Friday, November 30, 2012

Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Fish Oil May Reduce Inflammation

For illustration only

Regular use of glucosamine, chondroitin, or fish oil supplements significantly reduces high-sensitivityC-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a marker of inflammation, according to a new study.

Inflammation is now recognized as a factor in cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as many rheumatoid diseases. A number of over-the-counter dietary supplements are being marketed for the purpose of reducing inflammation, though evidence supporting the claims are limited.

To address this situation, Elizabeth D. Kantor, from the Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, and colleagues analyzed data on dietary supplements and hs-CRP in 9947 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

In participants who regularly used a supplement, the researchers found hs-CRP reductions of

a)      17% reduction with glucosamine,

b)      22% reduction with chondroitin

c)      16% reduction with fish oil

compared with participants who did not take the supplements. The analyses were adjusted for age, gender, race, smoking history, and body mass index.

The supplements methylsulfonylmethane, garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, and pycnogenol were not associated with reduced inflammation.

This current study provides a plausible biologic mechanism by which these supplements may reduce risk of these diseases. The fact that these supplements have already been associated with the clinically relevant outcome provides potential clinical significance to these findings. However, further research is needed to better understand these associations and the potential clinical significance of these findings.


The research has been published online November 8, 2012 in the American Journal of Epidemiology:

Kantor ED, Lampe JW, Vaughan TL, Peters U, Rehm CD, White E. Association Between Use of Specialty Dietary Supplements and C-Reactive Protein Concentrations. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2012) doi: 10.1093/aje/kws186.

Genneva and Rosmah

Get the details HERE

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily steps add up for midlife women's health


Moving 6,000 or more steps a day, whether through formal exercises or just the activities of daily life, adds up to a healthier life for midlife women.

That level of physical activity decreases the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, showed a study published online this month in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including but not limited to, large waist, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that can also be a precursor to full blown type 2 diabetes.

There is plenty of evidence that structured exercise is tied to health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, but this study suggests that habitual physical activity, whether through exercising or just having an active life, is enough to improve women's health in midlife.

In Passo Fundo, Brazil, 292 women who were 45 to 72 years old wore pedometers and recorded their daily steps. They also had health checks such as cholesterol and blood sugar and waist and hip measurement (to gauge abdominal obesity, which is a risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease). Women who took 6,000 or more steps per day were considered active and those who took fewer inactive.

The active women were much less likely than the inactive ones to be obese and have metabolic syndrome or frank diabetes, whether or not they had gone through menopause–when these risks usually go up–and whether or not they were using hormone therapy.

For midlife women, it looks like the journey to health begins with 6,000 steps!

You can increase your daily activity doing things like:

  • Park further away from entrances, eg at the supermarket or workplace,
  • Use the stairs rather than the elevator,
  • Take a walk at break times, and
  • Enjoy a stroll in the evening, for instance after dinner, with family or friends.


The above story is based on the November 21, 2012 news release by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

The research has been published online ahead of print in Menopause, the journal of the NAMS:

Colpani V, Oppermann K, Spritzer PM. Association between habitual physical activity and lower cardiovascular risk in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women: a population-based study. Menopause. 2012 Nov 19. [Epub ahead of print]                                    

Abstract HERE

Focus on… Bad breath

The Chemist + Druggists reports:

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath, also known as halitosis. The problem affects most people at some time in their lives (and many people’s breath smells unpleasant when they wake up usually because their mouth has become dry while they sleep). However, for about half the population the problem persists. (1)

The major cause of bad breath is thought to be halitosis-causing bacteria and food residues at the back and in the furrows of the tongue which are broken down into volatile sulphur compounds (VSC). (2)

Eating strongly flavoured food can also result in bad breath. Sometimes the problem can be related to an illness such as respiratory infections, diabetes, liver or kidney problems or gastritis and food reflux. (1)

Smoking and some medicines (eg nitrates, phenothiazines and some chemotherapy drugs) may be responsible for a person’s bad breath.

Because of the stigma attached to bad breath it’s difficult to ask someone else whether your breath smells. One way to test it yourself is to lick your wrist and see if there is a smell when it dries; if there is it’s a good indication of smelly breath. (1)


Combating bad breath involves a good oral hygiene regime – regularly brushing teeth and gums; flossing between teeth, and keeping the tongue clean by brushing or scraping it. (1)

Mouthwash used just before going to bed can be helpful. The ease of use of mouthwashes has contributed to the proliferation in the variety available. Generally they work by providing a temporary competing smell, by killing bacteria in the mouth or acting on the chemical breakdown products produced by the bacteria. (2)

Chewing sugar-free gum which helps stimulate the flow of saliva and may help prevent the mouth from drying out. (1)

It’s also important to visit the dentist once a year when there is a chance for a thorough ‘deep clean’ of the teeth and to make sure the correct technique is being used to clean the teeth. (1)


 2. Fedorowicz Z, et al. Mouthrinses for the treatment of halitosis. CochraneDatabase of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD006701. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006701.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Puan Badariah Talks to Mr TED at TEDxKL 2012

Published on Oct 8, 2012 by recommended by Huah Keong

Is Malaysia's Plural & Hybrid Culture Dying? 

Puan Badariah Talks to Mr TED. 

Jo Kukathas is one of the grand dames of the local performing arts scene. She has played the roles of writer, actor and director, sometimes all at the same time, in countless award-winning theatre productions. She is currently the Artistic Director at the Instant Café Theatre and CHAI.

About TEDx

Irritated by telemarketers, scammers, and spammers?


You have been there before. You are in a middle of your work or in a middle of a conversation when your handphone rings. You answer the call, and the voice at the other end says, “Good day! You have been selected from our list to enjoy our special discount….”

Christopher Teh Boon Sung offers a list of numbers to block and avoid

Children Who Swim Start Smarter, Study Suggests


Children who learn how to swim at a young age are reaching many developmental milestones earlier than the norm.

Researchers from the Griffith Institute for Educational Research surveyed parents of 7000 under-fives from Australia, New Zealand and the US over three years. A further 180 children aged 3, 4 and 5 years have been involved in intensive testing, making it the world’s most comprehensive study into early-years swimming.

Lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen says the study shows young children who participate in early-years swimming achieve a wide range of skills earlier than the normal population.

“Many of these skills are those that help young children into the transition into formal learning contexts such as pre-school or school.

The research also found significant differences between the swimming cohort and non-swimmers regardless of socio-economic background.

While the two higher socio-economic groups performed better than the lower two in testing, the four SES groups all performed better than the normal population.”

The researchers also found there were no gender differences between the research cohort and the normal population.

As well as achieving physical milestones faster, children also scored significantly better in visual-motor skills such as cutting paper, colouring in and drawing lines and shapes, and many mathematically-related tasks. Their oral expression was also better as well as in the general areas of literacy and numeracy.

“Many of these skills are highly valuable in other learning environments and will be of considerable benefit for young children as they transition into pre-schools and school.”

The study is a joint project between Griffith University, Kids Alive Swim Program and Swim Australia.


The above story is based on the Novmber 15, 2012 news release by Griffith University.

You can read the Full Report HERE

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Overwhelming Public Support for Whistleblowers

Malaysian Whistleblowers Charged

New research by the University of Greenwich shows 4 out of 5 Britons think that people should be supported for revealing serious wrongdoing, even if it means revealing inside information. However, under half of the respondents (47%) thought whistleblowing is an acceptable thing to do in our society. Hence, people think society is less supportive of it than it should be.

Three quarters of respondents, who are employees or members of an organisation, also indicated that if they observed wrongdoing, they would feel personally obliged to report it to someone in their organisation. However, a smaller proportion were confident their organisation would stop wrongdoing if they reported it, and less than half thought management in their organisation were serious about protecting people who report wrongdong.

Still, almost 9 out of 10 in Britain believe whistleblowers should be able to use the media to draw attention to wrongdoing (either as a first resort, when there become specific reasons to do so or as a last resort).

Dr Wim Vandekerckhove from the Work and Employment Relations Unit (WERU) at the University of Greenwich, who leads the research, believes that at a time where a change in the UK legislation on whistleblower protection is demanded by different actors and in different directions, it is important to take stock of how citizens feel about whistleblowing. Any changes to the legislation should be in line with attempts to close the gaps identified by this research.

Dr Vandekerckhove concludes that this research shows people will raise concern inside their organisation, but adds:

'If we don't make it safer for employees to speak up inside their organisations, people will support those who blow the whistle to the media.'

Political, business and community leaders must accept this new reality, and develop and implement legislation and policies that make it safe and effective to speak up about wrongdoing inside the organisation.

This research was funded by the University of Greenwich Business School. ComRes interviewed 2,000 adults online from 26th to 28th October 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at HERE

Dr Wim Vandekerckhove is Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich where he researches and teaches on whistleblowing, business ethics, and organisational behaviour. He has published widely in academic journals and books, and is a regular international speaker at conferences and events on whistleblowing and business ethics.

The survey is part of an ongoing international project measuring public attitudes to whistleblowing. Findings in Australia show a similar thrust as these from Britain.


The above story is reprinted the November 19, 2012 news release by University of Greenwich.

To download this paper, "UK Public Attitudes to Whistleblowing", click HERE and follow the link.

How Oat Beta Glucan Binds to Fat

Uploaded by OatHealth on Mar 16, 2010

Oat Beta Glucans are believed to Lower Cholesterol Naturally by binding to saturated fats and trans fats.

Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan.
Othman RA, Moghadasian MH, Jones PJ.*
Nutr Rev. 2011 Jun;69(6):299-309. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00401.x.

Elevated total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are considered major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Oat β-glucan, a soluble dietary fiber that is found in the endosperm cell walls of oats, has generated considerable interest due to its cholesterol-lowering properties.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a health claim for β-glucan soluble fiber from oats for reducing plasma cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease in 1997. Similarly, in 2004 the United Kingdom Joint Health Claims Initiative (JHCI) allowed a cholesterol-lowering health claim for oat β-glucan.

The present review aims to investigate if results from more recent studies are consistent with the original conclusions reached by the FDA and JHCI. Results of this analysis show that studies conducted during the past 13 years support the suggestion that intake of oat β-glucan at daily doses of at least 3 g may reduce plasma total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 5-10% in normocholesterolemic or hypercholesterolemic subjects.

Studies described herein have shown that, on average, oat consumption is associated with 5% and 7% reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels, respectively.

Significant scientific agreement continues to support a relationship between oat β-glucan and blood cholesterol levels, with newer data being consistent with earlier conclusions made by the FDA and JHCI.

* Department of Human Nutritional Sciences and Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Zestzfulness of November 9, 2011 has further details on Oat Beta Glucan. Click HERE.

Oat Beta Glucan is available in our pharmacies.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Can doing a lot of exercise wear out your joints?

A: Usually not. In most cases, exercise does more good than harm to joints.

Have you got creaky knees or achey hips? Do you grimace every time you have to climb a set of stairs?

Everyday movements can become a chore when the cartilage in your joints starts to break down, making them stiff and sore.

Sore joints are the hallmark of the condition known as osteoarthritis. And since it's increasingly common as we age, it's easy to assume a lifetime of activity is to blame.

But is this really the case? With every movement our limbs make, are we literally wearing our joints away?

No, says Sydney arthritis expert, Professor Patrick McNeil.

Plenty of older people who've been active all their lives never develop osteoarthritis, he points out.

And the idea our joints are like car tyres or light bulbs with a limited number of "uses" before their lifetime expires is simply untrue, McNeil says.

"I think it's a myth to make the general statement that exercise is bad for your joints or actually wears your joints out. There's no evidence for that."

Injuries and arthritis

But the relationship between exercise and cartilage loss is complex. For most people, exercise helps joints stay healthy. But in some instances, it could be harmful, McNeil says.

When the alignment of a joint is incorrect – perhaps because of weakened muscles or because you were born with unusually shaped joints – it's feasible movement might have some role in wearing cartilage away. But a person may also need to have a genetic predisposition for this to happen.

"You could be born with cartilage that will last, no matter what you do to it. Or you could be born with cartilage that's less durable."

And even if your joints are perfectly aligned, this can change after an injury.

Sports that expose joints to extreme forces, making injuries more likely, are known to raise the odds of joint trouble down the track.

For instance tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – a major ligament in the knee – carry a 70 per cent risk of osteoarthritis within 10 to 15 years.

Even when the ligament is surgically repaired, the initial injury changes the stability of the knee permanently, so that over time it's more likely cartilage will break down.

The top three most risky sports for ACL injury are soccer, Australian football ("Aussie Rules") and netball.

Fortunately, exercises that strengthen key muscles around joints can reduce the risk of ACL tears and other injuries that predispose to arthritis by as much as 60 per cent. (For more info on these exercises read: Fighting sporty kids' arthritis risk.)

It's also worth noting that the processes leading to cartilage loss may be different in different parts of the body.

Osteoarthritis of the hands for instance seems to have a very strong genetic basis.

"Exercise doesn't seem to be relevant at all to osteoarthritis of the hands," McNeil says. "If use was a factor, you'd expect right-handed people to have more arthritis in their right hand than in their left. But that isn't the case.

"We still don't understand all the triggers."

More to gain than to lose

The bottom line is that the evidence so far doesn't suggest a strong connection between simple repetitive use of a joint and the development of osteoarthritis.

So if your joints aren't bothered by the exercise you're doing, it's unlikely you're doing them harm, McNeil says.

But if you have already been diagnosed with joint damage, or have pain that suggests it, it's possible the wrong sort of exercise could make your arthritis worse.

"If you have osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and lower spine for instance, high impact exercise like running can certainly aggravate symptoms and it's probable it might accelerate progression [of the damage to the joints], although I think that's still an open question," McNeil says.

"In those cases, I'd probably recommend a lower impact exercise such as swimming or bike riding that puts less stress on the affected joints."

However, stopping exercise altogether isn't recommended; it's actually one of the best treatments for arthritis, McNeil says.

Cartilage is living tissue but it does not have arteries that deliver blood. Instead it relies on movement of the joint to create a pumping action that circulates fluid containing oxygen and nutrients.

Exercise also:

·         decreases pain.
·         helps maintain the mobility and flexibility of joints.
·         improves muscle strength, which can help hold joints in their correct alignment, taking pressure off sore spots.

The other very important benefit of exercise is that it helps you maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight increases the risk of osteoarthritis by placing stress on joints (and possibly by inducing chemical changes in the body as well).

And of course exercise has proven and very significant general health benefits for everyone – whether they've got existing joint troubles or not.

"It's much better to be physically active than to hold back because of your joints," says McNeil.

Professor Patrick McNeil is a rheumatologist and the president of Arthritis Australia. He spoke to Cathy Johnson of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in June 12, 2012.

Exercise more beneficial on an empty stomach, research shows

For many people, exercising first thing in the morning isn’t something that is particularly appealing.

However, scientists at the University of Glasgow has found that exercising before breakfast burns more fat than exercising afterwards.

Dr Jason Gill and Nor Farah of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences compared the effects of exercise performed before and after breakfast on fat loss and metabolic health.

Ten overweight men who were not regular exercisers took part in their study.

Each man underwent three trials, 1-2 weeks apart:

  1. A set breakfast with no exercise
  2. A set breakfast followed by 60 minutes of exercise at 50 per cent maximal intensity
  3. A set breakfast following 60 minutes of exercise at 50 per cent maximal intensity

3.5 hours later the participant were given lunch which they could eat in unlimited quantity. Intakes at this lunch were essentially the same on all three occasions.

The levels of fat, sugars and insulin in the blood of the study subjects were measured over an 8.5 hour period on each occasion.

Exercise Before Breakfast - Greater Fat Loss

Over the course of the day with no exercise the men were left with an average of 49kcal unburnt fat while exercising after breakfast burned 216kcal more of fat on average than the control trial and 298kcal more than the control group when exercising before breakfast.

The results indicated that both timings of exercise increased fat burning over the day and improved the metabolic profile in the blood. But, exercise before breakfast resulted in greater fat loss and larger reductions in the level of fat in the blood.

Dr Gill said “Any exercise you do is beneficial, but the indications are that there might be an extra benefit associated with exercising before eating, compared to after. However, further study is needed to determine whether the present findings extend over the long term.

“In the end, we would like to encourage everyone to do some form of exercise everyday – the difference between exercising before compared to after breakfast was much smaller than the difference between exercising at either time compared to not exercising at all.”


The above story is based on the October 29, 2012 news release by the University of Glasgow.

The research paper is published in the latest edition of the British Journal of Nutrition:
Farah NMF, et al. Effects of exercise before or after meal ingestion on fat balance and postprandial metabolism in overweight men. Br  J Nutr. Published online: 26 October 2012

* Given our current security situation, it is better you exercise on a cross-trainer in the security of your home.

Nilai Scopene adalah RM 3.35b sebuah!

Oral and Topical Aids for Joint Relief

As we age, the body is less able to maintain the supportive cartilage structures surrounding joints and bones.

The extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus is a rich source of iron, betain and glycoaminoglycans (including chondroitin sulphate). It has been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory (AI) activity by decreasing  the synthesis  of proteins called  cytokines (TNF-α and IFN-γ) associated with inflammation.

Condropil & Osteo Bi-Flex
Glucosamine is a major building block of joint cartilage, which helps to maintain the structural integrity of joints and connective tissues. Chondroitin is a naturally occuring nutrient found in connective tissue that helps lubricate and cushion joints.

BiO-LiFE Celery 3000                                                                                                             An extract of the seed from celery (Apium graviolens) have been found to possess anti-inflammatory activity, gastro-protective activity, and anti-Helicobacter pylori activity.

is an aqueous gel packed with microscopic spheres called Sequessome™ vesicles. These spheres are made of molecules called phospholipids which naturally occur in the body and variants of which contribute to the lubricating properties of synovial fluid.



National Institutes of Health’s Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial Primary Study.          
Click HERE for details.

Lee CH, Lum JH, Ng CK, McKay J, Butt YK, Wong MS, Lo SC. Pain Controlling and Cytokine-regulating Effects of Lyprinol, a Lipid Extract of Perna Canaliculus, in a Rat Adjuvant-induced Arthritis Model. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Jun;6(2):239-45.
Read the Full Text HERE

Powanda MC, Rainsford KD. A toxicological investigation of a celery seed extract having anti-inflammatory activity. Inflammopharmacology. 2011 Aug;19(4):227-33.
Click HERE for the abstract.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Health Tip: Don't Take the Wrong Medication
Suggestions to prevent accidental ingestion

Common medications can be dangerous if taken incorrectly, or accidentally by children.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these suggestions to help prevent accidental ingestion:
  • Never take a prescription medication that was not prescribed for you, and never take more medication than your doctor recommends.
  • Make sure all medicines -- prescription and over-the-counter -- are stored safely out of a child's reach.
  • Always read warning labels on medications and follow all instructions.
  • If you're taking medication at night, turn on a light. This will help prevent you from taking the wrong medication or the wrong amount.
  • Store all medications in their original containers, and properly dispose of medications when you no longer need them.
  • Carefully monitor use of medications among children and teens.
Ref: HealthDayNews