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Expectant moms have a lot to think about when it comes to their babies’ health, like eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and making sure they avoid things like smoking and alcohol. But what if something you couldn’t even see was affecting the healthy growth of your baby while it was still in the womb?

Experts at the University of California, Berkeley recently found that exposure to flame-retardant chemicals called PBDEs (polybrominated diphenylethers) could significantly affect the healthy brain development of babies in utero. Used in countless consumer products such as electronics, building materials, carpet and upholstery, motor vehicles and more, PBDEs have also been linked to increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

So what’s the connection? Researchers looked at more than 250 pregnant women and found that exposure to PBDEs may result in reduced levels of specific thyroid hormones necessary for healthy fetal brain development, and that higher levels of PBDEs in the mother’s blood were linked to lower levels of important thyroid-stimulating hormones.

The study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, underscores the danger of our modern environment and the thousands of toxins to which we are exposed daily. Curious about how toxic you are? Visit Brenda Watson’s Detox Strategy today and take the quiz! Plus, learn Brenda’s simple tips on how to reduce toxic exposure and eliminate stored toxins from your body.

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Each year more than 100 million Americans are prescribed acid-blocking drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for heartburn and acid reflux, but a recent series of studies may have PPI users thinking twice about whether or not they really need them—or want them.

CBS this week ran a segment about drugs like Prilosec® and Nexium® that stated that “more than half of prescriptions for these drugs are unnecessary”. What’s more, PPIs often come with serious side effects that many people are unaware of—including a nearly 75 percent greater risk of developing a severe intestinal infection known as C. diff, as well as an increased risk of developing pneumonia, and a greater incidence of bone fractures (due to the fact that PPIs block calcium absorption in the body).

Essentially, taking PPIs upsets the healthy bacterial balance in your intestines (which is where the majority of your natural immune defenses can be found), leaving your body vulnerable to illness and infection. However, experts had some good advice about smarter, safer alternatives to harmful acid-blocking drugs, many of which include simple changes in diet and lifestyle that could reduce the chances of heartburn and reflux happening in the first place:

  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Avoid fatty and/or spicy foods
  • Avoid chocolate
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Quit smoking

A natural heartburn relief supplement made with ingredients such as ellagic acid (from raspberries and pomegranates) may also help ease the pain and discomfort of occasional heartburn, and a daily digestive enzyme with added HCl can help ensure complete digestion and prevent the onset of heartburn and reflux symptoms. Daily supplementation with a high-potency probiotic supplement may also help to reestablish and maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the intestinal tract.

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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