They are questions we hear often... Should I encapsulate my placenta? Is it safe? Any side effects? What are the benefits? Is there any legitimate science behind it?
Is It Safe?
The short answer- yes, an intensive 2018 study found it safe. As long as the placenta is properly handled and processed and you only consume your own placenta, it is safe. Consuming someones else's placenta increases the risk of transmitting blood-born diseases (well, and that would be gross).
In 2016, a study was released that examined the contents of the placenta. The study found significant quantities of minerals including iron and 15 hormones. The study determined that there were not any toxic amount of minerals or hormones and thereby concluded that it would be safe to consume the placenta.
Are there any side effects?
The only evidence for side effects is anecdotal (meaning what people have reported). The reported side effects are minimal with only a few reporting a feeling of dizziness (likely from the hormone levels balancing) or jitteriness.
What are the reported benefits?
High levels of iron (which helps prevent anemia)
Hormones found in the placenta help increase levels of oxytocin (this is your “feel good” hormone which helps the mother bond with her newborn and also helps the uterus contract back down to its pre-pregnancy size).
Increases in CRH (corticotropin-release hormone)-> this hormone is responsible for reducing your stress level
Increased milk production
Consuming your encapsulated placenta is believed to help prevent Postpartum Depression. PPD is linked to a lack of essential nutrients including iron, vitamin B6 and hormones including CRH, all of which the placenta is rich in.
What does the science say?
There are currently few legitimate studies on this topic, however, there is currently a large study underway at the University of Nevada studying it’s effect on PPD (as mentioned above). Most evidence that we currently have is anecdotal. There are two old published studies- one from 1918 and another from the 1950s however both were poorly constructed and didn’t report much.
A recent study that came out of University of Nevada in 2018, and was the most thorough of its kind, did find that there were "impacts on hormone levels for women taking placenta capsules, and small improvements in mood and fatigue in the placenta group."
So... should you encapsulate your placenta?
The answer is that it's totally up to you.
Science says it can't hurt and if you find it isn't helpful, no harm no foul. And that isn't to say that should you not find it helpful immediately postpartum, it won't be helpful later. Some moms like to save some of the pills for when their cycle returns (to help gently balance the hormones thereby relieving some of the effects during that time) or if you're really committed, you can save the pills (which keep indefinitely in the freezer) and use them during menopause to balance the hormone roller coaster. If you choose not to encapsulate, however, that placenta is gone forever.
What will you choose?
If you are interested in our encapsulation process please click here.