What is placentophagy?
Human placentophagy, or consumption of the placenta, is defined as "the ingestion of a human placenta postpartum, at any time, by any person, either in raw or altered (e.g., cooked, dried, steeped in liquid) form.".
What are the benefits?
Mothers have reported the following possible benefits:
- Avoidance of Postpartum Blues & Depression
- Rapid Postpartum Recovery
- Natural Replenishment of lost Iron and Nutrients
- Increase Milk Supply
- Reduced Anxiety
- Increased Energy
What hormones are in the placenta?
Researchers analyzed 28 samples of encapsulated placenta looking at 17 specific hormones.
They found the following:
does the placenta affect milk supply?
The placenta acts a Lactogen (any hormone (as prolactin) that stimulates the production of milk) and a Galactagogue (a food or drug that promotes or increases the flow of a mother's milk).
A study conducted on 210 women who consumed their placenta with intentions of increasing their milk supply revealed:
- 71 had very good results
- 110 had good results
- 29 had negative results
Very good results were which there was considerable increase, both subjective and objective, in size and tenderness of the breasts and in secretion of milk (30 g. or more for one feed); the milk also flows by itself. Good results were which the quantity of milk increases by at least 20 g. for one feed.
How much iron is in the placenta?
Researchers conducted a study of iron levels in participants at 36 weeks pregnant, 96 hours postpartum, between 5 and 7 days postpartum, and during week 3. Participants were randomly assigned to receive encapsulated placenta or encapsulated beef. The placenta capsules had significantly higher levels of iron with an average of 0.664 mg/g (24% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance) compared to the beef that had an average iron level of 0.093 mg/g.
Human placenta processed for encapsulation contains modest concentrations of 14 trace minerals and elements - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27440542
Placentophagy: comparison of plausible biologically active compounds that might support this practice- http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(16)31814-2/fulltext
Effects of Human Maternal Placentophagy on Maternal Postpartum Iron Status: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study- http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jmwh.12549/full