By Dr. Mercola
In the featured video, Jeffrey Smith interviews Dr. Alex Vasquez, M.D., Ph.D., author of about 100 papers and 15 scientific books, and Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., a Senior Research Scientist at MIT and author of about 200 papers, about the impact of glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — on your mitochondria.
As noted by Jeffrey, this is a very important topic, as mitochondrial dysfunction is an underlying foundational element of most diseases.
Why the Health of Your Mitochondria Matters
As explained by Vasquez, in addition to producing most of your body’s energy in the form of ATP, your mitochondria also participate in many other processes, such as cellular signaling.
According to Vasquez, the data is “impressively clear” that those with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure have dysfunctional mitochondria.
Your mitochondria also play an important role in inflammation, and control apoptosis (cell death). These two roles make your mitochondria a player in diseases such as cancer, for example, as damaged cells fail to receive the message to self-destruct, and therefore continue their malignant growth.
Vasquez — who is an expert on inflammation — divides inflammation into three different forms, which exist on a continuum and overlap each other:
- Metabolic inflammation (conditions such as hypertension and diabetes)
- Allergic inflammation
- Autoimmune inflammation
Chronic, low-level inflammation, which tends to underlie most chronic health conditions, he describes as “metabolic disturbance with cellular injury.” While mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in virtually ALL disease, the following bears mentioning, as they’re among the most common:
Cancer Heart disease Seizure Disorders Asthma and allergies Autoimmune diseases Obesity Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s Depression Chronic fatigue syndrome Fibromyalgia Autism Type 2 diabetes Metabolic syndrome Hypertension
How Glyphosate Damages Your Mitochondria
So how does glyphosate affect your mitochondria? Seneff speaks to this issue, noting that manganese appears to be involved. Glyphosate chelates manganese (plus many other minerals), which makes the plants deficient. In turn the animals or humans who eat the plants do not get enough either.
It’s worth explaining the chelation process a bit further. As Smith notes, glyphosate binds very strongly to micro minerals, and doesn’t let them go.
So even if there’s manganese in the plant you eat, your body cannot access and use it, because the glyphosate molecule holds it trapped within itself. Likewise the plant is prevented from taking up the mineral, even if it’s in the soil.
Your mitochondria require manganese to break down superoxide dismutase (SOD) and turn it into hydrogen peroxide, which is far less toxic, and eventually water. This is a very important process, as it protects your mitochondria from oxidative damage. Without manganese, this protection is lost.
Roundup Formulation Also Interferes With Energy Production
Roundup has also been found to interfere with ATP production by affecting your mitochondrial membranes. In this case, it’s actually the so-called “inert” solvents in Roundup that pose the greatest threat.
However, when you add the solvents and glyphosate together, the solvent makes the membrane more permeable, allowing the glyphosate to enter. Without the solvent, the damage may not be as great.
It’s worth repeating what Vasquez notes, which is that the research data is overwhelmingly consistent and clear on all of these points.
So the fact that there is even public debate about whether glyphosate or Roundup causes mitochondrial harm (and therefore harms health) means that people simply are not aware of the scientific literature.
Because from that perspective, there’s nothing to debate. According to both Seneff and Vasquez, the scientific literature is abundant, easily attainable online, clear, and very consistent.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s a review of some of the published research questioning the safety of glyphosate in terms of its effects on human and animal health, compiled by Alex Vasquez (containing 220 pages worth of research).
Another illuminating and heavily referenced 80-page report is "Banishing Glyphosate," authored by Eva Sirinathsinghji, Ph.D. and Mae-Wan Ho, Ph.D. with cooperation from six other researchers, including Don Huber and Nancy Swanson.
“Why are we having a public debate on this when the data is so clear?,” Vasquez asks. A good question indeed, and the answer is that the industry has done a great job of confusing and misleading people about the actual content and strength of the available science.
Court Finds Fraud and Defamation Was Used to Discredit GMO Study
The case of Gilles-Eric Séralini is a perfect example of how the chemical technology industry tries to keep you in the dark — by whatever means necessary, moral, legal or not. His first-ever lifetime feeding study published in 2012 revealed numerous shocking problems in rats fed GMO corn, including massive tumors and early death.
Rats given glyphosate in their drinking water also developed tumors. The following year, the publisher retracted the study saying it “did not meet scientific standards,” even though a long and careful investigation found no errors or misrepresentation of data.
Interestingly enough, in the time between the publication of the study and its retraction, the journal had created a new position — Associate Editor for Biotechnology; a position that was filled by a former Monsanto employee.
Séralini not only republished the study in another journal, he also took legal action, and at the end of last year, he won two court cases against some of those who tried to destroy his career and reputation. In the first case, Marianne magazine and a journalist by the name of Jean-Claude Jaillette — who accused Séralini of “scientific fraud in which the methodology served to reinforce pre-determined results” — were found guilty of public defamation.
In a second case, Marc Fellous, former chairman of the Biomolecular Engineering Commission of France, was indicted for forgery and the use of forgery in a libel trial.
According to Séralini’s Website:1
“The Biomolecular Engineering Commission has authorized many GM crops for consumption. The details of the case have not yet been publicly released but a source close to the case told GMWatch that Fellous had used or copied the signature of a scientist without his agreement to argue that Séralini and his co-researchers were wrong in their reassessment of Monsanto studies.”
Recent follow-up research2,3 by Séralini shows that long-term exposure to even ultra-low amounts of Roundup may cause tumors, along with liver and kidney damage in rats. In this study, the dose used was "environmentally relevant in terms of human, domesticated animals and wildlife levels of exposure," prompting the authors to suggest Roundup may have significant health implications.
Concerns Over Glyphosate Have Turned Out to Be Valid
In recent years, concerns over the health effects of glyphosate have become quite pronounced, and last year the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), reclassified glyphosate as a Class 2A “probable carcinogen.”4, 5,6
Monsanto recently filed a lawsuit against California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to keep glyphosate from being added to its list of known carcinogens,7 which require products to carry a special cancer warning.
Other research8,9,10,11 suggests the Roundup formulation boosts antibiotic resistance by turning on a specific set of genes in the bacterium. This primes it to become more readily resistant to antibiotics. Despite these and other concerns, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not test foods for glyphosate residues, as the chemical was assumed safe.
The chemical also wasn’t supposed to accumulate in the human body, but this too has been shown to be a false assumption.12
When Will USDA Test Food for Glyphosate Residues?
Last summer the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced U.S. regulators may start testing for glyphosate residues on food in the near future.13,14,15 However, the latest annual pesticide residue report still did not include glyphosate. Even if they did, current allowable limits may be set too far high to protect your health, so unless that’s revised as well, you may be lulled into a false sense of security. The EPA actually raised the allowable limits for glyphosate in food in 2013.
Limits for root and tuber vegetables (with the exception of sugar) were raised from 0.2 parts per million (ppm) to 6.0 ppm. Meanwhile, researchers have documented malformations in frog and chicken embryos starting at 2.03 ppm of glyphosate.16
The allowable limit in oilseed crops (except for canola and soy) was raised to 40 ppm, which is 100,000 times the amount needed to induce cancer in breast cells.17 To address the lack of testing, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) joined forces with the Feed the World Project last year, launching the world’s first glyphosate testing of urine, water, and breast milk for the general public.18,19,20,21
Roundup Ready Alfalfa Goes Wild — As Predicted
In related news, a recent USDA study22 shows that genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa — approved in late 2011 — has already gone wild, and is quickly spreading across the Western states. At the time of its approval, conventional alfalfa farmers were concerned that their conventional alfalfa would be contaminated through cross-pollination. Now their fears have turned into reality, and contamination has already cost them millions of dollars in lost revenue.
As noted by Eco Watch,23 the wild spread “exposes the failure of USDA’s "coexistence’ policy for GE and traditional crops.” There was never any doubt in my and many other people’s mind that this would happen, yet “I told you so” just doesn’t bring any satisfaction. When will our government let facts and common sense speak for themselves? Eco Watch also reports that:
“[T]he researchers also found clear evidence that the Roundup Ready gene was being spread by bees, which are known to cross-pollinate alfalfa populations separated by up to several miles. Their results suggested that ‘transgenic plants could spread transgenes to neighboring feral plants and potentially to neighboring non-GE fields.’
While they did not test this latter possibility, there is no doubt that non-GE alfalfa has in fact been transgenically contaminated — not just once, but on many occasions.”
Campbell’s Decimates Monsanto's Argument Against Labeling
The fact that GE crops are heavily contaminated with Roundup is just one of many reasons to become aware of which foods contain GMOs and which don’t. Remember, Roundup Ready crops are designed to withstand the pesticide, and tolerance has forced farmers to increase the amount of pesticide sprayed on the crop. For this and other reasons, we need GE foods to be clearly labeled.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), of which Monsanto is a member, insists mandatory GMO labeling would result in higher food prices. It’s completely illogical, yet many have fallen for this stupid ruse. Now, Campbell Soup’s decision to voluntarily label their GMO products will finally decimate this argument and prove that added cost is a non-issue. As reported by Alternet24 on January 15:
“[T]he first question we asked ... was, will you charge more for these products after you label them? In an email ... company spokesman Tom Hushen wrote, ‘To be clear, there will be no price increase as a result of Vermont or national GMO labeling for Campbell products.’
Will Campbell’s have to absorb extra costs associated with labeling? Will profit margins on its GMO brands shrink? No, says Carmen Bain, a sociology professor at Iowa State University who studies GMO labeling. Bain told PoliticoPro’s Jenny Hopkinson, ‘Campbell has determined that the cost of labeling their products is negligible (and therefore won't mean higher costs for consumers) and that it's probably costlier for them not to get out in front of this thing.’”