As gross as it might sound, the practice of eating placenta has been around for several years now; new mothers have been consuming it right after childbirth, including a number of celebrities who made this unpleasant activity one of the weirdest fads ever.
However, the benefits of consuming placenta have been mostly implied, the question of how healthy remaining highly unanswered.
Until now, when a new study that has been published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health discovered that little to no evidence could be found to support the idea of this practice.
According to Crystal Clark, main author of the report, placentophagy – the scientific name given to eating placenta – has been studied by way too few studies, which makes conclusion both inconclusive and unclear. The only significant conclusion was that the practice did not prove to have consistent health benefits.
However, an online survey conducted in 2013 showed that 40 percent of the respondent mothers found that eating their own placenta had a positive boost on their mood. The most convincing evidence that comes in support of the practice was offered by several lab rat experiments.
Clark said results showed that those lab rats that were given their placentas for consumption right after giving birth seemed to be in less pain than those that didn’t. However, in spite of the exactness of that particular study, it does not support what the human mothers are doing.
Experiments showed pain relief happened only if the rat ate the placenta in its entirety immediately – which implied that storing or cooking it would lead to different results. The most common practice requires the placenta to be consumed either after being dehydrated or cooked.
Seeing as how these two methods – the animal and the human one – are so different, and that no experimental study has been done on humans, Clark concluded that the approaches could and should not be compared.
And he is not the only skeptic that dismisses the alleged benefits of placentophagy. Daniel Benyshek, a professor from the University of Nevada, believes that the practice is safe at best, and not beneficial in any way. Also, the fact that there are no estimates about the way women engage in this practice makes it difficult for experts to draw consistent conclusions.
Clark hopes that further research on the subject would give women the chance to make more informed decisions, and avoid the potential health dangers that come with eating raw tissue. So far, the placenta is known for the many bacteria it hosts – very good for the baby, but maybe not so beneficial to the mother.
Image Source: Today Pop Culture
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