Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Prevent Diabetes?


Diabetes is a complex, serious, costly and increasingly common disease.

"In Singapore, one out of 9 people aged 18 to 69 has diabetes. That’s about 11.3% of our population or more than 400,000 people!
Diabetes is the fifth most common medical condition diagnosed and one of the six top killer diseases in the country.
Diabetes is a chronic disease and, if not managed well, can deteriorate steadily to cause devastating complications such as blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure, heart disease and limb amputation. Studies show that about half of patients already have diabetes-related complications at the time of diagnosis."
The above statistic's reference:

To understand the complexity of diabetes, we must first learn how the body processes food. 

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) that the body uses for energy. 

  • The pancreas, an organ which lies near the stomach, produces a hormone called insulin. 

  • Operating much like a key, insulin opens up each individual cell's door, letting in glucose.  After the cells receive this sugar, energy is produced.
  • Diabetes is a condition where the body makes little or no insulin, or does not properly use the insulin it does produce. 
  • Thus, when the sugars are unable to enter the cells, they begin to build up in the blood becoming very harmful to the body.

Diabetes can adversely affect nearly every organ system. 

Complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease, amputation, dental disease and difficulties with pregnancy. 

And people with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses - studies have found that diabetics are more likely to die of pneumonia or influenza tha people who do not have this disease.

There are 3 types of diabetes:

1) Gestational Diabetes - is a form of glucose intolerance that is diagnosed in some pregnant women: the cause is unknown. 

  • During pregnancy, some forms of treatment are required to normalize maternal blood glucose level to avoid complications with the infant. 
  • Immediately following pregnancy, 5-10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to develop type 2 diabetes. 
  • Women with gestational diabetes who do not develop type 2 diabetes immediately after delivery have a 20-50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes during the following 5-10 years.

2) Type 1 Diabetes accounts for about 5% of all diagnosed causes of diabetes. 

  • It's a form of auto immune disease, usually strikes children and young adults. 
  • Causes are complex, cells within the pancreas are destroyed and eventually insulin is no longer produced.
  • The patients need to take insulin injection a day to survive.

3) Type 2 Diabetes the most common form, accounting for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Causes are due to:
1. Overweight
2. Older Age
3. Family-history of diabetes
4. prior history of gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)
5. Impaired glucose intolerance
6. Physical inactivity
7. Race/ ethnicity

How to Prevent Diabetes

While people diabetes can take insulin to keep blood glucose levels close to the normal, preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in the first place is EVEN BETTER.

There are some precautions that can be taken to lower the risk of developing diabetes.

1. Following a nutritious diet - must learn how specific foods affect their blood sugar level and what foods they should avoid in order to achieve a healthy balance.

Should diabetics just avoid foods that taste sweet? 

The answer is NO. The sweetness is not a good indication of its sugar content. Even bland foods break down into sugars once they are digested.

There are several types of sugars, including sucrose (cane sugar or table sugar), lactose (found in dairy products), glucose and fructose (occurring naturally in sweet fruits and honey) and maltose (malt sugar). Most of the food we eat is converted to glucose to provide the body with energy.

Diabetics should compare the Glycemic Index (GI) of food to know which foods are beneficial for them. 

GI is the rate at which sugar levels increase in the blood. 

For eg. glucose has a GI of 100 because when we eat glucose, it raises our blood sugar level right away. 

Most foods eventually turn into glucose. But if eat rice or bread for instance, it takes longer for the body's system to turn into sugar and thus raise the blood sugar level.

The lower the GI, the more ideal the food is as a source of nutrition for diabetics.

Below is a list of foods and their GI as a useful reference for diabetics when selecting the appropriate foods.

You can also refer to the below for GI of some Chinese Food:

The glycemic index of Chinese food chart1

2. Consistent exercise program and losing excessive weight. 

According to the Diabetes Prevention Program which studied 3234 people who were at high risk for diabetes and have participated in a moderate diet and exercise program, the results were a 5-7% weight loss which delayed or prevented type 2 diabetes by 58%.

For more info, can WA/ SMS me. 

Thanks and regards,
Nutritional Immunology Consultant

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Superfood Cactus


Cactus is an amazingly strong plant that can survive in the harsh desert. 

  • Rich in phytochemicals - more than 10,000 different types of phytochemicals 
  • Nourish immune system to prevent diseases 
  • Anti-infllammatory - Speed up wound healing, inhabit arthritic inflammation 
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-cancer - prevent cancer-causing hormones from attaching to normal cells
  • Contain flavonoids - protect neurons against oxidative injury
  • Reduce oxidative damage and liver and kidney toxicity as a result of a toxin from foodstuffs
  • Enhance phagocytic activity - better cleansing in the body 
  • Rich in nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. 
  • Decrease cholesterol and triglycerides levels - prevent hardening of blood vessel and therefore prevent stroke
  • Regulate blood sugar level, stabilise diabetics' glucose level
  • Cell repair and cell renewal
  • Improve skin condition - speed up collagen formation 

As a convenience, 

A popular Wholesome Food product from E.Excel, Millennium has been used widely by many people to get the Cactus Superfood for decades! 
  • Ingredients: Cactus
  • Come in Liquid and Powder form

1. Millennium Liquid (new packaging)

2. Millennium Powder Beverage: 

Another wholesome food product Oxyginberry contains Cactus ingredient too!

What is Oxyginberry?

Why I used Millennium for my daughter?
Why Pregnant lady Choose Millennium and Oxyginberry for nourishment?

Why I choose E.Excel Wholesome Food series?

How you can prepare E.Excel Millennium Powder for your baby or yourself?

Baby drinking Millennium Water:

Who else benefit from E.Excel Millennium?

If you have any enquiries related to the above, please feel free to contact/ Whatsapp me at +65-9090 9942. 

Together, we achieve a healthier immune system! 


Ginseng Berry

Ginseng Berry

Ancient people believed that the ginseng root to have supernatural powers. That's why many of our parents make ginseng root in capsule form or drink for us. Do you know that ginseng plant bears ginseng berries and the ginseng berries are higher in nutritional value than the root??

Ginseng berry has the ability to increase strength, regulate blood pressure, increase metabolism, stim
ulate the function of the endocrine glands and fight fatigue. It enhances our brain concentration by increasing blood supply to the brain. Hence, it is very helpful for improving learning ability and work performance.

It can also slow down ageing. Skin becomes moisturized and supple when ginseng berry extract is applied.

Ginseng berry extract is effective in treating diabetes and obesity. Many clinical studies show that ginseng berry can slow down digestion, and lower the absorption rate of carbohydrates, thus helping to lose weight.

Ginsenosides, the nutrients in ginseng, can be found in many parts of the plant including the root, leaf and berry. But different parts of the plant have different pharmacological activities. Ginsenoside Re, which is found in ginseng berry is a potent anti-diabetic.

In Conclusion, Benefits of Ginseng Berry

 - Increases physical stamina
- Increases blood supply to the brain - stimulates mental activity, improves accuracy of work, enhances concentration
- Enhances blood flow
- Slows down degeneration of cells in the human body
- Increases stress resistance
- Calms the nerves
- Increases metabolism
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps stimulate function of the endocrine glands
- Decreases blood sugar level
- Fights fatigue

Ginseng berry extract shows promise for diabetes, obesity.

"Ginseng berry has a distinctive chemical profile and has not previously been used for therapy," said Chun-Su Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of anesthesia and critical care at the University of Chicago and director of the study. "We were stunned by how different the berry is from the root and by how effective it is in correcting the multiple metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes."


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Should we use probiotics on our babies?

1. Why do we need good bacteria in our body?

Trillions of microorganism including at least 1000 species of bacteria live in the human intestines. 

We need good bacteria as good bacteria:

  • helps body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine cannot digest 
  • ferments dietary fiber into short chain fatty acids 
  • helps with the production of vitamin B and K
  • crowds out harmful bacteria by competing with them for nutrition and preventing their attachment to and entry into epithelial cells
  • helps to strengthen the immune system:

Scientists infected 2 groups of mice with viral germs. 

The first group had normal gut bacteria. The second group did not have gut bacteria because they were treated with antibiotics or bred under sterile conditions. 
Compared to the first group, the second group's immune response was greatly reduced and the disease took a more severe course in them.

Recent research has revealed that butyrate, a byproduct of the digestion of dietary fiber by gut microbiota, boost the immune system by inducing the production of regulatory T cells in the gut. 

2. Is there any Relationship between intestinal bacteria and heart diseases?

Yes, if our diet is on meat-based, the gut bacteria will produce a sticky compound which can clog our arteries and leads to heart disease. 

The sticky compound is called TMAO. 

What is TMAO - called trimethylamine-N-oxide? Click below to understand more.

Measuring TMAO level in blood may serve as an accurate screening tool for predicting future risks of heart attacks, stroke and death. According to the findings of a study involving about 4000 subjects over 3 year period, higher levels of TMAO in the blood were associated with a higher risk of death and non-fatal heart attack or stroke. 

3. Why Probiotics are being introduced?

Probiotics in the form of dietary supplements (capsules, powder, tablets), in dairy products (cultured milk drink, yoghurts) are available in the market.

Common probiotic bacteria added are: 
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus, 
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus, 
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum 

Probiotics may help in short run for diarrhea, stomach upset after antibiotics use
because they crowd out the bad bacteria. 

***However, experts caution that more research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of long term use of probiotics. 

4. What are the safety concerns involved by using probiotics supplements or drink?

Probiotics supplements may not be effective (or for long term solution) as
  • Number of bacteria strains from the probiotics supplements is not enough. 
  • Good bacteria varies from people to people 
  • Probiotics are quickly flushed out of GI tract when one stops consuming them, hence continued intake is required (leading to dependancy). 

FDA have not approved any health claims for probiotics 

They are NOT suitable for:

  • People with inflamed pancreas cannot use probiotics
  • Children more easily get allergy, causing problems such as breathing difficulties, hives, vomiting, diarrhea and coughing by long term consumption of probiotics
  • People using corticosteroid, chemotherapy, organ transplant, AIDS, cannot use probiotics
  • People with weak immune system, for example the young, elderly, those with weakened immune system are not suitable to use probiotics, they should seek advice from a health care provider before using probiotics, as they may induce potentially fatal conditions. 
  • Note that the probiotics used in many probiotics drinks in the market - require milk /dairy products as a medium to grow. They will produce TMAO in our body when they are in our body and may lead to cardiovascular diseases for long term intake. 
  • More information from:

5. What are the natural approach to ensure sufficient good bacteria?

Good bacteria are supposed to grow on their own naturally when the intestinal environment is healthy. 

We don't have to replenish them by our own.

Based on different diets, each person's digestive system requires different types of good bacteria to digest the food.

For eg, people from Sichuan (eat spicy food) and shanghai (eat sweet food) have different types of good bacteria. If we supplement probiotics using outer source, we may not know which type of good bacteria our intestine requires.

In conclusion, change your diet to more fruits and vegetable to ensure healthy intestinal environment, so to let your intestine grow the good bacteria on its own. 
- no side effects 
- no reliance issue 

6. Plant foods for a healthy gut: 

1. Psyllium Husk 

2. Oat

3. Soy bean 

4. Fruits 

It's never too late to change our diet. 

If you are a parent and considering giving your children probiotics supplements but worry about possible safety concerns, you can now have a more natural approach: 

Charge your children's diet with above plant foods for a healthy gut. =) 

According to a Harvard study, following a change from an animal-based diet to a plant based diet, the gut bacteria composition in the body actually changes within a day! 

7. My solution to maintain a healthy gut of my 2 children is: 

Nutrifresh - a convenient wholesome freeze-dried food made of organic and non-GMO soy bean, and 15 different types of organic fruits and vegetables. 

  • Free of preservatives
  • Free of artificial colouring 
  • Awarded Food Safety Excellence Award by Singapore AVA for consecutively 12 years since 2004

More info about NUTRIFRESH:

If you wish to find out healthy food suitable for a child's gut, kindly contact me via message/ email. 

Warmest Regards 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Toxic Truth about Vitamin Supplements

Read an article about vitamin supplements - would like to share with all here.


The toxic truth about vitamin supplements: How health pills millions take with barely a second thought can do more harm than good
By Lynne Wallis

Four years ago, I began taking the much promoted glucosamine supplement after hurting my knee in a skiing accident.
Glucosamine is made from shellfish and is widely believed to promote joint health - the theory is that it speeds up the production of the protein needed to grow and maintain healthy cartilage.
Although there's no clinical evidence of its effectiveness, my GP said it might help rebuild the damaged cartilage and improve my joint strength. I didn't hesitate, and immediately started taking the recommended dose, 1,500 mg a day.

Toxic tablet: Headaches, diarrhoea and a flagging libido can be side effects of taking some vitamin supplements
Toxic tablet: Headaches, diarrhoea and a flagging libido can be side effects of taking some vitamin supplements
Not long after, I found I needed to go to the lavatory far too often - sometimes more than five times a day. I had abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas and my stools were dark and tarry. I self- diagnosed IBS.
My GP prescribed drugs to relax the bowel muscles, but they didn't help. Then, early last year, I ran out of glucosamine and didn't restock. My knee was better and I was taking fish oils, which were being promoted as the new miracle supplement for joints.
Within a few days, my bowels returned to normal and remained so until, after another ski accident damaging the same knee in March this year, I began taking glucosamine again.
Within a week my 'IBS' had returned and I made the link. I researched glucosamine and found that side-effects include diarrhoea and loose stools. I stopped again and, hey presto, everything's back to normal.
Sales of health supplements have soared in recent years, with 40 per cent of Britons taking them. It's such a huge market that manufacturers spend around £40 million a year just telling us about their products. 

As supplements are either made from natural substances or mimic substances produced by our bodies, many people, like me, assume they cannot do any harm.
But we're wrong, say health professionals. They point out that the health supplement industry is unregulated, which means manufacturers are not required to list potential side-effects - nor do their products have to go through costly clinical trials.
There are a handful of exceptions, such as folic acid, which is recommended for women trying to conceive. If you take a tablet of 400 micrograms (mcg) strength to help with conception, it is classed as a food.
But increase the dose to 5 mg (to treat anaemia and other conditions) and it becomes a medicine, requiring a licence. Otherwise, there are no checks and balances to protect consumers. And this worries experts.
'Health supplements can produce ill effects,' warns Anna Raymond, from the British Dietetic Association.
'People take supplements randomly, but they can be toxic if taken with some medicines or in high quantities.'

Needless habit: Experts say it's better to have a healthy diet than take supplements
Indeed, glucosamine has been linked to the death of one man. In 2004, Norman Ferrie, a 64-year-old engineer from Dundee, died of liver failure within weeks of taking the supplement.
'The liver had been normal and something had attacked it,' gastroenterologist Dr John Dillon, of Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, told the inquest in 2008. He said there had been two other cases involving extreme reactions to the widely used supplement.
'Increasingly, people are being taken in by the prospect of a magic pill that will make them healthy,' says Dr Dillon. 'Most people don't know that glucosamine and other supplements are only licensed as a food, but are sold as a medicine.
'It would seem fair to ask manufacturers of supplements to list serious risks.
'Everything we need can be got from a healthy diet. The vast majority of health supplements are a waste of money. People feel fluey and start taking supplements they don't need. They could end up with hypervitaminosis, caused by excessive amounts of supplements.'
This can lead to vomiting, lethargy and even renal failure. 'The only time a person should take a supplement is if a doctor recommends it,' adds Dr Dillon.
But even taking supplements on doctors' recommendations is not risk free. Last month, it was reported that taking calcium supplements - often prescribed for osteoporosis - could raise the risk of heart attacks by 30 per cent.
And it's not just the main ingredient than causes problems. Another risk is having an allergy to one of the constituents of a tablet, such as a binding agent or the gel coating, says nutritionist Dr Carrie Buxton, from the Health Supplement Information Service.
Despite the concerns, the Food Standards Agency says legislation on supplements is adequate. So, what can you do to ensure your safety?
Dietitian Anna Raymond advises anyone who starts taking supplements should tell their GP. And here we identify some of the supplements with potentially negative effects you won't find listed on the packet.
WHAT IT IS: The supplement, which is made from crab and lobster shells (so should be avoided if you have a seafood allergy), is often taken to ease the symptoms of arthritis.
POTENTIAL SIDE-EFFECTS: According to the Arthritis Research Campaign, these can include stomach upset, constipation, diarrhoea, headache and rash; glucosamine can also react with anti-diabetic treatments by increasing blood sugar levels.
The UK Commission on Human Medicines has noted that glucosamine has a negative interaction with the blood-thinning drug warfarin and warns against taking these substances simultaneously.
The supplement might also cause water retention, as it attracts water.
WHAT IT IS: This supplement is made from a seaweed which is the fastest-growing marine algae in the world - it can grow two feet in one day and is most abundant off the north California coast.
Kelp is a rich source of several minerals and trace elements, including iodine - deficiency of which can lead to an underactive thyroid. It is marketed as a treatment for thyroid imbalance, caused by the thyroid gland producing either too much or too little of the hormone.
POTENTIAL SIDE-EFFECTS: Despite the claims made for it, studies have linked kelp to an increased risk of thyroid dysfunction. It's also a blood thinner and shouldn't be taken with aspirin or any medicine to lower blood pressure.
There's also concern that some kelp is being harvested from kelp 'forests' in polluted oceans, which means it could be toxic. In 2007, research at the University of California found high levels of arsenic in eight out of nine kelp supplements. Arsenic is linked to hair loss, headaches, confusion and drowsiness.
WHAT IT IS: Maintaining an adequate potassium level is important for bone health and the proper functioning of the body. Potassium supplements are often taken to help combat insulin resistance, arthritis and menopausal symptoms such as fatigue and mood swings.
POTENTIAL SIDE-EFFECTS: Taken in very high doses as a supplement, potassium can have serious side-effects such as arrhythmia (faulty heartbeat) - and it can even be fatal.
Research at Oregon State University has also linked it to muscle weakness, confusion, stomach pain and numbness or tingling in the hands, feet or mouth.
Potassium supplements react badly with some medicines, and shouldn't be taken by anyone suffering from kidney or heart disease, severe dehydration or high blood pressure.
Older people who often have too much potassium in their bodies should avoid these supplements - kidneys are less efficient at eliminating potassium as we age.
WHAT IT IS: Natural melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland in the brain and helps to regulate sleep.
Supplements can control our sleep/ wake cycles and are used to treat sleep disorders. British manufacturers make medical claims about its sleep benefits, so here it is licensed as a prescription- only medicine - however it is freely available in the
U.S. POTENTIAL SIDE-EFFECTS: These include raised blood pressure, vivid dreams, headache, lower body temperature, fatigue, depression, decreased libido and reduced fertility.
A daily dose of 1- 3 mg of melatonin increases the body's levels of melatonin by 20 times the normal amount. The British Pharmaceutical Society says that studies on its effectiveness to treat jet-lag have been conflicting.
WHAT IT IS: Calcium is an essential mineral for the growth and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth and for blood clotting, muscle contraction, healthy nerves and good hormone function. It is usually taken by women to boost bone health.
POTENTIAL SIDE-EFFECTS: Research published last month by Auckland and Aberdeen universities reflected other studies in finding a 30 per cent increased risk of heart attack among women taking calcium supplements - most women taking them are postmenopausal and concerned about osteoporosis.
This increase is due to the risk of calcium supplements accelerating the hardening of blood vessels. Doctors involved with a 2008 New Zealand study advise women of 70 or older not to take calcium supplements.

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