Naturally, I have a few things to add to this discussion.
When I was taking my encapsulation specialist course, I was provided with several articles regarding the benefits of consuming human placenta. As I scoured the resources, I found myself disheartened to see that there were no irrefutable studies backed by hard science to back up the many claims that women have about their own personal experiences ingesting placenta. Amongst the resources I was provided, there were a few studies based on rat subjects that were very encouraging, as rats and mice are often the first place that new science benefiting humans develops, and a couple very dated studies that I basically disregarded due to their lacking scientific method. I will admit, that as I studied the resources I had second thoughts about learning the method of encapsulation and offering it to women.
The thing is, I'm a pretty analytical person, and when I'm doing research about something health related for myself or for my child I am consistently on the hunt for peer reviewed, respectable studies from reliable sources. I then pair the information I collect with my gut feeling and common sense, and make decisions accordingly.
As I pondered over whether to continue with the training course, a stark realization formed: of course there's no double blind peer reviewed studies on the effects of placentophagy, who on earth would fund them? Placenta encapsulation exists within the 'alternative health' realm, which doesn't often see a lot of funding or research. There have been a few studies, either rodent studies or dated studies with flawed scientific method, that have been extrapolated to assume benefits from placentophagy in humans, but as of yet a study with sound scientific method that is able to be repeated has not been conducted. My personal feeling is that this doesn't mean we should rule out placentophagy yet. Psychiatrist Dr. Crystal Clark, who led the Chicago team that performed the review had this to say: "Celebrities who are choosing to engage in this practice should be clear about the facts and hopefully let the public know it's their choice. But they can't claim medical benefits because they don't know that to be true yet."
When talking with women about encapsulation and about the benefits, I've often said though there are no dependable studies that can defend the benefits of the capsules and I cannot claim anything as fact, there are two reasons why I continue to provide the service to expecting families. The first comes from the feedback that I get from women time and time again regarding the benefits they experience, and the experience I had personally. Yes, this is subjective and anecdotal, but I find it incredibly encouraging to have clients who are having their third and fourth babies and encapsulating for the first time tell me that they noticed a big difference in their recovery, feelings of well being, or milk supply. The second reason also comes from my gut feeling (so far, perhaps one day there will be scientific evidence to support this feeling). Women are often iron deficient in the post partum period, and blood loss of some degree is a normal part of birth and post partum bleeding. Placentas contain a lot of blood, which is naturally rich in iron. If I was deciding between taking a store bought iron supplement, or taking capsules presumably containing iron (though there are no studies to confirm this as fact) made from an organ my own body produced, I would definitely choose the latter. This was the main reason I decided to have my own placenta encapsulated.
My great hope is that there will one day be some funding put behind a reputable study that can confirm or deny the benefits of placentophagy, but until that point, I am not discouraged by the latest media on encapsulation and believe in what my clients have to say. The issue is still very much an unfinished story.