Can you boost your fertility by eating organic food?

There is some evidence to suggest that avoiding chemicals on or in your food could improve your chance of conceiving.

The most recent research in this field hit the headlines in March of this year. In fact, it was the first systematic study to look at whether pesticides in your food could cause infertility.

But the results were quite startling:

  • on average, men eating fruit and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue had a 49% lower sperm count and;
  • 32% fewer morphologically normal sperm than those eating the smallest quantities of residual pesticides. 

Researchers also found was that the quantities of fruit and vegetables eaten had no impact on semen quality, suggesting that the significant element was how much pesticide they had on them.

Although the results grabbed the headlines as the first study in this field, they are perhaps not so surprising, given the wide research on the impact of exposure to pesticides on fertility.

A lot of these studies have been carried out on farm workers handling pesticides. A review of several of these studies concluded evidence of an impact on chromosomal abnormalities in sperm, reduced sperm count, semen quality and erectile dysfunction.  Other studies have shown that exposure to pesticides can reduce female fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage due to congenital abnormalities.   

Although there has only been one academic study to date into the link between consuming pesticides and reduced fertility, the wide-ranging research into associations between farm chemicals and both male and female fertility suggests that choosing organic food could help boost your chances of conceiving.  This simple diet switch could just be the small change that you need to help you realise your dreams of having your own baby. 

More research clearly needs to be done in this field, but – until we have more evidence one way or the other – it certainly won’t hurt, and may even confer additional diet benefits by helping you to think more consciously about your food choices and their impact on your health.

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