Nutrients For Gut Health


Nutrients For Gut Health

At the centre of a healthy digestive system is a well-kept gastrointestinal (GI) tract or the gut, a tube that runs from our mouth to our anus.

The gut, or intestine, allows us to absorb nutrients for the body and remove harmful toxins and waste materials.

But the benefits of a healthy digestive system go far and beyond merely contributing to the balance of nutrient retention and disposable of toxins.

It also tantamount to maintaining overall body health. (1)

Benefits of A Healthy Gut

Better Stress Management

A common symptom of a body under stress is diarrhoea.

A body under stress will experience a weakening of the immune system, which is closely linked to digestive health.

This may result in poor functionality of certain bodily organs, leading to or compounding on other health problems.

Hence, a healthy digestive system will help to ward off stress-related ailments. (2)

Greater Energy

Under optimal conditions, the body uses 80% of your energy to digest foods.

This figure increases in times of stress or illness, leaving less energy for the body’s other important functions. (3)

One of the ways to maintain this necessary energy level, is to supplement our diet with an intake of probiotics. (4)

Recovering from Antibiotics

Antibiotics work by killing off bacteria that cause infection but they also eliminate friendly bacteria from the

digestive tract at the same time. (5)

A probiotic supplement helps bring back the balance of good bacteria, which will help to restore the health of our digestive system. (6)

Beneficial Friendly Bacteria

Our gut contains both good and bad bacteria.

It is important to note that a balance of good and bad bacteria is essential for optimal health.

Once the balance between good and bad bacteria is affected, our bodies become less efficient in absorbing the nutrients they need, resulting in further digestive and health problems. (7)

Essential good bacteria in our bodies include:


– Produces lactic acid which alters the intestinal environment, making it not conducive for pathogenic bacteria to grow. (8)

– Studies show that Lactobacillus improves lactose digestion, which suggests that it may help those who are lactose intolerant. (9)

– Reduces incidence of diarrhoea due to changes in eating habits or stress. (10)


– The first line of defense against bad bacteria such as Salmonella and E-Coli.

– Produces lactic acid which discourages the growth of harmful bacteria to protect intestinal cell integrity and maintain good intestinal health.

– Produces immunostimulating properties, which reduce the incidence of diarrhoea and help reestablish a proper balance of intestinal health. (11, 12)


– Supports digestion of dairy products.

– Reduces lactose intolerance and incidences of diarrhoea. (13)

Understanding Probiotics and Prebiotics


Live organisms that helps improve the environment of the intestinal tract

Help maintain microbial balance in the intestines

Help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria

Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus are probiotics. (14)


Food sources that stimulate the growth or activity of friendly bacteria in the intestines.

Not digested by the human digestive enzymes, hence they pass through the intestine unchanged, enabling probiotics to utilize these prebiotics as food sources.

Help stimulate growth of friendly bacteria.

Can be derived from non-digestive fiber, eg. inulin, raffinose, galactooligosaccharides or fructooligosaccharides. (15)

Probiotics (e.g. Kefir, Cultured Vegetable, Kombucha, Yogurt) + Prebiotics (e.g. Raw Garlic, Raw or Cooked Onions, Under-ripe Bananas) + Amount of Organisms (Gut Flora) and Dual Coating (Technology to improve survival of probiotics) => Beneficial to digestive and immune system

1. Patient/Dr Roger Henderson. 2015. The Gut | Health | Patient. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 26 December 2016].

2. Konturek PC, Brzozowski T, Konturek SJ, 2011. Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options.. Journal of physiology and pharmacology, [Online]. 62(6), 591-9. Available at: [Accessed 3 February 2017].

3. Better Health Channel. 2014. Metabolism – Better Health Channel. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2017].

4. Peera Hemarajata and James Versalovic, 2013. Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, [Online]. 6(1), 39–51. Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2017].

5. Amy Langdon, Nathan Crook, and Gautam Dantas, 2016. The effects of antibiotics on the microbiome throughout development and alternative approaches for therapeutic modulation. Genome Medicine, [Online]. 8, 39. Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2017].

6. Maria Kechagia, Dimitrios Basoulis, Stavroula Konstantopoulou, Dimitra Dimitriadi, Konstantina Gyftopoulou, Nikoletta Skarmoutsou, and Eleni Maria Fakiri, 2013. Health Benefits of Probiotics: A Review. ISRN Nutrition, [Online]. 2013, 481651. Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2017].

7. Caitriona M. Guinane and Paul D. Cotter, 2013. Role of the gut microbiota in health and chronic gastrointestinal disease: understanding a hidden metabolic organ. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, [Online]. 6(4), 295–308. Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2017].

8. Sook Jong Rhee, Jang-Eun Lee, and Cherl-Ho Lee, 2011. Importance of lactic acid bacteria in Asian fermented foods. Microbial Cell Factories, [Online]. 10(Suppl 1), S5. Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2017].

9. Gregor Reid, 1999. The Scientific Basis for Probiotic Strains of Lactobacillus. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, [Online]. 65(9), 3763–3766. Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2017].

10. Pace F, Pace M, Quartarone G., 2015. Probiotics in digestive diseases: focus on Lactobacillus GG.. Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica, [Online]. 61(4), 273-92. Available at: [Accessed 27 March 2017].

11. Nobuhiko Kamada, Grace Y. Chen, Naohiro Inohara, and Gabriel Núñez, 2013. Control of Pathogens and Pathobionts by the Gut Microbiota. Nature Immunology, [Online]. 14(7), 685-690. Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2017].

12. Picard C, Fioramonti J, Francois A, Robinson T, Neant F, Matuchansky C, 2005. Review article: bifidobacteria as probiotic agents — physiological effects and clinical benefits.. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, [Online]. 22(6), 495-512. Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2017].

13. NCBI / Maria Jevitz Patterson. 1996. Streptococcus – Medical Microbiology – NCBI Bookshelf. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2017].

14. Gupta V, Garg R, 2009. Probiotics. Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, [Online]. 27(3), 202-9. Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2017].

15. Slavin J, 2013. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits.. Nutrients, [Online]. 5(4), 1417-35. Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2017].

Published on 4 May 2017

A Holistic Approach To Improve Your Heart Health

A Holistic Approach To Improve Your Heart Health

The body’s circulatory system is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the body.

The circulatory system consists of the heart, blood and blood vessels in our body.

The heart is a muscular organ which pumps blood carrying oxygen and nutrients needed by the body through our blood vessels.

A strong heart therefore ensures the constant supply of these much needed nutrients and oxygen to the body. (1)

Keeping A Strong Heart

Blood Pressure

A person’s blood pressure is a good indicator of heart health.

Blood pressure is measured in two readings:

Systolic – The blood pressure against artery walls when the heart is pumping blood.

Diastolic – The blood pressure against artery walls between heartbeats when the heart is relaxed.

Those with pre-hypertension should make heart-healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of complications relating to blood pressure. (2)

American Heart Association Recommended Blood Pressure Levels

[table id=9 /]


One major heart disease risk factor is cholesterol, and cholesterol levels are considered abnormal when:

Total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or higher

HDL or “good” cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL

LDL or “bad” cholesterol is more than 160 mg/dL (3)


As the heart is the organ that works hard at pumping blood through the body everyday, aerobic exercise is recommended to strengthen the heart.

Try biking, hiking, jogging or swimming to maintain a healthy and strong heart. (4)

Eating for A Healthy Heart

Follow a diet with these nutrients in check to maintain a healthy heart:

Antioxidants help prevent the clotting of bad cholesterol in our blood arteries which could result in blockage or cardiovascular diseases. (5)

Flavonoids help support the blood capillaries, increase intracellular vitamin C levels and protect the storage of vitamin C in our bodies from oxidation and destruction. (6)

Garlic is known to inhibit the tendency of blood clots, the lowering of cholesterol and the normalization of blood pressure. (7)

Essential Fatty Acids such as omega-3 fatty acids are key nutrients needed for efficient metabolism of cholesterol.

People consuming foods high in these nutrients regularly register a lower rate of heart disease. (8)

Minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium in suitable amounts can normalize blood pressure.

Working as electrolytes, these minerals keep our muscles beating. (9)

B Vitamins

Vitamin B12 helps support heart muscle function, while vitamins B6 and B12 help reduce chances of heart disease by metabolizing amino acids. (10, 11)

Katsuobushi Oligopeptide is Bonito fish peptide powder derived from dried Bonito fish.

It is discovered to moderately inhibit ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) activity and maintain good circulatory health.

Angiotensins are peptides that act as vasoconstricting agents, which cause the narrowing of blood vessels, hence increasing blood pressure. (12)

Co-enzyme Q10: Energy Nutrient for a Healthy Heart

The Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, promotes a healthy heart, and supports energy production in cells.

Since CoQ10 us crucial for energy production, the heart, which demands high levels of energy, has the highest concentration of CoQ10.

CoQ10 creates as much as 95% of cellular energy used by the body.

Without this nutrient, we will not be able to transport or produce energy needed by our bodies.

Researchers have also concluded that 10 milligrams of CoQ10 given daily to heart patients strengthens the heart, allowing it to reach higher levels of energy before pain or oxygen deprivation occurs.

Other Benefits of CoQ10

Fighting off illness requires many of our immune cells to be active.

As this activity needs a great deal of energy on the cellular level, CoQ10 stimulates the energy production for this function, hence playing a crucial support role in boosting immune defenses.

Apart from being an energy nutrient, it is also a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger.

CoQ10 helps protect against free radical damage by supporting cell regeneration and healthy blood vessels, and preventing oxidation.

CoQ10, like vitamin E, slows down tissue damage by decreasing the effect of free radical molecules.

Research has shown that treatment implementing co-enzyme has reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and shown to reduce age spots. (13)


1. National Library of Medicine. Heart. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

2. American Heart Association. 2016. Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

3. WebMD. 2016. Heart Disease and Lowering Cholesterol. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

4. Soares-Miranda L, Siscovick DS, Psaty BM, Longstreth WT Jr, Mozaffarian D, 2016. Physical Activity and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study. Circulation Research, [Online]. 133(2), 147-55. Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

5. Ye Z, Song H, 2008. Antioxidant vitamins intake and the risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of cohort studies. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, [Online]. 15(1), 26-34. Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

6. Julia J. Peterson, Johanna T. Dwyer, Paul F. Jacques, and Marjorie L. McCullough, 2012. Do Flavonoids Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Incidence or Mortality in US and European Populations?. Nutrition Reviews, [Online]. 70(9), 491–508. Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

7. Varshney R, Budoff MJ, 2016. Garlic and Heart Disease. Journal of Nutrition, [Online]. 146(2), 416S-421S. Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

8. J. Chris Bradberry and Daniel E. Hilleman, 2013. Overview of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Therapies. Pharmacy & Therapeutic, [Online]. 38(11), 681–691. Available at: [Accessed 19 November 2016].

9. Houston MC, Harper KJ, 2008. Potassium, magnesium, and calcium: their role in both the cause and treatment of hypertension. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, [Online]. 10(7 Suppl 2), 3-11. Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2016].

10. Friso S, Lotto V, Corrocher R, Choi SW, 2012. Vitamin B6 and cardiovascular disease. Subcellular Biochemistry, [Online]. 56, 265-90. Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2016].

11. Pawlak R, 2015. Is vitamin B12 deficiency a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in vegetarians?. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, [Online]. 48(6), e11-26. Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2016].

12. Youko Umeki, Hitomi Hayabuchi, Manami Hisano, Motonaka Kuroda, Masashi Honda, Bunei Ando, Masanori Ohta and Masaharu Ikeda, 2008. The Effect of the Dried-Bonito Broth on Blood Pressure, 8-Hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), an Oxidative Stress Marker, and Emotional States in Elderly Subjects. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, [Online]. 43(3), 175–184. Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2016].

13. Juan Garrido-Maraver, Mario D. Cordero, Manuel Oropesa-Ávila, Alejandro Fernández Vega, Mario de la Mata, Ana Delgado Pavón, Manuel de Miguel, Carmen Pérez Calero, Marina Villanueva Paz, David Cotán, and José A. Sánchez-Alcázar, 2014. Coenzyme Q10 Therapy. Molecular Syndromology, [Online]. 5(3-4), 187–197. Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2016].

Published on 21 Nov 2016

Nutrients To Boost Your Immune System


Nutrients To Boost Your Immune System

The human immune system is a natural defense system that protects the body from attacks.

Without it, humans would prove helpless to even the simplest of infections.

The 3 Areas of Your Body’s Innate Immune System

The skin and mucosal membranes

The skin produces sebum which keeps its pH slightly acidic to control growth of organisms on the skin, while mucosal membranes release fluids such as saliva and mucus that protect against pathogenic micro-organisms.

Secreted soluble proteins

Our bodies secrete proteins and enzymes which attack microorganisms.


Our bodies contain white blood cells that destroy invasive organisms or “antigens” and rid the body of abnormal cells.

Adaptive Immune System

Our immune system recognizes different antigens and stores them into memory for faster fighting responses the next time the antigens invade. (1)

Nutrients to Boost Immune Function

A weaken immune system may increase our susceptibility to infections due to a lack in ability to recognize and neutralize invading organisms.

Therefore, lifestyle changes along with a proper diet with the right nutrients are essential for developing a strong immune system to enhance our overall quality of life.

And at the front of nutrition research today is the application of micronutrients which include minerals, vitamins and related co-factors in immune system support.

Vitamin A

Studies indicate that the administration of vitamin A in malnourished children helps protect against and reduce the death rate associated with measles. (2)

B Vitamins

Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to reduced white blood cell response and shrinkage of the critical immune system organ.

Vitamin B12 manages cell division and growth.

A lack of this vitamin may obstruct the growth of white blood cells. (3)

Vitamin E

This vitamin works with other antioxidants to enhance the activity of our white blood cells to neutralize free radicals without being harmed.

Supplementing your diet with this vitamin will generally improve an individual’s immune response. (4)


Supplemental zinc can help restore declining immunity.

The positive effects of zinc in adults however, have not been proven in children. (5)

Vitamin C

Studies show that vitamin C helps to increase the immune system cells’ response to cold and flu.

One study suggests that taking vitamin C supplement at the first sign of a cold can help to ward off the cold. (6)

Echinacea for Better Immune Function

A widely known immune-support herb, Echinacea exerts some direct antimicrobial action and primarily boosts immune cell activity as well as prevents bacterial enzymes from breaking down the body’s tissues.

Traditionally, herbalists viewed it as a source of blood purifier and an aid to fighting infections.

There are nine different species of Echinacea, though only Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida and Echinacea purpurea are widely used for medicinal purposes. (7)

Echinacea was the most widely used medicinal herb in America in 1895 for the treatment of various illnesses until it is replaced by antibiotics in the late 1920s.

Health Benefits of Echinacea

Echinacea increases the “non-specific” activity of the immune system.

This means it is capable of enhancing your body immune cells’ ability to fight against viruses, abnormal cells and bacteria.

Echinacea supports wound healing, reduces symptoms from virus attacks and speeds up your recovery.

Since it has anti-inflammatory properties, it may be used externally to treat inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

It may also improve your resistance against infectious conditions.

This herb can be used for the treatment of colds, flu, coughs, sore throat and other upper respiratory conditions.

Other uses include enlarged lymph glands, urinary tract infections and other minor infections. (8)

Want To Grow Your Own Echinacea?

Here is a wonderful video that will show you how it can be done. 🙂


1. NCBI. 2013. What are the organs of the immune system?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

2. Eduardo Villamor and Wafaie W. Fawzi, 2005. Effects of Vitamin A Supplementation on Immune Responses and Correlation with Clinical Outcomes. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, [Online]. 18(3), 446–464. Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

3. University of Maryland Medical Center/Steven D. Ehrlich. 2015. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

4. Pekmezci D, 2011. Vitamin E and immunity. Vitamins & Hormones Journal, [Online]. 86, 179-215. Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

5. Prasad AS, 2008. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Molecular Medicine, [Online]. 14(5-6), 353-7. Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

6. Douglas RM, Hemila H, D’Souza R, Chalker EB, Treacy B, 2004. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, [Online]. (4), CD000980. Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

7. Zili Zhai, Yi Liu, Lankun Wu, David S. Senchina, Eve S. Wurtele, Patricia A. Murphy, Marian L. Kohut and Joan E. Cunnick, 2007. Enhancement of Innate and Adaptive Immune Functions by Multiple Echinacea Species. Journal of Medicinal Food, [Online]. 10(3), 423–434. Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

8. RM Barry Publications. 2007. Natural Alternative Medicine. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].

Published on 15 Nov 2016

Nutrition For Infants, Toddlers And Pre-Schoolers


Nutrition For Infants, Toddlers And Pre-Schoolers

A fast-growing infant needs plenty of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, which are provided solely by breast milk or special infant formulas for the first few months. (1)

In fact, it has been recommended by WHO for infants to be breastfed exclusively for optimal growth, development and health for the first 6 months. (2)

Why Breast Milk?

Breast milk has many advantages over formulas, and most infant formulas are made to imitate breast milk.

The vitamins and minerals in breast milk are absorbed easily and disease-fighting substances are transferred to the infant from the mother through breast milk. (3)

About 50% of the calories from breast milk and infant formula comes from fat.

This high fat level may surprise some people, but infants need plenty of fat for proper growth.

The baby is developing its central nervous system, brain and eyes, and fats should not be restricted before age two. (4)

After 4 – 6 Months

From about 4 to 6 months of age, infants would have used up most of the iron stored from birth. (5)

Thus, they need to obtain iron from food.

Usually, iron-fortified rice cereal is started at this time. (6)

Next comes the slow introduction of semi-solid foods, working up to “table foods” towards the end of the first year.

This progression of foods helps babies develop oral and fine motor (coordination) skills. (7)

After 1 Year

After the first year of rapid growth, the growth rate in the childhood years (age 1 to 3) is relatively slow.

Brain growth is 75% complete by age 2 and almost 100% complete by the age of 5. (8)

Muscle and bone mass continues to increase throughout this time.

There are no outstanding nutritional needs for any one year because body size, body composition, activity level and rate of growth differs from child to child.

Hence, you can make use of growth charts provided by WHO to measure their child’s growth rate at different age. (9)

Inadequate calories, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients will be reflected in slow growth rates, inadequate bone formation, insufficient iron stores and anaemia.

The proper growth pattern for each child should be monitored by a doctor.

What About Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers?

Toddlers and preschoolers can eat the same food as the rest of the family, but in small amounts. They can always ask for more.

Toddlers and small children need about 2 cups of milk or yogurt each day, which can be provided in smaller servings. (10)


1. European Food Information Council. 2006. Child and adolescent nutrition. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

2. WHO. 2002. The World Health Organization’s infant feeding recommendation. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

3. WebMD/Nivin Todd, MD. 2014. Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

4. Camilia R. Martin, Pei-Ra Ling, and George L. Blackburn, 2016. Review of Infant Feeding: Key Features of Breast Milk and Infant Formula. Human Nutrition Journal from MDPI, [Online]. 8(5), 279. Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

5. CDC. 2001. Recommendations to Prevent and Control Iron Deficiency in the United States. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

6. Canadian Paediatric Society, 2007. Iron needs of babies and children. Paediatrics and Child Health, [Online]. 12(4), 333–334. Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

7. Food and Nutrition Service/USDA. A Guide for Use in the Child Nutrition Programs. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

8. BabyCenter. Your Child’s Growing Brain (ages 5 to 8). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

9. CDC. 2010. Growth Charts. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

10. KidsHealth/Mary L. Gavin, MD. 2015. Growth And Your 2-3 Year Old. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 9 November 2016].

Published on 9 Nov 2016