Reality television star Kim Kardashian is the latest celebrity to bring up the practice of placentophagy, or the eating of one's placenta after birth. Unlike others who have embraced the act as a means to ease post-partum depression or increase milk flow, the beauty-obsessed 32-year-old only has one thing in mind: youth.
“Don’t you think it makes you look younger?” she asked her incredulous doctor on the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” season 8 premiere. “I really want to do it.”
Leaving Kardashian in her alternate dimension for a moment, the eating of one's placenta isn't actually as strange as it might sound. With the exception of humans, all other mammals do it. As MNN's Matt Hickman explained in-depth last year, the practice is believed to have some nutritional and hormonal benefits.
Those who eat human placenta, either freeze-dried and ground into supplements or incorporated into a meal as a beef replacement, do so because it’s believed that consuming the organ staves off postpartum depression, balances hormones and helps new mothers produce milk. It’s also filled with nutrients and vitamins like iron and vitamin B-12. Some devout vegetarians will even make an exception for a placenta-based meal. As Jennifer Mayer of Brooklyn Placenta Services tells New York Magazine: “They’re made by your body, for your body. Why wouldn’t you want to try?”
Notice how there's nothing mentioned about the fountain of youth? Nevertheless, perhaps Kim picked up on that angle from Japan, where bottled pig placenta is sold as a kind of youthful elixir.
"I can't stomach it. I've now tried on three separate occasions to drink the stuff, and I gag every time the bottle reaches my mouth," reports Matthew Firestone for the Gadling blog. "As you'd imagine, blended pig placenta tastes pretty much like blended pig placenta, and no amount of added sugar is going to make a difference."
Yum. Of course, one doesn't have to approach human placentophagy that way. There are plenty of recipes online that include cocktails, lasagna, spaghetti, stew and even pizza. As one happy mother reported: "I thought it'd be bland, but it absorbed the flavors of the ingredients very well," she wrote. "It wasn't TOUGH, but not sloppy either. Just the right kind of texture that I like."
Check out Kim's placenta-eating wish in the clip below.
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