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Got Placenta? Three Weird Celebrity Health Fads

by Berkeley Wellness  

Celebrities are known to do some pretty wacky things in the name of health. Here are three recent trends endorsed (or at least tried) by some celebrities—all perhaps based on maternal instincts gone wrong.

Placenta eating

You read that right. The placenta delivers oxygen and nutrients to the fetus throughout pregnancy, while also removing waste. The practice of eating it, called placentophagy, is customary in some traditional cultures and has made its way to Hollywood, with such new moms as Kourtney Kardashian, January Jones, and Alicia Silverstone reportedly raving about its supposed post-birth benefits of decreased postpartum pain and depression, increased energy, better sleep, and improved lactation and quality of breast milk. The placentas are consumed raw, blended in smoothies, cooked, or dehydrated and made into capsules.

But despite anecdotal reports, there’s no convincing scientific support for the claims, according to a review of 10 studies, published in 2015 in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health. What’s more, raw placentas may be infected with bacteria and other contaminants, making them potentially unsafe to consume, the authors noted.

Drinking breast milk

Another new-age practice is to drink raw breast milk, either your own or someone else’s. Jennifer Aniston, for one, revealed on TV that she tasted it. Even men are doing it. Proponents claim that this “natural superfood” is more digestible than cow’s milk, builds muscle, and has immune-enhancing effects, and it’s touted to boost sports performance, treat chronic illnesses, and even cure erectile dysfunction. Not quite, warned a 2015 editorial in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine: There’s no clinical evidence that consuming breast milk has any medicinal benefits for adults. Of greater concern: Raw breast milk from online sources catering to adults (different from milk banks set up for infant use) is risky since, like all raw milk, it’s not pasteurized to kill bacteria and viruses, plus it may harbor other types of contaminants.

The Baby Food Diet

This diet, created by trainer-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson, has reportedly been tried by the likes of Lady Gaga and, yet again, Jennifer Aniston. The gist of the seven-day eating plan? Eat jarred baby food for breakfast and lunch, followed by a low-calorie dinner. This is nothing more than a short-term crash diet that is very low in calories and lacking in many nutrients. To read about other unhealthy eating plans embraced by the rich and famous—plus some healthy ones worth trying—see The Truth About Celebrity Diets.