The Benefits of Placentophagy

In a recent article in the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition, Mark Kristal argues that placentophagia (that is, the eating of afterbirth or placenta) could offer significant benefits for humans — especially considering that all other mammals (including non-human primates) do it. (link: These benefits might include increasing mother-infant interaction, increasing the effects of pregnancy-mediated analgesia in the delivering mother, and potentiating opioid circuits in the maternal brain that facilitate the onset of caretaking behavior. He acknowledges that these possible benefits don't warrant "the wholesale ingestion of afterbirth," but he does think the issue deserves further study.

The strange thing is that although all other mammals practice placentophagy, no human cultures do (according to Dr. Kristal) — except for Hollywood celebrities.
     Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 09, 2012
     Category: Babies | Food | Nutrition | Health

What's with all this HE stuff?

BTW, Alex, when you go here remember; You started it!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 04/09/12 at 09:31 AM
Thanks, Alex. That pretty much put me off lunch for today.

As for those who think placentophagy is something that we have "lost" as homo sap became civilized, I am glad that I am civilized.

"I'm an apeman, I'm an ape, apeman, oh I'm an apeman
I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voodoo man, oh I'm an apeman
Cause compared to the sun that sits in the sky,
Compared to the clouds as they roll by,
Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies I am an apeman."
Posted by KDP on 04/09/12 at 10:16 AM
Anybody got a link to the old Saturday Night Live "Placenta Helper" commercial? I'm not sure if there's a copy on the net ... I'm not having much luck finding one....

Here's the box they made up for that skit:

-Cougar :{)
Posted by Cougar Allen on 04/09/12 at 11:23 AM
That's funny Cougar! :lol:
What January Jones is talking about, while weird, is far less gross than other stories of people who cook and eat the placenta. Also, list of things animals do that we don't (normally anyway)-
1. eat cat poo out of the litter box, dogs.
2. chase down an animal and kill it and eat it raw, lions, bears ect.
3. lick our own butts, dogs, cats ect.
4. sniff someone's butt as a greeting, dogs.
5. pee on stuff to mark territory, dogs and some others.
need I go on?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 04/09/12 at 11:43 AM
Heh; Mark Kristal doesn't do much reading on other cultures, apparently. Many cultures do traditionally eat the placenta. Just not Western ones. In my mind, it can't be much different than a lot of other blood-rich organ meats. Probably tastes like kidney.
Posted by Calli Arcale on 04/09/12 at 12:53 PM
Back in 1979 my girl friend's best friend had a New Age-style home birth which we attended. When they mentioned the event would culminate in a dinner featuring the placenta as a main course, I left. Almost made a vegetarian out of me...
Posted by tadchem on 04/11/12 at 11:04 AM
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