Controversy stems over capsules made of placenta

March 28, 2012 1:51:44 PM PDT
A controversial new trend for moms is all the rage in Hollywood as stars are making headlines for taking a natural health supplement made from their placenta.

Fighting fatigue after her baby was born, bombshell Mad Men actress January Jones tried an old trick to help boost her energy.

She took pills made from her placenta. She even told People Magazine that she suggested it for all moms.

The placenta grows in a pregnant woman' uterus and nourishes the baby. Some people believe its full of vitamins and nutrients, claiming that when ingested by the mother, it wards off baby blues, increases your energy level and helps you drop those dreaded pregnancy pounds.

Lisa Fortin had her placenta made into pills after her daughter Lily was born and says she felt a difference.

"I'd take my 2 capsules and very soon after some people might think it was placebo effect I don't think it was," she said.

She liked it so much, she started her own company in Brooklyn, encapsulating placentas for other new moms charging $250.

But not all moms are on board. New mother Nancy Redd calls it a celebrity-driven fad-- one she fell for and regrets.

"When i saw the placenta pill trend, I immediately hopped on the bandwagon, even though I had no idea where the train was going," she said.

Redd says the pills made her short-tempered and weepy so two days, and 8 pills later she stopped taking them and felt better immediately...

When it comes to proof of whether ingesting placenta helps or not, the health claims are ahead of the science and some say the final pill could in fact be harmful.

"There's not scientific liter to suggest that ingesting it will provide the same benefits the baby is getting, any human tissues can contain infectious material, so that would be a concern," said Dr. Rebecca Starck with Cleveland Clinic.

The process to make the capsules is not regulated in New York.

"Placentas are considered human tissue and New York State regulations include requirements for licensure of tissue banks that recover, process, store and/or distribute human tissue"

Some use raw placenta, some companies we found steam the placenta first, infuse it with lemon, ginger and hot peppers, then they dry it, grind it and place it in a capsule.

The average cost we found locally is about $250.

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