December 2020 | Eurobio


Have you ever been bothered by the darkening of your skin tone after one beach holiday getaway? Or get frustrated when you notice some unexplained patches of your skin that are darker than the other parts of your body?

Dull skin, pigmentation, dark spots, uneven skin tone are challenges for a glowing skin. Darkening of the skin makes you look older and tired.

Uneven skin tone can be temporary or permanent, and may result from sun exposure, ageing, hormonal changes or scarring. Too much of sun exposure causes excess melanin production. The harmful UV light damages the skin and causes brown spots and uneven skin tone. Hormonal changes also often cause hyperpigmentation in the body andthis may occur during pregnancy, stress or ageing. Acne lesions or skin injury can cause scarring of the skin resulting in uneven skin tone.

We can adopt a few beneficial habits in our daily routine to achieve a healthy-looking glowing skin, such as:

  • Put on sunscreen
  • Drink enough water every day
  • Shield ourselves under the sun
  • Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. Nutrients in fruits and vegetables such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, antioxidants and flavonoids are beneficial to skin health

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What is diarrhea? 

Diarrhea is defined as passing loose or watery stools three or more times a day. It is a common problem and it happens to most people a few times each year, including children and adults. Diarrhea may be present alone or be associated with other symptoms. They might experience symptoms such as abdominal pain or cramps, bloating and nausea.  Other side effects are fever and effect of the urgency to have a bowel movement.  In most cases, diarrhea does not usually cause much concern as it will usually be resolved after a day or two. However, diarrhea that lasts for a few days or even a week or so usually indicates that there is another problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), persistent infection diarrhea or even inflammatory bowel disease.  

There are three types of diarrhea: 

  • acute watery diarrhea, usually lasts for several hours or days 
  • acute bloody diarrhea , also called dysentery 
  • persistent diarrhea , lasts for 14 days or longer 

Causes of diarrhea 

Diarrhea can happen for a wide variety of reasons. The most common causes of diarrhea include: 

  • Viruses. Rotavirus is a common cause of acute childhood diarrhea 
  • Bacteria and parasites. Accidental consumption of contaminated food or water with E. coli will cause diarrhea 
  • Travelers’ diarrhea. Travelling to places with poor hygienic condition will increase your risk of developing traveler’s diarrhea  
  • Medication. Some medication, such as antibiotics that disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the gut will lead to diarrhea 
  • Lactose intolerance. People who have difficulty digesting lactose have diarrhea after eating dairy products 
  • Other problems with the gut. Disease such as irritable bowel syndrome may cause Inflammation of the gut lining and cause diarrhea 

Treatment of diarrhea 

Although most cases of diarrhea will recover on its own, dehydration is the most severe threat pose by diarrhea. Dehydration can be life-threatening if untreated, and it is particularly dangerous in babies, children, older adults and those with weakened immune system. Replacing the fluids and salts lost after diarrhea episodes is important to prevent dehydration. People experiencing diarrhea will also lost their appetite for a short period of time, therefore it is important to replenish with nutrient rich food as well.  

One particular interest is the effect of probiotics in the management of diarrhea. Many people start to consume probiotics whenever they had an episode of diarrhea. Some even incorporate probiotic supplements or probiotic foods such as yogurt in their everyday diet.  

What exactly is probiotics and what is the role of probiotics in the management of diarrhea? 

People often think that bacteria as harmful germs.  On the contrary, many are actually helpful. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that naturally live in our body. They are important and have many health benefits when consumed. Probiotics may contain a variety of microorganisms, and the most common ones are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.  

Diarrhea can throw the microorganisms in your gut off balance. Probiotics have shown that it can play a role in preventing and treating diarrhea. Different probiotic strains have different health effect.  Generally, they help to maintain a healthy community of microorganism in our body, reestablish the gastrointestinal beneficial micro flora and play a role in our immune system. Because probiotics already exists in our body, probiotic food and supplements are generally considered safe. 

Diarrhea in children 

Children with diarrhea are at risk of dehydration, especially in young children or in those with weakened immune system. Several studies show how probiotics can help with diarrhea in children. These studies mainly focus on the use of probiotics in children to improve the treatment of diarrhea, mainly to shorten the duration or preventing its complication.  

There are many probiotic strains used in those studies, Lactobacillus rhamnosus gg and Lactobacillus acidophilus to name a few. Randomized controlled trials have shown that using probiotics in the treatment of acute watery diarrhea primary caused by rotavirus help to shorten the duration of diarrhea and reduce the volume of watery stool output, in other words it made the diarrhea go away faster. These finding also suggest that probiotics may reduce the risk of spreading rotavirus infection, which is a common cause of acute childhood diarrhea. Another study also portray that the duration of childhood diarrhea was shorter in those given probiotics as compared to those given only oral rehydration salts.  

Antibiotic associated diarrhea 

During an infection, bad bacteria enter our body and increase in number. While antibiotics are commonly used to treat these infections, diarrhea is a common side effect from the use of antibiotics. It happens when antibiotics disturb the natural balance of bacteria in your gut, killing off the good and the bad bacteria. Antibiotic associated diarrhea usually begins after a week of antibiotic treatment.  

Probiotics help to normalize a disrupted gut microorganism and restore the balance in our gut and are able to exert protective effect on preventing antibiotic associated diarrhea, as well as helping with the cramping and gas. 

Traveler’s diarrhea 

Traveler’s diarrhea is the most predictable travel-related illness, depending on the destination and season of travel. It happens when you visit a place where the climate or sanitary practices are different from yours at home. Traveling also exposes us to many types of microorganisms that are not typically introduced to our digestive system, which can also cause diarrhea. All these will knock our gastrointestinal microorganisms out of balance. 

By using probiotics, studies showed that they are safe and effective for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea, as estimated more than 80% of cases were prevented by probiotics. Furthermore, taking probiotics during travel also significantly reduce the risk of developing traveler’s diarrhea.  

How to reduce the risk of diarrhea 

The most important way to avoid diarrhea is to avoid coming into contact with infectious agents that can cause it. This means that good hand washing and hygiene are very important. We should also take a few precaution measures such as: 

  • Drink only bottled water, especially during travel 
  • Avoid eating food from unhygienic street vendors 
  • Ensure all food that you eat are fully cooked and piping hot 
  • Eat only fruits that can be peeled and vegetables that are fully cooked 
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or seafood, especially if you have a sensitive stomach 
  • Always wash your hands with soap and clean water 

Probiotics are generally safe and offers an alternative in the prevention and treatment of different types of diarrhea. Ensure that you always keep your gut healthy. 


  1. Lynne V. McFarland (2007). Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. , 5(2), 97–105. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2005.10.003
  2. Guandalini, Stefano (2008). Probiotics for Children With Diarrhea. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 42(Supplement 2), S53–S57.  doi:10.1097/mcg.0b013e3181674087      

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We often hear that good posture is important for our health, and start to correct others if we notice someone with a bad posture resulting from long term habits. But many do not know how bad postures will impact our long-term health.

Common effects of bad posture:

  • Headache, back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Poor digestion
  • Poor circulation
  • Misaligned spine

Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Having a good posture is more than just looking good.  Good posture helps us to carry out daily movements including standing in a queue, walking to work, sitting on your office chair and even lying down on your bed while placing the least strain on our muscles and nerves. By doing this:

  • Muscles can work more efficiently, preventing muscle strain, muscle fatigue and even muscular pain
  • Reduce stress on spinal joints and nerves, and minimizing the likelihood of injury
  • Reduce the wear and tear of joint surfaces, especially during movement and weight-bearing exercises

Common bad posture habits include:

  • Slouching in a chair
  • Standing with a flat back
  • Hunching your shoulders
  • Leaning on one leg
  • Looking down and gazing downwards on your phone for long hours
  • Holding and answering your phone between your ear and your neck

There are a few ways to improve your posture, such as:

  • Be mindful of your posture during everyday activities
  • Switch positions while sitting
  • Do gentle stretching exercise to help relieve muscle tension
  • Do not cross your legs while sitting
  • Stand straight, keep your shoulders back and feet apart while standing
  • Lift heavy objects with an upright posture and bending at the knees and hips

We need to make sure that we hold our body the right way, whether moving or still, to prevent unnecessary pain and injuries. With a good posture, not only we will look better, we will feel better as well.

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Processed foods are foods that have been altered in some ways before we eat them.  Not all processed foods are unhealthy as some foods are fortified to add nutrients while some needs processing to make them safer, such as milk that needs to be pasteurized to remove harmful bacteria. However, most processed foods contain high levels of sugar, salt, fats and preservatives to improve the taste, to extend the shelf life or to contribute to the food structure. Examples of processed foods are:

  • Canned food such as tinned vegetables, baked beans etc.
  • Meat products such as bacon, sausages, ham etc.
  • Snacks such as potato chips, cookies and cakes
  • Microwaveable meals or ready meals
  • Drinks such as sugary drinks and soft drinks

Processed foods are always being stated as one of the main contributors of obesity and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases. This is because people may not be aware of what is added and also the amount added to the food they are buying and eating, which can lead to excessive intake of sugar, salt and fat. As we all know, consuming large amount of sugars, salt and fats are bad for our health as they contribute to long term diseases such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

There is no doubt that at least some processed foods are found in most people’s kitchens, as they can be a time-saver when preparing meals. In addition, the extra ingredients in processed foods make it more flavorful which enhances the eating experience.  The question is how can we eat processed food as part of our healthy diet?

There are many ways that we can do to reduce the amount of processed food that we consume:

  • Read before you buy. Reading the nutrition labels can help us to identify and choose the right type of processed products and keep a check on the sugar, salt and fat content.
  • Opt for minimally processed meats. Avoid highly processed meat products such as bacon, ham and sausage.
  • Snack smarter. Think of crunchy nuts and seeds or even easy homemade popcorn when craving kicks in. They are healthier than that bag of chips.
  • Make smart choices when eating out. Select foods that are cooked to order and reduce the consumption of sauces and dressings.
  • Cook more meals at home. By doing this we can control the ingredients that we used.

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Having a meal is not a difficult task for most people, but the question is what to eat?

A healthy diet is important to supply nutrients required by the body and helps to reduce the risk of diseases.  The Malaysian Food Pyramid and the Malaysian Healthy Plate can serve as a helpful guide to achieve a well-balanced diet in your everyday life.

The Malaysian Food Pyramid categorizes food into different groups and the recommended total daily intakes. There are 3 basic tips when planning our meals using the food pyramid:

  • Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables; meat, beans in moderation and less fat, salt and sugar
  • Eat the right amounts according to the recommended servings in each group
  • Eat a variety of foods throughout the day

The Malaysian Healthy plate translates the message of the food pyramid into your daily meals and shows the proportions of food groups to be eaten for one meal:

  • ¼ of the plate consists of rice, noodles, breads, cereals, cereal products or tubers
  • ¼ of the plate consists of fish, poultry, meat or legumes. Choose more lean cuts and choose more plant-based proteins
  • ½ of the plate consists of various fruits and vegetables

While eating out is convenient, these foods are generally higher in calories, salt and sugars than home-cooked food. However, we can still opt for healthier choices such as:

  • Choose healthier cooking methods such as boiled and baked food instead of fried foods
  • Ask for more vegetables and fruits
  • Choose plain water instead of sugary drinks
  • Share your meal to prevent excessive eating
  • Supplement with vitamins and minerals

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Menopause is a natural biological process, which is defined as a complete year without menstrual bleeding for 12 consecutive months. Menopause is a natural part of ageing, and will be experienced by all women normally between 45-55 years of age.  During menopause, the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and this marks the end of the reproductive years of a women’s life.

There are three stages or transition phases of menopause, which include perimenopause (when the body hormones begin to change before menopause, menstrual periods become irregular, menstrual flow may become heavier or lighter); menopause (refers to 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period); and post-menopause (refers to the years after the last period, when the symptoms begin to subside).

The symptoms of menopause can last for several years.Some women have no trouble during the menopausal transition. For others, menopausal symptoms can be severe and affect their daily activities as the symptoms may disrupt their quality sleep, lower their energy levels and affect their emotional health. Menopausal symptoms are different for every woman but the common menopausal symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods e.g. periods that are shorter, longer, lighter or heavier than usual
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual activity
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Mood swings

Besides the reproductive function, estrogen also plays a role in keeping the cholesterol in control, slowing the natural break down of bones and regulating heart health. Therefore, it is very important for post-menopausal women to change their eating habits and get more physical activity as they are more vulnerable to heart diseases and osteoporosis.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that consists enough vitamins and minerals, especially calcium
  • Increase physical activities especially weight bearing exercises to strengthen the bones
  • Maintain a healthy weight and stay fit
  • Undergo regular checkups to keep an eye on cholesterol level and blood pressure
  • Cut down on daily coffee intake to reduce the consumption of caffeine

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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that begins in the urinary system. The urinary system is composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Any of these organs can become infected, but most infections involve the urethra and the bladder. UTI typically occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and begin to multiply.


Women are most at risk of developing a UTI, and many women experience more than one infection during their lifetimes. Risk factors specific to women for UTIs include:

  • Female anatomy. Woman has a shorter urethra than man. This shortens the distance for bacteria to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause infections.
  • Menopause. After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more vulnerable to infection.

Symptoms of UTI typically involve lower abdominal discomfort, such as:

  • Feeling a sense of urgency
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Passing frequent and small amount of urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Red or bright pink colored urine – a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine

There are a number of things that we can do to reduce the risk of getting a UTI. These include:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
  • Go to the toilet as soon as there is a need to urinate, rather than holding it in.
  • Wipe from front to back after going to the toilet.
  • Empty bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush away bacteria.
  • Probiotics help to improve the balance of micro flora in the urinogenital areas and reducing the risks of UTI. Probiotics also help to restore and maintain the natural flora of the vagina.

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Men require high physical performances in their daily life. However, having poor muscle strength and low aerobic endurance, lack of stamina and vitality will affect their daily performance and health.

Men will experience a drop in levels of the sex hormone testosterone as they age. The hormone declines gradually and affects the male reproductive system, physical and mental aspects of their health.

Most men will face decreased energy, strength, endurance and stamina. Some men may have a lower sex drive or libido. Sexual responses may become slower and less intense, and erectile function may be destructed.

Other factor that may affect men’s vitality includes:

  • Environmental factors such as heavy metals or environmental estrogen
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, hormonal disturbances, stress, and anxiety
  • Lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking or alcohol drinking

The best way to maintain vitality and daily performance is to adopt a healthy lifestyle:

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Erectile dysfunction or ED, sometimes known as impotence, is the most common sexual related problem that men report to their doctors.  ED is defined as the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough to perform sexual intercourse, or in other words, sex. People who suffer from ED will have symptoms such as trouble having an erection, trouble keeping an erection or reduced sexual desire.

ED is very common and having erection trouble from time to time isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, ED that is progressive or happens routinely with sex is not normal, and it should be treated.

Erectile function is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes ED, and may be due to a lot of reasons, including:

  • An underlying health condition such as: heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity
  • Blood flow in the penis is limited or nerves are damaged
  • Had surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
  • Low testosterone level
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol drinking
  • Stress or other emotional reasons

Aside from an early warning of a more serious illness, ED can also cause complications to a man’s mental health such as:

  • An unsatisfactory sex life
  • Stress or anxiety in daily life
  • Low self-esteem and embarrassment
  • Problems in relationship

A few measures can be made to help reduce or improve ED:

  • Quit smoking
  • Limit or stop alcohol intake
  • Increase physical activity and maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress and seek help for anxiety, depression and other psychological health issues
  • Take Ginkgo Biloba extract which can facilitate blood flow, to improve the symptoms that is due to vascular causes
  • Ensure sufficient nutrition that boost vitality example Zinc, Ginseng, vitamins and minerals

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Tinnitus is a condition where one can hear sounds and noises that are not caused by outside source or external stimulation. Common tinnitus sounds such as ringing, buzzing, humming or even music or singing can be heard in one or both ears. They may come and go, or you will hear them all the time.

Tinnitus can be annoying as it affects your daily life such as sleep and concentration and impair the quality of life, but it is not usually a sign of serious condition and generally improves overtime. Although there are a number of health conditions that might cause tinnitus, the exact cause is never found. The common causes are:

  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud noises, short-term or long-term will cause tinnitus as well
  • Too much earwax that hardens and is difficult to wash away will lead to blockage and cause irritation to the ear drum
  • Medication use that can damage the ear function (ototoxic)
  • Blood vessels disorder linked to tinnitus such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure

In many ways, tinnitus cannot be prevented but we can carry out some measures and simple remedies to help with tinnitus:

  • Use hearing protection while exposing yourself to loud noises
  • Turn down the volume especially while using headphones
  • Practice relaxation exercises as tinnitus can be worsened by stress
  • Tinnitus is commonly linked to blood vessels disorders. Therefore, take good care of your heart health such as doing regular exercise as healthy blood vessels can help with tinnitus
  • Ginkgo Biloba extract improves blood flow and regulate vascular tone. It provides adequate supply of blood to the ear, which can improve tinnitus caused by impaired circulation

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