The Placenta Blog

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous system, leading to a loss of motor function and even paralysis.  In a new study, researchers studied treating MS patients with stem cells derived from human placenta.  The extraordinary results demonstrated that the treatment was not only safe, but that the therapy also repaired damaged nerve fibers in patients with the chronic disease.

“The study was performed with 16 MS patients at different stages of MS — ten with RRMS and six with SPMS — between the ages of 18 to 65 years old. PDA-001 infusions were distributed at high doses, low doses, and compared with placebo. The worsening of MS was monitored over the course of six months, where all the patients were monitored with brain scans to ensure no enlargement of the brain was observed. After one year, all the patients exhibited stable or improved signs of disability.

Fred Lublin, MD, lead author, Director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Professor of Neurology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai commented, ‘This is the first time placenta-derived cells have been tested as a possible therapy for multiple sclerosis. The next step will be to study larger numbers of MS patients to assess efficacy of the cells, but we could be looking at a new frontier in treatment for the disease.’ Dr. Lublin sees great promise in further developing MS treatment strategies based on the findings, concluding:  ‘We’re hoping to learn more about how placental stromal cells contribute to myelin repair. We suspect they either convert to a myelin making cell, or they enhance the environment of the area where the damage is to allow for natural repair. Our long-term goal is to develop strategies to facilitate repair of the damaged nervous system.’”

The Human Placenta Project

November 13th, 2014

The human placenta, the most vital part of pregnancy, is the least understood organ in the medical community.  Not only does the placenta sustain the pregnancy and nourish the growing fetus, but it also impacts the long-term health of the mother and baby. Placenta research has primarily been done after delivery, but researchers are hoping to develop technology to study the placenta in real time, while it is still functioning.

The Human Placenta Project, launched by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), “aims to accelerate the development and application of innovative—and safe—technologies and approaches that will give researchers a new dynamic picture of placental structure and function in real time. This information will help us better understand how the human placenta develops and how it works to ensure a successful pregnancy.”

The Human Placenta Project has five main research objectives:

  • 1. Improve current methods and develop new technologies for real-time assessment of placental development across pregnancy.
  • 2. Apply these technologies to understand and monitor, in real time, placental development and function in normal and abnormal pregnancies.
  • 3. Develop and evaluate non-invasive markers for prediction of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  • 4. Understand the contributions of placental development to long-term health and disease.
  • 5. Develop interventions to prevent abnormal placental development, and hence improve pregnancy outcomes.

Learn more about The Human Placenta Project.

A Canadian pharmacist, Rudy Sanchez, was suspended by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia after investigators found alarming and unsanitary conditions in his Vancouver Island pharmacy, Marigold Compounding and Natural Pharmacy.

According to the Vancouver Sun, “The pharmacy poses a significant public safety and patient health risk, according to the college, because medications were prepared in unsterile facilities. In particular, it found placenta intended to be made into capsules for new mothers was handled and prepared with ‘little evident regard for safety protocols necessary when handling human tissue.’”

While the placenta encapsulation industry continues to debate about where a mom’s placenta should be prepared, it is PBi standard that placenta only be prepared in the mother’s home.  Not only does this practice provide clients complete transparency into the encapsulation process, but moms are able feel confident that the placenta they are consuming is, in fact, their own.  PBi specialists sanitize their workspace and equipment according to OSHA and EPA guidelines, leaving new mothers with the piece of mind of knowing that their organ was prepared in a clean and safe environment.

At Placenta Benefits, we stand behind our commitment to safety, and are proud of the professional placenta encapsulation services being offered by trained and certified specialists around the world.

The long-held belief that pre-eclampsia is a condition caused by the placenta has recently been challenged by an editorial in the most recent issue of Anaesthesia, the journal of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI).

Gestational hypertension affects 13 million women globally each year, with no decrease in incidence in the last 50 years.  The condition, which has puzzled the medical community for decades, can lead to serious complications including seizures, stroke, premature deliver, and death.

Their new unified theory of pre-eclampsia challenges the current view that pre-eclampsia is caused specifically by a problem with the placenta. It also challenges the widely held view that pre-eclampsia is caused by an as yet unidentified substance that the placenta produces. It proposes that there are many different conditions, either in the mother, in the placenta or in the baby that lead to inefficient oxygen delivery to the baby. The response of the mother is to try and deliver more oxygen to the baby to help the baby grow, but this raises her own blood pressure and damages her body.

For more information, you can read the abstract here.

The PBi Network of Specialists would like to extend a warm welcome to Priscilla Dobbs, serving Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Florida. Priscilla became interested in pregnancy and birth at a young age and has been serving women as a birth doula since 2012.

If you live in South Florida and are interested in placenta encapsulation services, Priscilla would love to speak with you.

The PBi Network of Specialists would like to welcome Tiffany Johnson of Woonsocket, RI.  Tiffany is the proud mother of 4 and works with new mothers as a postpartum doula.  Tiffany experienced the benefits of placenta encapsulation after her youngest child was born in 2012.  Tiffany’s results made her husband a believer, and offering the service to her clients seemed like a natural fit.

“The placenta pills made me feel incredible! I had a lot of energy, my mood was good and I felt better than I ever had with my previous births. The effects were so significant that my husband raves about placenta encapsulation to this day. I knew after this experience that I needed to spread the placenta love to others!” -Tiffany Johnson

Welcome Tiffany!

Learn more about Tiffany and her services.

pregnant african american woman sitting on bedIt has long been thought that the mothers’ womb is a sterile environment. However, new findings are showing that a baby is first exposed to microbes in utero. The bacteria of a placenta is similar to that of the mother’s mouth, which is thought to be passed to the baby from foods consumed by the mother.   Bacteria present in a mother’s mouth may have a impact on her baby’s future health and immunity.

“The scientists collected samples of 320 placentas of women that had given birth. To avoid contamination by vaginal bacteria, samples were harvested under sterile conditions. Then, they sequenced the genomes of the bacteria found in the samples. They expected to find bacteria from the vaginal flora, due to its proximity, but instead, the microbes were similar to those found in the mouth, however in much lower abundance.

The authors of the study suggest that oral bacteria may find their way to the placenta in some unknown manner, presumably via the blood steam. Once the bacteria are in the placenta, they may also jump to the baby, maybe through the amniotic fluid. Since babies swallow a lot of amniotic fluid, those bacteria would be the first to colonize the baby’s body. Specifically, they would reach the gut and, once there, they would start to make up the baby’s gut microbiota, the collection of microbes that perform crucial functions for digestion, immunity and even mental health.” (source)

The PBi Network of Specialists is excited to welcome Sarah Fuhrman, serving Okinawa, Japan, to our community.  Sarah has always had an interest in the human body, which led her toward a career as a certified paramedic.  Upon becoming pregnant, Sarah enjoyed learning and studying about pregnancy and birth.  Before Sarah had her first homebirth, her midwife had suggested she look into placenta encapsulation. After her own experience with placentophagy, Sarah felt compelled to train with PBi and help the women in her community gain access to the placenta encapsulation process.

“Here I had trained to treat every patient with drugs and interventions, but I quickly became absorbed with helping our bodies to heal naturally, finding natural remedies and loved the whole idea of my body helping to heal itself after childbirth. I was hooked, and hired someone to come and encapsulate my placenta after birth. I truly believe in the healing nature of the placenta, and all of the properties it has for assisting in our body’s ability to produce milk, and to add back into our diets the many nutrients, minerals and hormones that it contains, and replace them in our bodies at a time when these things are lacking.” Sarah Fuhrman

Welcome Sarah!  We are happy to have you!


Babies’ guts were once thought to be sterile at birth, with no beneficial bacteria present. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, human breastmilk has over 700 beneficial microbes that aid in a baby’s immune support and brain development.

The study suggests that the hormones present during labor may have an impact on the microbial diversity of breastmilk.  Mothers having vaginal births and those with births via cesarean AFTER laboring, have similar microbial diversity in their breastmilk.  However, mothers with babies born via scheduled cesarean show less microbial diversity than the other 2 groups. It is also known that babies exposed to the flora of a mother’s vagina also have more beneficial bacteria their guts, jump starting a healthy immune response.

Breastmilk also protects a baby’s gut and intestines from harmful bacteria:

“Breast milk is also loaded with over 130 human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which are a kind of resistant starch (RS), meaning that they are not broken down by the enzymes in the esophagus, stomach or small intestine. Instead, they remain intact until they reach the large intestine, where they feed the good bacteria that live in the colon.

HMOs have been shown to have prebiotic effects, promoting the growth of Bifidobacterium bifidum, as well as other beneficial microbes. (2) Some interesting news is that goat’s milk is loaded with HMO-like oligosaccharides, while cow’s milk only has trace amounts.

What is also cool about HMOs is that bad, virulent and pathogenic bacteria actually adhere to the HMOs rather than the wall of the infant’s intestines. This allows the infant time to ramp-up their quantity of diverse immune and brain-boosting microbes.” (Elephant Journal)

hibiscus_brilliant1We all know and love hibiscus flowers for their large, brightly colored flowers, but this beautiful plant offers us more than just a decorative fixture in our gardens.  Studies have shown hibiscus tea to be just as effective in alleviating high blood pressure as hypertension drugs, but without the side effects.

“Scientists in Mexico gave 75 hypertensive adults either captopril (Capoten; 25 milligrams twice a day) or hibiscus tea (brewed from 10 grams of crushed dried flowers — about 5 teaspoons per 1 to 2 cups water — once a day). After four weeks, the herb had worked as well as the drug, with both groups showing an 11 percent drop in blood pressure.” (source)

Hibiscus tea is successful in lower high blood pressure because of its diuretic properties.  It helps open arteries and allows hormones known to constrict blood vessels to be released more slowly.  The tea is also known to have bioflavinoids, which are believed to help prevent high LDL cholesterol, which also aids in preventing a build-up of plaque in the arteries.

Author: Jodi Selander

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