Norwegian study aims to check environmental toxins for different diets in pregnant women

PregnantPhoto: mali desha / Unsplash

A new study with 200 pregnant women in Norway wants to shed light on the differences between organic and “normal” diets.

Professor Per Ole Iversen of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Oslo is behind the study. Together with his staff, he will follow up on 200 pregnant, healthy women living at home in Norway.

The women will be advised to follow the national dietary guidelines during pregnancy but will be divided into two groups. One will receive guidance and have as organic a diet as possible until birth. At the same time, the other group will eat “as usual.”

Participants will be tested for environmental toxins in blood, urine, and feces.

“Then it will be exciting to see if the first group, who eat organic food, get a lower level of environmental toxins. We will also test the urine of the babies for the same. The participants will be followed up over two years, hopefully even longer,” Iversen told NTB.

The vulnerable

Because pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to environmental toxins, such studies have been done in the past. In 2019, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) published a study where the researchers investigated whether the diet affects the level of environmental toxins in the bodies of pregnant women and children. However, the study did not assess the health risk associated with environmental toxins.

“Basically, there are few pesticide residues in Norwegian agriculture, but still, there is a big difference between organic and non-organic foods. We need more knowledge about the significance of this,” Iversen said.

The professor was involved in a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which showed that switching to organically grown foods can reduce the level of environmental toxins detected in urine samples.

However, more knowledge and data are needed on the effects of various types of environmental toxins, not least on children and over a longer period of time.

“Therefore, it is especially exciting with this new study, when we will examine both mothers and children.”

The cocktail effect

The research will be conducted with support from the University of Oslo and Eckbo’s scholarship. The interest organization Organic Norway welcomes the new study. 

They are supporters of the precautionary principle, not least when it comes to the diet of pregnant women and children.

“Norwegians are at the top of the world when it comes to environmental toxins, with 200-400 different substances in our bodies. When such substances are combined, recent research shows that they can be harmful even far below current limit values. 

“That worries more and more experts. Therefore, choose toxin-free, organic food as often as you can,” the leader of Organic Norway, Markus Hustad, noted.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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