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Consumption of human placenta products poses a risk for mothers, infants: Health Canada

TORONTO – Kim Kardashian did it. So mums Alicia Silverstone and Hilary Duff.

The practice of consuming the placenta to achieve the alleged health benefits after delivery is the phenomenon that first appears – not just among celebrities.

Supporters claim that when swallowing products, human placenta helps to prevent postpartum depression, overcome anemia, increase energy levels, and promote breast milk production.

On Tuesday, however, Health Canada warned that there was no scientific evidence to support such medical claims and warnings that it could lead to bacterial or viral infections in mothers or their children.

The risk is higher if someone consumes a placenta from another person.

"When you deliver a baby, there are many bacteria in your vagina and cross-contamination with other things like feces," Dr. Amanda Selkova, obstetrician-gynecologist at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, commented on Health Canada. "It's all close, especially with vaginal delivery."

Selk said there are no scientifically proven means of preparing the placenta – either by cooking, steaming, dehydration or encapsulation – which ensures that bacteria or viruses are destroyed.

"And some people really get it," she said.

Health Canada quoted the case reported by the United States Centers for Disease Control, which was hospitalized for infection by bacteria found in placenta tablets absorbed by its mother.

The federal department also states that third-party placenta products are considered to be drugs and subject to the requirements of the Food and Drug Act. No such products containing human placenta are allowed for consumption in Canada.

Meaghan Grant, a co-owner of the Toronto Family Doulas Family, said her company has been providing placental capsules to new mothers since June 2016 at a cost of $ 325.

A trained and certified doula spends two days in the client's home, prepares a placenta that is boiled, dehydrated for 12 to 24 hours, and then encapsulates.

The company also operates in Hamilton and Ottawa, but provides placenta encapsulation only in the former site.

Health Canada said she had sent several compliance letters to clinics and individuals offering services to encapsulate human placenta to clarify regulatory requirements, and the department said it would take regulatory action if health risk is identified.

Grant, however, claims that her company does not approve the Canadian Food and Drug Act because it does not produce and sell placentas from one individual to another.

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