One “moo”re reason to enjoy organic beef
Q: My daughter is pregnant. I know you recommend expecting mothers go organic, but want to have some reasons to give her. Can you help me?
Dr. Wright: Nutrition & Healing readers are well aware of the importance of an organic diet for pregnant mothers. Now, there’s even more evidence: In a study of 387 men conducted in five US cities between 1999 and 2005, researchers found that men whose mothers ate considerable beef (more than seven beef meals per week) during their pregnancies had sperm concentration 24.3 percent lower and a risk of fertility problems three times the normal rate.
By contrast, neither consumption of any other animal protein (pork, chicken, etc.) during the men’s mother’s pregnancies nor consumption of any type of meat by the men themselves during their lives was related to fertility problems or lowered sperm count in the men studied.
The researchers didn’t blame the beef itself, but focused on the potential effects of hormones fed to cattle on human fetal testicular development.
While feeding cattle either natural or synthetic hormones was banned entirely in Europe in 1988, the FDA still allows their use in these United States. Six that are still commonly used are estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone, along with patent medication pseudo-hormones zeranol, trenbolone, and melagesterol.
In an article accompanying this research report, another expert pointed out that residues of these hormones and pseudo-hormones fed to cattle could also increase the incidence of polycystic ovarian syndrome and lower the age of puberty in girls whose mothers were high beef eaters during their pregnancies.
Some reviewers pointed out that either avoiding beef or eating only organic beef at least until the FDA gets around to truly protecting us against contaminants in our food supply would help pregnant mothers lower these risks to their sons and daughters.
I think they’re correct and would go a little further, urging potential grandparents to recommend even more healthful beef not merely organic beef but free-range organic beef, which has a much more favorable omega-3/omega-6 fatty acid ratio to their potentially pregnant daughters.