Interesting Information: January 21, 2013
New Breakthrough: Roundup® DOES Harm Humans
Roundup®, which is mostly the chemical glyphosate, is “the most popular herbicide used on the planet,” according to Stephanie Seneff, PhD, in “Roundup®: The `Nontoxic’ Chemical that May Be Destroying our Health,” Wise Traditions, Fall 2013, 30-38.
Roundup® is produced by Monsanto (it went off patent in 2000), and Monsanto has claimed that Roundup® is nontoxic for humans–even though glyphosate is “an established endocrine disruptor.”
Yet, there are many real-world examples of people sickened in all kinds of ways by exposure to Roundup. But up to now, that I know of, there’s not be an explanation for HOW glyphosate affects humans that can stand up to industry’s insistence on using it.
The “nontoxic for humans” argument is that glyphosate kills weeds by “interfering with what is called the shikimate pathway–which is “essential in plants for the synthesis of a class of amino acids called the `aromatics.’ ”
The shikimate pathway is “nonexistent in any mammalian cell.”
BUT, BUT, BUT…AND HERE’S THE BREAKTHROUGH–“all of the microbes that take up residence in our digestive tract do have this shikimate pathway, and exposure to glyphosate…will cause them serious stress as a consequence.”
And, hopefully, each of you has become aware of the rapidly increasing knowledge of how important these gut “flora and fauna” are to human health. And, how, if the opportunistic microbes get out of balance in our systems (sugar), they can be a real wrecking crew to your health. This knowledge is the basis of Natasha Campbell-McBride’s work with the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome).
Studies have shown that glyphosate disrupts the gut bacteria in chickens, cows, and pigs, causing inflammation in the gut along with an overgrowth of pathogenic forms and concurrent loss of beneficial bacteria. It is now becoming apparent that our gut bacteria, which outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten to one, play many important roles in supplying nutrients and protecting us from toxins. There’s also an intricate connection between the gut and the brain, such that an unhealthy digestive system translates into pathologies in the brain.
AND we are NOT healthy in America–likely at least in part because we–unlike western Europe–are awash with chemicals like glyphosate.
Despite spending nearly two and a half times as much on health care as our peer nations, the U.S. lags behind many of these other nations in basic metrics like infant mortality and life expectancy. The most recent figures for infant mortality place the U.S. at number forty-six, behind Cuba and Guam. Clearly we are doing something wrong, and our wholesale embrace of GMOs is an obvious candidate.
Autism used to be rare, affecting one in ten thousand children. The latest numbers put out by the CDC in March 2013, show one in fifty. This is an alarming number, and, what is even more alarming is how quickly the number has been rising in recent years.
Ninety percent of the GMO crops (GMO corn, soy, cotton, sugar beets, and canola) are engineered to be “Roundup Ready,” which means that they can be sprayed with Roundup and they will happily soak it up into their tissues. The practice of “desiccating”crops like wheat and sugar cane just before the harvest by spraying them with Roundup is also becoming more and more popular as a way to reduce the amount of vegetation that needs to be cleared in preparation for planting next year’s crop. These two changes in agricultural practices almost certainly mean that Roundup is entering our food supply in record amounts.
Here’s more on the mechanics of why the shikimate pathway in our gut microbes affect us, but it’s not the whole description Seneff discusses as it is complex and too long to synthesize here:
Plants and microbes use the shikimate pathway to produce the aromatic amino acids, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine. Because they don’t have this pathway, mammals can’t produce these essential nutrients, and therefore we depend on plants and microbes to provide them for us. So it is logical that glyphosate, by interfering with this pathway, would lead to a deficiency in these nutrients. Tryptophan is the sole precursor to serotonin, and serotonin deficiency is implicated in a litany of diseases and conditions that are prevalent today, including autism, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, suicide, and homicidal behavior. Serotonin is an appetite suppressant so it’s hard not to overeat when it is in short supply.
Autism is associated with two comorbidities that may yield hints as to its underlying etiology: disrupted gut bacteria and impaired sulfur metabolism. A characteristic feature of children with autism is an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, which can lead to neurological defects arising from exposure of the brain to toxins produced by these bacteria.
Two pathogens exist in our gut, and they can play a beneficial role if kept under control by other microbes: Clostridia difficile and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. (Both are “causing a major crisis in hospitals in the U.S. and elsewhere due to their increased prevalence and multiple antibiotic resistance.) Pseudomonas aeruginosa can metabolize glyphosate. BUT, formaldehyde, “a known carcinogen and neurotoxin,” is the by-product. Clostridia diff. is a yeast pathogen that thrives on sugar. It can punch holes in your gut that let food particles escape into the bloodstream which, in turn, cause all sorts of food allergies and autoimmune problems. BUT, in terms of autism, Seneff has a long, involved explanation of how this pathogen is connected to sulfate transport and autism.
So, what can you do?
Eat organic foods. Refuse to buy industrially grown, poisoned, monocrop, and/or GMO foods. Insist on labeling of GMO foods. And tell people who question WHY, what’s at stake.
And you can also tell them that chronic illnesses are incredibly, incredibly expensive.
Dr. Seneff works at the intersection of technology and biology. She is a Senior Research Scientist at MITs Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She has a Bachelor’s degree from MIT in biology with a minor in food and nutrition, and her PhD from MIT is in computer science. She has done groundbreaking work with the importance of sulfur in foods humans eat–and sulfur has seriously diminished with industrially grown produce.
Here’s her heavily researched article in total–where you can see all her citations: