应该吃胎盘吗?这两篇文章认为并无显著效果
2017/12/06
很多人相信,胎盘可以作为药用,能够补充能量、治疗产后抑郁。但事实真的是这样吗?近日《Women and Birth》期刊同时发表两篇文章,揭示胎盘在改善母亲情绪、调节激素等方面并没有显著效果。

加工制成的胎盘“胶囊”(图片来源:Megan May/Missourian/AP)

食用胎盘

可以说,人类食用胎盘历史悠久。在上世纪70年代之前,胎盘被作为一种传统的中药(紫河车),用于治疗一系列疾病。

特别是现在,受网络媒介的影响,食用胎盘的现象正越来越多。很多人相信,胎盘可以作为药用,能够减轻分娩疼痛、增加能量、治疗产后抑郁。市面上已有针对制作以胎盘为基础的蔬果汁(smoothies)、食物的食谱及存储指南。

事实上,人类并不是唯一吃胎盘的物种,几乎所有的哺乳动物都有这种“食胎盘行为”(placentophagy)。对于大鼠而言,食胎盘会刺激鼠妈妈开始照顾新生小鼠,并减轻分娩疼痛(羊水、胎盘中包含一种与吗啡相关的镇痛物质)。但是,这种积极效果是否同样适用于人类,并不清晰。

胎盘有益健康?

为了验证食用胎盘是否真正有益于人类,来自于内华达大学的医学人类学家Sharon Young和团队招募了27位健康的孕妇(在参加试验之前就已决定在分娩后食用胎盘)。在分娩前(36孕周)、分娩后的第三周,研究人员会采集参与者的唾液样本,用于激素水平分析。与此同时,参与者需要完成一系列问卷调查。

在研究期间,参与者会每日服用包含自己胎盘的药丸,持续3周。研究人员以包含牛肉或者素菜的安慰剂药片作为对照。

结果显示,胎盘药片对于女性激素水平并没有影响,也不能改善宝妈的疲劳、产后抑郁症状。而且,对照组和试验组与胎盘毫无关联的相似性在于:产妇的抑郁、焦虑和压力与其疲劳、睡眠质量差、社会地位转变、婚姻满意度降低有关。

这意味着,食用胎盘并不能改善宝妈的情绪、激素和健康。“研究表明,吃胎盘仅仅只是一种安慰剂效应。” 布法罗纽约州立大学的行为神经学家Mark Kristal如此认为,他致力于研究其他动物的“食胎盘行为”已经超40年。

其他声音和研究

不过,Sharon Young团队表示,他们的研究样本量太小,可能会忽略掉治疗组和照组之间的差异。所以,应该吃胎盘吗?俄勒冈州立大学的助产师和医学人类学家Melissa Cheyney认为,只要以安全的方式摄取胎盘就可以。毕竟理论上,胎盘含有必需维生素、矿物质、营养物质和产后激素。

但是,今年7月,美国疾病控制与预防中心(CDC)发布一项报告对这种行为发出警告:母亲食用胎盘可能会使新生儿发生细菌感染的风险。考虑到胎盘内含有多种细菌,而食用胎盘并没有统一且科学的加工标准。所以,孕妇们需要谨慎选择。

参考资料:

Moms, should you eat your placentas?

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  • Effects of placentophagy on maternal salivary hormones: A pilot trial, part 1

    Background Recent studies show that human placenta, processed and encapsulated for postpartum consumption, contains a host of trace minerals and hormones that could conceivably affect maternal physiology. Our objective was to investigate whether salivary hormone concentrations of women ingesting their own encapsulated placenta during the early postpartum differed from those of women consuming a placebo. Methods Randomly assigned participants (N = 27) were given a supplement containing either their dehydrated and homogenized placenta (n = 12), or placebo (n = 15). Saliva samples were collected during late pregnancy and early postpartum. Samples of participants’ processed placenta, and the encapsulated placebo, were also collected. Hormone analyses were conducted on all samples utilizing liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Results There were no significant differences in salivary hormone concentrations between the placenta and placebo groups post-supplementation that did not exist pre-supplementation. There were, however, significant dose–response relationships between the concentration of all 15 detected hormones in the placenta capsules and corresponding salivary hormone measures in placenta group participants not seen in the placebo group. The higher salivary concentrations of these hormones in the placenta group reflects the higher concentrations of these hormones in the placenta supplements, compared to the placebo. Conclusions Some hormones in encapsulated placenta lead to small but significant differences in hormonal profiles of women taking placenta capsules compared to those taking a placebo, although these dose–response changes were not sufficient to result in significant hormonal differences between groups. Whether modest hormonal changes due to placenta supplementation are associated with therapeutic postpartum effects, however, awaits further investigation.

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  • Placentophagy’s effects on mood, bonding, and fatigue: A pilot trial, part 2

    Background Human maternal placentophagy is gaining popularity among a growing number of women who believe it provides maternal benefits, including prevention of postpartum blues/depression, improved maternal bonding, and reduced fatigue. Methods We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study (N = 27) in which participants consumed either their processed, encapsulated placenta (n = 12), or similarly prepared placebo (n = 15). Maternal mood, bonding, and fatigue were assessed via validated scales across four time points during late pregnancy and early postpartum. Psychometric data were analyzed for changes between and within both groups over time. Results No significant main effects related to maternal mood, bonding, or fatigue were evident between placenta and placebo group participants. However, examination of individual time points suggested that some measures had specific time-related differences between placenta and placebo groups that may warrant future exploration. Though statistical significance should not be interpreted in these cases, we did find some evidence of a decrease in depressive symptoms within the placenta group but not the placebo group, and reduced fatigue in placenta group participants at the end of the study compared to the placebo group. Conclusions No robust differences in postpartum maternal mood, bonding, or fatigue were detected between the placenta and placebo groups. This finding may be especially important for women considering maternal placentophagy as a ‘natural’ (i.e., non-pharmacological) means of preventing or treating blues/depression. Given the study limitations, these findings should be interpreted as preliminary. Small, time-related improvements in maternal mood and lower fatigue post-supplementation among placenta group participants may warrant further research.

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