It’s supposed to be good for you but an Australian scientist has debunked the idea that eating placenta has nutritional value.
Bond University Professor Dr Tim Crowe has suggested it could even do you harm, especially if the placenta has been converted to a tablet.
“This process though can destroy some of the hormones in the placenta making the likelihood of any remote health benefits from eating a placenta even more remote,” Dr Crowe said.
“There is some risk of harm from contamination with harmful bacteria, especially with the encapsulated form.”
It’s common among most mammals for the mother to consume their placenta after childbirth and – understandably – not so common for humans.
But a debate about the benefits has been swelling over the past few years, with scientists and celebrities at loggerheads over whether the bizarre ritual is worth practising.
There have been lengthy peer-review medical articles published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, while reality star Kourtney Kardashian cooked her own placenta in the oven and fed it to her family.
Upon consumption, it is claimed an individual will experience increased oxytocin levels, promoting milk lactation.
One company has started taking placentas after birth and converted the ‘nutrients’ into a pill form for ease of ingestion – a method backed by Kim Kardashian and actor January Jones, of Mad Men.
However, scientists like Dr Crowe are yet to prove the repulsive practice is worthwhile.
“The one study that investigated a claim that it contributes to iron status of the new mum found no benefit of placenta capsules over placebo pills,” Dr Crowe said.
“All other health claims made about the placenta are not backed up by scientific research.”
He said the process of converting the placenta to a pill is popular, but useless.
Despite the concerns of qualified doctors and scientists like Dr Crowe, powerful celebrity voices might keep the debate alive.