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A recent study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that in almost all of 268 pregnant women tested, eight different types of chemicals were found in their bodies. Chemicals found include pesticides, flame retardants, PFCs from non-stick cookware, phthalates, car exhaust pollutants and even DDT, a chemical that has been banned since 1979!

These toxins can pass right through the placenta and into the fetus. In fact, a previous study, done by the Environmental Working Group, found that unborn babies carry over 200 different chemicals in their bodies, even before they are born.

The study in pregnant women looked for 163 different chemicals, so it only scratches the surface, because over 80,000 new chemicals are introduced each year. The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) was found in 96 percent of these women. Prenatal BPA exposure has been linked to adverse health outcomes, affecting brain development and susceptibility to cancer in later life.

Certain chemical levels found in these women were at levels known to be harmful to children. While concerning, this does not even take into account the additive effect that chemicals have, which is considered to be more dangerous because new chemical compounds can be formed when chemicals mix, and little is known about the possible consequences of this.

Toxins are everywhere. We live in a toxic soup. We can reduce our exposure, but we cannot prevent it. That’s why a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and supporting the health of the body’s channels of elimination (colon, liver, kidneys, lymph, blood, lungs and skin) are so vital to reducing the harmful effects that toxins can have on our health.

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We hear a lot about the importance of vitamin A, vitamin C, and those good-for-you B vitamins, but it’s not so often we hear about another vitamin that scientists believe may also play a crucial role in maintaining superior health throughout life. These days, however, new research into the remarkable health benefits of vitamin D is beginning to change all of that.  

Vitamin D directly affects more than 200 genes in the body, and studies show that it plays a significant role in stimulating a healthy immune response. In fact, a new study conducted by a team of British and Canadian scientists links too little vitamin D in the diet with an increased risk of certain autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and type 1 diabetes, as well as a higher risk of certain cancers.

Researchers say it has to do with the way vitamin D binds with specific chromosomes, but the problem comes from a widespread lack of vitamin D in the diet. About one billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient, which may increase their susceptibility to certain diseases. And as people spend less time outdoors (the body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight), the problem is getting worse.

Because too little vitamin D can lead to a breakdown in overall health, many experts are now recommending steps to remedy the problem. Certain foods such as eggs and fatty fish contain vitamin D, and many fish oil supplements will include vitamin D to help make up for what’s lacking in the diet. Pregnant women and young children especially may benefit from a daily vitamin D supplement for preventative health, and spending at least 10 minutes in the sun each day is also recommended.

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