There are many outrageous ideas out there when it comes to popular health habits and nature-based advantages and one of the most famous ones is that women benefit greatly from eating their placenta. Scientists tend to disagree, as there is no actual evidence to support these claims.
Popular media has been riddled with a wide range of stories that cannot stop praising the benefits of eating placenta and how this represents going back to nature. Furthermore, celebrities have turned this idea into a must-to for all the new moms that strictly follow the latest gossip and dream about their one minute of fame.
Placenta has been praised to be extraordinarily nutritious. It supposedly conveys enough iron to the new mom to make her feel energetic, it stimulates lactation and miraculously, it even considerably improves postpartum depression.
These are the benefits that have convinced so many women to actually eat their placenta. Well, the benefits and Tom Cruise, of course, who apparently believed in the beneficial effects of consuming placenta even beyond gender boundaries.
Physiologically, the placenta is the organ that keeps the fetus’ blood supply separate from the mother’s bloodstream and that collects all the waste products from the unborn child. Therefore, it doesn’t exactly seem to be the healthiest food option out there.
It can be consumed in raw form, by those who have the stomach for such a bloody horrible culinary experience. Other options involve cooking the organ, that still sounds extremely gruesome and finally, eating it in capsule form. This is the only one that sounds remotely doable and this is why it is applied most often.
Furthermore, the new mother needs to think about whether or not she wants to eat the placenta and specifically tell the midwife before she actually gives birth in the case that she does. The midwife then preserves the placenta for the woman. The Royal College of Midwives regards the matter as being the woman’s choice.
So there is all this hype and procedure making around the gory practice of placentophagia, but the list of scientific evidence is awfully thin. A group of researchers from Northwestern University have conducted a review on 10 scientific studies that involved the supposed benefits of eating placenta.
“Women choosing placentophagy, who may otherwise be very careful about what they are putting into their bodies during pregnancy and nursing, are willing to ingest something without evidence of its benefits and, more importantly, of its potential risks to themselves and their nursing infants,”said psychologist Cynthia Coyle, faculty memeber of Feinberg School of Medicine from Northwestern and head researcher of the review.
One of the biggest concerns regarding this practice that the researchers had was the fact that despite the fact that the organ comes the woman’s own body, there is not sanitary control performed on it. Normally, it should be examined by a medical professional who is specialized in the pathology of the organ and who can determine if it is appropriate for consumption or not.
Normally, a veterinary doctor performs this examination on all food that we buy from authorized centers. But in the case of placenta, a pathologist would be the likely equivalent. However, there is no such examination performed on the organ prior to consumption, which makes it about as safe as buying meet from the street.
Furthermore, there is no research that has looked into the proper way to store the placenta, in order to maintain it safe from the development of bacteria inside it. So it all points to a very risky meal.
One of the most common arguments provided by placentophagia adepts is that a lot of animals do it, and usually the most common examples are dogs and cats. But what they seem to have forgotten is that women are not animals and the main reason why this is crucial in this case is that dogs and cats are carnivores and they are differently equipped in terms of digestive abilities and resistance to certain germs.
Ultimately, it truly remains up to every woman just how close she wants to be to nature, but before making a decision, it is crucial that the risks of this practice are considered carefully, as well as the benefits.
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