Studies show probiotics improve gut health

  • Community
  • Monday, 22 May 2017

(From right) Dr Hilmi, Ong, Dr Muhammad Radzi, Prof Dr Raja Affendi, Digestive Health Malaysia Society honourable committee member Dr Lee Hock Bee and Vitagen deputy managing director Michael Thio at the launch of the World Digestive Health Day Malaysia 2017. — Photos by RICKY LAI/ The Star

ACCORDING to a landmark research, consuming probiotics that contain live microorganisms Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei can significantly improve constipation symptoms among healthy people as well as constipated patients.

This was a key finding from a clinical study research by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, led by senior consultant gastroenterologist and Digestive Health Malaysia Society (DHM) deputy chairman Assoc Prof Dr Raja Affendi Raja Ali.

He said that his team’s research discovered that certain live and good bacteria could help improve the intestinal transit time.

“This means that the food we eat should not stay much longer in our intestine than an average of 10 to 12 hours, from the time we eat the food to the time it reaches the end of the intestine.

“However, the transit time is prolonged for those who are constipated, which may result in a lot of bad bacteria in the lining of the intestine,” he explained.

Dr Raja Affendi presented the results at the launch of World Digestive Health Day Malaysia (WDHD) 2017, organised by Vitagen Healthy Digestion Programme and DHM.

He added that colon cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Malaysian men and second among women.

Visitors at the roadshow at 1Utama shopping centre learnt more about the digestive system and how to have a better gut health.
Visitors at the roadshow at 1Utama shopping centre learnt more about the digestive system and how to have a better gut health.

“It can be preventable if detected early. Don’t wait for symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, diarrhoea, blood in your stool and constipation to happen before taking action,” he explained.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya, who launched the roadshow, said that in the 2011 annual report issued by the Health Ministry, colorectal cancer was the second most common cancer among Malaysians.

“It accounted for 15.7% of cancers among men, and 10.4% among women. The incidence rate in men exceeded that of women after the age of 60,” he said.

Dr Hilmi encouraged everyone to do their own test by getting a free test kit available at most government clinics, to detect blood in the stool, especially for those aged 50 and above.

“If there’s blood, head to the hospital to do a colonoscopy and check for colon polyps or cancer. If detected early, we can take action by providing definitive treatment and stop the progression,” he explained.

DHM chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan mentioned other ways to reduce the risk of colon cancer and improve one’s digestive health, which is by leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising and eating the right kind of food.

He said studies had helped science answer many of the questions surrounding the function of our gut.

“As such, DHM has decided to expand its role as the country’s leading expert-driven, digestive health body to help bridge the gap between educational institutions and the industry,” he revealed.

At the launch, Vitagen deputy general manager Michael Ong said the company had always been a strong advocate of prevention before cure.

“As part of our efforts to create greater awareness of the importance of good digestive health, we support community programmes that raise awareness of the importance of one’s digestive health.

“This year, we are pleased that our collaboration with experts from UKM will help us gain a better understanding and appreciation of a healthy digestive system.

“The study found evidence on the positives of probiotics in our cultured milk drinks,” he added.

Back for its ninth consecutive year, the WDHD 2017 held at 1Utama shopping centre, Petaling Jaya, saw a host of activities including free health screenings, distribution of free stool test kits by gastroenterology nurses, expert consultations, children's colouring contest and fitness demonstration for visitors of the roadshow.

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