Health Articles

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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. Collagen, what is it and what it is good for? (n.d) 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).

Fish Oil Supplement: Who Needs It?

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

 

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

 

Benefits of fish oil consumption vary greatly from one study to another, there is study link between mental health and disorder with omega, as it said that EPA and DHA can improve brain development ability, even in young children, there are also study noted that it can help with cardiovascular diseases, joint pain, and skin problem such as eczema. The question is, is true that fish oil consumption can help with these all? ?(1)

 

 

Individual with mental health problem/disorder

 

Researchers examined link between suicide and consumption of fatty acids intake among more than 205, 000 participants in three long term studies from 1988 to 2008 found out that there is no evidence that intake of fatty acids or fish lowered the risk of suicide. “The vast majority of previous literature on whether there is a mental health benefit from fatty acid intake has been based on depression screening data. Our study represents one of the few times—and it is certainly the largest of its kind—that this relationship has been studied with hard data on suicide mortality.” (2)

 

Whilst for brain health,  study noted that it is better to eat nutritious diet and be physically active than to take omega 3 fatty acids supplements or fish oil, Study showed little benefit of omega 3 supplements on memory of a 3073 elderly people at risk of macular degeneration (an age related cause of vision loss). The participants of the study were randomly assigned to take omega 3 pills or placebo for five years.  The researcher concluded that supplement cannot replace a healthy dietary pattern, if you eat a healthy diet with high amounts of fruits, vegetables, and marine fish, you probably don’t need to take fish oil supplement. The overall dietary pattern is more important than a single nutrient (2).

 

Individual with cardiovascular disease

 

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

 

 

Which is why interpreting the study, we would still recommend customers and patients to consume fish more as a first line measure. But, if you do not like fish, or you feel like your consumption of fish is not enough or you simply want to be sure that your body is getting omega 3, there is no harm in taking fish oil, it will certainly help with the nutrient essential nutrient, since omega 3 is a nutrient that your body cannot produce can only get form diet (3,4,5).

 

Individual with skin problem

 

A systematic review for the treatment of atopic dermatitis or eczema using fish oil supplementation is very scarce, the studies available are all only small sample size studies. Not only these three studies are small, it is also described as poor methodological studies from reviewer, as it has many confounding factors, but the outcomes of these studies shows positive outcome from eczema condition and overall daily living as compared to placebo (6,7).

 

Another convinced relationship between consumption of fish oil and skin health is that in a study where pregnant lady were given fish oil during pregnancy and follow up to 6 years found out that, consumption of fish oil during pregnancy lead to positive skin health outcome on babies skin health. The study also concluded that maternal supplementation with fish oil might have prophylactic potential for long-term prevention of asthma in offspring (6,7).

 

 

 

In conclusion, consumption of fish oil has mixing result in studies depending on what kind of problem that we are looking at to solve with fish oil. Since there are various factors influencing a particular health problem. There is no magic pill in this world honey! You need to however eat healthily, consume a lot of vegetables and fruits, and exercise, but if you think that you do not get enough omega 3 from diet, as you dislike fish, or you are afraid to consume fish regularly due to contamination etc, or you simply would like to make sure that your body has enough omega 3, then there is no harm in taking fish oil supplementation. It just that in order to make sure you get the right omega 3 for your body, buy it from pharmacy, make sure the product has Ministry of Health (MOH) notification number, and simply ask healthcare professional on which omega 3 supplementation suits you, simply for the dosage and perhaps current medication that you are on and you are good to go!

 

 

References

  1. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. Fish: Friend or Foe? https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fish/
  2. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. No mental health benefit from fish oil. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/no-mental-health-benefit-from-fish-oil/
  3. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/fish-stroke-risk-mozaffarian/
  4. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. Major Meta Analysis in Clinical Trial Omega 3 Supplemeny link with lower risk of CVD.  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/in-major-meta-analysis-of-clinical-trials-omega-3-fish-oil-supplements-linked-with-lower-cardiovascular-disease-risk/
  5. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. Fish Oil Supplementation and Heart Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/mozaffarian-fish-oil-supplements-heart-health/
  6. Schlichte, M. J., Vandersall, A., & Katta, R. (2016). Diet and eczema: a review of dietary supplements for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Dermatology practical & conceptual6(3), 23–29. https://doi.org/10.5826/dpc.0603a06
  7. Huang, T. H., Wang, P. W., Yang, S. C., Chou, W. L., & Fang, J. Y. (2018). Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin. Marine drugs16(8), 256. https://doi.org/10.3390/md16080256

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 improve your blood circulation ?

Poor blood circulation is a condition where individuals will usually experience numb and cold in their extremities such as in the hands and feet area. Often times, it can be an underlying condition to a more serious condition such as uncontrolled diabetes or poor blood pressure, but it can also be due to poor posture and many more.

 

Here are some tips on how to improve your blood circulation:

 

1. Go on regular walks. 

 

Walking can improve blood circulation. Contraction of the calf muscle causes venous blood to be pushed back up to the heart. The arteries dilate when patients walk and improve blood flow throughout the body. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of walking three times per week.

 

2. Reduce your weight. 

 

Being obese or overweight posed more health risk towards your circulatory system as it often lead to risk of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes which will all boils down to blood circulatory problem.

 

Consumption of food in moderation, balance and exercise regularly can help to prevent being obese and overweight.

 

3. Take more work breaks. 

 

Taking more work break helps you to get into the habit of alternating between sitting, standing, and walking. In doing this it cause less demand on the circulatory system as while you are sitting down, it cause blood flow slows and to pool in your legs, resulting in muscle pain and fatigue. Thus taking more break while doing office job is beneficial in improving blood flows and also can help to keep your stress level from getting out of whack.

 

Do your best to take stretch breaks every 15 to 20 minutes, and get-up-and-go breaks from sitting every hour—even if it’s just a power walk around your home.

 

4. Stay hydrated. 

 

When body is lack of water (dehydrated), it will affect the amount of blood circulating through your body, it will also causing your blood to retain more sodium, causing it to thicken and making it much harder for your circulatory system to work properly.

 

The easiest way to make sure that you are getting enough fluid is to check your pee. Yellow light or clear urine indicate that your are drinking sufficient amount of water, anything darker that that means you need to up your water intake game!

 

5. Manage your blood pressure. 

 

High blood pressure makes your blood circulation haywire and give more works towards heart and blood vessels. The heart and circulatory system will have to work extra in supplying blood flow throughout the body if you do not manage your blood pressure efficiently.

 

High blood sugar level can cause damage to the lining of small blood vessels and this can lead to the problem with blood circulation. This condition will also promotes formation of plaque in the blood vessels and will further cause complication to your blood flows.

 

Exercise, cutting back on sodium, reduce stress, good sleep quality and modification in some lifestyle factors can help to lower your blood pressure and improve your circulation in the process. Aim for a blood pressure less than 120/80 mmHg.

 

6. Elevate your legs.

 

Elevate legs helps to take the pressure off your veins, since it does not have to work against the gravity to get the blood back to the heart.

 

The most convenient time to elevate your legs would be when you are watching TV or having a nap – lie down and prop your legs above your heart level for 15 minutes or more at a time will be really helpful in improving overall blood circulation.

Your Immunity Booster!

Since 1970s vitamin C has been used widely to fight and prevent against common cold. Nowadays, everyone knows that taking vitamin C is able to helps in preventing and fighting against common cold (1).

 

Study shows that vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular function. Vitamin C helps  phagocytes ( cells that ingest harmful bacteria to body) to move, increase uptake, engulf and kill microbes (which can cause harm to body) thus improving immune system and protect against diseases(2).

 

The almost similar ways vitamins C works in improving immune system, probiotics does too.

 

But, what is probiotics?

 

Probiotics  is the live microorganism which when administered in adequate amount confer health benefits on the host (human body). Study found out that, long term consumption of probiotics could stimulate and improve the immune system. With regards to current pandemic novel Coronavirus, how can probiotics help with virus like corona? Well, corona is the virus that attack lung thus;

 

Probiotics is able to help lung health, but, how?

 

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

 

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

 

Using probiotics alongside with taking precaution measures such as frequently wash hands, use sanitizers, use mask and avoid contacted people is the go to way to prevent the widespread of the disease and at the same time improving immune function, since probiotics is ubiquitous and affordable!

 

References


  1. WebMD. Vitamin C for the common cold.
  2. Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients9(11), 1211. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211
  3. Esmaeil Mortaz, Ian M. Adock, Gert Folkters, Peters J. Barnes, Arjan Paul Vos and Johan Garssen (2013). Probiotics in the management of Lung Disease. Hindawi, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/751068
  4. Carolina Maldonado Galdeano, Silvia Ines Cazorla, Jose Maria Lemme Dumit, Eva Velez, Gabriela Perdigon      (2019). Beneficial effect of Probiotic consumption on the Immune System. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism     74(115-124). DOI: 10.

Vitamin for kids, do they need?

If we look around nowadays, there are always kids that is a bit too thin or a bit too plump around us. There are many factors influencing this. Ministry of health with regards in effort to curb obesity and malnourishment among children has implement many nutrition programs in school with the food caterer (canteen), parents and teachers. They even have gone to the extent of banning junk food and processed food that is sell in the outside school area and inside school areas.

The reason why malnourishment among children, whether children are obese or underweight is very much concerning is because long term obese and underweight for children can actually lead to comorbidity conditions and complications during adulthood such as the tendency of becoming obese during adulthood, thus lead to diseases like, diabetes, hypertension, heart problem, kidney problem and many more (2).

 

FACT CHECK!


“According to World Health Organization (WHO), Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. One is ‘undernutrition’—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).”


 

Thus despite, many efforts has been done, it is still hard to curb all this. Need not to mention about children who always fall sick due to not getting enough vitamins and minerals itself.

 

So, according to American Pediatric Association, not all children need to take supplement, but there are still kids who need supplement such as those kids who (1)

 

  • Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • Have a condition that affects the absorption of or increases the need for nutrients, such as celiac disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 
  • Have had a surgery that impacts the intestines or stomach
  • Are extremely picky eaters and struggle to eat a variety of foods

 

Most of the children nowadays are picky eaters, they usually just eat what is palatable to their taste. It is a problem for working parents to make their children try variety of food due to time constraint. At the end they just let their children what they want which in return will hinder children growth. These children to consume supplement in order to get back what they loss due to not eating variety of food.

 

There are also children who have problem in appetite, as a nutritionist we suggest to try various creative ways to improve your children appetite such as:

 

  • Play game while let them eat

 

Games like letting them be the food detective in finding broccoli or carrot in their food can makes them find eating is interesting and makes them do not even realize that they are eating instead it feels like they are playing. You may visit https://healthykidshealthyfuture.org/5-healthy-goals/nurture-healthy-eaters/classroom-activities/ for more activities with your kids to help them eat more (2).

 

  • Decorative food

 

Parents also can be creative in decorating food so it can improve their children appetite. Food that is similar to the cartoon characters that they are watching can really makes them happy eating thus improve their appetite!

 

  

  • Cook together with your child

 

Involve your children in the process of cooking can make them to be interested with food itself. All the hard work will make them hungry as well thus it is one of the effective ways to improve their appetite

 

You can also try to cook recipe for kids,  you can find kids friendly recipe here….

 

 https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/kids-cooking (3)

 

  • Different food everyday

 

Staying in the daycare might exposed children to the same cycle of food which in the long run make them bored. So, parents can try to cook different stuff alternate days perhaps and send to the daycare with them, this will make them happier to eat their food.

 

However, as a working parent, time constraint is still a major issue here. Thus, the easy way out is multivitamin and minerals which is supplements.

 

Butttt…. We need to be cautious on the intake of supplement itself (1,4,5,6)

 

  1. Children who is below 2 years old is not encouraged to take any kind of supplements. They are allowed to try and eat variety of foods.

 

  1. Avoid megadose supplement as it can become toxic to your child body. Ask healthcare professionals on the correct dosage of it based on your child age.

 

  1. Let healthcare professionals know your medication that your child is currently on, because some medication and supplements might interfere one another.

 

In conclusion, supplementation cannot be an easy way out for parents in the long run, parents must make children eat variety of foods and eat healthily as well. Consult pediatrician, doctor, dietitian or nutritionist about your child food preference before you opt for any supplementation on the market for your kids.


 References

  1. Healthline (n.d). Vitamins for Kids. Do they need them (And which ones)? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamins-for-kids
  2. Bracale, R., Milani, L., Ferrara, E., Balzaretti, C., Valerio, A., Russo, V., Nisoli, E., & Carruba, M. O. (2013). Childhood obesity, overweight and underweight: a study in primary schools in Milan. Eating and weight disorders : EWD, 18(2), 183–191. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-013-0036-9
  3. Children Health System (n.d). Children activities. https://healthykidshealthyfuture.org/5-healthy-goals/nurture-healthy-eaters/classroom-activities/
  4. BBC Good Food (n.d). Recipe for kids. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/kids-cooking
  5. WebMD (n.d). Vitamins for kids: Do Healthy Kids need supplement? https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/vitamins-for-kids-do-healthy-kids-need-vitamins#1
  6. Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/multivitamins/faq-20058310

 

Get your Facts on Fiber!

“Eat more vegetables and fruits to get your fiber!” You may have heard these words. But what is fiber, really? How it works to improve our health? Let us take a closer look on it!

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our body cannot digest undigested. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules but fiber cannot be broken down into sugar and thus it will pass through our body. These carbohydrates often considered beneficial in which mostly come from fruits, vegetables and legumes (1, 3, 6).

 

Fiber comes in two varieties, both beneficial to health (3):

 

Soluble fiber

 

Dissolves in water; absorb water to form a gel like substance that slow the digestion and cause you to feel full. They have been shown to decrease cholesterol and lower blood glucose. Common source of soluble fiber includes beans, oat bran, fruits and vegetables. It is also found in pysllium, a common fiber supplement.

 

Insoluble fiber

 

Does not dissolve in water; Increase fecal bulk and appear to help food pass more quickly through the digestive tract so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation and irregular stools.

 

 Facts About Fiber (3,4)

 

 

 

#1 Fiber aids in achieving healthy weight.

 

#2 Fiber fight diseases. It appears to reduce risk of developing various health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, constipation and breast cancer.

 

#3 Fiber helps to lower cholesterol.

 

#4 Fiber helps to regulate blood glucose.

 

#5 Recommended dietary fiber intake per day for all age group is 20-30g/day. However, if a person is not currently eating enough of fiber, he or she should increase his or her fiber intake slowly  to avoid gas and bloating.

 

 

#6 More fiber needs more water. When eating a high fiber diet, be sure to drink at least eight or more glasses of water every day.

 

#7 Fiber aids in improving digestion by increasing stool bulk and regularity. A high-fiber diet may help reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

 

#8 Too much fiber is a bad thing. You may experience abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, constipation and even diarrhea.

 

#9 Fruit and vegetable peels are rich in several nutrients including fiber. Eating unpeeled fruits and vegetables keep you feel full longer due to its high fiber content. However, certain fruit and vegetable peels may be hard to consume or simply inedible. These peels are best removed and not eaten.

 

#10 Fruits and vegetable juice has less fiber than whole fruits and vegetable. This is because the skin is removed and thus it is more healthful to eat whole fruit and vegetable.

 

#11 Fiber cannot be cooked out.

 

Tips to Increase fiber intake (5,7)

 

Consume products that have whole grain listed as the first ingredients, high fiber content and low fat and sugar content.

 

Replace white rice, bread and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.

 

 

Include legumes in your diet (beans, dried peas and lentils)

 

 

Eat unpeeled whole fruit and vegetables not juice.

 

Snack on fruits and vegetables

 

Take a fiber supplement (e.g psyllium)

 

In conclusion, fiber is an important dietary substance to your diet. This is because high fiber foods are also good sources of vitamins, mineral and antioxidants which offer many health benefits. Therefore, as one of the key ingredients to healthy eating, fiber is something you cannot skip.

 

References


  1. Cleveland Clinic. 2019. Improving Your Health With Fiber. Available from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14400-improving-your-health-with-fiber [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  2. Danielle, D. 2018. How much fiber is too much. Medical New Today. Available from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321286#treatment [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  3. Harvard University School of Public Health. (n.d.). Fiber. Available from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/ [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  4. Karin, L. 2016. 45 Interesting Facts about FIber. Fact Retriever. Available from https://www.factretriever.com/fiber-facts [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  5. Kerri, A., J. 2016. 16 Easy Ways to Eat More Fiber. Healthline. Available from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-to-eat-more-fiber [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  6. Mayo Clinic. 2018. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Available from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983 [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  7. My Health Ministry of Health. 2012. SERAT DAN KAWALAN DIABETES. Available from http://www.myhealth.gov.my/serat-dan-kawalan-diabetes/ [Accessed on 23 April 2020].

 


Loss of Appetite among Elderly, How to Improve?

Worldwide, people are living longer. People in this era, are expected to live into their sixties and beyond, with the advancement of medical technology. By 2050, there will be as many as 2 billion number of people from this age group, living in China alone is about 120 million and 434 million people in the rest of the world. Today, 125 million people are aged 80 years old and older. In 2050, 80% of all older people will live in low- and middle-income countries.

 

Whilst in Malaysia, the number of Malaysians aged 60 years and above is estimated to be 1.4 million and is projected to increase to 3.3 million in the year 2020. The percentage of the population that is 60 years and over has also increased over the years – 5.2% in 1970, 5.7% in 1990 and 6.3% in the year 2000. In the year 2020, this percentage is expected to be 9.8% of the population. Between 1990 and 2020, the population of Malaysia is expected to increase from 18.4 million to 33.3 million – an increase of 80%. The aged population however is expected to increase from 1.05 million in 1990 to 3.26 million over the same period, an increase of 210% (2).

 

 

The pace of ageing population is much faster than in the past. All countries in the world face major challenges, in order to ensure that peoples’ health and social system are ready for this demographic shift. Healthcare system and technology need to be at par with people’s health and needs (1,2).

 

Many more literatures need to be discussed pertaining to the issue of geriatric (elderly) health. According to research, elderly face problem such as frailty, and this is often compounded by problems such as urinary incontinence, instability, falls and acute confusion states. Also, many elderly face accumulations of chronic diseases as they grow older (2).

 

All these problems lead to malnutrition among elderly, apart from this, poor dentition, changes in dietary habits and types of food that are available also play major role in this situation.  Thus, if you have elderly with poor appetite make sure to rule out all these physical problem before try to improve elderly’s appetite. Furthermore, due to fasting season where most people lose weight and have poor appetite also because, people’s have been staying home for quarantine for long time (2,3).

 

 


Ways to stimulating appetite in elderly as a caregiver or ways for elderly to try themselves (3,4):

 

  • Enjoy a meal together or encourage your loved one to join others for a weekly lunch or dinner. Studies show that seniors who eat with others tend to eat more and make healthier food choices.
  • Remember that your loved one’s tastes may be changing. Try making nutritious meals that are bright, colorful and packed with vitamins and minerals. However, do not overwhelm your loved ones with large portions, as a plate heaped with food may overwhelm them and deter them from eating altogether
  • Set schedule for eating meals makes it a routine part of your loved one’s day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks should be served at the same time throughout the day, every day of the week.
  • Serve smaller portions of high nutrient foods. Some seniors feel overwhelmed if they see a large amount of food in front of them. Instead of a big plate, serve smaller portions. You could even switch to a daily routine where your older adult eats 5 small meals instead of 3 larger ones.
  • To save time, you can still cook food in larger batches. Just store it in smaller individual containers so it is easy to reheat.
  • Stop using utensils. The frustration of not being able to use a spoon, fork, or knife could make some older adults not want to eat at all. To help them eat more easily, serve foods that can be eaten without any utensils.
  • Have plenty of easy-to-eat snacks on hand. Some seniors prefer to graze throughout the day rather than eat full meals. That is ok too. Keep plenty of healthy, delicious, and easy-to-eat snacks available.
  • Make milkshakes or smoothies. If chewing is difficult or tiring, even with small pieces of food, consider serving more liquid-y foods. You can try to prepare this liquid diet with various kind of fruits and vegetables as well. Unless your older adult has specific health issues, do not worry too much about fat or cholesterol. After all, the challenge is to get enough calories into them.
  • To bridge the gap between poor consumption of food/ highly nutritious food with their health need, consumption of complete milk formula such as Nutrasure and multivitamins such as Ginviton are helpful!
  • Keep track of what works. Take notes so you can keep track of what foods your senior enjoys, what they do not like, and what might be upsetting their stomach. You can also track what times of day they are more willing to eat or when they have a better appetite. Keeping track lets you experiment more with things that are working and avoid the things that are not.

 

References


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Key Facts. Ageing and Health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health
  2. Mafauzy M. (2000). The Problems and Challenges of the Ageing Population in Malaysia. The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3406209/
  3. American Senior Communities. Is Loss of Appetite in Elderly is the Sign of Something Else? https://www.asccare.com/loss-appetite-elderly-sign-something-else/
  4. Daily Caring. 6 Ways For Seniors with No Appetite to Eat. https://dailycaring.com/6-ways-to-get-seniors-with-no-appetite-to-eat/

 


The Consumption of Multivitamin, Is it NECESSARY?

“Pills are not a shortcut way to a better health and for the prevention of chronic diseases” Says a nutritionist who is actively advocating people for healthy eating, while another nutritionist suggest that you must take supplement to compensate the daily Recommendation Nutrient Intake (RNI) that is not met. Are you familiar with this situation? The question is how do we go about? Do we need supplementation, or we need not supplementation?

The answer to these questions is MAYBE. Yes, perhaps you need supplementation or perhaps you do not need supplementation. In this article we are focusing on healthy adult (man and women), not for those special need people who really need supplementation as per recommended by medical professionals.

 

When it comes to nutrition supplement there are various school of thoughts. Here is the baseline, for healthy adult, the MOST IMPORTANT thing in order to maintain healthy health is by EAT HEALTHILY, there comes another question, how do I eat healthily since it is really confusing when it comes to healthy food?

 

Bottom line for healthy food is easy, eat three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits per day. Limit your fat and sugar intake especially from the sugary beverages. Make sure the cooking method is the healthy cooking method such as blanching, steaming or grilling and lastly individual should exercise regularly for at least 150 minutes of exercise five times per week (1,2).

 

 

Waittttt a momenttttt, after you read the above and ponder upon our current living situation, you might then again think, this is hardly possible, there are people who is working in shift schedule there are people who work 7AM to 6PM with no time to prepare meal on their own, there are people who have many other commitment whom by all means eating just mean to shove food under their throat and be full with it!

 

Example of healthy plate.

 

Of course, as a nutritionist I am the biggest supporter of healthy eating over vitamin and supplementation but looking back at our current situation, we need to instead advocate people on how to choose supplement that is suitable for themselves and how to know whether they need supplements or not?

 

 

There are few guidelines set by Harvard School of Public Health on to know the kind of supplementation that we need to take and our body sign of needing supplement (3,4).

 

  • Say no to ‘high dosage’

 

By saying no to high means that, any supplement that provide high dosage of vitamins and minerals need to be out of the list. Check you recommended nutrient intake (RNI) from your nutritionist and take only supplement that is equivalent to that. (E.g: RNI for vitamin C for adult both male and female is about 70 mg, thus choose your vitamin C supplementation around this amount). In order to identify what are the supplements that is right for your health, you need to identify your eating pattern. If you are picky eater, then you need to identify what are the foods that you usually do not consume be it vegetables, fruits, protein based etc. Then from that, nutritionist will then identify what are the nutrients that you probably miss from your eating pattern, nutritionist will then suggest intake of vitamins that is suitable for your eating pattern. As an example, as for those who do not eat vegetables, these group of people might have lack of fibre and as well as antioxidants in their diet thus taking fibre supplement or probiotics might help. As for people who hardly take protein-based food such as fish, poultry, and meat, they are at risk of lacking B-Complex vitamin. Thus, a single multivitamin is not an answer to all, every eating pattern must be observed to come up with supplements needed to compensate whatever loss.


  •  Say no to ‘super’

 

There are, many supplements on the market claiming on various health effects especially those on the TV and internet. Most of these are only based on testimonials saying that they are ‘super’ vitamins etc for health. Do not be swayed by this wild health claims. If it sounds too good to be true, you can be sure they are! Save your money for something even beneficial like healthy food and good vacation for your mental health!


  •  Say no to ‘cure’

 

Most of the vitamins or supplements are meant to compensate what is loss and to alleviate some of the health problems, once there is strike of an illness usually there is just no turning back, e.g: Diabetes, it is a life long health problem, where a patient with diabetes need to control their sugar intake for life long, thus need to take care their diet.Thus, it is the management of the disease that is important to not make it even worse, so here is how diet, supplements, and physical activity play an important roles. However, for some other illness such as occasional joint pain, the intake of certain supplement might help but then again it is case to case basis.


  •  Holistic Care

 

Most people regard supplement as super pill, where they think if they consume these supplements, they do not have to eat healthily or even exercise. Oh dear, let me tell you that is all just so VERY WRONG! Every nutritionist must ensure their customers or patients understand, that by taking supplements it means that, they still need to eat healthily and exercise, supplements just meant to to-up whatever vitamins that they do not get from their poor eating habit. Which explain, if you are eating well, have good range of weight, not a picky eater, do not have problem in understanding on how consuming healthy food means, by all mean you do not have to consume supplements, just continue eat healthily and exercise but for those who is showing symptoms of lethargic, scurvy, severe weight loss, poor appetite, hectic schedule, poor eating habit etc these are the people who need to consume supplements!

 

In Conclusion, in our hectic lifestyle today, supplement is very much essential in maintaining good health. Try by your all means, to understand on how to eat healthily, but if often times you find that you fail in doing so, perhaps it is time for you to consider supplements taking. But, do not forget to consult, health professionals, such as medical doctor and nutritionist before you take any supplements!

 


 

References


  1. Jennifer Warner (2012). WebMD. 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise is enough to shed pounds. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20120824/30-minutes-daily-exercise-shed-pounds (Accessed on June 25, 2020)

 

  1. Edward R. Lawoski (2019). Mayo Clinic. How Much Should The Average Adult Exercise Every day ? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916#:~:text=For%20most%20healthy%20adults%2C%20the,of%20moderate%20and%20vigorous%20activity. (Accessed on June 25, 2020).

 

  1. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. Nutrition Insurance Policy: A Daily Multivitamin. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/multivitamin/ (Accessed on June 25, 2020).

 

  1. Org. Vitamins: Hype or helps for healthy eating. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/vitamin-supplements-hype-or-help-for-healthy-eating#:~:text=%E2%80%9CA%20supplement%20will%20generally%20provide,healthy%20food%2Dbased%20diet.%E2%80%9D (Accessed on June 25, 2020).


Supplementation, Who Should Consider?

Supplement consumption is not meant to reverse chronic diseases, not meant to cure diseases or to works as super pill. If there is any supplementation product that claim so, it is definitely is a scam!

 

Consumption of supplementation is meant to fill the gap between poor nutrition intake and the actual nutrients required by the body. With our current lifestyle practice, it is necessary for certain individuals to consume supplementation such as those who find healthy eating is not palatablethose who always busy in which food is just meant to be eaten on the go thus, fast food, processed food and junk food is always the option and to those who unable to grasp the concept of healthy eating.

 

When it comes to choosing the right supplementation for your body, always bear in mind to ask your dietitian, nutritionist, or doctors on the Required Nutrient Intake (RNI) by the body, usually the amount needed is small only.  If you unable to get that nutrient from food since you do not consume certain food, thus you might consider supplement taking.

 

 

As an example, if you do not eat vegetables you might consider consuming fiber, since people who do not consume vegetables usually will experience constipation. Apart from constipation, people who do not consume vegetables and/or fruits also lack of antioxidants, antioxidants is very important to fight free radicals which can cause cancer any many other chronic and metabolic diseases in the body, thus, consuming supplement product containing antioxidants might help.

 

There is also certain phase in life where you need supplementation such as women of childbearing age, especially if they are expecting for baby. They need to consume folic acid. Worldwide, study has been established that consuming about 0.4 mg of folic acid prior pregnancy may prevent spina bifida (a neural tube defect condition, where birth defect occur when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly).

 

 

Apart from folic acid, World Health Organization also suggest pregnant mother to consume iron supplementation. About 30 mg to 60 mg of elemental iron is recommended for pregnant women to prevent maternal anaemia, low birth weight and preterm birth. At this stage women who experience hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness) also is advised to drink oral nutrition supplement if they have difficulty in consuming food in general.

 

Oral nutrition supplement is not only suitable for women in such condition it is also suitable for elderly who have denture problem, in which consuming food and swallowing food is hard, elderly who is picky eater, elderly who is always lethargic.


 

People who has certain food preference or regime, such as those who fasting from animal-based product (usually for religion purposes) or vegan can also consider including vitamin B in their diet. This is due to, vitamin B can be found ubiquitously in animal-based food, thus people who do not consume it might be deficient of it.

 

In conclusion,

 

When it comes to filling your nutrition gap, it is much essential to talk to your medical professional, letting them know your food preference, your current full blood examination results, and health symptoms that you are experiencing might also helps in improving your nutrition needs. It is very essential to buy supplement products from the legitimate source such as from pharmacy, or as per recommended by health professional. Apart from you need to make sure that the supplement product is safe to be consumed (e.g: have Ministry of Health (MOH) notification number), you have to also talk to medical professional since, some of the herbal or botanical based supplement might interfere with your medicine consumption.

 

References

  1. News in Health (NIH). Should you take dietary supplement? (2013). https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/08/should-you-take-dietary-supplements
  2. Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet. National Institute of Health (NIH). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/
  3. National Service Health (NSH). Do I Need Vitamin Supplement? https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/do-i-need-vitamin-supplements/
  4. World Health Organization (WHO). Daily iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy. https://www.who.int/elena/titles/guidance_summaries/daily_iron_pregnancy/en/#:~:text=Daily%20oral%20iron%20and%20folic,birth%20weight%2C%20and%20preterm%20birth.

 

 


Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID-19?

Since years ago, vitamin C has gained its popularity to be used for various functions from prevention of illnesses, alleviating symptoms for illnesses, and even in the cosmetics industry for skin care purposes. It has becoming popular after the Nobel prized scientist Linus Pauling started to consumed it (1). Following that there are many studies conducted on vitamin C and many people started to question its effectiveness and there are also many people who started to consume vitamin C for various purposes.

With regards to COVID-19 pandemic, many people started wanting to boost their immune system thus making the demand for vitamin C supplementation and food products containing vitamin C is even higher. However, is it true that vitamin C can boost immune system and prevent or treat COVID19?

 

What is vitamin C and how does it improve immune system?(2)

 

Vitamin C or also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. It can also act as antioxidant, which helps in protecting cells against free radicals thus helps with various kind of diseases. Vitamin C improves our white blood cells  (WBC) which function in fighting the viruses, bacteria, and generally foreign materials in the body. There are various studies with regards to this, one of it is the study that compare the administration of vitamin C and vitamin E as antioxidant, finding of the study noted that vitamin C give greater effect on body immunity as compared to vitamin E.


 

 

Vitamin C supplementation (4,5,6,7)

 

Vitamin C is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables especially citrus food. Also, if you look closely on the food labelled, there are food that is fortified with vitamin C such as breakfast cereal, milk etc. Local fruit that is high with vitamin C is guava, the amount of vitamin C in guava is even higher than in the orange.

 

As for cold, vitamin C has been a long popular remedy for common cold, which is why many people started to consume it when the pandemic strikes. Research shows that vitamin C does not reduce risk of getting common cold. Well, being sick once in a while, or get common cold once in a while is a good thing actually, it helps  antibodies to fight against pathogen (bad bacteria and viruses) and improve the immune system naturally. However, the consumption of vitamin C can lead to  a shorter period of common cold with milder symptoms. But the consumption of vitamin C after the symptoms of common cold is showing does not appear to be helpful.

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19. However, since the symptoms is the same as common cold thus it is thought that it can be used to alleviate the same symptoms present. Currently researchers and physicians are studying the effect of vitamin C via (high dose intravenous) (IV) and also on the effect of supplementation taking on the new COVID19.

 

In conclusion, it is safe to say that, there is no harm in consuming vitamin C with the purpose to boost immune system in this pandemic situation, but also it has to be hand in hand with the other safety precautions such as only go out when it is necessary, must always adhere to the one meter social distance measure, must always wear mask when you are outside, must wash hands frequently using soap or hand sanitizer.

 

 

 

References

 

  1. Oregon State University. Pauling Recommendation (2004).https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C/pauling-recommendation (Accessed on November, 16, 2020).
  2. Healthline. 7 Impressive ways Vitamin C benefits your body. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits ( Accessed on Nov 16, 2020)
  3. 8 Nutrients that will optimize your eye health. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-nutrients-for-eyes. (Accessed on Aug 26, 2020)
  4. All About Vision. Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Eye and vision benefits. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/lutein.htm (Accessed on Aug, 26, 2020)
  5. Simonson W. (2020). Vitamin C and coronavirus. Geriatric nursing (New York, N.Y.)41(3), 331–332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2020.05.002
  6. Medical News Today (MNT). Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID19.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-vitamin-c-prevent-or-treat-covid-19 (Accessed on November 16, 2020).
  7. Healthline. Can Vitamin C Protect you from Vitamin C. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-coronavirus (Accessed on November 16, 2020)

 

 


Calcium Supplementation, Who Needs it?

Calcium is among very common micronutrient heard by public and milk advertisement is the contributor to this. Through this many people know that calcium is very important for bone and teeth. Calcium can be found in various food products nowadays not only milk. It has becoming partly marketing strategy for food company to incorporate calcium in their food product especially if the target consumer is children or elderly since many people know that calcium is vital for these two groups, children, and elderly.
Function of Calcium? 

Body needs calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also required to carry out important function such as for muscle to move, for nerves system to carry messages between brain and body parts, for blood vessels to move blood throughout the body, and for body to help release hormones and enzyme that affect almost every function in the human body (1,2,3).

 

How much calcium is needed?

 

Normal adult need about 1000 mg of calcium daily, however there are certain condition which require to consume up to 1300 mg of calcium daily such as for pregnant lady, lactating mother, post-menopausal women, and man who is above 70 years old of age (1,2,4).

 

 

Calcium and diet

 

Body does not produce calcium, so it needs to be consumed from foods. Luckily, calcium can be found in variety of foods such as dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, fish, and many other fortified food products (1,2,3).   As for our local food products sardine, anchovies, cencaluk, budu, tofu, tempeh, broccoli, kalian, and tapioca leaves are among food that is high with calcium (4).

 

It is also important to take note that in order to absorb calcium, body needs vitamin D. Only a few foods containing small amount of natural vitamin D, such as egg yolks and salmon with bones. Mostly, we rely on the exposure to sunlight in order to get enough vitamin D, of course in Malaysia the country with sun all year long have no problem with this! However, as currently we are still in the so to say the ‘lockdown’ phase thus it is very important to remind everyone to get the sunlight every day at least 20 minutes for its vitamin D and calcium absorption (1,2,4).

Though all the foods stated above are easily found, but there are conditions which hinder individuals from getting enough calcium from diet thus require it from calcium supplementation.


 

 

Conditions for calcium supplementation

 

Before considering calcium supplement, individuals must understand how much calcium needs by the body (stated above). Then individuals must seek help from nutritionist, dietitian, pharmacist, or doctors, where they will assess your calcium consumption from your diet through diet recall. If the calcium intake falls short thus you need to top up calcium from supplement.

 

Hypertensive individuals and diet with large amounts of sodium.

 

Several literature reviews on topic of total calcium intake from food and supplements with regards to hypertension suggested that there is possible link to lowering high blood pressure. However, since most of the study design have small number of subjects, and were tested with people from different background, and not to mention possess various kind of biases thus making it difficult for scientist to draw conclusion (1,2).

 

However, a large study subject (Women’s Health Study), found out that calcium intake was inversely associated with risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women, in terms of preventing hypertension (1,2).

 

The consumption of high sodium food lead to more calcium excretion through the urine, which will lead to constriction of blood vessels, which in the end resulting  in high blood pressure. Drinking large water after consuming salty food, is not enough, as it may be making blood pressure return to its slightly normal condition, but it is not helping with the loss of calcium (1,2,5).

 

Pregnant and lactating mother

 

Often times, pregnant women is being reminded of how important is folic acid for the baby, even from the trying to conceive period, healthcare providers already advise them to consume folic acid, in order to prevent spina bifida to the baby. However, calcium is as well very important for mothers throughout pregnancy and lactating period especially for mother who is lack of calcium from diet (1).

 

Several professional organizations recommend calcium supplements during pregnancy for women with low calcium intakes to reduce the risk of preeclampsia (a condition where gestational hypertension always occur). For example, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ACOG) states that daily supplementation with 1,500–2,000 mg calcium may reduce the severity of preeclampsia in pregnant women who have calcium intakes less than 600 mg/day. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 1,500–2,000 mg calcium for pregnant women with low dietary calcium intakes, particularly those at higher risk of gestational hypertension (1).

 

As for normal healthy mother, the consumption of calcium is especially important during lactating period, mother may notice symptoms such as cramps which indicates lack of calcium during pregnancy and lactation period. Also if a mother is on iron supplementation as well, it is advisable to not consume both at the same time, it is best to gap several prior the consumption of these two since it can interfere with the absorption (1,2).

 

 

Post-menopausal women and elderly

 

Throughout the lifespan, bones are constantly being broken down and built up in a process known as remodelling. Bone cells called osteoblasts build bone, while other bone cells called osteoclasts break down bone if calcium is needed. In healthy individuals who get enough calcium and physical activity, bone production exceeds bone destruction up to about age 30. After that, destruction typically exceeds production. This is sometimes called “negative calcium balance,” which can lead to bone loss. Women tend to experience greater bone loss than men later in life due to menopause, a condition that lowers the amount of hormones that help to build and preserve bone (5).

 

Getting enough dietary calcium at all ages may help to slow the degree of bone loss, but calcium intakes at any level are not known to completely prevent bone loss. Calcium is less easily absorbed at later ages, and therefore eating a very high amount of calcium will not always resolve the problem (5).

 

Studies on calcium intake and bone density in postmenopausal women have mixed results that could be due to various reasons. Because the results of some large trials found that higher calcium intakes (usually achieved with a supplement) was associated with improved bone density and slightly lower risk of hip fractures, the RDA for calcium for postmenopausal women is higher than at younger ages. Some studies suggest that frail elderly (80 years and older living in institutions) may benefit from supplementation more than “younger” elderly who live independently in the community (5).

 

 

 

Individuals with lactose intolerance and limit dairy products

 

Individuals with lactose intolerance usually, is unable to consume food that has high amount of calcium especially if it come from milk and dairy source of food. Thus, lactose intolerance individuals need to consume it form dark leafy vegetables and soy-based product. However, in most cases the consumption is not enough or individuals with lactose intolerance consume not enough vegetable rich with calcium or other food source rich with calcium, thus for this specific population calcium supplementation is needed either from fortified food product such as ready to eat cereals or from calcium supplementation tablet itself.

 

Individuals receiving treatment on certain medication in the long period

 

Well, there are certain medication which can influence the absorption of calcium. Medication such as to treat osteoporosis (bisphosphonates), antibiotics (fluroquinolone), medication to treat low thyroid problem (levothyroxine), anticonvulsant (phenytoin), diuretic medication (Lasix and bumex), antacids containing aluminium and magnesium and also glucocorticoids (prednisone). These are all either causing calcium loss in the urine or cause calcium depletion in the bone. Thus, if you are on these medication, it is advisable to take calcium rich foods four hours prior or after the intake of medication, so that it would not interfere with the absorption of calcium, it is also best if you consume calcium supplementation if you do have poor intake of calcium rich food as well (2).

 

Conclusion


In these situations, calcium supplements may help you meet your calcium requirements. Talk with your doctor or dietitian about whether calcium supplements are right for you.

 

References

 

  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). Department of Health and Human Service. Calcium. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed on November 18, 2020).
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). Department of Health and Human Service. Calcium. Fact Sheet for Consumers. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/ (Accessed on November 18, 2020).
  3. Mayo Clinic. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Healthy Lifestyle. Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097 (Accessed on November 18, 2020).
  4. Ministry of Health (MOH). National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition. Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI): A Report of the Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines (2017).
  5. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. Calcium. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium/ (Accessed on November 18, 2020).

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).

Do you think slimming pills work?

There are millions of slimming pills product on the market with various marketing strategy, not only in pills, but there are also, drinks or beverages, functional, ointment, lotion, and many other products which claimed that it can be used for weight loss. But is it really works?

In this article we are going to focus solely on slimming products that people consume like functional foods, pills, beverages, not for external use like ointment, lotion, or other types of slimming products since different kind of product has different method on how they give effect to the body.

 

Slimming pills on the market is either from drug, or drug combination or from herbal supplement. As for drugs at the moment, in Malaysia we only use two types of drugs which is anti-obesity medicine (AOM) that act on gastrointestinal tracts (GIT) or better known as orlistat (brand name Xenical) and drugs which is used to suppress appetite or better known as Sibutramine or phentermine. The consumption of all these drugs must be prescribed and monitored by doctors.

 

 

There are certain criteria for doctors to consider in order to prescribed slimming pills such as when individual has BMI more than 30, but most importantly is when the individual have tried to loss weight like eat healthily and exercise. Once individual have achieved certain weight loss then the doctor can no longer prescribed the medication, which is why, the consumption of such drugs needs to be monitored by doctors only. Also, to note that there have been cases previously where the prescription of slimming drugs which harm individual health, the drug is called Fen-Phen, it was phenomenal back then, it was a combination from Phentermine and Fenfluramine, but Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) already take it back from the market as it can harm human health specifically heart valve. When prescribing slimming drugs doctors will usually conduct full body examination and blood test from time to time thus whatever things that is not suitable for body may be detected early, unlike consuming slimming pills without prescription.

 

As for herbal supplement slimming pills, the ingredients can be from various ingredients, either plant-based ingredients or animal-based ingredient. Since it does not consider as drugs thus it is not put under the strict and effectiveness requirement that drugs are in.

 

In Malaysia, all these supplement products need to be notified to Ministry of Health (MOH) under the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) for its safety. Once it is being notified, NPRA will provide the supplement products with notification number. Many product founders use this as their marketing strategy as to promote that their product is approved by MOH. However, products with notification number does not means that they are safe. It means that they are confident that their product is safe so that MOH can come and spot check anytime to make sure that their products is safe. Of course, before NPRA provide the product with the notification number they already go through the product ingredients and all that, but different batches of supplement are produce over the time, which can be different from the one sent for checking initially.

 

Among common ingredients that are in slimming pills supplement are chitosan (from shrimp shell), caffeine, bitter orange, green tea, beta gluten, carnitine, raspberry ketone, white kidney bean, yohimbe, guar gum, garcinia cambogia, fucoxanthin and many more. All these ingredients usually do not have conclusive study findings but rather mixing or promising study findings.

 

 

Which is why when it comes to supplement consumption it is very much suggested to go through below guideline from MOH:

 

  1. Check the products that you are going to buy whether it is registered with the regulatory authority.
  2. Some of the products (including herbal) may also cause adverse effects. Make sure your medical condition is not affected by it if you would like to try these products. Seek advice from healthcare practitioner before consuming it.
  3. Read label carefully and do not take more than the listed dose.
  4. These products are licensed as either over the counter (OTC), traditional, or functional food, therefore it is not ethical for the founder to make claim such as ‘stops from being fat’ or ‘speeds up metabolism’.
  5. Avoid slimming products which promote rapid weight loss, promise quick result, suggest that you do not need to exercise or diet, fail to recommend dietary advice or worse encourage that you can still consume anything you want


In conclusion, whether slimming pills work or not it is still depending on type of slimming pills itself whether it is considered as drugs (need doctor prescription) or herbal one which is over the counter pills. All in all, health experts agree that making lifestyle changes including following a healthy eating pattern, reducing calorie intake, and engage in physical activity is the basis for achieving long term weight loss. But since making lifestyle changes can be difficult to some people, even more nowadays that there are many temptations for unhealthy food around us, not to mention the processed food which is marketed as ready to eat or ready to cook food (microwaved) but contain high trans-fat. Thus, it is really suggested that if you are to consume any slimming pills, get advice from healthcare professionals and accompanied it with healthy eating habit and exercise.

 

References


  1. Ministry of Health (MOH). MyHealth Portal. Slimming Pills. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/slimming-pills-2/
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/
  3. Lasting damage from Fen Phen. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20081105/lasting-heart-damage-from-fen-phen#1

 



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.

 

Ministry of Health Malaysia is using Vitamin C in treating COVID19 patients?

Vitamin C or its actual name is ascorbic acid, is the antioxidants used for various reasons. It becomes famous after the ‘Linus Pauling effect’ all around the world. The Nobel Laurette scientist claims that the consumption of vitamin C can treat various kind of diseases. Starting from that many manufacturers claim various benefits of Vitamin C consumption. Many researchers have then started to publish articles and studies on the benefits of vitamin C, but so far, in Malaysia the studies are still somewhat lacking for it to be used partly in treatment of a particular diseases. 

Pandemic COVID-19

 

The outbreak of Coronavirus disease began at Wuhan, China in December 2019, thus far it has infected more that 46 million of individual all around the world and has caused more than 1.2 million of deaths. The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, dyspnoea, and myalgia. Some proportion of confirmed cases also developed severe diseases which involves acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which can precipitated into multiple organ failure and death. This is also one of the reasons why infection occur to the high-risk individuals are more likely be getting serious or lead to complications as compared to healthy individuals.

 

It has been reported that the condition is called ‘cytokine storm’, a condition where the host immune response becomes dysfunction due to the attack from the virus to body’s immune system. In the absence of approved vaccine to prevent this from happening, management of critically ill COVID19 patients include administration of azithromycin (antibiotic) and hydroxychloroquine (malaria medicine), this is due to that there is no specific medication yet for COVID-19.

 

However, growing study interest is seen on the administration of COVID-19 recently, where even in Malaysia, Ministry of Health has conducted few studies to see whether the usage of vitamin C among critically ill COVID-19 patients is beneficial. The first study was conducted among 17 patients, the critically ill patients were given 1g of vitamin C in every 8 hour for three days. Although the findings are promising, but according to Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Dr, Noor Azmi Ghazali, it cannot still be used as management of critically ill COVID-19 patients as the sample size of the studies is too small for the result to be used.

 

Another study involving critically ill COVID-19 patients, divide between two groups of critically ill patients, the one administered with Vitamin C and the one without administration of vitamin C. The result found out that group with vitamin C administration has 57% lower on mortality rate, 9 days shorter of hospital stay, 5.6 days faster in successful extubating, and 7.5 days faster in weaning off oxygen support.

 

 

There is another unpublished study that was conducted among critically ill COVID-19 patients in two different tertiary hospital in Malaysia comparing individual treated with vitamin C against those who are not treated with vitamin C. Both groups show similar clinical background, comorbidity, illness severity, and severity score on admission. The finding shows that the vitamin C group has lower mortality rate (14.3%) as compared to the group without vitamin C (71.4%). Duration of days on the ventilator were also shorter in vitamin C groups compared to non-vitamin C group (14 vs 19.6 days). Similarly, the duration to complete weaning of oxygen therapy was also shorter in vitamin C group (16 vs 23.5 days). Since the result is very promising currently, a multicenter randomized controlled trial is underway in evaluating the effectiveness of high dosage of intravenous vitamin C for the treatment for severe COVID-19 patients.

 

Usage of Vitamin C as prophylaxis to COVID-19 for general population

 

Apart from vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin it is also a potent antioxidant. It acts as free radical scavenger and has its anti-inflammatory properties, which influence cellular immunity and vascular integrity. Which explain why it is being studied as one of the treatments for COVID-19. As for general population, National Health Service (NHS) U.K. treatment guideline stated that for non critically ill COVID-19 individuals and for non-COVID19 individuals there is insufficient data to recommend usage of high dosage of vitamin C in combating COVID-19. This being stated because, in critically ill COVID-19 individuals they experience high oxidative stress and severe inflammation, which may be helpful with the administration of vitamin C but unlike non COVID19 and non critical COVID19 individuals.

 

 

In general, sufficient consumption of vitamin C and healthy eating habit may helps with combating COVID-19 pandemic. A proper diet can help to ensure that the body is in the strongest possible state to battle the virus. Certain precaution with regards to food safety as well may helps in combating the virus although researchers have found that there is no source of virus contamination via food packaging or food. However, good food practices are always recommended to minimize the risk of contamination and to ensure that there is no window for the virus to weaken immune system.

 

  • Eat plenty of fruits daily ( such as guava, apple, banana, strawberry, cantaloupe melon, grapefruit, pineapple, papaya, orange, Longman fruit, blackcurrant, pumelo) these are fruits have high vitamin C.
  • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables daily (such as green bell peppers, garlic, ginger, kale, lime, coriander, broccoli, green chili pepper). Do not overcook vegetables as it leads to the loss of important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat whole grains and nuts, which have high amount of good fats! Limit intake of red meat, processed and fast foods.
  • For snacks, choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than foods that are high in sugar, salt or fat.
  • Limit the salt intake to less than 6g/day.
  • Drink 8–10 glasses of water every day. It helps to transport nutrients in the blood, gets rid of waste, and regulates the body temperature.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise, meditation, and regular sleep. Adequate sleep will help to support immune function.
  • Eat at home to avoid contact with other people and try to reduce the chance of being exposed to COVID-19.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits before eating.
  • Wash, rinse, and disinfect objects and surfaces every time before and after use.
  • Keep cooked and raw foods separate, as it would prevent the harmful microbes from raw foods spreading to cooked foods. Use different chopping boards and utensils for cooked and raw foods to prevent cross-contamination.

 

References


  1. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Kajian dan Penyelidikan MahTAS COVID-19 rapid evidence update. Intravenous Vitamin C for COVID-19. Based on the availa le evidence up to 16 November 2020. http://covid-19.moh.gov.my/kajian-dan-penyelidikan/mahtas-covid-19-rapid-evidence-updates/12_INTRAVENOUS_VITAMIN_C_FOR_COVID-19_editted.pdf (Access on Feb 2, 2021).
  2. New Straits Times (NST). Vitamin C injections not used in COVID-19 treatment in Malaysia. https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/11/637714/vitamin-c-injection-not-used-covid-19-treatment-malaysia (Accessed on Feb 2, 2021).
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH). Vitamin C usage and COVID-19. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/adjunctive-therapy/vitamin-c/ (Accessed on Feb 2, 2021).
  4. Feyaerts, A. F., & Luyten, W. (2020). Vitamin C as prophylaxis and adjunctive medical treatment for COVID-19? Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.)79-80, 110948. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2020.110948
  5. Aman, F., & Masood, S. (2020). How Nutrition can help to fight against COVID-19 Pandemic. Pakistan journal of medical sciences36(COVID19-S4), S121–S123. https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.36.COVID19-S4.2776

Can EPA & DHA help with COVID19?

Unsaturated fat can be divided into two, Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), usually rich in food such as olive oil, canola oil, cashew, and groundnuts, whilst another type is polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which can further be divided into Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are also referred to as omega 3 Fatty acids. It can be found in fatty fish and algae.

Benefits of EPA and DHA

 

There are various benefits of EPA and DHA, among well studied one is its relation to cardiovascular disease. Many studies show that consuming food high with EPA and DHA or consume it from dietary supplement is able to reduce level of triglycerides. Which is why American Heart Association (AHA) recommend people who have high risk of getting heart disease consuming about 1g of EPA plus DHA daily. According to Joseph C. Maroon, MD, professor of the department of neurological surgery at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and author of Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory book; large enough amount of omega 3 will reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions. Which is why many other diseases which have the genesis of inflammation such as arthritis problem, dry eyes, age related macular degeneration (AMD), dementia, Alzheimer and cognitive problem may also help with the consumption of omega 3 for it has the anti-inflammatory effect. But what about COVID-19?

 

 

 


EPA & DHA with COVID19?

 

As COVID-19 is a new disease, there are many things that is not yet discovered about the disease by the scientist but among potential management and treatment that scientist is looking at is regarding the relation between EPA and DHA with COVID19. Since many well documented studies suggest that EPA and DHA have potential benefits for COVID19 due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

 

COVID19 is a disease where it attacks body’s immune system. The attack causes the body to activate its immune system and fight the disease. During the war, body defense system work by releasing cytokine. This is what scientist refers to as ‘cytokine storm’. The higher the cytokine in the body, the less possibility for the body to win the war. This is based on study that was conducted previously among sepsis (a condition when body’s response to an infection damages its own tissue) patients. When EPA and DHA is administered, resolvin is release which involve in promoting restoration to the cellular function following inflammation that occurs after tissue injury. Which explains why administration and consumption of diet high with EPA and DHA is being studied as a potential mechanism for COVID19. Other than this study, a meta-analysis study also reported that significant reduction in ventilator-free days, organ failures, length of stay in the ICU and low mortality rate among individuals with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is also seen with the administration of high EPA and DHA through parenteral and enteral nutrition. Since ARDS is one of the complications occur to COVID19 critically ill patients thus the same outcome is postulated to be seen.

 

 

Other parameter that is use in measuring severity of COVID19 especially among critically ill COVID19 patients are their body’s coagulation ability. It is said that, among non-survivor of COVID19 patients are those who has higher ability of platelet aggregation and activation. Easily translate, the patients’ blood are easily clump which makes it have higher risk of thrombosis (clotting) which will result in death threatening condition. An investigation using moderate amount of three species of high omega 3 (EPA & DHA) fish in 18 days by 23 healthy men revealed that it can improved bleeding time and decreased platelet aggregation which will reduce risk of thrombosis among COVID19 patients. Another study also noted that healthy subject that is supplemented with EPA for 4 weeks also showed reduction of platelet activation (an early step of platelet aggregation).

 

In conclusion, administration or consumption of EPA and DHA may help with critically ill COVID19 patients’ conditions. However, the usage of EPA and DHA among healthy individuals as prophylaxis to COVID19 must be investigated since little known about the virus pathology and how the characteristics of the patients are involved in the recovery. Thus, studies suggest that randomized and controlled trials need to be carried out, taking into account the type of supplementation, dosage, individuals’ characteristics, adverse effects and the combination of medication and antioxidants using.

 

References


  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact sheet for consumer. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/ (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact sheet for Health Professionals. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).
  3. Nourish by WebMD. What to know about Omega 3 and fish? Annie Stuart. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/what-to-know-about-omega-3s-and-fish#1 (Accessed on Feb 4, 2021).
  4. Rogero, M. M., Leão, M. D. C., Santana, T. M., de MB Pimentel, M. V., Carlini, G. C., da Silveira, T. F., … & Castro, I. A. (2020). Potential benefits and risks of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation to patients with COVID-19. Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
  5. Bistrian B. R. (2020). Parenteral Fish-Oil Emulsions in Critically Ill COVID-19 Emulsions.  Journal of parenteral and enteral nutrition44(7), 1168. https://doi.org/10.1002/jpen.1871.

 


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.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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).

 

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.

 

Differences between Omega 3, 6, and 9?

 

Infographic above explains types of good and bad fats. But what about the differences between Omega 3, 6, and 9? All these three fats can be considered as good fat, but there are certain thing which differ it from one another.

 

MUFA or Omega 9

 

Monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) or also known as omega 9, is because of the double bond position which is on the ninth position from the omega end. It is a type of fat that is found in vegetable and animal fat such as in canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and in nuts. Unlike Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), Omega 9 is a non essential fat, which means body is able to produce this types of fat. However, there are also benefits when it is obtained from food such as it can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and help to eliminate plague build up in the arteries which can cause heart attack and stroke.

 

PUFA or Omega 3 & Omega 6 

 

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can be divided into Omega 3 and Omega 6. The difference between these two is that the position of the double bond for Omega 3 is at the third position from the end, whilst for omega 6 is in the sixth position from the end.

 

Among types of Omega 3 with extensive scientific research are Eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA). The difference between these three types of Omega 3 fat is the number of carbon atoms 18, 20, and 22 for ALA, EPA, and DHA respectively. ALA can be converted to EPA and then to DHA, but the conversion which usually occurs in liver is less than 15%, which is why it is recommended to consume EPA and DHA directly from foods or/ and dietary supplement. ALA is present in plant oils, such as flaxseed, soybean and canola oils. DHA and EPA is present in fish, fish oils, and krill oils. But the DHA and EPA in krill oil is not originating from krill but rather from the ingestion of microalgae.

 

Whilst, among types of Omega 6 are linolenic acid (LA) and Arachidonic acid (AA). The difference between these two are the position of double bond in the omega 6 fatty acid chain. Linolenic acid (LA) is the same like ALA, it is essential fatty acids which cannot be produced by human body. Sources of food with  LA are soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil and rice bran oil. Whilst source of food for AA are peanut oil, meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Omega 3 and Omega 6, are beneficial for cardiovascular diseases where it can help with managing cholesterol level, triglycerides level and blood pressure level. There are also certain supporting data stated that it can help with reducing weight and waist size, improving infant brain development in fetus and fighting inflammation. However, other than for cardiovascular health the finding are rathe inconclusive. But as for Omega 3 and 6 (PUFA)  and heart health American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that 8-10% of calories should come from PUFA as there is evidence eating more PUFA up to 15% of daily calories in place of saturated fat can lower risk of heart disease.

 

 

Diagram below shows the comparison between these three types of good fat.

 

 

All in all, Omega 3, 6, and 9 are beneficial for the cardiovascular health, as it can help with lowering LDL level (bad cholesterol), increasing HDL level (good cholesterol) and help with blood pressure level. Several other studies also mentioned that certain good fat can help with inflammatory diseases such as joint pain and skin health such as eczema. However, consumption of all these fat must be in balance since overconsumption of these can lead to serious health effect! However, replacing bad fat (or even good fat) with refined carbohydrates food, does not help with your health either. It is so important to note that everything must be in balance, and consuming healthy food is not about one type of food only, it about variety kind of food and the quality of food, and the food source as well!

 

References


  1. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Hyperlipidemia.
  2. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. Types of fat. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/
  3. Harvard T. H Chan. School of Public Health. Saturated fat or not does type of fat  matter.  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2014/05/15/saturated-or-not-does-type-of-fat-matter/
  4. Healthline. Omega 3, 6, and 9. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-6-9-overview#omega-6

 

Fish Oil Supplement: Who Needs It?

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

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

 

Benefits of fish oil consumption vary greatly from one study to another, there is study link between mental health and disorder with omega, as it said that EPA and DHA can improve brain development ability, even in young children, there are also study noted that it can help with cardiovascular diseases, joint pain, and skin problem such as eczema. The question is, is true that fish oil consumption can help with these all? ?(1)

 

 

Individual with mental health problem/disorder

 

Researchers examined link between suicide and consumption of fatty acids intake among more than 205, 000 participants in three long term studies from 1988 to 2008 found out that there is no evidence that intake of fatty acids or fish lowered the risk of suicide. “The vast majority of previous literature on whether there is a mental health benefit from fatty acid intake has been based on depression screening data. Our study represents one of the few times—and it is certainly the largest of its kind—that this relationship has been studied with hard data on suicide mortality.” (2)

 

Whilst for brain health,  study noted that it is better to eat nutritious diet and be physically active than to take omega 3 fatty acids supplements or fish oil, Study showed little benefit of omega 3 supplements on memory of a 3073 elderly people at risk of macular degeneration (an age related cause of vision loss). The participants of the study were randomly assigned to take omega 3 pills or placebo for five years.  The researcher concluded that supplement cannot replace a healthy dietary pattern, if you eat a healthy diet with high amounts of fruits, vegetables, and marine fish, you probably don’t need to take fish oil supplement. The overall dietary pattern is more important than a single nutrient (2).

 

Individual with cardiovascular disease

 

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

 

 

Which is why interpreting the study, we would still recommend customers and patients to consume fish more as a first line measure. But, if you do not like fish, or you feel like your consumption of fish is not enough or you simply want to be sure that your body is getting omega 3, there is no harm in taking fish oil, it will certainly help with the nutrient essential nutrient, since omega 3 is a nutrient that your body cannot produce can only get form diet (3,4,5).

 

Individual with skin problem

 

A systematic review for the treatment of atopic dermatitis or eczema using fish oil supplementation is very scarce, the studies available are all only small sample size studies. Not only these three studies are small, it is also described as poor methodological studies from reviewer, as it has many confounding factors, but the outcomes of these studies shows positive outcome from eczema condition and overall daily living as compared to placebo (6,7).

 

Another convinced relationship between consumption of fish oil and skin health is that in a study where pregnant lady were given fish oil during pregnancy and follow up to 6 years found out that, consumption of fish oil during pregnancy lead to positive skin health outcome on babies skin health. The study also concluded that maternal supplementation with fish oil might have prophylactic potential for long-term prevention of asthma in offspring (6,7).

 

 

 

In conclusion, consumption of fish oil has mixing result in studies depending on what kind of problem that we are looking at to solve with fish oil. Since there are various factors influencing a particular health problem. There is no magic pill in this world honey! You need to however eat healthily, consume a lot of vegetables and fruits, and exercise, but if you think that you do not get enough omega 3 from diet, as you dislike fish, or you are afraid to consume fish regularly due to contamination etc, or you simply would like to make sure that your body has enough omega 3, then there is no harm in taking fish oil supplementation. It just that in order to make sure you get the right omega 3 for your body, buy it from pharmacy, make sure the product has Ministry of Health (MOH) notification number, and simply ask healthcare professional on which omega 3 supplementation suits you, simply for the dosage and perhaps current medication that you are on and you are good to go!

 

 

References


  1. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. Fish: Friend or Foe? https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fish/
  2. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. No mental health benefit from fish oil. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/no-mental-health-benefit-from-fish-oil/
  3. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/fish-stroke-risk-mozaffarian/
  4. Harvard T.H Chan. School of Public Health. Major Meta Analysis in Clinical Trial Omega 3 Supplemeny link with lower risk of CVD.  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/in-major-meta-analysis-of-clinical-trials-omega-3-fish-oil-supplements-linked-with-lower-cardiovascular-disease-risk/
  5. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. Fish Oil Supplementation and Heart Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/mozaffarian-fish-oil-supplements-heart-health/
  6. Schlichte, M. J., Vandersall, A., & Katta, R. (2016). Diet and eczema: a review of dietary supplements for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Dermatology practical & conceptual6(3), 23–29. https://doi.org/10.5826/dpc.0603a06
  7. Huang, T. H., Wang, P. W., Yang, S. C., Chou, W. L., & Fang, J. Y. (2018). Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin. Marine drugs16(8), 256. https://doi.org/10.3390/md16080256

101: Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10 or Ubiquinone) is a naturally occurring quinone that is found in most organisms from bacteria to mammals. It was first identified in 1940, and isolated from the mitochondria of the beef heart, in 1957. Coenzyme Q10 is also known as Coenzyme Q, CoQ, CoQ10, Ubiquinone, Ubiquinone-Q10, Ubidecarenone, or Vitamin Q10. The various types of Coenzyme Q can be distinguished by the number side chains they have. The most common Coenzyme Q is CoQ10. CoQ10 is ubiquitous in human tissues, although its level is varied.

 

Why do we need CoQ10?

 

CoQ10 main function is to act as an energy transfer molecule, where it is a co-factor in the production of energy. Essentially all cellular functions are dependent on an adequate supply of energy, thus explain why coq10 is vital for all the tissues and organs. CoQ10 is also one of the most significant lipid antioxidants that prevents generation of harmful substance production in the body such as free radical, which can lead to modification of protein, lipids, and DNA.

 

Antioxidant: Is defined as substance that inhibit oxidation process, or scavenger of free radical that produce from normal body process hence making body more stable.

 

Due to its function as antioxidants, not only that it can help with neutralizing free radicals and prevent the damage cause by free radical, but it can also improve energy and augments the immune system.

 

Who need CoQ10?

 

There are certain individuals who need to consume more CoQ10 as the amount of CoQ10 in the body is diminishing.

 

  1. Individual who is consuming/ or on statin medication (Medication used to lower high blood levels of cholesterol or triglycerides to prevent heart problem). This is because studies show that statin interfere with the production of mevalonic acid, which is used to form CoQ10. Thus, individual who consuming statin has low levels of CoQ10 in their body.
  2. Those with heart conditions, such as heart failure and angina, may benefit from taking a CoQ10 supplement. A review of 13 studies in people with heart failure found that 100 mg of CoQ10 per day for 12 weeks improved blood flow from the heart.
  3. As CoQ10 is involved in the production of energy, it can be used by athlete and those who would like to boost physical performance. A 6-week study in 100 German athletes found that those who supplemented with CoQ10 daily experienced significant improvements in physical performance — measured as power output — compared to a placebo group. CoQ10 supplements help reduce the inflammation associated with heavy exercise and may even speed recovery.

 

 

 

 

How much do we need CoQ10?

 

A typical CoQ10 dosage is about 30 – 90 mg per day, taken in divided doses, but the recommended amount can be as high as 200 mg per day. CoQ10 is fat soluble antioxidants, so it is better to be absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat. The clinical effect of CoQ10 may take up to eight weeks.

 

Food source with CoQ10?

 

Primary dietary sources of CoQ10 include oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), organ meats (such as liver), and whole grains. Most individuals obtain sufficient amounts of CoQ10 through a balanced diet, but supplementation may be useful for individuals with particular health conditions. CoQ10 is available as a supplement in several forms, including soft gel capsules, oral spray, hard shell capsules, and tablets.

 

 

 

 

Safety precautions

 

Consumption of CoQ10 might not really be suitable for individual who consuming warfarin medication, pregnant lady, and breastfeeding mother.

 

References

 

  1. Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences3(3), 466–467. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-7406.84471
  2. National Institute Health (NIH). National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health. Coenzyme Q10. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/coenzyme-q10
  3. CoQ10 dosage: How much you should consume per day? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coq10-dosage
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