Eating placentas have no proven health benefits, instead, a number of unknown health dangers could result from the practice.
Ingesting the placenta after giving birth, a practice called placentophagy, has become a rave among new mothers with many believing that it may help prevent post-partum depression, reduce post-delivery pain, increase energy levels and improve lactation.
Despite the number of celebrities swearing by the formula like Kourtney Kardashian, no scientific evidence supports such claims, a new study confirms.
Dr. Crystal Clark, a psychiatrist specialising in reproduction-related mood disorders at Northwestern University, found that there is no data to support these claims. What's more concerning, she says, is that there are no studies examining the potential risks of eating the placenta, which filters out toxins and pollutants during pregnancy to protect the developing foetus.
"We found that women most frequently chose to engage in placentophagy for the perceived benefit of improved mood and energy recovery," Clark said. "But when we looked at the animal studies, we were not able to find evidence that supported any of the health claims."
What's more, when animals consume their placenta, they do so immediately after giving birth. That's not the case for humans, who frequently cook it, process it into capsules, or even make smoothies with the organ, adding an additional potential risk. In addition to not knowing what toxins may be retained in the placenta, there's no regulation regarding the treatment and processing of the placenta to ready it for consumption.
"It's often prepared in someone's kitchen," Clark said. "We don't know if there are any sanitation issues. There's no standard for dosing. These are all things that can pose problems."
If a woman is interested in placentophagy, Stark recommends speaking with her physician first, who may be able to provide alternatives to whatever health issues she is trying to address.
Note to self-- Don't eat any placenta (mine or anyone else's) 2. Stop the crowd mentality.
Eat right and stay healthy.