Listen to your gut for good health

(From left) Dr Tee, Dr Lee, DHM council member Dr Rosaida Md Said, Dr Muhammad Radzi, Prof Raja Affendi and Poh at the launch of World Digestive Health Day 2019 at WORQ KL Gateway in Bangsar South.

IT GOES without saying that unhealthy modern lifestyles are wreaking havoc on our general health and well-being. But are we aware how this affects our digestive health?

This World Digestive Health Day 2019 (WDHD 2019), it may be wise to spare a thought for your gut.

Eating excessively and unhealthily takes a serious toll on our gut.

This happens slowly over a period of time and can mean that the culprit goes unnoticed until your digestive system goes on strike.

Commemorating WDHD 2019 at WORQ KL Gateway, Bangsar South, Digestive Health Malaysia Society (DHM) and Vitagen Healthy Digestion Programme (VHDP) joined forces once again to educate and empower Malaysians to walk the talk when it comes to digestive health.

The “Guard Your Gut with Probiotics and Early Detection” campaign will see a concerted effort to spread the message on guarding the gut, early screening for colorectal cancer as well as the advantages of probiotics.

At a forum held in conjunction with the official launch of WDHD 2019, DHM chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan shared about the non-profit organisation’s plans to create awareness on digestive health and empower all Malaysians to manage it through healthy eating and lifestyle as well as early health screening.

“We want to give the public the right information, and (let them) practise it,” he said, adding that the public should reject notions such as taking herbal products could improve certain medical conditions as thy were unfounded.

“Data from the National Cancer Patient Registry shows that the majority of colorectal cancer patients were detected in the advanced stages.

“By this time, one’s options for treatment and chances or survival are slim. This is why we are advocating early detection as it greatly improves your chances of survival when the cancer is detected early.”

DHM deputy chairman and consultant gastroenterologist Prof Dr Raja Affendi Raja Ali explained the health benefits of probiotics in boosting the immune system, citing findings of a research by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (HUKM).

Meanwhile, Nutrition Society of Malaysia president and DHM council member Dr Tee E Siong said, “Wake up Malaysians, eating right can prevent gut diseases.

“Think about healthy eating, balance diet and good bacteria,” he said, adding that physical activity, enough sleep, stress management and healthy lifestyle practices were also vital for healthy living.

Dr Tee said the message on healthy eating and lifestyle habits should be instilled in children from a young age.

DHM council member and consultant surgeon Dr Lee Hock Bee said cancer of the colon or rectum had become the most common cancer of the gut, now affecting the younger generation.

As part of its efforts to give back to the community, Vitagen is spreading the message on guarding the gut through VHDP.

Vitagen general manager Poh Eng Lip said the drink contains live probiotic cultures that not only benefit digestive health but also overall well-being.

“We need 85% of good bacteria for our body,” he stressed.

Poh said Vitagen was committed to spreading the message at kindergartens and schools.

This, he said, included the adoption of five kindergartens in the Klang Valley this year in a bid to educate them on healthy lifestyle habits.

Besides that, Vitagen also sponsored 10,000 stool test kits for distribution to Malaysians on roadshows and through its Digestive Health On-Wheels mobile initiative nationwide.

“Those who test positive and have no money for further screening at HUKM will be assisted through our RM20,000 fund,” Poh said.

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