Recently I wrote an article about organic food. In it, I focused much of the attention on GMO’s and how by eating organic foods, you are assured to be avoiding GMO’s. If you recall, I discussed that the reason I believe avoiding GMO’s is so important is because the majority of GMO’s are modified in order to resist broad spectrum herbicide (something that kills plants); the most widely used one being glyphosate or “Round-Up”.
That begs the question: why should you care about glyphosate in your food? What’s the big deal?
Like just about everything else, there are different sides to this issue. There are conflicting scientific studies and information being presented to the public. In the end, we all need to take a look at the information that is out there, and make a decision for ourselves and our families. My stance is this: glyphosate is a poison that should be avoided. This is why…
The company Monsanto first introduced Round-Up in the 1970’s. But it’s usage didn’t really skyrocket until the mid-1990’s when glyphosate resistant GMO seeds were first introduced. Guess who developed those seeds? That’s right- Monsanto, the same company that developed and sold Round-Up. In my opinion, the development of GMO’s is directly linked to that company’s desire to raise sales of their product. Like so many other problems I see with the agriculture industry, the focus is more about profit than about safety and quality for consumers. Monsanto claimed that GMO’s would lead to LESS herbicide being used, but the truth is that glyphosate usage has increased fifteen fold since the introduction of GMO’s. Check out this table that shows the sharp increase in usage, in millions of pounds applied to crops per year since 1992 here.
This study from UC San Diego Health outlines how we went from typically not being able to detect glyphosate in humans, to currently about 70% of the population having detectable levels of glyphosate in their blood.
Glyphosate linked to many health issues
Here is a list of health issues that are linked to glyphosate exposure, with links to the studies here.
- Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Various birth defects
- All sorts of cancers
- Celiac and gluten intolerance
- Inflammatory bowel and colitis
- Reproductive issues including infertility and miscarriage
Personally, I think the effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria are very significant. Why? Here’s a good article from Harvard Health on why you should care about your gut bacteria, and the kinds of health problems that can arise from imbalances in gut bacteria. Some of the health issues associated with lack of beneficial gut bacteria include: autoimmune disorders (here is a list of autoimmune disorders) cancer, and depression, to name just a few. Look familiar? Killing off beneficial gut bacteria, means “bad” bacteria and pathogens remain. Glyphosate is antimicrobial, by patent. Meaning, it intentionally kills microbes, like the beneficial ones in your gut. For those science nerds out there, I have some very scientific information on how glyphosate kills gut bacteria and other info here. For additional science-nerd reading, take a look at this glyphosate toxicology report from US National Library of Medicine (NLM) info here.
I’m not a scientist. And I know that correlation does not always mean causation. But I still find it interesting that there has been a steady rise in autoimmune disease over the past 20 years, when during that same period of time glyphosate use has surged. Here are some links to some articles that I found regarding this:
- World Incidence and Prevalence of Autoimmune disease is increasing
- Autoimmune Disease rates Increasing
- Questions Persist: Environmental factors in autoimmune disease
Folks, all of this is why I avoid conventionally raised and produced food, and favor organic. I hope I was able to provide you with some good information to arm yourself with when making food decisions for your family!