By Dr. Mercola
Increasing exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, may be at least partially to blame for rising rates of numerous chronic diseases in Westernized societies, according to recent research.
The finding, published in Entropy,1 has ramifications for virtually every man, woman and child in developed nations, as this pesticide is widely used on both conventional and, especially, genetically modified (GM) crops (to the tune of more than one billion pounds sprayed in the US alone).
If you eat processed foods, most of which are made with GM corn and soy ingredients, you’re consuming glyphosate residues, probably in each and every bite. Knowing this, and the fact that tests show people in 18 countries across Europe already have glyphosate in their bodies,2 the following news should leave you very, very concerned… if not compelled to take action against this health-endangering chemical.
Glyphosate May Be a Key Factor in the Development of Chronic Disease
While Monsanto insists that Roundup is safe, a peer-reviewed report authored by Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant, and a long time contributor to the Mercola.com Vital Votes Forum, and Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), reveals how glyphosate wrecks human health.
They argue that glyphosate residues, found in most commonly consumed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GM sugar, corn, soy, and wheat, “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.” Interestingly, your gut bacteria are a key component of glyphosate’s primary mechanism of harm.
Monsanto has steadfastly claimed that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals. However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria, and that’s the key to understanding how it causes such widespread systemic harm in both humans and animals.
The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to one. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!
Glyphosate causes extreme disruption of the microbe’s function and lifecycle. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow and take over, including the highly toxic Clostridium botulinum.
It has been estimated that only 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) would be enough to kill the entire human population.3 At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease.
In the interview above, Dr. Seneff reviews a variety of chronic diseases, explaining how glyphosate contributes to each condition. So to learn more, I urge you to listen to it in its entirety. It’s quite eye opening. According to Dr. Seneff, glyphosate is possibly "the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies,” including but not limited to:
Autism Gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis, and Crohn's disease Obesity Allergies Cardiovascular disease Depression Cancer Infertility Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease Multiple sclerosis ALS and more
Glyphosate May Cause Cancer at Extremely Low Doses
To get a bit more in depth on just one of the chronic diseases highlighted by Dr. Seneff, consider the reports showing that glyphosate may stimulate hormone-dependent cancers even at extremely low “environmentally relevant” amounts.
In a study published last year, researchers concluded that glyphosate is a xenoestrogen that is functionally similar to estradiol, the most potent human estrogen, and concentrations in the parts-per-trillion range had carcinogenic effects.4
Adding insult to injury—in light of the fact that more than 90 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified—they also found that the phytoestrogen genistein, naturally found in soybeans, heightened the estrogenic effects when combined with glyphosate. According to the authors:
“This study implied that the additive effect of glyphosate and genistein in postmenopausal women may induce cancer cell growth.In this present in vitro study, we showed an estrogenicity of pure glyphosate...
Furthermore, this study demonstrated the additive estrogenic effects of glyphosate and genistein which implied that the use of glyphosate-contaminated soybean products as dietary supplements may pose a risk of breast cancer because of their potential additive estrogenicity."
Shocking GM Food Feeding Study Retracted -- for Small Sample Size!
This wasn’t the first time this pesticide has been linked to cancer. In 2012, the first-ever lifetime feeding study evaluating the health risks of GM foods was published. It found that rats fed a type of GM corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney, and liver damage, and other serious health problems.5 According to the authors:
"The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. [Editors note: this level of Roundup is permitted in drinking water and GE crops in the US]
In females, all treated groups died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments.
In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5-5.5 times higher... Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3-2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls, which occurred up to 600 days earlier.
Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences."
They really are not exaggerating when they say it caused massive tumors… some of the tumors weighed in at 25 percent of the rat's total body weight. In fact, the researchers had to euthanize some of them due to the profound pain and suffering these tumorous animals were observed to be experiencing. You can see the pictures for yourself here.
The research was considered so "hot" that the work was done under strict secrecy. According to a French article in Le Nouvel Observateur,6 the researchers used encrypted emails, phone conversations were banned, and they even launched a decoy study to prevent sabotage. The findings were a nail in the coffin for the pesticide/biotech industry, but then the journal began to receive Letters to the Editor alleging fraud and calling upon the editors to retract the paper.
After what the journal described as a “thorough and time-consuming analysis” of the study, they said they found “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.”7 All they could find “wrong” with the research was that it used a low number of animals for the study, even though it was the same number of animals Monsanto used in their study… so they, quite outrageously, retracted this important paper. Even the retraction statement admits that the results presented are “not incorrect” but rather may be “inconclusive”! If every paper that could be considered inconclusive were retracted, there would scarcely be a published paper left!
As reported by the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS): “…the unsettling results of the Séralini study… almost certainly lie behind its notorious retraction by the journal editor a year after it was published.” The most damning revelation of this debacle was that a former Monsanto employee, Richard E. Goodman, early in 2013, was appointed “Associate Editor for biotechnology” for the journal that retracted the study.8 The obvious question is: was Monsanto behind the retraction?
Warning: Eat Glyphosate-Laced GM Foods at Your Own Risk
You may be wondering why, if GM foods are so potentially toxic, Americans aren’t dropping like flies. Well, this is a debatable statement, as with rates of chronic diseases climbing exponentially, many Americans are dying before their time. Furthermore, rats only live a few years, which is why you’re able to see tumors develop rapidly in response to dietary changes. Humans live around 80 years, so we will notice these effects in animals long before we see them in humans. The gigantic human lab experiment of eating GM foods is only about 10 years old, so we are likely decades away from tabulating the human casualties.
As discussed above, glyphosate contamination is but one route by which GM foods are poisonous. It has a number of devastating biological effects. So much so that it may very well be one of the most important factors in the development of a wide variety of modern diseases and conditions. In summary, these detrimental effects include:
Nutritional deficiencies, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet) Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency Systemic toxicity—a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut, and food allergies such as gluten intolerance) Enhancement of damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease
Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day
The food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State—to prevent you from knowing what's in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right, all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.
As always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically modified foods, and to share what you've learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beet, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.
If you buy processed food, opt for products bearing the USDA 100% Organic label, as organics do not permit GMOs. You can also print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. Alternatively, download their free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications. For more in-depth information, I highly recommend reading the following two books, authored by Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:
- Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating
- Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.
For timely updates, join the Non-GMO Project on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. Please, do your homework. Together, we have the power to stop the chemical technology industry from destroying our food supply, the future of our children, and the earth as a whole. All we need is about five percent of American shoppers to simply stop buying genetically engineered foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients—regardless of whether the products bear an actual GMO label or not.