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Big in Japan: Drinking pig placenta keeps Japanese women beautiful
Ever wonder why it is that Japanese women are so beautiful? Ever wonder how Japanese women manage to look so young well into their golden years?
What if I told you that there was a simple and cheap remedy for turning back the clock and washing away the visible signs of aging?
What if I told you that this remedy costs less than US$10 a day, and can be started at any time no matter old you happen to be?
Although the secret is slowly spreading to the Western World, for years Japanese women have been drinking blended pig placenta in an effort to extend their youth.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Some Japanese women, on occasion, drink blended pig placenta in a bottle.
Seriously. I am not making this up.
Now, I guess at this point in the post you are probably thinking one of the following:
b) Does it work?
c) What does it taste like?
d) Where can I buy some?
e) Some or all of the above.
Well, keep reading and allow me to explain the powers of pig placenta!
Gallery: "Gross" Food
For starters, the placenta is a temporary organ that develops from the same sperm and egg cells that form the fetus. In placental mammals including humans, the placenta receives nutrients, oxygen, antibodies, and hormones from the mother's blood, passes out waste and forms a protective barrier around the fetus.
Now, here is where things get interesting.
Placentophagy is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. Scientifically speaking, the placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin, which helps shrink the uterus, and small amounts of oxytocin, which eases birth stress and causes the mammary cells to contract and eject milk.
Although the placenta is revered in many traditional cultures, and has been an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, very few modern people eat it after the newborn's birth. Leading obstetricians and gynecologists are also quick to point out that animals ingest the placenta for nutritional reasons, though there is little nutritional benefit for well-fed humans.
However, pig placenta, blended and bottled for your consumption, is sold all across Japan. A 30 milliliter bottle costs approximately US$8.50 (1000 yen), and is available at any corner store or pharmacy here in Tokyo.
Now, I know that it's easy to be skeptical about health and beauty products, especially since the next big thing is always being touted on late night infomercials across North America.
Also, we all know that the Japanese have incredibly healthy diets that are based on rice and fish, compared with the North America propensity for fatty foods.
And of course, I don't want to discount their genetic predisposition, especially considering that the Japanese tend to age very well, and generally look younger than their Western counterparts.
However, although anecdotal evidence isn't exactly the most reliable of methods, my Japanese friends swear that a bottle a day gives them energy, and has noticeably improved their appearance.
Here's the catch.
I can't stomach it. I've now tried on three separate occasions to drink the stuff, and I gag every time the bottle reaches my mouth. As you'd imagine, blended pig placenta tastes pretty much like blended pig placenta, and no amount of added sugar is going to make a difference.
If you're still interested in trying the stuff, I'm fairly certain that import restrictions in the States prevent the international distribution of this product, though perhaps I'm wrong. With that said, please chime in if you've seen this stuff in a health food store near you.
Gallery: Japanese Food