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There may be risks linked with eating the placenta

Experts say eating the placenta "no documented benefit"

Placenta is often dehydrated and processed into capsules, like those seen above.

There's growing interest in placenta consumption (also called placentophagy) among women in the US, though no "contemporary human culture" includes the practice in its traditions, according to the AJOG paper.

The placenta is often dehydrated and processed into capsules that women can take as a normal pill. But that's' not the only possible preparation.

"Some women eat slices of the placenta raw directly after birth, while others deep-freeze them for later consumption," the authors wrote. "Placental material might also be mixed with fruits or juices to create smoothies that mask the unpleasant taste or might be used as a meat substitute for recipes such as lasagna or pasta."

Despite increased interest and a plethora of consumption methods, however, there is still no scientific evidence that eating the placenta has any clinical benefits for new mothers, the paper added.

The only available randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the subject studied whether placenta pills could help postpartum women get enough iron, the authors wrote. But the results showed there was no meaningful difference in iron status between the women taking the placenta pills and the women taking the placebo.

Read more:More women are using marijuana while pregnant, and it could be putting their babies at risk

And, as gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter wrote in the New York Times in September, the fact that many mammals eat their placentas doesn't mean the practice is good for humans.

"Most mammals have entirely different reproductive physiology [than humans]," she wrote. "Not to mention entirely different behaviors."

"These days, my cat eats grass ... I suspect she does this when she has an upset stomach," Gunter added. "Imagine if your gastroenterologist suggested eating grass for an upset stomach because cats do it?"

There may be risks linked with eating the placenta

The period after giving birth can be extremely difficult for new moms, but some experts say placenta pills aren't the answer.

The AJOG paper also noted that there may be harmful effects associated with eating the placenta. First, toxic substances may accumulate in the placenta. One study found low levels of the heavy metal cadmium in the organ, for example. The placenta also contains hormones, and though there's no evidence that mother can absorb these hormones if they eat their placenta, it's possible they may have negative effects on the body. And if the placenta isn't heated to high enough temperatures before consumption, viruses like HIV, hepatitis, and Zika and potentially dangerous bacteria may not be eradicated.

The AJOG paper gave clear advice to doctors: "Because placentophagy is potentially harmful with no documented benefit, counseling women should be directive: physicians should discourage this practice."

In her post for the New York Times, Gunter acknowledged that the postpartum period is difficult, and that we do need more research on ways to help new mothers as they recover from childbirth.

"However, a novel therapy based on anecdotes ... is no answer," she wrote.






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Date: 17.12.2018, 17:38 / Views: 41494


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