Is placenta disgusting or healthy?
It is said to relieve pain and strengthen the immune system when women eat or have the placenta prepared after giving birth. Pregnant women are watching this closely Celebs like Kim and Kourtney Kardashian started a trend in 2015 with their announcement that they would eat their own placenta.
Experts speak of placentophagy when someone eats their placenta. In fact, in some animal species, such as goats, this is a natural process. The placenta is a flat, blood-colored organ, 15 to 20 centimeters in diameter and weighing around 500 grams. Their main tasks are the exchange of nutritional and metabolic products between mother and child, as well as the formation of various hormones. “The placenta is permeable to certain groups of substances, but impermeable to others, and some substances are converted in the placenta by its enzymes,” says the biochemist and placenta researcher Dr. Christian Wadsack from the University Women’s Clinic in Graz. Once the child is born, the mother’s body also sheds the placenta a short time later – with the so-called afterbirth. Placenta as a smoothie? The idea of using the placenta is not new. Some parents bury it and plant a tree on it – even today. Until the 1980s, placenta preparations, including Placenta-Serol and Placentubex C, were sold in Germany – but not for consumption, but as skin creams. With the advent of AIDS, these products disappeared from the market.
Again and again it was propagated to eat the placenta. Either simply raw, for example mashed into a smoothie, or cooked – numerous recipes are circulating on the Internet. That doesn’t sound very inviting to many. An alternative: The placenta can be processed in such a way that it can be taken in capsule form or as globules. Anyone looking for pharmacies on the Internet that sell so-called placenta nosodes will quickly find what they are looking for. Nosodes are homeopathically prepared remedies that are made from blood, breast milk or pathogens, for example
What are the health effects of placenta?
The placenta is said to keep postpartum depression away, promote milk production, and relieve pain. Proponents of placentophagy mainly rely on the results of animal experiments. These indicate that substances contained in the placenta can increase the effect of the body’s own pain-relieving substances – but only if they are present in large numbers, as at birth. “In addition, the placenta of a rat or mouse has a different morphological structure and therefore functions very differently at the cellular level than that of a woman. One must not compare apples and pears here, as these more popular scientific studies do,” warns Wadsack.
Effects such as a strong immune system and a beautiful complexion are also propagated. Supporters of placentophagy disregard whether it is a spontaneous or a caesarean birth. However, this in turn affects the hormone composition contained. Homeopathic placenta preparations are even said to help against neurodermatitis and migraines. The effect of the preparations has not been proven. A study by psychiatrist and behavioral scientist Dr. Crystal Clark of Northwestern University in Chicago. She published a meta-analysis in Archives of Women’s Mental Health that includes ten studies on the subject. However, six of them only deal with animal experiments.