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Dispelling the Myth: ‘But The Placenta is A Filter, Isn’t It?’

Amidst the discussion of placenta encapsulation, a common misconception persists: the belief that the placenta acts as a filter. This, understandably puts some people off of placenta encapsulation since they are imagining that the placenta itself is full of toxins. Let’s take a look into the truth behind this myth and explore how the placenta deals with toxins.

Anatomy of the placenta

Debunking the Filter Myth:

We think of the placenta as acting as a filter, removing toxins from the mother's bloodstream and protecting the fetus from harm. However, the placenta is not a filter in the traditional sense. While it does play a role in nutrient exchange and waste removal, it does not filter out toxins in the same way that a kidney or liver would.

Selective Permeability and Nutrient Transfer:

Placenta structure

Instead of acting as a filter, the placenta operates through selective permeability, allowing certain substances to pass through while blocking others. Nutrients such as glucose, amino acids, and vitamins are transferred from the mother's bloodstream to the fetus, while waste products are removed from the fetal circulation to go to the mother’s other organs (the liver, for example) to deal with them. These toxins are, in general, NOT stored in the placenta itself.


There is an exception to this. Heavy metals DO stay in the placenta and can accumulate. For this reason, if you smoke, you cannot have your placenta encapsulated.

Waste removal and nutrient transfer inside the placenta

It is always advised to book with a reputable placenta specialist who will assess your suitability for encapsulation.

In conclusion, the idea that the placenta acts as a filter is a common misconception that persists in discussions about placenta encapsulation. It's important to understand the placenta's true function as a site of nutrient exchange and waste removal, rather than a filter for toxins. So instead of considering the placenta as some kind of sieve, we view it as a conduit to remove toxins to other parts of the body where they can be dealt with accordingly.

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