Research on placenta encapsulation and consumption

Any professional placenta services provider will tell you straight up that the research around placenta consumption is limited.  There are a few studies done in this area however and by no means are the below studies all that exist.  The one thing that all these studies have in common is that further research is needed.

Placenta Medicine as a Galactagogue by Melissa Cole

“For some mothers, insufficient milk supply impacts their ability to fully breastfeed their infants. Many of these mothers seek holistic options to increase their milk supply. Placenta medicine, or postpartum placenta consumption as a purported galactogogue, appears to be a practice on
the rise in the United States. There is some limited historical research, and more recently some phenomenological data, about the practice of placenta as a galactogogue. However, little is truly known about the benefits and risks of placentophagy, in general, or specifically as a galactogogue. This article reviews existing literature and proposes a further call for research regarding the safety and efficacy of placenta consumption.”  Read more …

Human Maternal Placentophagy: A Survey of Self-Reported Motivations and Experiences Associated with Placenta Consumption by Jodi Selander , Allison Cantor , Sharon M. Young & Daniel C. Benyshek

“Maternal placentophagy, although widespread among mammals, is conspicuously absent among humans cross-culturally. Recently, however, advocates for the practice have claimed it provides human postpartum benefits. Despite increasing awareness about placentophagy, no systematic research has investigated the motivations or perceived effects of practitioners. We surveyed 189 females who had ingested their placenta and found the majority of these women reported perceived positive benefits and indicated they would engage in placentophagy again after subsequent births. Further research is necessary to determine if the described benefits extend beyond those of placebo effects, or are skewed by the nature of the studied sample”  Read more …

Presence and concentration of 17 hormones in human placenta processed for encapsulation and consumption by Sharon M. Young, Laura K. Gryder, David Zava, David W. Kimball, Daniel C. Benyshek

“Human maternal placentophagy is a rare but growing practice in several industrialized countries among postpartum mothers seeking a variety of purported health benefits attributed to the practice. These postpartum mothers typically consume their placenta as a processed, encapsulated supplement. To determine whether free (unconjugated) steroid hormones and melatonin in placenta can survive the
encapsulation process (namely steaming and dehydration), we analyzed 28 placenta samples processed for encapsulation using liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to evaluate the concentration of 17 hormones. The results revealed detectable concentrations for 16 of the hormones analyzed, some in concentrations that could conceivably yield physiological effects”. Read more …

Human placenta processed for encapsulation contains modest concentrations of 14 trace minerals and elements by Sharon M. Young, Laura K. Gryder, Winnie B. David, Yuanxin Teng, Shawn Gerstenberger, Daniel C. Benyshek

“Analysis revealed detectable concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, rubidium, selenium, strontium, uranium, and zinc. Based on one recommended daily intake of placenta capsules (3300 mg/d), a daily dose of placenta
supplements contains approximately 0.018 ± 0.004 mg copper, 2.19 ± 0.533 mg iron, 0.005 ± 0.000 mg selenium, and 0.180 ± 0.018 mg zinc. Based on the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for lactating women, the recommended daily intake of placenta capsules would provide, on average, 24% RDA for iron, 7.1% RDA for selenium, 1.5% RDA for zinc, and 1.4% RDA for copper. The mean concentrations of potentially harmful elements (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, uranium) were well below established toxicity thresholds” Read more …

Perspectives from Patients and Healthcare Providers on the Practice of Maternal Placentophagy by Stephanie A. Schuette, Kara M. Brown, Danielle A. Cuthbert, Cynthia W. Coyle, Katherine L. Wisner, M. Camille Hoffman, Amy Yang, Jody D. Ciolino, Rebecca L. Newmark, and Crystal T. Clark

“Most providers and patients have heard of placentophagy but are unsure of its benefits and/or risks. Further research examining the potential therapeutic efficacy and/or risks of placentophagy is needed.” Read more …

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