Health Articles

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

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

Benefits of CoQ10 for Heart Health

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance that is naturally present in the human body, with the highest levels in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is also naturally present in the foods that we eat, such as cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines, vegetable oils, and meats. Other than these types of foods, individuals can consume CoQ10 through supplementation. Here are some of the benefits of consuming CoQ10 for your heart's health:

Therapeutic benefit in hypertension.

 

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood pressure rises above 120/80. CoQ10 has been shown in animal model studies to significantly reduce blood pressure levels while having no effect on other hypertension-related parameters such as plasma renin, serum/urine sodium and potassium, or urinary aldosterone. It is also suggested that varying COQ10 dosage results in a reduced need for medication. In a human study, taking 60 mg of CoQ10 twice daily for 8 weeks reduced blood pressure, plasma inulin, glucose, and several lipid compounds. Other human studies have ranged from 100 to 225mg/day for 4.4 to 10 months.

 

Therapeutic benefit in coronary artery disease.

 

Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your muscles become narrowed due to a gradual buildup of fatty material within their walls. The condition is also referred to as atherosclerosis. Pretreatment with CoQ10 has been shown in animal studies to reduce myocardial ischemia (occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is obstructed by a partial or complete blockage of plaque buildup (atherosclerosis)) and cardiac dysfunction. In human studies, a dose of 300 mg/day for 7 days straight improves heart efficiency as measured by oxygen consumption per energy formed. Another study on humans using a 150mg dose of CoQ10 found that the supplement increased treadmill exercise tolerance. However, because these two studies involved a small number of subjects, they are not statistically significant.

 

Therapeutic benefit of congestive heart failure 

 

A small study of 17 patients with congestive heart failure discovered that using 30 mg/day of coenzyme Q10 improved the patients' condition, with 53% of the patients becoming asymptomatic after four weeks of treatment (no symptoms). Another large-scale study involving 2664 patients who took 50-100mg/day of coenzyme Q10 for three months found that 54% of patients improved in their symptoms of insomnia, nocturia, and vertigo. 



Is CoQ10 recommended for heart health prevention and treatment?

 

In conclusion, it appears that CoQ10 may be beneficial for heart health prevention and treatment, particularly for people with coronary heart disease, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. This is due to its ability to prevent LDL oxidation. It also appears that the majority of patients with heart disease are deficient in coenzyme Q10, which can lead to a variety of heart-related complications later on.

 

References

1.     Sarter, B. (2002). Coenzyme Q10 and cardiovascular disease: a review. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 16(4), 9-20.

How do probiotics aid in health maintenance?

Probiotics can help to maintain health in a variety of ways. The first is by maintaining a healthy microorganism community. Second, by assisting the body's community microorganisms in returning to a healthy state after being disturbed.

Other than bacteria, the body contains fungi, parasites, and viruses. All of these "bugs" coexist peacefully and naturally in a healthy person, with the greatest number found in the intestines. Scientists refer to all these coexisting "bugs" in our bodies as the microbiome. 


The microbiome plays a key role in promoting the smooth daily operation of the human body. It consists of both helpful and potentially harmful microbes. The disturbance in the balance between the helpful and harmful microbes may arise due to infectious illnesses, certain diets, prolonged use of antibiotics or other bacteria-destroying medications, which can lead to the body becoming more susceptible to diseases. 

Scientists believe that probiotics are most effective at both ends of the age spectrum, that is, children and the elderly, during stress, after antibiotic consumption, and so on. Probiotics influence the bacteria colonization process, which can lead to a faster restoration of a healthy microbiome and a lower risk of illness. 

 


Probiotics also help to maintain health by influencing the body's immune response. Microbiota aid in the stimulation of the immune system in the body; for example, a healthy microbiota will protect the body from pathogenic organisms that enter the body, such as through the consumption of contaminated food and beverages.

A variety of bacteria families are found in the human gut, including Prevotella, Ruminoccoides, Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Clostridium, and Firmicutes. These microbes in the gut prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria by competing for nutrients and attachment sites on the mucous membrane of the gut, which in turn provides immune activity to the body. 

In a nutshell, while there are numerous additional benefits to consuming probiotics, such as improved skin health, scientists are still trying to figure out how probiotics can help with other health conditions. However, large-scale studies, such as the Human Genome Project, show promising results on the health benefits of probiotics.

References

1.    Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/

2.    Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bugs in the system. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/bugs-in-the-system/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Chan-Facebook-General

 

Should you consider collagen supplementation ?

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

References


  1. Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. Collagen.https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/
  2. Healthline. Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits
  3. Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376. Epub 2013 Aug 14. PMID: 23949208.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23949208/
  4. Borumand, M., & Sibilla, S. (2015). Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals4(1), 47.https://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?aulast=Borumand&epage=53&issn=2278-1870&issue=1&spage=47&volume=4&year=2015
  5. Bello AE, Oesser S. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Current medical research and opinion. 2006 Nov 1;22(11):2221-32.
  6. Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral intake of low-molecular-weight collagen peptide improves hydration, elasticity, and wrinkling in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrients. 2018 Jul;10(7):826.

How to Pick Supplement For Your Skin?

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

Vitamin C and antioxidants

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Collagen 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Vitamins B and its functions

There are many types of vitamins B that scientist have discovered and each of it is vital in ensuring  healthy body. Find out here each B vitamins type and its function in our body.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Thiamin is essential for normal growth and development and helps to maintain proper functioning of the heart and the nervous and digestive systems. Thiamin deficiency will result in overall decrease in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Severe consequences can also lead to decrease the formation of acetylcholine for neural function.

 

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

The main function of riboflavin is to help the body to convert carbohydrate to energy.
Riboflavin is important for the metabolism of carbohydrate, amino acids and lipids. Riboflavin also acts as an antioxidant due to its ability to activate antioxidant enzymes. Antioxidants fight free radicals and reduce DNA damage. Riboflavin also has a role in helping the body to convert vitamin B6 to folate to a form that it can be used in the body.

 

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin is important in the catabolism of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and alcohol to produces energy. Niacin deficiency includes fatigue, poor appetite, diarrhea, irritability, headache, and emotional instability. Important sources of preformed niacin include beef, liver, pork, fish, anchovies, peanuts and other nuts, whole grains and whole-meal wheat flour.

 

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic acid helps the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the
body uses to produce energy. It helps the body use fats and protein. In addition to playing a role in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates for energy, pantothenic acid is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands. It is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, and it helps the body use other vitamins, particularly riboflavin.

 

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6  helps with metabolism of protein and regulator of  steroid hormone such as androgens, estrogens, progesterone and glucocorticoids. Vitamin B6 must be obtained from the diet, as human beings cannot synthesize it. It is abundance in poultry, meats, fish such as tuna and in fruits such as banana, jackfruit (nangka) and durian.

 

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Folate plays an important role in hematopoiesis and the production of red blood cells. Through catabolism process of folate, a considerable small loss of folate occurs via excretion from the urine, skin, and bile, hence there is a need to replenish the body’s folate content from the diet. Foods such as legumes and green leafy vegetables are outstanding sources of folate.

 

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Cobalamin is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and
DNA synthesis. Megaloblastic anaemia is the most frequent deficiency, which affects red blood cells and all other blood cells. Most of the cobalamin deficiency occurs due to cobalamin malabsorption, rather than inadequate dietary intake.

Understanding calories

Calories are the measurement used for the amount of energy in the food and drink.

When we consume food and drink, we put energy into our bodies. This energy will then be used for our everyday activities from breathing, sleeping, to running.

 

In order to maintain a stable weight, the energy that we put into our bodies must be balanced with the energy that we use through normal body functions and our daily activities. In a simpler words, the more calories put in the body the more activities you needed to burn it and vice versa.

 

General calories intake

 

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

.

The more vigorously you do an activity, the more calories you’ll use. For example, fast walking will burn more calories than walking at a moderate pace. If you’re gaining weight, it could mean you have been regularly eating and drinking more calories than you have been using. To lose weight, you need to use more energy than you consume, this can be achieved via consuming lesser food or exercise more vigorously. Continuously doing this over a period of time will lead you to your desired weight.

.

However, when people try to loss weight, they tend to curb their food intake and often times do not enjoy their diet modification. A healthy diet should also be a sustainable diet, thus, cut down on unhealthy food consumption slowly but consistently, consuming more healthier food option and also be mindful about the amount of food consume.

 

Calorie counter

 

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

.

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

.

Gap between unhealthy diet and body needs

.

While trying to loss, putting on or maintaining weight, imbalance consumption of foods may lead to losing some essential nutrients. Hence, to bridge the gap between lack of nutrient from food and body needs, consumption of multivitamin and multimineral are helpful.

.

Other conditions includes denture problem, loss of appetite, hectic lifestyle, and many more.

Benefits of Ginkgo

Ginkgo or maidenhair is an ancient Chinese herb ingredient. It is collected from the dried green leaves of the plant and is available as liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets. It is used for various reasons as a traditional herb supplement. Currently, many studies are still exploring whether ginkgo can improve health condition as per belief.

 

Ginkgo and blood circulation.

 

Ginkgo contains high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids, these are antioxidants that provide protection against oxidative cell damage from harmful free radicals. These antioxidants also help to improve blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the ‘stickiness’ of platelets.

 

Ginkgo’s apparent ability to increase blood flow to various parts of the body may be the origin of its many supposed benefits.

 

Ginkgo and brain function. 

 

Studies found conflicting findings on whether gingko can help with preventing and slows down Alzheimer and dementia, but studies also found out that it can help with improving cognition, memory, and attention.

 

Generally, ginkgo appears to be safe for consumption in moderate amount, research does not support the use of the supplement to prevent or slow dementia. Many more research is needed to find out what role gingko might play in supporting brain function and treating other conditions.

Is it compulsory to consume iron supplement during pregnancy ?

Iron is a mineral found in many proteins and enzymes that the body needs in order to stay healthy. Most of the iron in the body is found in the haemoglobin, the pigment of red blood cells. Hemoglobin transports oxygen to all of the tissues and organs in the body. If there isn’t a sufficient amount of iron in the blood, the amount of hemoglobin in the blood decreases too. This will lead to reduce oxygen supply to cells and organs.

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

We normally get iron in the food we eat. Meat has a lot of iron in it, from hemoglobin in the animal’s body. Liver is particularly high in iron. Other than these foods, it can be taken from iron tablet too.

 

Reference:

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

COVID19 – Masa Untuk Berhenti Merokok!


Pertubuhan Kesihatan Dunia (WHO) telah mewartakan bahawa merokok merupakan risiko yang spesifik bagi mendapatkan COVID19 (1,2). Hal ini adalah kerana, merokok merupakan penyebab kepada komplikasi sistem pernafasan dan organ badan yang lain. Justeru itu, jika virus korona ini menyerang tubuh badan individu yang merokok, peratus untuk individu tersebut pulih lebih rendah berbanding dengan individu yang tidak merokok manakala peratus untuk individu tersebut untuk mengalami kegagalan paru – paru yang serius pula adalah tinggi.


Umum mengetahui, COVID19 adalah virus yang menyerang sistem pernafasan, jadi, individu yang merokok atau yang mempunyai masalah pernafasan dan/atau sakit – sakit kronik yang lain seperti masalah jantung, buah pinggang, kencing manis dan lain -lain jika terdedah kepada virus ini, mempunyai sebanyak 80.7% lebih risiko untuk terdedah kepada kematian berbanding individu yang tidak menghidapi penyakit kronik (3).

 

Statistik juga menunjukkan bahawa, warga emas yang berusia 60 tahun ke atas mempunyai 62.6% risiko terdedah kepada kematian jika terdedah kepada virus ini berbanding individu yang di bawah usia 60 tahun (3). Lebih menakutkan lagi, jika individu yang berusia 60 tahun ke atas, dan mempunyai sejarah penyakit kronik terdedah kepada virus ini, risiko menghadapi kematian adalah sangat tinggi berbanding dengan individu yang yang berusia kurang dari 60 tahun dan tidak mempunyai sejarah  penyakit kronik.

 

Tabiat merokok itu sendiri yang menyebabkan individu  berisiko terdedah kepada pelbagai jenis komplikasi kesihatan, akan tetapi sebelum ini mungkin perokok menghadapi kesukaran untuk berhenti merokok disebabkan faktor rakan sekeliling, tekanan kerja dan sebagainya. Akan tetapi oleh keranan dunia diancam dengan wabak COVID19, individu yang merokok mempunyai lebih sebab untuk berhenti merokok kerana anda mempunya risiko yang lebih tinggi terdedah kematian jika terdedah kepada virus ini.


Antara cara untuk berhenti merokok, yang telah dikumpulkan oleh Pengkalan Data Cochchrane Edisi Istimewa, mengenai cara – cara berhenti merokok adalah dengan menggunakan terapi kombinasi, iaitu penggunaan ubat dan juga sokongan moral (4).

 

Penggunaan Ubat – Ubatan seperti Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) telah digunakan sebagai salah satu cara untuk berhenti merokok sekian lama. Terapi ini adalah bagi tujuan untuk menggantikan kebergantungan perokok kepada nikotin dan seterusnya menggurangkan motivasi perokok untuk terus merokok. Ia juga membantu mengawal kesan sampingan akibat berhenti rokok/ kurang merokok (4).

 

 

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) ini memberikan nikotin dalam dos yang rendah kepada perokok tanpa apa apa bahan merbahaya yang lain seperti yang terdapat di dalam rokok. Terdapat pelbagai jenis Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) dipasaran, iaitu sama ada dengan menggunakan  gula getah nikotin (nicotine gum), ‘nicotine inhaler’, ‘nicotine lozenge’, ‘nicotine patch’ atau ‘nicotine nasal spray’. Kesemua jenis produk ini mempunyai dos, cara, dan kekuatan yang berbeza (5).

 

Produk bagi terapi nikotin telah direka dengan pelbagai jenis mekanisma untuk penyerapan dan perembesan nikotin di dalam badan. Sebagai contoh bagi gula getah nikotin, inhaler nikotin, lozenge nikotin dan nasal spray nikotin, ia memberi kesan kepada otak dengan lebih cepat berbanding nicotine patch akan tetapi mempunyai  proses perembesan yang lebih lambat  berbanding merokok (5). Nicotine patch pula merembeskan nikotin dos secara perlahan – lahan dan secara pasif, oleh kerana itu terapi  nicotin patch biasanya digunakan bersama produk yang lain.




Kepelbagaian produk bagi membantu perokok berhenti merokok memberikan perokok beberapa pilihan untuk berhenti merokok dengan kaedah yang paling sesuai, berdasarkan kekerapan perokok merokok dan kebergantungan perokok kepada rokok tersebut (4,5). Kesemua produk ini berkesan jika digunakan mengikut kesesuaian terhadap tahap aktiviti merokok seseorang individu. (5).

 

Selain daripada penggunaan ubat – ubatan, terdapat beberapa langkah yang biasanya disyorkan oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), iaitu yang pertama ialah dengan membaca atau mendapatkan informasi mengenai bahaya rokok dari sumber yang sahih, berkenaan bahaya merokok dan kelebihan berhenti merokok.

 

Terdapat banyak kelebihan berhenti merokok kerana merokok memberi banyak keburukan kepada diri sendiri dan orang sekeliling terutama ahli keluarga, sebagai contoh kanak – kanak yang selalu terdedah kepada asap rokok atau asap rokok basi akan lebih sering sakit seperti batuk – batuk, selsema serta jangkitan telinga, hidung dan tekak. Merokok juga boleh membuatkan paru – paru lemah dan penyakit seperti asma (6).

 

Selain daripada aspek kesihatan bagi orang yang tersayang, merokok juga boleh menyebabkan anda mendapat pelbagai jenis penyakit seperti, kanser paru – paru,  penyakit paru – paru yang kronik, strok dan ulser di bahagian bawah lapisan kulit perut. Individu yang merokok juga mengikut statistik mati lebih awal, kerana statistik menunjukan satu dari dua orang perokok mati disebabkan penyakit berkaitan merokok (6).

 

Tabiat berhenti merokok juga dapat menjimatkan wang, labur wang anda berbanding membeli rokok sebagai contoh

Wang untuk membeli rokok = RM5.00/sehari

Sebulan = RM 150.00

Setahun = RM 1800.00

 

Jika anda melabur untuk 10 tahun, anda sudah mempunyai RM18,000.00 dalam akaun simpanan anda) (6).

 

 

Selain, Ia juga dapat melindungi alam sekitar – Puntung rokok dibuang oleh perokok boleh menyebabkan kebakaran (6).

 

Terdapat pelbagai kaedah untuk berhenti merokok. Faktor yang paling penting adalah keinginan anda untuk menjadikannya satu kenyataan. Mula dengan menetapkan tarikh untuk berhenti merokok dan pastikan tarikh tersebut boleh dicapai. Dalam pada masa yang sama, anda mesti yakin dengan keupayaan diri untuk berhenti merokok. Katakan pada diri anda “saya bukan perokok” Ulang beberapa kali sehingga menjadi semangat untuk berhenti merokok. Sentiasa berfikiran positif dan dapatkan sokongan daripada orang sekeliling.

 

Teknik berhenti merokok yang paling selalu digunakan dan disyorkan oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) ialah dengan mengamalkan Teknik 12M (6).

 

1. Melengah – lengahkan

Sebagai contoh jika anda terasa seperti mahu merokok, lengah – lengahkan tabiat tersebut seperti  tunggu 5 minit atau katakan kepada diri sendiri sebentar lagi “saya akan merokok”.

 

2. Menarik Nafas Panjang

Tarik nafas 3 kali secara perlahan-lahan. Ulangi perkara yang sama sehingga hilang rasa untuk merokok.

 

3. Minum air

Anda juga boleh mencuba untuk minum air masak bagi mengalihkan perhatian anda dari tertumpu kepada ketagihan rokok.

 

4. Menyibukan diri

Buat sesuatu bagi mengalih fikiran untuk melupakan rokok. Buat perkara yang dapat mengalihkan tumpuan anda seperti bersenam atau bermain permainan video.

 

5. Menjauhkan diri daripada individu yang merokok

Oleh kerana  musim PKP ini adalah masa yang terbaik untuk berhenti merokok. Anda boleh menjauhkan diri anda dari rakan – rakan dan ahli keluarga yang merokok, gunakan masa yang ada untuk bersama keluarga tersayang.

 

6. Mengelakkan diri daripada suasana atau situasi yang mendorong kepada merokok

Seperti keadaan berseorangan tanpa berbuat apa – apa (keadaan bosan) atau keadaan tertekan.

 

7. Mengunyah sesuatu seperti gula getah atau buah-buahan.

Mengunyah dapat membuatkan rongga mulut sibuk dan mengalihkan perhatian dari ketagihan rokok. Elakkan makanan yang manis kerana ia memberi risiko kepada penyakit – penyakit kronik yang lain pula.

 

8. Membasuh tangan selalu

Membasuh tangan dengan kerap juga dapat menghilangkan ketagihan kerana kita telah mengalihkan perhatian kita daripada keinginan untuk merokok.

 

9. Mandi dengan kerap

Mandi dengan kerap menyebabkan badan menjadi segar dan dapat melupakan ketagihan yang di alami, seketika.

 

10. Meregangkan otot

Senaman yang atau regangan otot apabila ketagihan untuk merokok datang dapat menghindarkan diri dari merokok.

 

11. Meditasi

Meditasi menyebabkan kita ingat kembali sebab – sebab untuk kita berhenti merokok dan boleh membangkitkan kembali semangat kita untuk berhenti merokok.

 

12. Memohon doa

 

Memohon doa agar rasa ketagihan dihilangkan dan dipermudahkan urusan untuk berhenti merokok seperti dihindarkan dari perkara – perkara yang boleh menyebabkan keinginan untuk merokok untuk kembali.

 

Selain daripada Langkah – Langkah yang telah disyorkan anda juga boleh mendapatkan maklumat yang lebih lanjut di laman sesawang KKM. Terdapat banyak bahan – bahan rujukan cara untuk berhenti merokok yang boleh di muat turun di laman sesawang yang sahih seperti di Portal MyHealth Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM)(5). Selain dari bahan – bahan sokongan yang boleh di muat turun, terdapat juga nombor QuitLine yang boleh dihubungi di nombor 03-88834400 bagi keterangan lanjut mengenai cara berhenti merokok dari kaunselor berhenti merokok atau layari laman web jomquit.moh.gov.my (4,5).

 

Rujukan

  1. The Star. Stub It Out Now, Smoking and Added Health Risk for COVID19. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/04/13/effective-ways-exist-to-quit-smoking-while-under-mco (Diakses 17 April 2020).
  2. The Star. Smokers face high infection rate. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/04/13/smokers-face-higher-infection-risk (Diakses 17 April 2020).
  3. Ketua Pengarah Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). From the desk of the Director General of Health Malaysia. https://kpkesihatan.com/2020/04/16/kenyataan-akhbar-16-april-2020-situasi-semasa-jangkitan-penyakit-coronavirus-2019-covid-19-di-malaysia/ (Diakses 17 April 2020)
  4. Cochrane. COVID-19 Resources. https://www.cochrane.org/news/special-collection-effective-options-quitting-smoking-during-covid-19 (Diakses 17 April 2020)
  5. Portal Rasmi My Health Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/nicotine-replacement-therapy-nrt/ (Diakses 17 April 2020)
  6. Info Sihat. Bahagian Pendidikan Kesihatan. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). https://www.infosihat.gov.my/index.php/isu-semasa/42-tips-berhenti-merokok (Diakses 17 April 2020)

Breathing Life into Lung!

Often, we find people is trying to be healthy in general, seldomly people took really care of their specific organ unless if deformity is detected. With regards to lung, it is the very important organ in our body, yet we very minimally take care of our lung, we take it for granted most of the times. Partly because breathing is something that we do without we even realized it. Here are some fun facts about lung that perhaps will makes you feel WOWW and start to take care of your lung even better!

 

 

We breathe in and out about 22,000 times a day. When resting average adult, breathe about 12 -20 times per minute. Though it looks small inside our body, but when lung is spread out, the size is actually about the half of the size of a tennis court. It has 2400 km of airways and up to 500 million of alveoli (place where oxygen exchange occur in lung).  Our lung is very unique in such a way that though it has left and right side but both of these are not entirely identical, with left lung is smaller than the right lung and left lung has only two lobes while the right lung has three (1).

 

Amazing isn’t it? Starting from today lets not take lung for granted. Now, it is time to find out how to breathe life into lung.

 

Smoking and your lung health (2,3)

 

Among things that you can start to cultivate in order to take care of your lung is to stop smoking if you are a smoker. Though it is easier said than done, there are thousands of people who have successfully quit smoking with the correct guidance, motivation, and support. Above all, you first must recognize the factor that influence you for smoking and start to tackle those. As for addiction it is something that can be work out with patch, medication, and support from your loved ones and with conducive environment. If you are passive smoker, it is time for you to take charge of your life, it is time to be stern if the smoker is your loved ones, provide them with some rules and regulation for smoking and if it in public avoid the places where you know smokers will be there. Remember, you’re saving your lung while doing so!

 

If you are passive smoker or you are currently smoking and have yet to quit, you may consider supplements to take care of your lung health while trying to quit smoking. Herbal supplement such as tiger milk mushroom is suitable for smokers, people with breathing problem like cough and cold, senior citizen with weak heart and to those who is always exposed to harmful smoke like passive smokers.

 

 

Exercise or simply move (4)

 

Exercise also can help in making sure your lung health is tip top! Exercise can be considered as any kind of physical activity. It can be structured or planned exercise or simply your daily chores which require you to move your body and sweat out. With the correct exercise that require your cardiovascular conditioning or simply put exercise that involve your heart and lung to pump the blood even quicker and to breath in and out at much quicker phase, it is consider as aerobic exercise or moderate exercise. This includes activities like brisk walking, swimming, running, and cycling. All these activities if do it correctly will improve your lung capacity which is good for your lung health as well.

 

 

Stay indoors, avoid harmful pollution (3)

 

Nowadays with our current transportation system in Malaysia, it is very likely for us to inhale bad air to our lung. What you can do with regards to this is that you can avoid heavy traffic, clean your house regularly to avoid buildup of mold, dust, and allergen.  You may ventilate your house and workplace frequently as well, so it has good airing system inside. One of the smart ways that you can do before you plan your journey is you can as well check the air quality of the place that you plan to go.

 

 

Prevent infection (3,5)

 

As for infection with related to lung, it can be due to various reasons, but among way you can cultivate in order to decrease risk of getting infected is by frequently washing your hands, do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Some people even consider getting flu vaccination. Talk to your doctor to know whether you should get flu vaccination.

 

In conclusion,

 

It is easy to actually value your lung worth and taking care of it if you are living a mindful life, simple activity like opt to use stairs instead of elevator or lift can as well benefit your lung. Avoid places with heavy traffic and wear proper personal protective equipment when handling hazardous or harmful chemical also helps. Making sure your house is properly ventilated can improve your indoors air quality. Starts now to take care of your lung of you will regret it!

 

References

 

  1. The Lung Association. Breathing and Fun Facts about Lung (2016). https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-info/breathing (Accessed on September 30, 2020)
  2. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). My Health Portal. Quit Smoking (2012). http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/quit-smoking-prime-years-2/(Accessed on September 30, 2020)
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH). Nationa Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Keeping your lung healthy (2019). https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/how-lungs-work (Accessed on September 30, 2020)
  4. European Lung Foundation (ELF). Your lung and exercise. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818249/pdf/EDU-ELF121.pdf (Accessed on September 30, 2020).
  5. Five ways to Keep your lung healthy and whole. https://www.healthline.com/health/understanding-idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis/ways-to-keep-your-lungs-healthy-and-whole#5.-Breathe-deeply (Accessed on September 30, 2020).

Tiger Milk Mushroom, what you need to know?

Lignosus rhinoceros or its common name is Tiger Milk Mushroom has been used from ancient time. It is very precious due to its rarity, since it grows in isolation.  Within the same 5km radius you will not find another stalk of Tiger Milk Mushroom. Another reason is because the medicinal properties of Tiger Milk Mushroom are only found in the underground tuber, thus if you found it at the stage where it has already sprouted out from the ground with a stem and cap, the active compound inside it may has already be diminished.  Tiger Milk Mushroom also known as ‘Cendawan Susu Harimau’ gets famous after the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr.  Mahathir Mohamad said his chronic cough stopped after he consumed Chinese medicine derived from Tiger’s Milk Mushroom at the opening of the International Convention on Biotechnology in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur (1,2).

Just as its name, folklore tales and Indigenous people believe that, the mushroom grows, whenever drops of tiger’s milk fall into the ground. The mushroom grows on soil deep in the tropical jungles, they thrive in areas with humidity levels over 80% and grow mainly in Genting Highland and Kuala Lipis in Pahang, and in Perak (3).

 

Tiger Milk Mushroom and its benefits?  

 

Tiger Milk Mushroom consists of three parts: its cap (pileus), stem (stipe), and tuber (sclerotium). The sclerotium is a compacted mass of fungal mycelium containing food reserves while the cap and stem are woody. The sclerotium or tuber is the part where most of its medicinal properties is stored. The sclerotium is white and yield a milk – like solution that taste like milk (3).

 

 

From the traditional ancient times, tiger milk mushroom has been used by the indigenous community in Malaysia to treat common cold, cough, flu, and asthma.  Study on rats with asthmatic symptoms found out that, the usage of tiger milk mushroom extract can improve asthmatic rat’s TH 2 cells, TH 2 cells, is important in producing Immunoglobulin E (Ig E). Ig E is the antibody that will help to recognize foreign body or allergen that will cause reaction in the body and chase it away (3).

 

Tiger milk mushroom is also found can have some natural anti-coagulant properties. Anti-coagulant property is important during thrombolysis treatment. Thrombolysis is the treatment that is used to dissolve blood clot either in brain or artery.  Some of the natural anti-coagulant and fibrinolytic agents also is used to treat thrombolytic condition. Certain study also found out that ‘wood ear fungus’ (a type of mushroom) is able to produce protease-like fibrinolytic enzyme, which could serve as thrombolytic agent to dissolve blood clot. Since study found out that tiger milk mushroom also has the same protease enzyme thus with this property demonstrated by tiger milk mushroom, study presume that it is able to be used for cardiovascular diseases (3).

 

There are also studies, showing the comparison between the wild tiger milk mushroom and cultivated tiger milk mushroom for its antioxidant properties. The study found out that both wild and cultivated tiger milk mushroom extract are able scavenge free radicals hence concluded that it has anti – cancer property  though the nutritional content of wild and cultivated tiger milk mushroom is differ (4). Wild tiger milk mushroom contain more insoluble fiber and soluble fiber as compared to the cultivated tiger milk mushroom, cultivated tiger milk mushroom also has more carbohydrate as compared to wild tiger milk mushroom (4).

 

In conclusion…

 

There are many other studies on tiger milk mushroom, and it is found that it can gives various health benefits to human body, however, as tiger milk mushroom is a herb based ingredients, thus it differ from individual to individual, some individuals may have different experience towards it. The take away message with regards to tiger milk mushroom supplement taking is that it has to be hand in hand with healthy lifestyle such as exercise, since the symptoms you are experiencing need to be alleviated with lifestyle modification such as exercise and stop smoking as well.

 

References


  1. The Star. Health benefits of Tiger Milk Mushroom (2011). Wong Li Za. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/features/2011/03/15/health-benefits-of-wild-tigers-milk-mushroom (Accessed on September 8, 2020).
  2. Nutraceutical Business Review. Tiger Milk Mushroom: Malaysia Lost Its National Treasure (2015). https://www.nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com/news/article_page/Tiger_milk_mushroom_Malaysias_lost_national_treasure/104531 (Accessed on September 8, 2020).
  3. Nallathamby N, Phan CW, Seow SL, Baskaran A, Lakshmanan H, Abd Malek SN, Sabaratnam V. A status review of the bioactive activities of tiger milk mushroom Lignosus rhinocerotis (Cooke) Ryvarden. Frontiers in pharmacology. 2018 Jan 15;8:998.
  4. Yap HY, Aziz AA, Fung SY, Ng ST, Tan CS, Tan NH. Energy and nutritional composition of Tiger Milk Mushroom (Lignosus tigris Chon S. Tan) sclerotia and the antioxidant activity of its extracts. International journal of medical sciences. 2014;11(6):602.

 

Breathing Technique and Its importance

Often, we breathe in and out thousands of times daily, without even once thinking that this is something vital and beneficial to our body. Comparing to how essential breathing is to our body, studies done on breathing technique to the contrast are not much established. However, there are certain breathing technique that is recommended to improve various kind of health conditions.

Stress and belly breathing

 

The most common one is breathing exercise and stress. Numerous studies have proven that breathing exercise can help with anxiety disorder, panic attack, and stress in general. United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS, UK) suggests belly breathing technique to individuals experiencing stress, anxiety, and panic as well (1). Since the mental health issues is at alarming rate nowadays even in Malaysia with the pandemic of COVID19 and even without COVID19, our mental health issue currently is at stake. Study has reported that in Malaysia children as young as primary school children are stress, thus it is important to educate ourselves and our loved ones on measures to take whenever you face the situation that triggers panic, anxiety or stress (2).

 

 

Most of the breathing exercise will be more likely to show its benefit whenever you do it regularly. Breathing exercise can be done while standing up, sitting in the chair that supports your back, or while lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor or simply on the floor without mat. Make yourself as comfortable as you can, if there is anything that restrict your breathing, you may loosen it up. If you are lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. If you are sitting, place your arms on the chair arms. If you are sitting or standing, place both of your feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you are in, place your feet roughly hip width apart. Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first, but that’s ok. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your breathe flow as deep down your belly as you are comfortable, do not force it. Feel your chest is expanding as you breathe in and feel your belly is moving up as you breathe out. Keep doing this for 3 – 5 minutes (1,3).

 

 

 

Asthma and Buteyko breathing

 

Asthma is a debilitating, chronic disease characterized by airway hyper‐responsiveness and associated with respiratory symptoms.   Asthma is extremely common and is one of the leading presenting complaints for patients in general practice, meaning in most common health clinic even in Malaysia (3,4).

 

There are not many studies conducted to see the efficacy of Buteyko breathing exercise in treating asthma, the recent review study in 2018 with regards to asthma and Buteyko breathing concluded that the researcher withdraw this study, since the collection of studies that need to be examined in concluding whether Buteyko breathing technique is efficient for asthmatic patients are not up to par with the standard of current scientific methodology (3,4).

 

However, it is worth to note that, the researchers also concluded that even with no reliable conclusion can be drawn concerning the use of breathing exercise for asthma in clinical practice, however, notably the trends of improvement in quality of life measurement is encouraging. Meaning to say that, asthmatic individuals that practice Buteyko breathing in their daily life, reported that their quality of life is improve, perhaps with lesser frequency of asthma attack or less severe asthma attack (3,4).

 

Thus, individual with asthma may try this Buteyko breathing technique as well in their daily routine, to improve their quality of life. Buteyko breathing exercise is as per shown below:

 

 

Lung health and diaphragmatic breathing

 

Many people unknowingly developed a habit of using muscles in the neck, shoulders and back, which greatly limits the amount of air that enters and leaves the lungs. A 2016 research study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science observe the effects of diaphragmatic breathing on respiratory function. Using two groups of subjects, one group engaged in feedback breathing exercises while the other practiced diaphragmatic breathing. The results of the study showed improvement in the lung capacity for the group that practiced diaphragmatic breathing (6).

 

In effect, diaphragmatic breathing strengthens the diaphragm muscle and, in turn, helps the lungs work more efficiently. To do this exercise, you want to breathe from your belly. It helps to place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest as you inhale and exhale. Breathe in through the nose for two seconds and then out through pursed lips for two seconds. As you exhale, press down on your abdomen to make sure you’re engaging your diaphragm muscle (6).

 

In conclusion,

 

There are various methods of breathing exercise on the net. However, to find the one that is suitable to your condition and improve your overall state is your task. Once you found your ideal exercise technique, frequent practice will give impact to your overall health in the long run. Just like how physical activities benefits your lung health, breathing exercise will as well help your lung health.

 

Interestingly, laughing and singing also can improve your lung health, because, certain movement that you make in your lips and your overall system, forces stale air in your lung to go out and replace it with breeze of new fresh air, thus increasing your lung capacity which will benefits your lung health (6).

 

 

So, the next time you hear someone singing do not stop them even if their voice is terrible instead bear with it or congratulate them for doing good to their lung health!

 

References

 

  1. Breathing exercise for stress (2018). National Health Service (NHS). United Kingdom. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/ (Accessed on October 14, 2020).
  2. Resolving mental illness issue in Malaysia (n.d). University Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC). https://umsc.my/umsc_news/resolving-mental-illness-issues-in-malaysia/ (Accessed on October 14, 2020).
  3. Breathing technique for stress relief (1, 2020). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-relief-breathing-techniques#2 (Accessed on October 14, 2020).
  4. Bruton A, Lewith GT. The Buteyko breathing technique for asthma: a review. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2005 Mar 1;13(1):41-6.
  5. Campbell TG, Hoffmann TC, Glasziou PP. Buteyko breathing for asthma. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018 Aug;2018(8).
  6. Patient Empower Network (PEN). 5 Easy Ways to Improve you Lung Health (2019). https://powerfulpatients.org/2019/09/27/5-easy-ways-to-improve-your-lung-health/#:~:text=Pursed%2Dlip%20breathing%20lung%20exercises,to%20exhale%20for%2010%20seconds.

Passive Smoking and Its Effect to Lung Health

“What smoker does to himself/ herself maybe his business, but what they do to the non-smoker is quite a different matter.” – Roper Organization, 1978 (1).

With the advancement of technology scientist started to discover the harmful of tobacco smoking that is not only limited to the smoker itself but also to those who inhale the cigarette smoke, or nowadays better known as passive smoker.

 

What is passive smoker?

 

Passive smokers are those who breathe in other people’s tobacco smoke. It can increase the non-smoker’s risk of getting lung cancer and may also increase the risk of other cancers including larynx (voice box) and pharynx (upper throat) (2).

 

Apart from cancer, the evidence is clear that second-hand smoke or passive smoking can also cause heart disease, stroke, and various complication of lung disease, being the most common one is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (2). Most harmful tobacco smoke is invisible but travel through the air and lingers, thus it can also build up on surfaces and clothes, which explains why it is even more dangerous since people cannot see it thus take no precaution for it, when in fact it is still there and harming your body as you inhale it (2).

 

 

Passive smokers’ health

 

The first conclusive evidence on the danger of passive smoking found out from Takeshi Hirayama’s study 1981 on lung cancer among non-smoking Japanese women who is married to men who smoked. Whenever passive smoker inhale the smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette (sidestream), and also whenever the non-smoker breathe from the smoke that smoker has inhale and exhale (mainstream), this will imposed 20-30% risk of getting lung cancer and 23% more risk of getting cardiovascular diseases to the non-smoker (3).

 

The smoke from cigarette will do even more harm to children and pregnant women, as compared to adult. As to children who is exposed to the smoke, they will have higher risk of sudden unexpected death of infant, which include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents. Children who lives in a smoking household for the first 18 months of their life has an increased risk of developing a range of respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis, broncholitis, and pneumonia (4).

 

Children who is exposed to second-hand smoke are also more prone to get colds, coughs, and glue ear (middle ear infections). Their lungs are weaker and do not grow to their full potential. Which also explain that the children who is exposed to second – hand smoker in the home is more likely to develop asthma symptoms, have more asthma attacks and use asthma medications more often and for longer period. As for the pregnant mother who is exposed to the second-hand smoke, they have higher risk of for ectopic pregnancy, or give birth earlier (premature baby), and lower birthweight (3,4).

 

What can be done to improve this situation?

 

There are many things that can be done in order to improve this, as an example, from the government body and community point of view, their role is that they need to always create awareness on harmful second-hand smoke, so that many more people are aware. Government also can implement health policy such as in Australia, it is illegal to smoke in car with individuals below 18 years old, it is also illegal to smoke in indoor workplace, and if individuals are to smoke, it has to be four metres away from the gate of children’s indoor play centre, school and kindergarten, if it is in the outdoor play park, it has to be 10 metre away from the play space etc. While in Malaysia, it is illegal to smoke in the hospital area, school area, and certain public places such as restaurant (4).

 

Apart from this, the individual who is in contact with smokers, be it their family members, friends, housemate, partners, etc they must always voice out their uncomfortableness, and their right for fresh air.

 

 

As for the smoker itself, after knowing the harmfulness of tobacco smoke, one should already try to quit smoking, not only for the sake of oneself but also for your loved ones, for those who lived with you and care for you. You may get help from the nearest community clinic for this, every government community clinic in Malaysia have smoking cessation counsellor, doctor, and nurse who will help you with your addiction. Meanwhile you are struggling to quit, you may practice to not smoke in public place etc. You may also wash your hands or take a bath as soon as you get home where you smoke outside, then only engage with your loved ones. If you are also concern about your health condition while you are trying to quit smoking or if you already feeling symptoms of chronic coughing, you may also try tiger’s milk mushroom supplement that can help with chest clearance etc.(Find out more about Tiger’s Milk Mushroom here, https://bit.ly/2SVhRKu ) All this will not be causing damage as much as if you do not have action at all to quit smoking knowing how harmful smoking is.

 

References


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Passive Smoking Atlas. https://www.who.int/tobacco/en/atlas10.pdf?ua= (Accessed on October 16, 2020)
  2. Cancer Research United Kingdom. What is passive smoker? https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/what-is-passive-smoking (Accessed on October 16, 2020).
  3. Bek K, Tomaç N, Delibas A, Tuna F, Teziç HT, Sungur M. The effect of passive smoking on pulmonary function during childhood. Postgraduate medical journal. 1999 Jun 1;75(884):339-41.
  4. Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Passive Smoking. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/passive-smoking (Accessed on October 16, 2020).

Your Lung and Exercise

Lung are a pair of organs in your chest. When you inhale (breathe in), air enters your lung and oxygen from the air moves from lungs to blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide (waste gas) moves from blood to the lung and is being exhaled (breathe out). This whole process is known as gas exchange. It is essential to life, despite the very microsecond period that it takes to complete the cycle (1). 

Apart from lung, brain also plays a vital role in this whole system. Brain is the one that controls your breathing rate (how fast or slow you breathe), by sensing your body’s need for oxygen and its need to get rid of carbon dioxide (1).

 

Exercise and breathing

 

Exercise is vital in keeping the healthy body. The benefits of exercise include for the well being of your physical health and mental health. As for the physical health, studies found out that exercise is not only good for individuals with chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and many others but it is also good for the lung health (2,3).

 

During exercise, lungs bring oxygen into the body to provide energy and at the same time remove the carbon dioxide. Whilst the heart pumps oxygen to the muscle that are doing exercise (2).

 

When you exercise your muscles work harder, your body uses more oxygen and produces more carbon dioxide. To cope with this extra demand, your breathing has to increase from about 15 times a minute (12 litres of air) when you are resting, up to about 40–60 times a minute (100 litres of air) during exercise. Your circulation also speeds up to take the oxygen to the muscles so that they can keep moving (2).

 

When your lungs are healthy, you keep a large breathing reserve. You may feel ‘out of breath’ after exercise, but you will not be ‘short of breath’. When you have reduced lung function, you may use a large part of your breathing reserve. This may make you feel ‘out of breath’, which can be an unpleasant feeling, but it is not generally dangerous (2).

 

In fact, all these processes if it is practice regularly, it will improve lung health. How? By improving lung capacity. Even for people with lung problem such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) it is also recommended to exercise frequently and to practice breathing technique that can help with it such as diaphragmatic breathing technique (3,4).

 

 

Individuals with long-term conditions may as well exercise, but most people with such condition, feel demotivated to exercise due to the thought that they might quickly be out of breath. However, if individuals with long-term problem with lung do less activity over the time, individuals will become less fit and makes daily activities even harder. It is best to ask the guidance from doctor or physiotherapist before start with any exercise. This is to ensure that your exercise plans are in line with your capacity and are safe (2).

 

Generally, what can be practice is that all exercise programmes must be built up over time to allow body to adapt. It is important that you exercise at your own pace. If you reach a stage where you are breathless to talk, then slow down the pace or if necessary, take a short pause (2). Remember, the more you do, the more you will be able to do!

 

Intermittent exercises can also help you to deal with the shortness of breath. In this case you alternate brief exercise, lasting 1–2 minutes, with moments of rest (or slower exercise). This is called ‘interval training’ (2).

 

As an example, if you have COPD, you will have damaged airways. This means that when you breathe out your airways become narrowed before you have got rid of all the air in your lungs. Many people with COPD find that pursing their lips enables them to breathe out more slowly and effectively. You may also find it easier to walk with braced arms (for example leaning on a shopping stroller, or even by grasping the belt of your trousers). Patients with severe lung disease can benefit from using a wheeled walking aid (4).

 

If you suffer from severe COPD, you may have problems bringing enough oxygen into the body. If this is the case, you may need to take supplementary oxygen during your activity. Your doctor will be able to assess this before you begin a training programme (4).

 

References

 

  1. National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. How the Lungs Work. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/how-lungs-work
  2. Your lungs and exercise. (2016). Breathe (Sheffield, England), 12(1), 97–100. https://doi.org/10.1183/20734735.ELF121
  3. Breathing Exercise to Increase Lung Capacity. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-increase-lung-capacity
  4. Breathing exercise with COPD. https://www.healthline.com/health/copd/breathing-exercises

Cordyceps, more than just for cough!

Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects. When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue of long sprout and slender stems that grow outside the host’s body. The remains of the insect and fungi have been hand-collected, dried, and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease and low sex drive (3).

Since there is now increase shifting of attention from synthetic drugs to natural herbal product, not only to treat common cold and flu but as well as to prevent chronic diseases, thus people start to consume various kind of  traditional medicine in the effort to prevent diseases or to control diseases (2).

 

Since, cordyceps lives only on certain caterpillar in the high mountain regions of China, thus natural cordyceps is hard to get and is expansive. Most supplements are made with cordyceps grown in the laboratory, which is also known as cordyceps, CS-4. People start to market the products containing cordyceps in the supplement form or as functional food since many studies start to dig on its benefits. Of more than 400 species of cordyceps discovered only two types of cordyceps are commonly used, which is cordyceps sinensis and cordyceps militaris (3).

 

Traditionally people use cordyceps for various purposes, until now certain people whom able to get wild cordyceps still used this in their daily life. Some people mix it with milk, it is said to improve sex drive, it is also sometimes mix with alcohol, which refers to as ‘chang’ where people drink it in the morning as tonic (5).

 

As for the modern studies apart from the usage of cordyceps in the cough syrup, cordyceps also  have various other health benefits, such as anti hyperglycemic. Study on diabetic rats found out that,  4g/kg/day that is administered to diabetic rats does not effect  its fasting insulin level. When oral administration of cordyceps at 150 mg/kg/day and 500mg/kg/day are ingested by mice for 4 weeks it significantly prolonged the swimming time of mice by about 20 to 24 minutes, respectively, thus showing that consumption of cordyceps also improved fatigue condition. It is due to the involvement of cordyceps in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (energy)  production that accounts for a decrease in physical fatigue when it is administered. Apart from that, the administration of cordyceps decreased the airway inflammation in ovalbumin-induced mice, thus ease breathing for individuals with cough and flu (6).

 

 

However, most of studies with regards to cordyceps is conducted the mice subject not human subject thus the findings is considered as to have insufficient evidence (1,3,4).

 

However, it is safe to consume cordyceps supplement with other medication if you have any other medical condition, since the government of China use cordyceps as the natural drugs in their hospital to treat patients (1,3,4).

 

References


1. Mehra A, Zaidi KU, Mani A, Thawani V. The health benefits of Cordyceps militaris a review. Kavaka. 2017;48(1):27-32.

2. Nxumalo W, Elateeq AA, Sun Y. Can Cordyceps cicadae be used as an alternative to Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis?-A review. Journal on Etnopharmacology. 2020 Apr 16:112879.

3. Healthline. 6 Benefits of Cordyceps all backed by Science. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cordyceps-benefits (Accessed on Oct 23, 2020).

4. WebMD. Cordyceps. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-602/cordyceps (Accessed on Oct 23, 2020).
5. Pradhan BK. Caterpillar mushroom, Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Ascomycetes): a potential bioresource for commercialization in Sikkim Himalaya, India. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2016;18(4).
6. Bao-qin Lin and Shao-ping Li. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Food for your lung is there any?

Foods are supposed to be the best source of nutrients readily available to absorb by our body, unfortunately with our current advancement of food technology, it does not only make our food less perishable which is a good thing but it as well, through the process make it loss the vital nutrients inside the food. Not only that, the advancement with the culinary field makes our taste buds somehow loss its palatability towards healthy food. During the hunting gathering time, our senses use to tell us what is good or not through smelling and the taste of it (whether it has rotten etc or dangerous to be consumed), but nowadays people seems to be losing all those, we are only able to tell based on the looks of the food, if it has lots of greens then it must be not good, but if it has lots of chocolate or cheesy things on the food then it must be tasty, especially in Malaysia that is what seems to happen.

 

 

 

 

Do you know that every food has it own sets of nutrients which makes it suitable for every specific health problem that we encounter? The only unknown is how much do we need it, and how can it help whether as mean to prevent diseases or to help alleviating the symptoms of diseases. When it comes to this, whenever you looked closely you will see that animals or even pets such as dogs and cats, whenever they feel not at ease they will eat grass or some plant that possess antidote to their unwell condition.

 

 

As for lung, it also has foods that will benefits it condition but little that we know since there are not many studies conducted specifically for this. Studies shows that vitamin C is good for people who smoke, not to reverse their lung condition but as a ‘cushion’ to the damage on the lung. Which is why, according to United States, National Institute of Health (NIH), smokers are recommended to consume 35 mg more vitamin C as compared to normal adult (1). As for normal adult  in Malaysia recommended vitamin C intake is about 70 mg for both male and female (2). The way in which vitamin C works in this condition is that it will limit the damage effects of free radicals through antioxidant activity, in which this will helps to prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, improved immune function and improved absorption of plant based iron (non-heme iron) (1).

 

Foods that contain high vitamin C.

 

 

Apart from vitamin C, studies also established that smoker has lower carotenoid in their body as compared to non- smoker individuals. Carotenoid is a type of antioxidants, it includes Beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Beta carotene is the most common one use especially for study related to lung health. There is study conforming that the consumption of beta carotene supplementation among smoker will improve their pulmonary (lung) function (3). However, there is also study (intervention trials) reported that supplement with large doses of beta-carotene have an adverse effect on the incidence of lung cancer in smokers and workers who exposed to asbestos. Until the efficacy and safety of taking supplements containing these nutrients can be determined, current dietary recommendation is to consume diet (fruits and vegetables) that is high with beta carotene (4,5).

 

 

Interestingly, there is also study examining on the amount of curry intake and the lung health! The longitudinal study that was conducted for a year among older adults in Singapore found out that, individuals who consume more curcumin (turmeric) rich curry has better lung health. The study also compare smoker who consume more curry has better lung health as compared to smoker who consume less curry. These results suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of curcumins in curry might be particularly effective in protecting against pulmonary damage caused by smoking (6). However, the study does not assess on the cholesterol level, and does not mentioned on how the curry is usually prepared in Singapore. If the same study were to conduct in Malaysia, perhaps among things need to consider is the amount of cholesterol since, curry used coconut milk which has high saturated fat, thus might increase the cholesterol level.

 

 

As for non – smoker, there is also guideline on foods that can help with lung health. According to American Lung Association, the consumption of complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread and limit simple carbohydrates helps to maintain lung health especially for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) individuals. Consumption of 20 – 30g of fiber from fruits and vegetables and good source of protein such as from lean meat and low fat milk helps with lung health. Whilst for consumption of fat, consumption of fat from monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) will also help with lung health.

 

Basically consumption of healthy diet helps with not gaining extra weight that can load lung condition even more. Other than the previous, dietary habit such below will also helps with lung condition;

 

  • Rest just before eating.
  • Eat more food early in the morning if you’re usually too tired to eat later in the day.
  • Avoid foods that cause gas or bloating. They tend to make breathing more difficult.
  • Eat 4 to 6 small meals a day. This enables your diaphragm to move freely and lets your lungs fill with air and empty out more easily
  • If drinking liquids with meals makes you feel too full to eat, limit liquids with meals; drink an hour after meals.
  • Consider adding a nutritional supplement at night time to avoid feeling full during the day

 

In conclusion, for non – smoker and smoker, consumption of healthy diet and having a good diet habits help with lung health as well. Even though certain food has nutrient that may help with certain body condition, it is still best to consume food in moderation, variety and balanced. Always try to cut back on the habit of smoking is advisable for smokers.

 

References


  1. United States. National Health Institute (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplement (ODS). Vitamin C https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  2. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) (2017). A Report of Technical Working Group of on Nutritional Guideline. National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition.
  3. Thyagarajan, B., A Meyer, K., Smith, L. J., Beckett, W. S., Williams, O. D., Gross, M. D., & Jacobs, D. R., Jr (2011). Serum carotenoid concentrations predict lung function evolution in young adults: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 94(5), 1211–1218. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.019067
  4. Committee on the Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age for Purchasing Tobacco Products; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine; Bonnie RJ, Stratton K, Kwan LY, editors. Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Jul 23. 4, The Effects of Tobacco Use on Health. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310413/
  5. Johnson EJ. The role of carotenoids in human health. Nutr Clin Care. 2002 Mar-Apr;5(2):56-65. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.00004.x. PMID: 12134711.
  6. Ng, T. P., Niti, M., Yap, K. B., & Tan, W. C. (2012). Curcumins-rich curry diet and pulmonary function in Asian older adults. PloS one, 7(12), e51753. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051753

 

Showing 145 to 168 of 232 (10 Pages)