Eating your Placenta, or Placentophagia may deter the onset of postpartum depression, help restore nutrients to the body and help increase milk supply
The placenta contains high levels of various vitamins, such as B6, which can help curb postpartum depression. Eating the placenta enables the mother to “reclaim” these vitamins and put them to use in her own body. Placentophagia may also increase a mother’s blood levels of a hormone known as CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), a known stress-reducer. This hormone is normally secreted by the hypothalamus. According to a study performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “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.” Click here for more info on this study. After childbirth, the hypothalamus doesn’t immediately receive the signal to begin producing CRH again, which can lead to postpartum depression. Eating the placenta can raise a mother’s CRH levels, reducing symptoms of postpartum depression.
Human placenta is rich in various essential nutrients such as iron and protein. Placentophagia can help replenish these nutrients, which are often depleted during childbirth due to blood loss. This benefit of placentophagia may be especially important for anyone with lower blood iron levels to begin with, as well as those with a vegan diet. Animals with an Herbivore diet may practice placentophagia for this reason.
For centuries, the Chinese have consumed the placenta as a way to increase insufficient milk production. In 1954, a study was conducted in which 210 women, expected to have low milk supply, were administered dried placenta. 86% of the mothers noticed a significant increase in milk production. It follows, therefore, that placentophagia can be beneficial in stimulating breastmilk production, even for mothers who are not at risk for low supply.