In response to Health Canada’s recent recommendations and attempted regulation of this service, I thought that I would write my thoughts to help our clients make an informed decision as to if this service is right for them.
Health Canada is following the footsteps of the American Centre for Disease’s recommendation for the practice of placenta consumption to stop. Their recommendation follows their study of one infant that got sick. Please read the story here: https://www.cnn.com/2017/07/02/health/placenta-pills-infant-strep-infection/index.html
After birth, the infant tested positive for GBS and was treated in hospital. GBS can be passed from mother to baby during the normal birth process, and this is why usually the mother is treated with antibiotics in labour. Five days later, the infant fell ill with GBS again and was admitted to the hospital for treatment. The hospital was confused as to where the GBS had come from, so they tested the mother’s milk (which came back as negative). They did not test the mother or the other family members to see if they were the carriers of the infection. Instead, they tested the encapsulated placenta, which came back positive, nearly matching the same bacteria from the infants 2 blood samples (one from initial infection, one from secondary infection).
My question is, How did the infant catch the secondary infection from the pills that the mother was reportedly taking? It could not have been transferred to her breastmilk as it tested negative, not to mention the acid in the stomach would have killed any and all bacteria.
The article even states “This led the doctors to believe that the placenta pills were likely responsible for the infection -- though they could not definitively rule out that the infection could have come from another of the baby's family members.” Say what?!? You are solely blaming the placenta for causing the secondary infection even though there is no link to how the infant would come into contact with the encapsulation, and you didn’t test the family members who would have been in direct contact with the infant? Or maybe, the first infection wasn’t cleared up with your initial treatment, and got ‘re-sick’ from the primary infection (how many times have we had to take a second round of antibiotics for a persistent infection?). Instead of looking to the obvious, direct transmission routes, let’s instead attack the ‘hippy’ practice that we do not understand and wish to regulate.
So this moves me onto the regulation of placenta encapsulation. Those that know me, (Lindsay) know that I have a wee bit of a conspirator complex. If placenta encapsulation does have all the benefits that people claim they do, how can governments and drug companies get their hands on it? Short answer, they can’t. Unless they shut us all down. And this is exactly what I think they are trying to do.
You can read Health Canada’s statement here: https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2018/68368a-eng.php
First they say that: “There is currently no scientific evidence that supports claims of health benefits associated with consuming human placenta.” Ok, so if you choose to do it, there is no guarantee that it will work.
Later, they say: “Placenta products prepared by a third party are considered drugs and therefore subject to the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. Information about the safety and efficacy of the product must be submitted to Health Canada for review and obtain approval before they can be sold.” They are calling a placenta a drug? What is their definition of a drug? From another government webpage (https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/drug-products.html), I found “Drug products include prescription and non-prescription pharmaceuticals, disinfectants and sanitizers with disinfectant claims…When a product is offered for sale in Canada to treat or prevent diseases or symptoms, it is regulated as a drug under the Food and Drugs Act.” So first they are saying that it does not have any health benefits, but they wish to classify it as a drug because it treats and prevents diseases or symptoms. Which is it? Are you telling me that chamomile tea, which we all know has a soothing effect, must be sold as a drug because it alleviates symptoms? What about all those doTerra people selling essential oils, are they regulated as drugs? Let’s go down the rabbit hole further; are all the CBD oil people registered as selling drugs?? No, they are not. This is the only way for the government to try to stop families from making fully informed decisions about their health care.
Ok, let’s move on to the fact that there are ‘no studies done on human consumption of placenta’ or ‘no health benefits'. A quick Google search brought up this meta-analysis of several studies from the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6138470/). They reviewed many studies, and even found the same flaws as I did with the one case of infant illness stating: