Systematic review on organic food and health

The aim is to carry out a comprehensive review of all available research results and biomarkers/indicators used to study the health impact of organic vs. non-organic foods/diet.

Until now, not many studies have been performed with the purpose of measuring health effects of intake of organic food and most of those that have been performed have only marginally been able to show any particular health beneficial effect compared to intake of conventional food. However, some trends have been shown, and some significant biomarkers and other indicators differentiating organic and non-organic food consumers have been identified (i.e. biomarkers of metabolic syndrome, body weight, some types of cancer). At the same time new and emerging biomarkers are appearing, especially omics techniques (i.e. metabolome) and microbiome characterization, which show a good potential to explore health effects of dietary changes, including such as consumption of organic vs. non-organic foods.

There is also a growing number of reports on the impact of organic vs. non-organic diet on the consumer exposure to pesticide residues. In case of a sufficient amount of data being available, a systematic review on this aspect of organic food consumption effects will be followed by a meta-analysis. Aspects such as mental health encompassing psychological, emotional and social well-being will be also taken into consideration. Newer models of human health draw these together in a multifactorial model. Although to date only few studies have explored associations between organic lifestyle choices and these health dimensions, this area of research will be also taken into consideration in the review.