Placenta injections are placenta treatments that may include components of placenta from a variety of animals, including sheep, though they can also include human placenta. When made from human placenta, blood and other tissues are modified, though enzymes remain intact. Though it is not believed that these treatments can cause disease, some doctors remain skeptical about both the safety and the usefulness of the treatments. In Asian nations, where the treatments are commonly used, many people claim that placenta injections create a more youthful look, increase energy, and can treat liver disease.
The components of these treatments are collected from the placentas of humans or animals after they give birth. In order to make this material safe to inject into the bloodstream of a human patient, the placenta is tested for disease and purified to remove components that could be harmful. Certain proteins in the placenta may also be rendered inert through the sterilization process that the placenta undergoes.
Once the material for the injections is sterilized and ready for use in humans, it still contains a number of enzymes that can be beneficial. Certain hormones, immune system components, and nutrients that nourish a growing fetus can have health benefits in adult patients. Though it is not yet known how or to what extent these enzymes may be beneficial, anecdotal evidence suggests a variety of benefits from the use of placenta injections.
Studies conducted on rats have shown that liver cells can be regenerated through the administration of placenta treatments. They are commonly used in some countries to treat liver disease, though there is little evidence to support their effectiveness in human subjects. In nations that have approved the use of placenta-based treatments, the treatment is also used to relieve the symptoms of menopause, boost the immune system, and increase energy.
The safety of placenta injections has not been fully evaluated, and many are concerned that there could be unexpected consequences from the use of this treatment. In Japan, people who receive these injections are not allowed to donate blood because there is a risk of passing on blood borne pathogens from the material in the injection. It has been speculated that placenta injections might also be responsible for serious illnesses, though the medical evidence is inconclusive.