THE LARGEST STUDY OF ITS KIND FOUND MOTHERS WHO CONSUMED THEIR PLACENTA PASSED ON NO HARM TO THEIR NEWBORN BABIES
The largest study of its kind found mothers who consumed their placenta passed on no harm to their newborn babies when compared to infants of mothers who did not consume their placenta.
MATERNAL IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA AFFECTS POSTPARTUM EMOTIONS AND COGNITION - JOHN L. BEARD, ET. AL.; J. NUTR. 135: 267–272, 2005
ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to determine whether iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in mothers alters their maternal cognitive and behavioral performance, the mother-infant interaction, and the infant’s development. This article focuses on the relation between IDA and cognition as well as behavioral affect in the young mothers. This prospective, randomized, controlled, intervention trial was conducted in South Africa among 3 groups of mothers: nonanemic controls and anemic mothers receiving either placebo (10 g folate and 25 mg vitamin C) or daily iron (125 mg FeS04, 10 g folate, 25 mg vitamin C). Mothers of full-term normal birth weight babies were followed from 10 wk to 9 mo postpartum (n 81). Maternal hematologic and iron status, socioeconomic, cognitive, and emotional status, motherinfant interaction, and the development of the infants were assessed at 10 wk and 9 mo postpartum. Behavioral and cognitive variables at baseline did not differ between iron-deficient anemic mothers and nonanemic mothers. However, iron treatment resulted in a 25% improvement (P 0.05) in previously iron-deficient mothers’ depression and stress scales as well as in the Raven’s Progressive Matrices test. Anemic mothers administered placebo did not improve in behavioral measures. Multivariate analysis showed a strong association between iron status variables (hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, and transferrin saturation) and cognitive variables (Digit Symbol) as well as behavioral variables (anxiety, stress, depression). This study demonstrates that there is a strong relation between iron status and depression, stress, and cognitive functioning in poor African mothers during the postpartum period. There are likely ramifications of this poorer "functioning" on mother-child interactions and infant development, but the constraints around this relation will have to be defined in larger studies.
PLACENTOPHAGY PROTOCOL IN MANAGEMENT OF POSTPARTUM CARE
“Giving…placenta to a new mother following birth has become standard protocol among a growing number of midwives in the United States. By nourishing the blood and fluids, endocrine glands and organs, Placenta will …reduce or stop postpartum bleeding, speed up recovery, boost energy and relieve postpartum blues.” Homes, Peter. 1993. Jade Remedies, Snow Lotus Press, 352.
ACCORDING TO A STUDY PERFORMED BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
“During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes so much CRH that the levels in the bloodstream increase threefold. However, it was also discovered that postpartum women have lower than average levels of CRH, triggering depressive symptoms. They concluded that the placenta secreted so much CRH that the hypothalamus stopped producing it… After childbirth, the hypothalamus doesn’t immediately receive the signal to begin producing CRH again, which can lead to postpartum depression. Eating the placenta will raise a mother’s CRH levels therefore, reducing postpartum depression.”
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NUTRITION – IRON CONTENT OF PLACENTAS AND CORDS
A 1961 study on the Iron Content of Placentas and Cords by Bonnie McCoy, M.S, Roberta Bleiler, Ph.D, and Margaret Ohlson Ph.D states, “Data obtained on the fifty placentas and cords were expressed as milligrams of total iron and milligrams per 100 grams of the wet weight of the sample. The total iron content of the samples averaged 75.5mg and ranged from 34.5 to 170mg, excluding one value, 396.7mg which was 6 standard deviations from the mean. The latter total iron value was also omitted in the calculation of the iron concentrations in placentas plus cords which ranged from 7.1 to 34.8mg with a mean of 13.6mg per 100gm of the wet weight of the sample. The weights of the placentas and cords averaged 560gm but varied from 385 to 880 gm.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 9, September-October 1961
PLACENTA INGESTION BY RATS ENHANCES Y- AND N-OPIOID ANTINOCICEPTION, BUT SUPPRESSES A-OPIOID ANTINOCICEPTION - JEAN M. DIPIRRO*, MARK B. KRISTAL
Ingestion of placenta or amniotic fluid produces a dramatic enhancement of centrally mediated opioid antinociception in the rat. The present experiments investigated the role of each opioid receptor type (A, y, n) in the antinociception-modulating effects of Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF—presumably the active substance). Antinociception was measured on a 52 jC hotplate in adult, female rats after they ingested placenta or control substance (1.0 g) and after they received an intracerebroventricular injection of a y-specific ([D-Pen2,D-Pen5]enkephalin (DPDPE); 0, 30, 50, 62, or 70 nmol), A-specific ([D-Ala2,N-MePhe4,Gly5-ol]enkephalin (DAMGO); 0, 0.21, 0.29, or 0.39 nmol), or n-specific (U-62066; spiradoline; 0, 100, 150, or 200 nmol) opioid receptor agonist. The results showed that ingestion of placenta potentiated y- and n-opioid antinociception, but attenuated A-opioid antinociception. This finding of POEF action as both opioid receptor-specific and complex provides an important basis for understanding the intrinsic pain-suppression mechanisms that are activated during parturition and modified by placentophagia, and important information for the possible use of POEF as an adjunct to opioids in pain management.
D 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
“ENHANCEMENT OF OPIOID-MEDIATED ANALGESIA : A SOLUTION TO THE ENIGMA OF PLACENTOPHAGIA” – AS IT RELATES TO PAIN RELIEF
“Ingestion of placenta or amniotic fluid produces a dramatic enhancement of centrally mediated opioid antinociception in the rat. The present experiments investigated the role of each opioid receptor type (A, y, n) in the antinociception-modulating effects of Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor (POEF—presumably the active substance). Antinociception was measured on a 52 jC hotplate in adult, female rats after they ingested placenta or control substance (1.0 g) and after they received an intracerebroventricular injection of a y-specific ([D-Pen2,D-Pen5]enkephalin (DPDPE); 0, 30, 50, 62, or 70 nmol), A-specific ([D-Ala2,N-MePhe4,Gly5-ol]enkephalin (DAMGO); 0, 0.21, 0.29, or 0.39 nmol), or n-specific (U-62066; spiradoline; 0, 100, 150, or 200 nmol) opioid receptor agonist. The results showed that ingestion of placenta potentiated y- and n-opioid antinociception, but attenuated A-opioid antinociception. This finding of POEF action as both opioid receptor-specific and complex provides an important basis for understanding the intrinsic pain-suppression mechanisms that are activated during parturition and modified by placentophagia, and important information for the possible use of POEF as an adjunct to opioids in pain management. ” D 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Jean M. DiPirro*, Mark B. Kristal
UNLV STUDY – REPORTED BENEFITS OF PLACENTOPHAGY
“Daniel Benyshek, a UNLV medical anthropologist, and Sharon Young, a doctoral student of anthropology, asked 189 women who consumed their placentas after childbirth why they did it, how they preferred to have the placenta prepared, and if they would do it again. The results were published online Feb. 27, 2013 in the journal Ecology, Food and Nutrition. The survey found most women who participated in the practice, called placentophagy, were American, Caucasian, married, middle class, and college-educated and were more likely to give birth at home. Overall, 75% of participants said they had very positive experiences, 20% reported positive experiences and 4% were slightly positive. The most commonly reported negative aspect of placentophagy was the placenta’s appeal — the taste or smell of it was simply kind of icky. But most reported positive placentophagy experiences. “Our survey participants generally reported some type of perceived benefit from the practice, felt that their postpartum experience with placentophagy was a positive one, and overwhelmingly indicated that they would engage in placentophagy again after subsequent pregnancies. In fact, both of the  participants who selected negative or very negative to describe their placentophagy experience also indicated that they would engage in placentophagy again.” the authors write. According to the survey, the top three positive effects of placentophagy were improved mood, increased energy and improved lactation.” University of Nevada Las Vegas, February 2013
NEUROSCIENTIST AT UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO SUGGESTS INGESTION OF PLACENTA OFFERS BENEFITS
“A paper by neuroscientists at the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College suggests that ingestion of components of afterbirth or placenta — placentophagia — may offer benefits to human mothers and perhaps to non-mothers and males. Mark Kristal, PhD, professor of psychology and neuroscience at UB, directs the graduate program in behavioral neuroscience, and has studied placentophagia for more than 40 years. He is recognized as a principle expert in the field. Kristal’s article “Placentophagia in Human and Nonhuman Mammals: Causes and Consequences,” was published in the March 30 issue of the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition, which was devoted to the subject of placentophagia. Kristal’s co-authors are Jean M. DiPirro, PhD, associate professor, Department of Psychology, Buffalo State College, and Alexis C. Thompson, PhD, research associate professor, UB Department of Psychology and a research scientist in the UB Research Institute on Addictions. They point out that the benefits of placenta ingestion (as well as the ingestion of amniotic fluid) by non-human mammalian mothers are significant. It provokes an increase in mother-infant interaction, for instance, and increases the effects of pregnancy-mediated analgesia in the delivering mother. It also potentiates opioid circuits in the maternal brain that facilitate the onset of caretaking behavior, and suppresses postpartum pseudopregnancy, thereby increasing the possibilities for fertilization. “Human childbirth is fraught with additional problems for which there are no practical nonhuman animal models,” says Kristal, citing postpartum depression, failure to bond and maternal hostility toward the infant. “Whether or not we learn why humans do not do this, it is important for us to search for the medicinal or behavioral benefits of components of afterbirth for the same reasons that we search for plant-based medicinal substances,” Kristal says.” University of Buffalo Press Release, March 2012
NUTRIENTS AND HORMONES IN HEAT-DRIED HUMAN PLACENTA
“This cross-sectional study was to assess the nutrients in terms of protein, fat, minerals, and hormones in heat-dried human placenta. Thirty heat-dried human placentas, 15 from male and 15 from female, were analyzed for protein (amino acids), fiber, fat, moisture, minerals (sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese), hormones (estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, growth hormone). Heat-dried female human placentas had slightly higher fiber content than male, but protein and fat components were not different. Mineral levels in placentas were high especially sodium, potassium and phosphorus. There were no significant differences in the amount of minerals and hormonal profile between female and male placentas. However, hormone levels in heat-dried placenta were low compared to physiologic level in human beings. The results of this study suggest that the amount of nutrients particularly protein and minerals in heat-dried human placentas were enriched.” J Med Assoc Thai. 2000 Jun;83(6):690-4.
"The most general benefit of placentophagy, according to resent research, is that placenta and amniotic fluid contain a molecule (POEF, Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor) that modifies the activity of endogenous opioids in such a way that produces and enhancement of the natural reduction in pain that occurs shortly after and during delivery."
Mark B. Kristal, "Enhancments of Opioid_Medicated Analgesia: A solution to the Enigma of Placentophagia", Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 15: 425-435