Harvard – The Effects of Ingestion of Dried Placenta on Milk Production
“All patients were given desiccated placenta prepared as previously described (C.A. II, 2492) in doses of 10 grains in a capsule 3 times a day. Only those mothers were chosen for the study whose parturition was normal and only the weights of those infants were recorded whose soul source of nourishment was mothers milk. The growth of 177 infants was studied. The rate of growth is increased by the ingestion of placenta by the mother… the maternal ingestion of dried placenta tissue so stimulates the tissues of the infants feeding on the milk produced during this time, that unit weight is able to add on greater increments of matter, from day to day, than can unit weight of infants feeding on milk from mothers not ingesting this substance.” Hammett, Frederick. S. 1918. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 36. American Society of Biological Chemists, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, original press: Harvard University.
American Journal of Obstetrics – Effects of Ingestion of Dried Placenta on Breast Milk Content
“It has been shown that the feeding of desiccated placenta to women during the first eleven days after parturition causes an increase in the protein and lactose percent of the milk… All the mothers were receiving the same diet, and to the second set 0.6mg of desiccated placenta was fed three times a day throughout the period. Certain definite differences in the progress of growth of the two sets of infants are to be observed. It is evident that the recovery from the postnatal decline in weight is hastened by the consumption of milk produced under the influence of maternally ingested placenta.” McNeile, Lyle G. 1918. The American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children, 77. W.A. Townsend & Adams, original press: University of Michigan.
“Placenta as a Lactagogon”
“An attempt was made to increase milk secretion in mothers by administration of dried placenta per os. Of 210 controlled cases only 29 (13.8%) gave negative results; 181 women (86.2%) reacted positively to the treatment, 117 (55.7%) with good and 64 (30.5%) with very good results. It could be shown by similar experiments with a beef preparation that the effective substance in placenta is not protein. Nor does the lyofilised placenta act as a biogenic stimulator so that the good results of placenta administration cannot be explained as a form of tissue therapy per os. The question of a hormonal influence remains open. So far it could be shown that progesterone is probably not active in increasing lactation after administration of dried placenta.” Soykova-Pachnerova E, et. al.(1954). Gynaecologia 138(6):617-627.
Consuming Placenta Shows Increase in Milk Production
“Powdered Placenta Hominis was used for 57 cases of insufficient lactation. Within 4 days, 48 women had markedly increased milk production, with the remainder following suit over the next three days.” Bensky/Gamble. 1997. Materia Medica, Eastland Press, 549.
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.
“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
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
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.
*Note : Many of these studies are available in its entirety online.