The entire animal kingdom does it, but most humans become squeamish and pull their faces at the very notion. But now, scientists are suggesting that mothers — and perhaps even fathers — would benefit from eating parts of the placenta following child birth. Yum.
A team of researchers from the University at Buffalo has been studying afterbirth ingestion in other species to work out why they do it — and why it might be beneficial for humans. They point out that eating the placenta provokes an increase in mother-child interaction, promotes hormone release that stimulates caring instincts, attenuates pain — in both sexes — and even increases the possibilities for future fertilization.
Mark Kristal, one of researchers, intends to conduct a full-blown trial to investigate the positive effects of eating afterbirth. Don't worry, though — the results might mean we can get around the need to eat the stuff. "The outcome of such a quest need not be an exhortation for women to eat afterbirth, but for scientists to isolate and identify the molecule or molecules that produce the beneficial effect and use it to design pharmacological tools," Kristal explained to EurekAlert!.
Phew. Now, who's signing up to the trial? [EureakAlert!]
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