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Curr Dev Nutr. 2018 Nov 15;3(3):nzy090. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzy090. eCollection 2019 Mar.

Some Differences in Nutritional Biomarkers are Detected Between Consumers and Nonconsumers of Organic Foods: Findings from the BioNutriNet Project.

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Nutritional Epidemiology Research team (EREN), Paris 13 University, Inserm (U1153), Inra (U1125), Sorbonne Paris City Epidemiology and Statistics Center, Cnam, COMUE Sorbonne-Paris- City, Bobigny, France.
Biochemistry department, Grenoble-Alpes Hospital, Grenoble cedex 9, France.
Public Health Department, Avicenne hospital, AP-HP, Bobigny, France.
Toxalim, Université de Toulouse University, INRA, ENVT, INP-Purpan, UPS, Toulouse, France.
MOISA, Université Montpellier University, CIRAD, CIHEAM-IAMM, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, Montpellier, France.
Aix Marseille University, INSERM, INRA, Marseille, France.



Meta-analyses have compared the nutrient content of both organic and nonorganic foods. However, the impacts of such variations on human nutritional biomarkers still need to be assessed.


In a nested clinical study from the NutriNet-Santé study, we aimed to compare the nutritional status of "organic" and "nonorganic" food consumers matched on a propensity score.


Based on self-reported organic food consumption assessed through a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), 150 low and 150 high organic food consumers were selected with <10% or >50% of organic food in their diet, respectively (expressed as the proportion of organic food in the whole diet in g/d). Participants were matched using a propensity score derived from socio-demographic, food, and health variables. Fasting plasma samples were analyzed using acknowledged laboratory methods for measurements of iron status, magnesium, copper, cadmium, carotenoids, vitamins A and E, and fatty acids.


We found significant differences between low and high organic food consumers with similar dietary patterns, with respect to plasma concentrations of magnesium, fat-soluble micronutrients (α-carotene, β-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin), fatty acids (linoleic, palmitoleic, γ-linolenic, and docosapentanoeic acids), and some fatty acid desaturase indexes. No differences between the 2 groups were detected for plasma concentrations of iron, copper, cadmium, lycopene, β-cryptoxanthin, or vitamins A and E.


If confirmed by other studies, our data suggest that a high consumption of organic foods, compared with very low consumption, modulates to some extent, the nutritional status of individuals with similar dietary patterns. Further research including prospective cohort studies is needed to evaluate the clinical relevance of such differences.


biomarkers; carotenoids; epidemiological study; fatty acids; minerals; organic food; vitamins

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