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SKEPTOID BLOG:

How Far Would You Go For Health?

by Guy McCardle

October 3, 2011

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Donate Would you drink horse placenta? We're not talking cheap, generic pig placenta here. This is the real deal. Placenta-Pro and drinks like it are all the rage in Japan. What is it? It is a Japanese soft drink made from 100% horse placenta. According to their website, horse placenta has 300 times more amino acids than pig placenta. Why submit yourself to such a foul sounding beverage? Here are just a few of its supposed benefits:
  • Whitens skin (is that a good thing?)

  • Cures headaches and canker sores

  • Loosens stiff shoulders

  • Reduces sensitivity to cold

FOSHU (Food for a Specific Health Use) foods and drinks are quite popular in Asia these days, and placenta drinks are but one item in a growing field of functional foods. OK, let's suppose for the sake of argument that you are the type of person who is willing to try just about anything once. How much will some decent placenta beverage set you back? If you choose Placenta-Pro, that will be about $50 U.S. for a 35ml bottle. The daily recommended dose is one bottle.

What medical benefit could ingesting placenta, or Placentophagy, have? To begin with, the placenta is a temporary organ that develops from the same sperm and egg cells that form the fetus. In placental mammals including humans, the placenta receives nutrients, oxygen, antibodies, and hormones from the mother's blood, passes out waste and forms a protective barrier around the fetus. Scientifically speaking, the placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin, which helps shrink the uterus, and small amounts of oxytocin, which eases birth stress and causes the mammary cells to contract and eject milk.

Placenta has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and animals in the wild are quick to consume the placenta of their newborns for mostly nutritional reasons. Modern Japanese women are said to swear by the stuff, but anecdotal evidence just doesn't do it for me. For the record, I couldn't find any scientific evidence pertaining to placentophagy and good health.

Why is the Placenta-Pro brand better than other horse placenta drinks?
"Placentas come from horses raised in an excellent Kyrgyz environment. Located in Central Asia the Kyrgyz Republic is blessed with fertile land and natural water in a favorable natural environment. Dams raised in such an organic environment have extraordinarily balanced nutrients giving no cause for worry about agricultural chemicals or other chemical substances. Since horse-origin placentas are exceptionally rare and cannot be mass produced we deliver the limited quantities to people who truly desire to become beautiful."
Organically grown horses. That must be it. But, you ask, is it safe?
"The fact that horses have high temperatures and delicate constitutions alleviates any concern about viruses or germs. Since in comparison with pig-origin placentas there is a higher concentration of essential amino acids as well as essential amino acids unique to horse placentas excellent results can be expected."
No concern? While zoonotic disease transmission from horses to humans is fairly rare, it can occur. Hendra virus, anthrax, brucellosis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, leptospirosis, yersiniosis and campylobacter can all be transferred from equines to humans.

Please let me know how it works if any of you decide to give it a try.

by Guy McCardle

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