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Glyphosate, Gut Health and Disease

03 December 2021

What is Glyphosate?


This chemical is a toxic herbicide (weed-killer) used predominantly in conventional farming around the world but especially in the USA and Australia. It is also used to control weeds in parks, gardens, playgrounds, sand dunes on many beaches, sidewalks or any public place where weeds may pop up.

* (Roundup is the brand name of a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide originally produced by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018.) - Wikipedia 


Glyphosate has been shown to have an accumulative effect and that means that over time with regular exposure to it, this is where it can be the most problematic.

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The word ‘Herbicide’ broken down


Let’s start with the word herb. According to Oxford languages, a herb is “any plant with leaves, seeds or flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine or perfume”


Then we move to the word ‘cide’. The word ‘cide’ denotes a person or substance that kills. Think of the words ‘suicide’, ‘homicide’, ‘pesticide’, ‘fungicide’, ‘rodenticide’ and more.


A herbicide is a chemical product designed to kill plants basically. What is important to know is that when a chemical (designed to kill a weed) is landing in the soil and on the crop, the crop becomes compromised and then if you eat this produce, you may then also be compromising your health.


I can’t speak for you, but I sure as heck don’t want to put something in my body that has been tainted with something with the intention to kill?

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AsI mentioned before, glyphosate (most commonly known as ‘Roundup’) is used in conventional farming, so if you consume conventionally-produced fruits and veggies (non-organic), you are more than likely consuming glyphosate on some level. Even many supplements contain glyphosate and synthetic vitamins (such as synthetic vitamin C/ascorbic acid) are often sourced from GMO corn that has been sprayed with GBH (glyphosate based herbicide)!

 

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Please read my vitamin C blog here as it talks about synthetic vitamins and how they are produced. 


You’ll be happy to know that Perfect Supplements are Glyphosate-free! They also don’t contain any GMOs, chemicals, additives, fillers, synthetic ingredients or anything harmful to your health. All you get when you consume them is the real deal, purity, quality and bioavailability.


Sources of Glyphosate

  • Fruit and vegetable production (conventional)
  • Glyphosate-resistant crops like beets, canola, corn, cotton, soy beans, sugar and wheat
  • Parks, gardens, lawns, greenhouses, aquatic plants and forest plantings
  • Our air and water can be a source of glyphosate
  • Biofuel and biodiesel

 

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I have seen council workers numerous times in my local area spraying this stuff and they probably have no idea of the damage it’s doing to themselves, other people, fauna and our environment? It really is quite disturbing.


It’s disturbing because it’s being sprayed where creatures' habitat, where everyday folks walk, commune and even where children play.

 

The People Leading the Research


One person who is leading the way in glyphosate research on human health is Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D Research Scientist from MIT. Stephanie has been researching glyphosate for 20 years and has recently written a book called ‘Toxic Legacy’. I will be ordering this book soon so stay tuned for an update on this…


But They Claim that it’s “safe”??


The claim made by big agriculture chemical companies (the companies who make these herbicides - such as Bayer) is that it is “safe for humans, animals and the environment”, however, proper (unbiased) scientific research is showing otherwise and how it is actually disturbing our gut microbiome, messing up protein synthesis, and interfering with the body’s ability to use and transport sulfur.


Monsanto was acquired by Bayer in 2018.


This is not to fear-monger but rather to inform you of the potential hazard that being exposed to this toxin can have on your health. When we have the right information, we can make better decisions for ourselves.


In her book, Stephanie also gives lots of published and peer-reviewed studies that show how glyphosate can cause gut dysbiosis, a melatonin-deficiency that affects sleep, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, autism, infertility and even cancer.


This is cause for concern don’t you think? Even the WHO (world health organisation) concluded about glyphosate that it’s “probably carcinogenic to human health”, possibly after it actually was classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the IARC (International Agency for research on Cancer) in 2017.


“Probably carcinogenic” yeah, ok, that is enough for me to want to steer clear and avoid this chemical wherever I possibly can!


Without a shadow of a doubt, our exposure to GBH (glyphosate-based herbicides) is on the rise and the science that says it’s safe is outdated and often biased (in my opinion). 

 

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Glyphosate and Hormones


Hormonal balance is something that most women strive for (some men too). If you are looking to achieve and sustain hormonal balance it might be wise to avoid or at least reduce the glyphosate in your life as it has been shown to be an endocrine-disruptor.


Glyphosate and Inflammation


According to MIT researcher, Stephanie Seneff Ph.D when interviewed in the Wise Traditions Podcast, episode 317


“every 3rd amino acid is a glycine and the same is true for collagen. Collagen is the biggest and most common protein in the body, something like 25% of our proteins are collagen molecules. They have long, long sequences of gxy gxy, a tremendous opportunity for glycine to get substituted by glyphosate, which is what I think is happening. It’s so terrible what glyphosate is doing to the body.


So it’s messing up the collagen in our joints and in our bones and I think that is why we have so much trouble with back pain and shoulder pain, hip-replacement surgery and all these troubles we are having with our joints I think are connected to glyphosate messing up our collagen”



*Please note: we don’t necessarily agree with everything Stephanie says in the podcast about the link between glyphosate and the recent viral outbreak but we certainly do believe that glyphosate is not good for health in general. We are open however, to all points-of-view and are not dismissing anything. 

 

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Glyphosate and Gut Health


According to the NIH, glyphosate disrupts the gut bacterial balance in both chickens and in rats. Rat studies in particular are an acceptable study when we are looking at human health, therefore it may have a negative effect on gut health for us.

I do feel for the rats and other animals though that have to suffer in the name of science. :(


What was shown also in the rat study is the damage caused to its liver and kidneys.


New research is also showing that glyphosate causes lesions that indicate fatty liver disease and cell death (necrosis).


Yet another rat study has shown that when these rodents are fed glyphosate (through Roundup), it increases levels of shikimic acid in their gut. This is where it gets a little confusing as shikimic acid can both protect one from disease (from oxidative stress) but it may also help to promote cancer? I don’t have the answers here on this. I am sorry, I tried to find more info but it was hurting my brain. The information on this in the article about this acid was unclear to me.

Glyphosate exposure has been linked to:

  • Leaky Gut (intestinal permeability)
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Gut dysbiosis
  • IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)

 

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How Glyphosate Affects Health in General


There is increasing evidence to show that glyphosate and GBH show cytotoxic and genotoxic effects. Cytotoxic means a substance that is toxic to the cells and genotoxic is a substance that is damaging to the DNA.


Evidence is also mounting that glyphosate increases oxidative stress, disrupts the oestrogen pathway, may impair cerebral functions (our brain function) and as mentioned, it may correlate with certain cancers.


The way that glyphosate affects the immune system is quite complex.


To begin with, it seems to alter phagocytic function (a phagocyte is a type of cell that ingests and even digests foreign particles like bacteria, carbon, dust and dyes). Phagocytes play an important role in our body as you can see, so when their function is impaired this may negatively affect our health.


Glyphosate has also been shown to affect our lymphocyte responses and increase the production of cytokines.


Cytokines are a comprehensive group of proteins, peptides or glycoproteins secreted by certain cells of the immune system. A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in your immune system. 


To dive deeper into this information, I would recommend you check out the Journal of Immunotoxicology here.

Quote from the NIH about Glyphosate and the Growing Health Problems Linked to it:

"Many diseases and conditions are currently on the rise in step with glyphosate usage in agriculture, particularly on GM crops of corn and soy. These include autism, AD, PD, anxiety disorder, osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel disease, renal lithiasis, osteomalacia, cholestasis, thyroid dysfunction, and infertility. All of these conditions can be substantially explained by the dysregulation of Mn utilization in the body due to glyphosate."

 

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Other Key Researchers


Somebody else who studied (extensively) the effects of both glyphosate and GMO crops with regards to how they affect human health is Nancy Swanson Ph.D. She talks about how people’s health drastically declined since glyphosate was introduced in 1974, she also mentions that it’s use has accelerated since the emergence of GE (genetically engineered) crops. These GE crops are herbicide-tolerant, meaning that they can withstand the chemical being sprayed on them.


With herbicide-tolerant crops, less chemical is needed, thus making it cheaper for the farmer. Cheaper often has consequences though and in this case, the evidence is stacking up and it doesn’t look favourable for this popular weed killer.



Glyphosate Affects Metabolic Processes


Through animal testing (I know, poor animals right?), It's been shown that glyphosate interferes with many of the metabolic processes, disrupts the endocrine system, gut microbiome, causes DNA damage and has also been shown to drive mutations that lead to cancer. Please read this article for more information about this)



How Glyphosate Can Affect Amino Acids


Did you know that glyphosate disrupts tryptophan and tyrosine synthesis in gut bacteria? This happens because it interferes with the shikimate pathway (pronounced Shik-a-may). This is the pathway in charge of amino acid synthesis - and as you may know, amino acids are the building blocks of life!


What I can say through my research is that there is a strong link to cancer when glyphosate exposure has regularly occurred and this goes back to the negative effect that glyphosate has on the gut microbiome. It’s also imperative to mention that glyphosate also may disrupt our innate immune system. Many tests have been done 

Glyphosate's Mechanism in Disease

According to Stephanie Seneff Ph.D, glyphosate mimics the amino acid glycine (FYI, collagen contains glycine). This means, that glyphosate pretends to be glycine, it's a glycine imposter!

Glyphosate inserts itself in the amino acid chains and this disrupts the functioning of protein, potentially causing genetic mutations. Read that again.

Did you know that damaged proteins carrying this chemical herbicide actually stay in the body, as its residue accumulates over time? This causes enzymes to malfunction.

The longer the chemical accumulates, the more harm it can cause and the more susceptible we become to disease/illness.

The diseases/disorders may be neurological (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) or metabolic or digestive (leaky gut, dysbiosis, diabetes, obesity, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism).

A person may become susceptible to autoimmune problems such as Lupus, mitochondrial disease, non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Celiac disease.

Glyphosate and Cancer

Glyphosate-exposure may drastically increase your risk of cancer (by 41%!!). Recently, a study was conducted by the University of Washington, showing glyphosate's carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects on human beings.

A lawsuit was filed by a school groundskeeper (DeWayne Johnson) seeking punitive damages after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2014 from glyphosate exposure. He won his case too, to the tune of $289 million.


Glyphosate and Mental Health

Glyphosate exposure may reduce the production of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) thus leading to depression, anxiety and a decline in cognition (brain function).

 

Glyphosate, Methylation and MTHFR

Methylation is a critical biochemical process, key to the proper function in every system in your body. So when something affects methylation (like a toxin), it can greatly affect your health on many levels.

There are many toxins and heavy metals that can negatively impact here and if you have a MTHFR mutation, you may want to be even more careful.

Glyphosate has been shown to damage DNA methylation, produce changes in the methylation of certain genes, histone changes (modification).

 

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Glyphosate and Pregnancy

There may also be a correlation between glyphosate and unfavourable birth outcomes. Research scientists at the CEHN (Children's Environmental Health Network) have been investigating glyphosate levels in the urine of pregnant mothers and correlate the shorter time in pregnancy and also low birth rate of babies to the levels of glyphosate found in the mother's urine.

 


Testing 


When it comes to biomedical research and why it is done on animals (especially mice), it has been shown to produce effective results, though for some this is an issue of ethics.


Ethics aside for just one moment, we are here to give you the facts.


Did you know that animals are very similar to humans biologically? Mice share more that 98% DNA with us - so that is why they are most often the test subject for scientific research. 


Animals are prone to many of the same diseases and health issues that we experience such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc.

 

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Glyphosate in the Soil


Did you know that over 6.1 billion kg of glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) has been applied worldwide? (this stat was taken in 2016 so 7 years later it would be a lot more! This may be having a huge impact on the soil ecology.


Soil ecology depends upon the life and health of the organisms in it. These organisms are microbes, fungi, worms and microorganisms.


It’s not just the glyphosate component that is cause for concern, but also the adjuvants used in commercial products. 


  • Adjuvants may be solvents and surfactants that are added to commercial GBH products.
  • The Soil Association has looked at the research and has concerns about the harm it is doing to soil health - microorganisms, microbes, soil function, soil structure and more!

 Further research is much needed.


Why does this Matter?


The health of our soil matters greatly, as the health of our soil (including how nutrient-dense it is) affects how nutrient-dense the food grown in it is. 


Glyphosate May Leach into Our Water


There are many studies that indicate that glyphosate may leach into deeper layers of soil thus ending up in both ground and surface waters. This may end up in body's of water and further our exposure to it.



So What Can We Do?


I don’t like to dish out information without giving solutions as I feel that without a solution, it just adds more stress and sometimes fear to people’s lives. So I am going to do my best to offer up some ways to reduce your exposure to this common chemical.


Reducing Your Exposure to Glyphosate


  1. Buy and eat certified organic foods (as local as possible) - beverages too. Try to visit a local organic farmer or a farmers market or if you have land, grow your own organic produce.
  2. Buy certified organic foods in general as much as possible (dips, crackers, wine, grains, bread, meat, dairy, eggs, etc. etc.)
  3. If you cannot afford organic food or you buy some organic and some conventional, be sure to but a natural veggie wash and give the produce a good wash before consuming it.
  4. Try to eat at home cooked meals more often and dine out less, this will give you control over the quality of your food.
  5. Avoid using GBH weed killer at home around the gardens, lawns or any paths etc. You can find glyphosate, more natural weed killer that is made from pine oil. See here for Bioweed.
  6. Try to find clothing that is made from organic cotton (as conventional cotton is heavily sprayed with glyphosate).
  7. Take a regular detox bath. Find out how and why here.
  8. Avoid playing or congregating in areas where you know they’ve been recently sprayed.
  9. Choose Glyphosate-free & GMO-free supplements such as these. If you are currently taking a collagen supplement and now knowing what you know about glyphosate and collagen, be sure to choose a collagen supplement that contains no glyphosate, such as this one.
  10. Check out our dedicated blog to this, called 'How to Detox from Glyphosate'.

 


Read more about Glyphosate-free Supplements here.


Summary:

    • Glyphosate is a weed killer found in Roundup and other GBH (glyphosate-based herbicides).
    • A herbicide is a chemical substance that kills weeds.
    • It's been used widely around the globe since 1974.
    • The people leading the research are Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D or Research at MIT and Nancy Swanson Ph.D
    • The most common source of glyphosate is conventionally-grown produce.
    • Big chemical companies lie about safety.
    • The WHO concluded in 2017 that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic" (cancer-causing).
    • Glyphosate exposure may cause liver problems (cholestasis)
    • Glyphosate exposure may cause kidney stones (renal lithiasis)
    • Glyphosate can cause gut issues/disorders such as IBS, IBD, Leaky Gut (intestinal permeability, Gut Dysbiosis and Celiac disease)
    • Glyphosate has been shown to cause hormone imbalances and endocrine disorders/disease such as hypothyroidism.
    • Regular exposure to glyphosate can cause inflammation
    • Regular exposure can cause immune disruption (our innate immune system)
    • Regular exposure can cause disruption to metabolic processes.
    • Its accumulation in the body may make one susceptible to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Autism, MS (multiple sclerosis), Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.
    • It can also mess up our collagen, mimic glycine thus causing disruption to proteins (this may cause genetic mutations).
    • Glyphosate can affect our cellular health and damage DNA as it's both cytotoxic and genotoxic.
    • Glyphosate exposure has been linked to cancer.
    • Glyphosate exposure has been shown to cause unfavourable birth outcomes (shorter pregnancy time and a low birth rate in babies)
    • Glyphosate exposure may affect the methylation process (this should be of concern to those who have MTHFR issues).
    • Glyphosate exposure may reduce neurotransmitter production leading to mental health issues (anxiety and depression) and cognitive decline.
    • Glyphosate exposure has been linked to auto-immune diseases such as Lupus, mitochondrial disease, non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Celiac disease (which is also a digestive disorder).
    • Linked to bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
    • Affects proteins and amino acids (these are the building blocks to life)!

Do as you can see, this simple herbicide has a very dark side and has shown to cause or be linked to many of the common health problems of today that are on the rise since its introduction in 1974. I have no doubt that as time goes on and I continue to research this topic, more problems with exposure to it will be revealed.

The takeaway message (knowing what you now know), it to do everything in your power to reduce your exposure to it and to consider detoxing from it. I personally, take regular detox baths (read my detox bath article here) and I also use an infrared sauna daily plus practice the detox principles I share in our 'How to Detox from Glyphosate' blog here.

I encourage you to check these other articles out when you can, this information is important and it may be useful to you.

Remember, your health is in your hands and it is your greatest asset as we always say 'Your Health is Your Wealth™'.

Tam x

 

Read all of Our Glyphosate Blogs Here:




References:


http://www.stopsprayingnb.ca/resources/41.pdf

https://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/abstracts/Swanson-et-al.html

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/environmental-toxins/glyphosate-in-collagen/

https://www.gmoscience.org/2020/01/15/glyphosate-and-roundup-disrupt-the-gut-microbiome-by-inhibiting-the-shikimate-pathway/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28962885/

https://www.soilassociation.org/media/7202/glyphosate-and-soil-health-full-report.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundup_(herbicide)

​​https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/soil-health

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080475141500123

http://sbc.ucdavis.edu/Biotech_for_Sustain_pages/Herbicide_Tolerance/

https://www.ecowatch.com/organic-cotton-products-2584308865.html

https://bioweedstore.shop/collections/weed-control/products/bioweed5lconcentrate

https://www.madesafe.org/10-tips-for-avoiding-glyphosate-exposure-why/

https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Lymphocyte

https://www.boldbusiness.com/health/glyphosate-food-health-risks/

https://draxe.com/health/glyphosate-toxicity/

https://advancedfunctionalmedicine.com.au/impact-of-toxins-and-heavy-metals-on-methylation/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_methylation

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2021.671991/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

https://www3.nd.edu/~aseriann/Glyphosate_2.pdf

 

 

*Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner. 

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