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Gut Health

  • Q1:
    How to improve oral health? I brush my teeth twice daily followed by mouthwash and even carry a breath freshener with me all the time but the problem still occur.
    First of all, you will need to know the root cause of your problem. Bad breath may arise from dry mouth, inflammation of the gum, poor oral healthcare, improper cleaning of dentures and in small percentages, from systemic disorders such as respiratory tract condition. Tooth decay or decaying food particles lodged between the teeth and indigestion can affect your breath while tobacco products and certain foods such as garlic and onion may also contribute to an unpleasant breath odour. Garlic, onion and other odourous foods are absorbed into the bloodstream and it is transferred into the lungs where it is expelled and odour will continue until the body eliminates the food. Visit your dentist to determine the cause of your bad breath problem and if it is due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to eliminate it. In addition to brushing, it is also important to clean between the teeth once a day using dental floss. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before using it. Avoid the use of alcohol-based mouthwashes as the alcohol dries the mouth and slows down saliva production that helps to keep mouth fresh. You are advised to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to help prevent dry mouth and fruit juices are also good. It helps stimulate saliva secretion that controls the multiplication of oral bacteria. Consume more fiber from fruits and vegetables to improve digestion and bowel movement. On top of that, probiotics (friendly bacteria) that contain Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria can help improve the digestive system and eradicate bad breath.
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  • Q2:
    I am trying to raise my 4-year-old daughter as a vegan. What sort of non-meat food should I include in her diet to ensure that she doesn't miss out on the nutrients vital for growth?
    Vegan refers to a vegetarian who does not consume foods of animal origin including eggs, dairy products and processed foods. Parents who want to raise their children on a vegan diet should consult a paediatrician/dietician first as there may be concerns about the nutritional status of the child. Children should get enough calories, protein, iron, calcium, zinc and vitamins. Sufficient sources of protein such as legumes, tofu and soymilk must be present in the diet for proper growth and development. Calcium is another important nutrient for healthy bones and teeth. Green leafy vegetables and fortified soy milk are some of the sources of calcium. However, the best sources are still animal products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. The daily requirement of calcium for a 4-year-old child is about 600mg/day and it is hard to get this amount from a vegan diet. Although these essential nutrients can be obtained from plant sources, it is still best to give your child a variety of foods including meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. A healthy, varied diet will provide a sound nutritional base which is critical in the formative years. It will be beneficial to incorporate organic spirulina in your childís diet. Organic spirulina is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Apart from that, supplementation with probiotics specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 combined with prebiotic, chicory inulin help improve gut health and immune system. A healthy gut will promote better absorption of nutrients and ultimately better growth and protection against infections.
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  • Q3:
    I have been told that babies don't need to drink a lot of water. But, exactly, how much of water do they need to drink in a day?
    For the first six months of life, babies need only breast milk or infant formula and they generally do not need extra water. Babiesí water needs are met from consuming breast milk, infant formula and complementary foods. Breast milk contains sufficient amount of fatty acids, lactose, water and amino acids for digestion, brain development and growth. It is advisable not to give more than 4 ounces of extra water per day during the first six months of life. Too much water fills a baby up and may interfere with breastfeeding which can lead to a diminished milk supply. Moreover, breastfed or formula-fed babies who are given excessive amounts of water will not receive adequate calories to meet their needs for growth and development as well as it may cause water intoxication. Additional water is required once your baby starts eating solid foods. With the introduction of solid foods, you can give your baby 4-8 ounces of water per day. Babies may also need extra water during hot weather and when they are ill. Apart from milk, water and solid foods, you may give probiotics (friendly bacteria) particularly Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis to your baby. Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis promote the growth of good bacteria in the infantís intestinal tract, establish a healthy bacterial balance and thus strengthen your babyís immune system. Lactobacillus reuteri supplementation is completely safe for babies as proven by numerous scientific studies.
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  • Q4:
    What is a probiotic?
    According to WHO guidelines, probiotics are defined as live cultures administered in adequate amounts to confer health benefits on the host. Lactobacillus acidophillus or Bifidobacterium lactis are both classified to the species level, not as strains. Clinically proven strains are those such as Lactobacillus acidophillus LA-5 & Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 in BiO-LiFE A.B Pre & Pro for improving immunity and bowel movements in children, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 & Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 in BiO-LiFE Pro-UTIx for women urogenital infections and Lactobacillus acidophillus NCFM in BiO-LiFE Advanced Multiblend Probiotix for gastrointestinal problems.
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  • Q5:
    Is it true that refrigeration is important to ensure the optimal potency of probiotics?
    Yes, refrigeration creates an ambient condition of low temperature and humidity which is critical for the survival of cells.
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  • Q6:
    I am Peter from Malacca. I am not sure if it is due to food contaminations, but whenever I travel for work, I tend to suffer from diarrhoea during these trips.
    You might be suffering from travellerís diarrhoea. It affects about 20-50% of travellers and the most common source of exposure to disease-causing microorganisms is ingestion of contaminated drinking water and food. This will disrupt the gut microflora balance, resulting in an increased frequency of bowel movement accompanied by abdominal cramps, nausea and fever. The onset of travellerís diarrhoea is usually within the first week of travel but can occur at any time during the trip or after returning home. You can reduce the risk of travellerís diarrhoea by practising good hygiene and take preventive measures while travelling. Drink bottled water that is in sealed, tamper-proof container instead of self-prepared beverages at restaurants. Well cooked and packaged foods are usually safe but avoid eating raw or undercooked meat. A more sensible way would be to maintain a healthy gut. Scientific studies have demonstrated that probiotics may prevent gastrointestinal problems. During the onset of travellerís diarrhoea, probiotics help to reduce symptoms and improve the condition by replenishing friendly bacteria in the gut. For those taking antibiotics, the use of probiotics helps restore the gut microflora balance. Thus, you may consider carrying probiotics along when you travel the next time. Choose one with the right strain (Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM) that has been clinically proven and refrigerate for maximum potency.
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  • Q7:
    My husband is tested positive for Helicobacter pylori. Is it vital to treat it as he does not have any abdominal discomfort?
    H. pylori infection is a condition that occurs when the bacterium, Helicobacter pylori thrives in the stomach or the first part of small intestine, duodenum. This infection can cause chronic gastritis and lead to peptic ulcer disease by damaging the protective mucous lining of the stomach and duodenum. Therefore, adequate therapy for patients with H. pylori is important in the treatment and prevention of peptic ulcers. The primary goal of therapy for H. pylori infection is to eradicate or destroy the bacterium and antibiotics are usually prescribed for this reason. Apart from prescribed antibiotics, current researches also suggest that probiotics (friendly bacteria) particularly Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis (ATCC 55730) may be included as part of the standard therapy for H.pylori infection. Besides replenishing the gut microfora balance after an antibiotic treatment, Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis also reduces the bacterial load of H.pylori and the occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal distention. Frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables appears to protect against infection with H.pylori. In contrast, contaminated food and poor sanitary conditions may increase the risk of infection. Thus, individuals with H.pylori infection must practice good personal hygiene and consume food that is prepared in a clean and hygienic environment. Home-cooked food is the ideal choice for meals.
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