Friday, July 31, 2015

News Feature: Regulating your body processes with calcium

By Charina A. Javier

Calcium is the main structural component of bones ad teeth but did you know that it also controls the contraction of your muscles and transmission of your nerve impulses?

Yes, 99 percent of our calcium, together with phosphorus, forms the matrix of bones and teeth, the structural function of calcium. The remaining one percent is in the bloodstream, regulating the contraction and relaxation of muscles, especially the heart muscle, blood clotting, nerve impulse transmission, production of hormone and maintenance of acid-base balance.

The amount in the bloodstream may be too small as compared to the amount found in the bones but reducing it causes the calcium in your bones to be used up, putting individuals at greater risk of fracture or osteoporosis in later life.

Calcium is needed in the production and activation of enzymes like the enzyme to contract and relax muscles, secretion of hormones such as the growth hormone, conduction of synapses in nerves, activation of clotting factor in the blood, control of cell membrane permeability and electrolyte balance.

Calcium normalizes blood pressure among salt-sensitive patients and relieves muscles muscle cramps especially among pregnant women. In addition, a study done by Prompt and Quinton of the Departments of Physiology and Medicine of the University of California Medical School found that calcium is an essential requirement for stimulating sweat and that may be a factor in regulating the concentration of sweat.

Our body has to maintain the normal level of calcium in the blood and soft tissues to keep up with all of its regulating functions even at the expense of our bones.

This mechanism makes it difficult to determine calcium deficiency unlike other nutrients where deficiency can be determined through blood or urinary tests and there is no specific disease characterizing it.

Including calcium-rich foods in your daily diet would ensure that the calcium stored in your bones will not be used up to help regulate a lot of body processes. Message No. 5 of the 2012 Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos developed by the Technical Working Group led by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) recommends to consume milk, milk products and other calcium-rich foods everyday for healthy bones and teeth.

Examples of alternative sources of calcium are freshwater shrimp, anchovy, shore crab, mungbean, jute leaves, horseradish leaves, sardines, and dried fish.

So to keep up with your body processes and not compromise your bones, eat and drink calcium-rich foods everyday!

For more information on food and nutrition, contact:  Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num:  8372934 and 8373164; email:,; FNRI-DOST website:; FNRI Facebook page:; FNRI Twitter account: (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)

News Feature: Hypertension and diabetes greatly increase risk to cardiovascular disease

By Dr. Imelda A. Agdeppa

Hypertension or high blood pressure, as defined by the Eighth Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 8, 2013), is blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 for persons 60 years old and below and 150/90 for those 60 years old and above.

Known as the “silent killer” because of the lack of warning signs or symptoms, many people do not realize they are already hypertensive.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2013), nearly one billion people globally have high blood pressure, two thirds of whom are in developing countries.

Hypertension is also one of the top causes of premature deaths worldwide and the problem is growing.

In 2025, an estimated 1.56 billion adults will be living with hypertension, the WHO (2011) warned.

In the 8th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) in 2013, the single visit blood pressure measurement estimated that about 22.3 percent of Filipino adults were considered hypertensive.

This is a meager decline from the 25.3% hypertension rate in 2008, based on the 7th National Nutrition Survey also of the FNRI.

The 2013 survey further revealed that the prevalence of hypertension was highest among the 70 years old and above age group at 43.4% and lowest among the 20-29 age group at 7.2%.

Males had a higher hypertension prevalence of 25.1% than females at 19.9% in every age group from 20-70 years old and above.

Hypertension tended to increase with wealth and was slightly higher among rural dwellers at 19.0% - 24.8% compared with urban residents at 20.0% - 23.4%.

Hypertension exerts significant comorbidity impact on type 2 diabetes, thus leading to cardiovascular diseases.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine (2000), type 2 diabetes is almost 2.5 times likely to occur in persons with hypertension compared to those with normal blood pressure.

Diabetes mellitus, on the other hand, is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia, characterized by high blood glucose levels due to the inability of the bodyto produce enough insulin or is ineffective in using the insulin it has produced by being resistant to it.

Type 1 diabetes is deficiency in insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin.

The cause of type 1 diabetes is not known and it is not preventable with current knowledge.

Meanwhile, type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.

In the Philippines, the 8th NNS revealed that diabetes prevalence based on the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Philippine Clinical Practice Guidelines (PCPG) was 5.4% in 2013.

This was remarkably higher than the 4.8% prevalence in the 2008 7th NNS.

Based on high fasting blood glucose levels, diabetes prevalence peaked at age 60-69 at 12.6%.

Among the rich population, diabetes prevalence was 6.4 – 8.1% while for urban residents it was 6.3%.

Hypertension among Filipino adults and the escalation of diabetes prevalence rate bring cardiovascular complications.

Strong evidence exists that hypertension and diabetes mostly coexist and serve to exacerbate each other.

High blood glucose levels in uncontrolled diabetes causes injury to the body’s blood vessels, making it more prone to damage from atherosclerosis and hypertension.

Also, both medical conditions worsen at significant and disturbing levels the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular diseases.

Hypertension has long been recognized as a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

Likewise, the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association (2014) jointly stated that diabetes is a prime risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Persons with diabetes increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases by two to four times compared with non-diabetics. Moreover, diabetics have two- to three-fold greater risk of heart failure that causes heart attack without them even realizing it.

With hypertension’s and diabetes’s devastating cycle of health impairment and cardiovascular threat, national health programs targeting lifestyle habits and dietary practices should be effected in combating these diseases continued alarming prevalence rates among Filipinos.

The latest nutritional guidelines for Filipinos (NGF) developed by theTechnical Working Group (TWG) led by the FNRI is addressing this issue. The latest nutritional guidelines for Filipinos’ messages emphasize and recommend useful and easy-to-follow solutions in battling the rise of non-communicable diseases.

The guidelines include eating more fruits, vegetables, and root crops; avoiding excessive salt intake; maintaining a healthy body weight; exercising regularly; and minimizing smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages which all can lead to a healthy lifestyle and better nutriture.

By being more aware of what we do and what we eat, health and nutrition problems can be eagerly prevented.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact:  Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone/ Fax Nos: 837-2934 or 837-3164; Direct Line:839-1839; DOST Trunk Line: 837-2071-82 local 2296 or 2284; e-mail: at; FNRI-DOST website:  Like our Facebook page at follow our Twitter account at (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)

News Feature: ls rice to be blamed for rising diabetes?

By Charina A. Javier

Rice consumption and diabetes was the topic of debate in the recently concluded Asia-Pacific conference in clinical Nutrition (APCCN) in Kuala Lumpur' Malaysia on January 26-29, 2015.

Two clinical nutrition experts served as opposing speakers of the debate'

Yes, it is

Dr. Christiani Jeyakumar Henry from the United Kingdom presented the arguments that link white rice consumption to the rising prevalence of diabetes, particularly that Asia is the epicenter of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)'

He also said that the Asian phenotype or body composition predisposes them to T2D. He then discussed several studies on the high glycemic response of white rice that contributes to T2D. Glycemic response is the change in blood glucose after consuming a carbohydrate-rich food.

No, its not rice alone

Dr. Shigeru Yamamoto from Japan presented opposite arguments saying that even though rice consumption has dramatically decreased, diabetes prevalence is still rising, specifically in their country.

Dr. Yamamoto said that rice cannot be blamed as long as everything is consumed in moderation. lt is the amount of rice that may need monitoring, Yamamoto further reiterated.

The high glycemic index of white rice came from the results of studies on post-prandial glucose or after-meal blood glucose response using a single food.

However, in daily life, people do not eat a single food but in combination with something else.

Moreover, Dr. Yamamoto said that the prevalence of obesity in Japan is low despite high carbohydrate intake and they have the highest life expectancy in the world.

Dr. Henry rebutted that Japan's rice consumption is different from other Asians in the sense that while Japanese eat rice, the amount is nothing compared to how much more their neighboring countries do.

The Philippine scenario

In the Philippines, the 8th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) in 2013 showed that the individual rice consumption was 298 grams or about 1.5 cups daily.

Rice consumption in2013 was lower than the 2008 NNS which was 3'17 grams or a little more than 1.5 cups daily.

Moreover, diabetes prevalence at the national level based on a cut-off of 126 milligrams per deciliter is 5.1 percent in the 2013 NNS.

Diabetes prevalence in 2013 was higher than the 2008 prevalence at 4.8 percent. This trend was similar to what is being observed in Japan.
Promoting brown rice

Going back to the topic of debate: Is rice consumption causing the rise of diabetes in Asia?

In the end, Drs. Henry and Yamamoto concluded that the rising prevalence of diabetes cannot be blamed on a single food. lt is not rice per se that is the issue' but the kind and amount of rice, they further emphasized.

The FNRI-DOST has been promoting the consumption of brown rice, the kind that ts minimally processed, with its bran still intact'

Unlike white rice, which is almost purely carbohydrate, brown rice still contains dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

In a previous study by Dr. Trinidad p. Trinidad, former Scientist ll at the FNRI-DOST' brown rice has a row glycemic index (GI) of 50 compared to white rice at 75. Dietary fiber content of brown rice also helps make one feel full longer with lesser intake"

These findings support the promotion of brown rice in diabetes management.

The FNRI developed various recipes and food products using brown rice to promote its consumption.

As what experts have said, it is not rice per se but the kind and amount of rice that is important in preventing diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases'

Choose brown rice and refuse "unli" rice”.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact:  Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone/ Fax Nos: 837-2934 or 837-3164; Direct Line:839-1839; DOST Trunk Line: 837-2071-82 local 2296 or 2284; e-mail: at; FNRI-DOST website:  Like our Facebook page at follow our Twitter account at (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)

SurSur TESDA all set for ‘NATCAC’

By Greg Tataro Jr.

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, July 31 (PIA) – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) here is again set for the conduct of National TVET Competency Assessment and Certification (NATCAC) come August 2015.

According to Rey Cueva, TESDA provincial director, this aims to promote, expand, enhance, and upgrade various areas of competencies “in identified key qualifications that are critical, hard to find and with high industry demand.”

Some 253 applicants are slated to undergo free assessment and certification in seven TESDA-accredited training institutions province-wide, it was learned.

The TESDA chief broke it down as follows: 23 and 20 for Computer Systems Servicing NC II and Cookery NC II, respectively, at Andres Soriano College; 20 for Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II at Access for Youth and Employment Center; 20 for Shielded Metal Arc Welding NC II at Gaspar Rodriguez Education and Training Center, Inc; 40 for Driving NC II and 25 for Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) Rigid On-Highway NC II, respectively, at Jobs Through Tec-Voc Program Provincial Skills Training Training Center; 30 for Food and Beverage Services NC II at Surigao del Sur State Universtity-Cantilan Campus; 20 for Electric Poer Distribution Line Construction NC II at SURSECO I Training Center; and lastly, 30 for Beauty Care Services NC II and 25 for Cookery NC II, respectively, at Tabon M. Estrella National High School.

The NATCAC is a synchronized undertaking that such is not only going to take place in the provinces of CARAGA Region but all across the country, Cueva explained.

Schedule has to fall within May, August, and November for the first, second, and third batch, respectively, as set by the regional and provincial offices, except in some unavoidable circumstances, like the NATCAC for Driving NC II here that has to be conducted on July 31, both in Tandag City and Bislig City, adding however that all the rest will stay as set.

Cueva expressed great pride that TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva has always made NATCAC a priority. (NGBT/Radyo ng Bayan-Tandag/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

Iron Fortified rice soon to hit Mindanao market

By Abbie L. Padrones

MANILA, July 31 (PIA) - The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) is the lead government agency in food fortification, particularly rice fortification. The FNRI-DOST recently developed iron fortified rice (IFR) and extruded iron rice premix (IRP).

The FNRI has been perfecting the extrusion of IRP, an essential component in iron fortified rice.

An iron fortificant is added to ordinary rice to combat iron deficiency anemia (IDA), which still affects vulnerable population groups like pregnant and lactating women, including children.

Currently, the Institute is innovating the IRP where multiple micronutrients are incorporated in addition to iron.

One of the challenges faced by the FNRI is transferring the technologies to adoptors who will eventually produce and market them.

Years of research spent in developing a prototype becomes gratifying once the product is made available in the market and the demand for it is sustained.

One such gratification is that extruded IRP and IFR are already available in selected retail stores in Metro Manila, Bataan, and Zambales.

Negotiations with Racky Doctor of Nutridense Foods are ongoing for the technology transfer of IRP and IFR in Santa Barbara, Pangasinan.

On the other hand, Mr. Gaspar Lorono, of Lorono Rice Mill in Compostela Valley has already fabricated a blending machine with a capacity of 64 sacks daily, which will be used in the production of IFR after it is calibrated.

Furthermore, CLG Health Foods, Incorporated of Mr. Marbil Go from General Santos City has signified interest in the commercialization of IRP in Mindanao.

Go’s company is purchasing a complete extruder line which has a capacity of producing 100-120kilos of IRP hourly.

Mr. Go is also supplier of the existing coated iron rice premix and has decided to shift to the improved extruded IRP developed by the institute.

The FNRI, in partnership with DOST Regions XI and XII, other government agencies, and the technology adaptors, is aiming for the commercialization of the extruded IRP and IFR in Mindanao within the second quarter of 2015.

Wider availability of the extruded IRP and IFR will benefit consumers and will be a great step in eradicating IDA in the country.

Initial activities were conducted by the FNRI for the commercialization of IFR and extruded IRP in Mindanao spearheaded by Dr. Imelda A. Agdeppa, Assistant Scientist, and Ms. Marcela C. Saises, Senior Science Research Specialist.

The activities include awareness seminars for consumers, rice millers, traders, retailers, and food establishments in Davao City, Digos City, Compostela Valley, Tagum City, Mati City, Tacurong, and General Santos City.

Other activities were dialogues with local government units, health centers, and other government agencies, as well as meetings with local fabricators, prospective adaptors and the IFR monitoring task force.

The group observed increased awareness on the use and benefits of IRP and IFR. 

Consumers, stakeholders and government units are now more receptive to the commercialization of the extruded IRP and IFR in the area.

The major players for the commercialization of the IRP and IFR in Regions XI and XII are being mobilized and the market is ripe for the commercialization of extruded IRP and IFR.

Hopefully, sustainability of extruded IRP and IFR in Mindanao will be achieved with the help of social marketing, strong political will, a vigilant monitoring task force,consumer patronage and quality supply of extruded IRP and IFR.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact:  Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num:  8372934 and 8373164; email:,; FNRI-DOST website:; FNRI Facebook page:; FNRI Twitter account: (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)

DA-13 turns over P1.179 M worth of livestock to Surigao Norte farmers

By Fretcher Magatao

BUTUAN CITY, July 31 (PIA) - The Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Unit 13 recently turned-over 15 native chickens, 25 carabaos, four cattles, 26 goats and five swine amounting to P1.179 million to the 19 farmer individuals and three farmer associations of the province of Surigao del Norte.

“This dispersal program of DA truly helps us traditional farmers in our daily farming activities. Entrusting these animals surely motivate us to do better,” said Jerson Calamba, farmer-beneficiary from Socorro, Surigao del Norte.

Meanwhile, Gov. Sol Matugas said that DA 13 has been their partner "in helping the farmers and achieving food sufficiency not only in our province, but also to the whole region."

She added that the animal dispersal program is geared towards sustainable increase in livestock and poultry production and productivity in the province.

“Beneficiaries must be responsible in raising these animals in order to sustain the program and produce another batch of like beneficiaries in the future,” said provincial veterinarian Dr. Life Shiela Laugo.

Recipients were coming from the different municipalities of the province including the farmers from the island municipalities of Siargao and Socorro.

The turn-over ceremony was spearheaded by the officials from DA-13 headed by Dr. Joey Ronquillo and Gov. Matugas assisted by Vice Governor Arturo Carlos Egay, provincial board members, and municipal agriculturists. (DA-13/PIA-Caraga)