can make or break your skin!

Omega 3 rich foods

 

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

 

 

Foods that are rich with Omega 3 is fish! Fish oil specifically. Which is why if individual does not consuming fish at all or do not prefer to consume fish it is advisable to take Omega 3 and 6 supplements for their heart health. Fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardine and anchovies, salmon, and herring are good source of omega 3. In Malaysia, there are also freshwater fish which is rich with omega 3 such as catfish (ikan keli), patin fish, and terubok fish.

 

Apart from this, certain plant-based food also containing high level of omega 3 such as spinach (bayam), mustard leave (sawi), and ‘salad roket.’ There is also certain oil which can be used for cooking that is rich with omega 3 such as canola oil. Also, if you are keen to improve your skin health, instead of snacking chips or any unhealthy things, you may try to consume walnuts that is rich with omega 3 for your skin as well.

 

Antioxidants and vitamins rich foods

 

Antioxidants and vitamins rich foods are usually found in plant-based food such as vegetables and fruits. Fruits and vegetables which contain vitamins such as vitamins C, E, and A are known for ‘skin best friends.’ The way in which how all these vitamins works are usually when they engulf free radical or reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radical can produce through normal process in the body, or towards exposure of UV radiation and many more. In another words, it is commonly occurring to every human being. Which is why it is important to consume foods that are rich with vitamins and antioxidants to combat all the problem resulted from the formation of free radical.


According to Ministry of Health Malaysia, it is advisable to consume 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables daily. Serving size for vegetables is according to the cupped hand size. So 2 cupped hand size is equivalent to 2 servings. Whilst for fruit the serving size is depending on the type of fruit, medium size fruit such as apple, pear, and orange, 1 serving is equivalent to 1 fruit, as for bigger fruit, it is depending on the normal cut sized. So, to make it easy, if you consume 2 apples or 2 pear, or 2 banana, or 2 oranges per day is already met the requirement serving.


Specifically, foods that are rich with vitamin C are guava, orange, and lemon. Do you know that guava has twice amount of vitamin C than orange of the same size? Consuming 2 servings size of guava or 1 small guava already makes you met the requirement of vitamin C needed daily (75mg).

 

 

Some of the food that is rich with vitamin E are almond, pumpkin, corn, collard, red bell pepper and soy-based foods. Study shows that Vitamin E or tocopherol works synergistically with Vitamin C against UV radiation or exposure to sun damage.

 

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

 

Sugar

 

As many knows already sugar is bad for your health, as it can raised your blood sugar level, which will lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and all other metabolic diseases. Butttttt, it is also bad for skin.


Sugar in any form influences the two major causes of acne: hormones and inflammation. As you eat refined and processed carbohydrates like white sugar, your blood sugar levels increase at a faster rate, and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin. By eliminating sugar, you may be able to decrease the amount of insulin that your body makes, and as a result, oil and acne production will be increased too.

 

Food that is rich with sugar are dessert such as cakes, tart, cookies, ‘traditional’ kuih and bakery products. Our daily staple foods are as well refined carbohydrates or refined sugar, white rice, white bread, noodles, flour rich food are all refined carbohydrates in which for certain individual with sensitive it might make harm the skin condition in the long run.


In conclusion, eating healthy and well balance meal is the go-to way for younger looking skin. Consume a lot of fresh products, limit processed food, limit oily food containing trans fat and sugary food will not only helps with having younger looking skin but also healthier body!

 

 

References


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

 

Placenta and skin health

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.

 

References

 

  1. Ministry of Health (MOH). MyHealth Portal. Sheep Placenta. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/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!

 

References


  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 sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171128102918.htm
  2. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). MyHealth Portal. Vitamin D and sunlight. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/vitamin-d-and-sunlight-2/
  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. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/beauty-sleep (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.

 

References


  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NICCH). Grape Seed Extract. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/grape-seed-extract (Accessed on March 15, 2021)
  2. 10 Benefits of Grape Seed Extract, Based on Science. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grape-seed-extract-benefits (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.


 

References

 

  1. Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients9(8), 866. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080866.
  2. Radiance by WebMD. Benefits of Vitamin For Your Skin Health. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/ss/slideshow-benefits-of-vitamin-c-for-skin (Retrieved on May 3rd, 2021).
  3. 11 Reasons to add vitamin C serum to your skincare routine. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/vitamin-c-serum-benefits#how-to-use (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.

 

References


  1. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. Collagen.https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/
  2. Healthline. Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits
  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.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/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.https://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?aulast=Borumand&epage=53&issn=2278-1870&issue=1&spage=47&volume=4&year=2015
  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.

 

Collagen 

 

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.

 

References


  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.  https://www.sciencebecomesher.com/emollients-occlusives-humectants?

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.

 

 

References

  1. Robinson, L., Smith, M. and Segal, R., 2011. Stress Management: How To Reduce, Prevent, And Cope With Stress | Brainline. [online] BrainLine. Available at: <https://www.brainline.org/article/stress-management-how-reduce-prevent-and-cope-stress> [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.

 

 

References


  1. Franziska Spritzler (2019). 12 Proven Health Benefits if Ashwagandha. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318407 (Accessed on September 1, 2020).
  2. Ashwagandha (n.d). https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-953/ashwagandha (Accessed on September 1, 2020).
  3. Medical News Today. Benefits of ashwagandha (2016). https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318407 (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.

 

 

References

 

  1. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tips for better sleep (2016). https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html (Accessed on September 4, 2020).
  2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Healthy Sleep Habits (2017). http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits (Accessed on September 4, 2020).
  3. Sleep Foundation. Nilong Vyas. Sleep Hygiene (2020). https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-hygiene (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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2014.10.001

 


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.

 

 

Conclusion

 

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!

 

References


  1. Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sleep and Sleep disorder. Sleep and Chronic Diseases. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html#:~:text=Notably%2C%20insufficient%20sleep%20has%20been,disease%2C%20obesity%2C%20and%20depression. (Accessed on September 11, 2020).
  2. Sleep and Chronic Illness. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-disorders-sleep-and-chronic-illness (Accessed on September 11, 2020).
  3. The Sleep – Diabetes Connection. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-lack-of-sleep (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. https://www.cdc.gov/features/sleep-heart-health/index.html#:~:text=Adults%20who%20sleep%20less%20than,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.

 

 

References


  1. Sleep Foundation.org. National Sleep Foundation. Stress and Insomnia (July 2020). https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/stress-and-insomnia (Accessed on September 20, 2020).
  2. Sleep Foundation.org. National Sleep Foundation. Relaxation Exercises for Falling Asleep (July 2020). https://www.sleepfoundation.org/shift-work-disorder/shift-work-you/relaxation-exercises-falling-asleep (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). https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/tips-reduce-stress (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.


Conclusion


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.


 References


  1. Warning Signs of a Sleep Disorder. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-disorders-warning-signs (Accessed on September 18, 20).
  2. Everything you need to know about insomnia. https://www.healthline.com/health/insomnia (Accessed on September 18, 20).
  3. Fighting Insomnia with Therapy. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/fighting-insomnia-with-therapy#1 (Accessed on September 18, 20).
  4. Ministry of Health Malaysia. MyHealth Portal. Sleep Disorder. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/sleep-disorder/ (Accessed on September 18, 20).

 


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