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Is Organic Produce Better for Your Health and Fertility?

a blog by Kim Griffiths, March 27, 2013

Can organic produce benefit your health and fertility? A new study published in PLOS ONE says yes.

Under the direction of principle investigators, a Texas high school student sought to find out if the benefits of organic food were worth the hype.

Organic produce is grown without the use of harsh artificial fertilizers, hormones, or pesticides. It is supposed that these chemicals can disrupt endocrine system function causing hormone imbalances which impact health and fertility.

The research team studied the diets and health outcomes of fruit flies (which are surprisingly similar to humans) fed either an organic produce extract diet or a nonorganic produce extract diet. Produce used in the study included potatoes, raisins, bananas, and soybeans.

Previous studies have suggested that diets high in fat, containing too many or too few calories, or those containing an excess of carbohydrates are detrimental to fruit fly health and fertility. Conversely, diets high in protein led to healthier, more fertile flies (though diets containing excessive amounts or protein were also detrimental to the endocrine system).

Flies raised on organic potato, raisin, or soy demonstrated an extended lifespan compared to flies consuming a nonorganic diet. Banana was one type of produce that showed insignificant lifespan differences between organic and nonorganic consumption.

Regarding fertility, flies fed an organic diet had increased egg production than those consuming a nonorganic diet. However, flies fed a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and produce had the highest levels of fertility.

Read: Diet, Weight, and Fertility

Scientists also compared the nutritional balance of organic versus nonorganic diets in a starvation study. Fruit flies fed an organic potato diet prior to starvation survived longer than those fed a nonorganic potato diet. Bananas, again, showed no significant difference. Organic raisin consumption was linked to a shorter survival time than nonorganic raisin consumption.

Results suggested that the benefits of organic versus nonorganic food depended on the type of produce. Overall, there appeared to be increased fertility and longer lifespans in flies that consumed an organic diet. Some organic produce was linked to increased activity and less stress in the fruit fly as well. Increased energy and lower stress levels? Who wouldn’t want that?

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