A recent publication showed that pesticides in foods affect women’s fertility. The study was based on this publication. It found that the more women consumed fruit and vegetables contaminated with pesticides, the more there were health concerns. This affected predominantly women, their fetus and children. One of the highest contaminated fruit crops that stood out in the study were strawberries. Year after year strawberries come up on the list of the most pesticide-polluted fruit.
JAMA Internal Medicine article about effects of pesticides
In this article 325 women who were under investigation for infertility. In the course of the investigation researchers looked also at the pesticide content of their food intake. A classification was part of it to establish which fruit and vegetables were containing low or high pesticide residues. The high pesticide residue group consumed on average 1.7 meals per day. The low pesticide residue group consumed 2.8 servings per day. A high intake of high residue pesticide fruit and vegetables caused problems. The problems were a lower pregnancy rate and a lower live birth rate. Two groups were compared. The lowest quartile (less than 1 serving per day) of the high pesticide fruit and vegetable intake group. The other group was the highest quartile (more than 2.3 servings per day). The highest quartile had 18% less success in getting pregnant and 26% less likelihood of a live birth.
Solution to preserve fertility for women
The study also showed that intake of low pesticide fruit and vegetables showed no effect on pregnancy or survival rates. Organic fruit and vegetables do not contain the amount of pesticides that regular crops do. It follows that there is a simple solution at least for the time being. Switching consumption of regular vegetables and fruit to organic produce can minimize exposure to pesticide residues and is a simple method of improving fertility of women.
Problems increased by men’s fertility problems
The fertility problem in women can show an increase due to fertility problems in men: A recent study showed normal sperm counts in samples of men living in Africa, South America and Asia. In contrast, men living in Europe, North America and Australia have 50% lower sperm counts. Part of this problem may be toxins like pesticides, but it could be also be due to any other chemical in the environment. Density gradient centrifugation is a reliable method of enriching sperm counts, but further research is necessary to pinpoint and eliminate the cause of sperm reduction.
Fertility problems seem to be the consequence of not paying attention to pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables. A study has shown reduced pregnancy rates in fertility clinics and a reduced likelihood of a live birth when the mother consumes too many fruit and vegetables with pesticide residues. But on the male side toxicity in our environment is a big problem as well, that has not yet been adequately researched. It is a puzzle why the recent study has found normal sperm counts in samples of men living in Africa, South America and Asia. In contrast men living in Europe, North America and Australia have 50% lower sperm counts.
Both problems, the female exposure to pesticide residues and the lowered sperm counts in males affects fertility rates in our population.
Switching consumption of regular vegetables and fruit to organic produce can minimize pesticide residues. Density gradient centrifugation is a reliable method of enriching sperm counts, but further research is necessary to pinpoint and eliminate the cause of sperm reduction.