Looks like placenta pills have no proven health benefits

Placenta pills may not help prevent post-natal depression a study has revealed [Photo: Getty]
Placenta pills may not help prevent post-natal depression a study has revealed [Photo: Getty]

As birth trends go, eating your placenta is up there as one of the most divisive (along with vaginal-seeding, of course).

Rochelle Humes, Coleen Rooney Kim Kardashian and January Jones are all rumoured to have had their baby’s placenta turned into capsules via a process of steaming, dehydrating and grounding.

From believing it can give mums a post-birth energy boost to helping avoid developing postnatal depression and reduce pain after delivery, a whole load of placenta pill health benefits have long been debated.

But according to new research, it seems like most, if not all of them, might not be true.

The study, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, involved 12 women who took placenta capsules and 15 who took placebo pills in the weeks after giving birth and tested the efficacy of placenta capsules in promoting various health benefits, including stemming the onset of postpartum ‘baby blues’ and depression of new mothers.

The results of the research, published in the online journal Women and Birth, found that such claims are not clearly supported.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Daniel Benyshek, senior author of the study, said: “For sceptics, our results might be seen as proof that placentophagy doesn’t ‘really work’ because we did not find the type of clear, robust differences in maternal hormone levels or postpartum mood between the placenta group and placebo group that these types of studies are designed to detect.”

However the work did show that ingesting placenta capsules produced small but detectable changes in hormone concentrations which show up in a mother’s circulating hormone levels.

“While the study doesn’t provide firm support for or against the claims about the benefits of placentophagy, it does shed light on this much debated topic by providing the first results from a clinical trial specifically testing the impact of placenta supplements on postpartum hormones, mood, and energy,” Dr Sharon Young, lead author of the study, explained.

“What we have uncovered are interesting areas for future exploration, such as small impacts on hormone levels for women taking placenta capsules, and small improvements in mood and fatigue in the placenta group.”

Back in 2016, the same research team released another study showing that consuming encapsulated placentas was not as good of a source of iron as proponents had suggested.

Placenta pills are popular with many new mums [Photo: Getty]
Placenta pills are popular with many new mums [Photo: Getty]

It isn’t the first time in recent months that the subject of placenta pills has created controversy. Earlier this year a doctor warned that as well as providing no obvious health boost, eating your placenta is actually bordering on cannibalism.

That followed a warning issued by experts about the dangers of consuming your placenta.

New research by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggested that not only does eating the placenta not have any proven positive effects, mums who chose to eat their placentas could be putting their baby’s health at risk.

And apparently, people aren’t just consuming their placenta to boost their recovery after birth. Earlier this year we revealed that some women are ingesting a compound found in the placenta and urine of pregnant women as an extreme form of weightloss. *gags*

Unsurprisingly experts are warning that these so-called weight loss plans could actually be unsafe and may not even work in the first place.

It seems the jury on placenta pills is most definitely still out.

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