We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Scientific effects of placenta consumption
Placenta raw, dried, as a smoothie or in globules - this is not only found in esoteric circles. Stars like Kim Kardashian have also told the public that they have eaten portions of the mother's cake after childbirth. But is the placenta really a cure?
Lifestyle magazines and relevant internet forums give the impression from time to time that the milk production is boosted for women who eat from the mother cake after giving birth. In addition, eating against postpartum depression should help and ensure that mothers get fit faster. But what is it about these myths?
Few serious studies
At the University Hospital Jena, pregnant women also ask doctors and midwives about such questions. The problem: “Everything that is in circulation has not been scientifically proven,” says private lecturer Dr. Tanja Groten, managing senior physician at the clinic for obstetrics, in a message.
"There are hardly any studies that meet scientific standards," adds biologist Jana Pastuschek. Both are among the researchers who get to the bottom of placentophagy - the technical term for the consumption of the mother's cake - in the placenta laboratory of the Department of Obstetrics to counter this deficit.
Hormonal composition examined
The 34-year-old doctor Sophia Johnson, herself a mother of three children, has been working on this research topic for her doctorate under the supervision of laboratory manager Prof. Udo Markert since 2014, with practical clinical support from Tanja Groten.
In addition to researching the literature on the subject, the scientist examined the hormonal composition of the placenta, which supplies the child in the womb with nutrients, vitamins and hormones. The organ, which weighs around 500 grams, is born after the baby as a rebirth and has just fulfilled its task.
According to the information, six placentas of uncomplicated births, which were given to the laboratory by the women for research purposes, were selected for the analysis. The organs were also microbiologically examined for possible bacterial contamination in order to detect possible risks of mother cake consumption.
Processing according to traditional methods
At the same time, it was about how the processing of the placenta using traditional methods - for example by drying or pulverizing - affects the hormone concentration. "We only examined it in the laboratory," explains Johnson. The women themselves did not consume their placenta - neither raw nor processed.
"We know that the placenta can produce an enormous amount of different hormones," explains Johnson. The scientists' interest focused on a smaller part, in addition to sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, also hormones that promote milk production and regulate the organism's stress reactions, such as oxytocin.
This so-called “cuddle hormone” controls the milk dispensing reflex, stimulates the uterine regression and ensures that there is a bond between mother and child, it should also reduce stress and relax.
The positive experiences may be based on a placebo effect
The measurement results when comparing the different processing methods of the placentas were revealing: the hormone content dropped significantly. “When processing according to traditional Chinese medicine, for example, the hormone loss is up to 99 percent compared to the raw state,” says Jana Pastuschek. "In fact, they are no longer verifiable."
This raises the question of what can really be said about the positive effect of taking placental powder, as described in the experience reports of women. "It may be a very good placebo effect," suspects Pastuschek. In a pure laboratory study, it cannot be clarified how the women's organism absorbs the active ingredients from the mother cake.
In view of the small number of placentas examined, the research work can only be a first step, the researchers emphasize. Another doctoral thesis is already in progress. "It is important to us to be able to give women good, scientifically sound advice on the subject," explains Tanja Groten, who oversees the work. "That's why we take care of this topic."
No evidence of medical benefits
Researchers have also dealt with the topic before. For example, a team of scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago (USA) determined in ten studies on the subject of placentophagy that there are no benefits from eating the placenta. As the scientists reported in the journal “Archives often Women's Mental Health” at the time, eating the mother's cake rather posed a possible health risk, since it was by no means sterile.
Gynecologist Alex Farr from the Medical University of Vienna also conducted research on the subject - which is still largely taboo. The results of his work have been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Farr, who conducted his research as part of a collaboration with the Weill Cornell Medical Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York, said in a statement:
“From a medical point of view, the placenta is a waste product. Most mammals eat the placenta after birth, but we can only guess why they do so. After the placenta is genetically part of the newborn, eating the placenta borders on cannibalism. ”The scientist sees no evidence of any medical benefits.
"On the contrary, because the suspected nutrients such as iron, selenium and zinc are not in sufficient concentrations in the placenta." Farr continues: "However, high concentrations of heavy metals were found in the placenta that accumulate there during pregnancy. "(Ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Jena University Hospital: A mother's cake as a remedy ?, (accessed: 21.08.2019), Jena University Hospital
- American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Human placentophagy: a review, (accessed: Aug 21, 2019), American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Medical University of Vienna: Dangerous trend: Placenta is not suitable as a "superfood" Utl: Experts from MedUni Vienna advise mothers not to eat the placenta after birth, (accessed: August 21, 2019), Medical University of Vienna