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Folic acid should be added to bread on a mandatory basis, the Food Standards Agency has advised government. It says the move could cut the number of babies being born with spina bifida by nearly two thirds, as the vitamin plays a key role in foetal development. Women are advised to take supplements before becoming pregnant, but many do not do so, or take them too late.

Research has linked folic acid to a raised cancer risk, but the FSA said the evidence was not convincing. The US and Canada started fortification of bread flour in the late 1990s, and some of the subsequent research has pointed to an increase in cases of bowel cancer. However the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which advises the FSA, said this evidence was insubstantial and that any increase in cases could be down to improved screening. It did, however, recommend that those deemed to be at greater risk of colon cancer should receive precautionary advice on taking extra supplements containing folic acid, and that the situation should be monitored.

Unplanned pregnancies

Last month there were calls for all Scottish women to take folic acid – even those not planning a family – after 15 babies were born with the condition since the start of the year.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin found in a wide variety of foods including liver and green leafy vegetables. The body cannot store it, so it must be ingested daily via supplements or folate-rich foods. The vitamin is known to prevent neural tube defects in foetuses, but many women do not take it – in part because pregnancies are often unplanned and can go unnoticed for many weeks.

As well as cutting the incidence of spina bifida, latest research from Canada also suggests it can reduce the risk of congenital heart problems in babies. But while cereal has long been fortified, suggestions that bread should be supplemented have been rejected by those who argue it is tantamount to mass medication. The FSA’s advice has been sent to the UK’s chief medical officer – Sir Liam Donaldson, who is known to be an advocate of fortification. Legislation would be needed however for the move to go ahead.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We will now consider their recommendation for the introduction of mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid alongside controls on voluntary fortification.”

You can read the article on the BBC website here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8315836.stm

For more information on the Herbalife products containing Folic Acid, please contact us or visit our online store to browse the full product range.

sknutrition101

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Hello!! Firstly, I must apologise for my tardiness – it has been AGES since my last post. so I’ll get straight to it.

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My daughter, Amelia, was born at the end of April after a really great pregnancy! In total contrast to last time, my “Herbalife” baby was born naturally weighing a healthy 7 lbs 14 oz. I am so pleased that I not only managed to go to full term this time, but things were healthy enough for me to be left to have a spontaneous labour at 41 weeks and a VBAC delivery. I can’t tell you what a relief this was after my first pregnancy which was plagued with ill health and ended in a failed early induction and emergency c section (see previous posts for further details).

The last 3 weeks have been a bit of a blur as we’ve been settling into our new routine as a family of four! It’s true that having 2 is much more hard work than having 1 +1 but it’s all good, and I’m loving being mum to a little baby again, now that my 2 year old is fiercely independent and wiping my kisses off!

Amelia is an exclusively breastfed baby so continuing to benefit from the Herbalife products even outside the womb – she’s gaining weight VERY well and is perfectly proportioned… and gorgeous (well, we think so!)

I haven’t been on a weighing scales since before I was pregnant and am not worrying about weight loss for a few more weeks – once I’ve had my 8 week check-up I’ll start exercising again and revert to two shakes a day (at the moment I am still having one shake a day at breakfast time for good health and supplementation) although I’ll be eating more calories than when I was previously losing weight and having additional protein to maintain a healthy milk supply. Watch this space for my post-pregnancy weight loss progress – starting some time in July.

Even though I am enjoying my “babymoon” at the moment, you can still order from my online store!

sknutrition101

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Mothers-to-be who are obese increase their odds of having a baby with abnormalities including spina bifida, researchers say.

Their analysis of data from 39 studies found obese women were more than twice as likely to have a baby with spina bifida or another neural tube defect. The risk of heart defects and cleft lip was also raised, the Journal of the American Medical Association says.

Up to a fifth of pregnant mothers in the UK are classed as obese.

Leading clinicians said the government should be focusing anti-obesity campaigns on women of child-bearing age.

It is well known that women who are obese are more likely to have difficulty conceiving and once they are pregnant, overweight and obese women and their babies are at a greater risk of a range of health problems. However, this is the first time that so many studies have been combined to build a more accurate picture of the risks to the unborn child, according to lead researcher Dr Judith Rankin of Newcastle University.

“Given that we are seeing an increase in the number of people who are overweight or obese, then we may see an increase in the number of babies born with abnormalities,” she said. However, she stressed these abnormalities were uncommon.

“Spina bifida only occurs in approximately one in every 2,000 births, so the risk, even among obese women, remains very low.

“Women who are thinking about trying for a baby need to check their own weight first and then think about seeking help if they are overweight.

“While you are pregnant it’s not the time to start a weight loss diet but it is more important to eat sensibly and healthily,” she said. The Royal College of Midwives echoed this advice.

Dr Rankin’s team will now continue the work to examine why there is a link between a mother’s weight and abnormalities in the baby. They say it could be related to nutritional deficiencies or undetected diabetes in the mother.

Both maternal diabetes and a lack of folic acid are established risk factors for birth abnormalities, particularly neural tube defects which affect the brain and spinal cord.

Prevention

Andrew Russell, chief executive of the Association for Spinal Bifida and Hydrocephalus, said: “Folic acid does seem to be involved. It is very important for women planning a pregnancy or likely to fall pregnant to take a folic acid supplement.”

If you are interested in finding out more about increasing your well-being and nutrition in advance of conception, please feel free to contact us via our main website. You can also view related testimonials on our Results page.

sknutrition101

Click here to view the full article on BBC NEWS | Health | Obese mothers ‘risk spina bifida’.

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Danyelle babyRegular readers will have seen Danyelle’s “before and after” pictures on my blog and website in the past. I’ve managed to catch up with her today I am delighted to share her updated testimonial.

I was so excited when I first heard of her pregnancy and have been waiting for Danyelle to introduce her BEAUTIFUL daughter to everyone!

Here is what she said today:

In July 2007 I weighed 15st 9 and my life was a mess.

I had been trying for a baby for 6 years with no success so decided to change my life around. I’d had 4 attempts at IVF before then and nothing had worked so I thought ‘enough’s enough’ booked a trip to Australia, bought a sports car and I started Herbalife with Sarah’s help… and I stuck to it. I was not hungry like many other diets I had been on and I liked the taste (of the products).

By November 2007 when I went to Australia I was 12st and feeling great and even started running and look part in a 10k race and finished it. On 8th January 2008 I took a pregnancy test and it was positive – YES I had fallen pregnant naturally.

Throughout the 6 years I’d hidden behind the fact that it was the weight that stopped me getting pregnant and just wallowed in self pity and ate more.

On 20th September 2008 my beautiful daughter Maegan was born weighing a healthy 7lb and 12.5.

I am back on Herbalife now and breastfeeding and hopefully a brother or sister for Maegan will follow….

I am absolutely delighted for Danyelle and her husband – it’s this kind of “after” picture that really makes being an Herbalife Distributor feel so special. The products really can help people make major lasting changes to their lives that affect their whole families so much.

If you missed the original photos of Danyelle, you can see her before and after snaps on the Results page of the blog.

If you need help with getting your weight on track and would like to embark on a more healthy and active lifestyle, please contact me (Sarah) for more information, or you can browse the product range online at

sknutrition101

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At 24 weeks

My "football" at 24 weeks!

It’s been a while since I updated my own story so I thought it was time for a quick progress report and picture (sorry it’s such a bad one with loads of glare but it’s all I have) as there are now quite a few pregnant readers of this blog who have been in touch.

I am delighted to say that this week saw my pregnancy pass the 24 week point which feels like an important milestone as the baby would now have a chance of survival if it arrived early! (I am still saying “it” because the little wriggler had it’s legs up at the anomaly scan so it wasn’t possible to determine the sex.) (more…)

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This article has been removed due to restrictions on what can be said about product use in pregnancy.

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18weeks

I’m 18 weeks pregnant today and feeling great so I thought it time to share my pregnancy story to date…

It took us a matter of years to conceive my son so despite using Herbalife nutrition for ages and being a healthy weight AND much fitter (exercising 3 or 4 times a week), we were astounded to find that I was pregnant after literally the first attempt this time. (more…)

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