By Dr. Mercola
The use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, has dramatically risen over the past 15 years, right in step with the use of GE crops.
According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), glyphosate appears to be strongly correlated with the rise in celiac disease.
Dr. Anthony Samsel and Dr. Seneff produced some phenomenal research1 on this connection, which was published in December last year. Previously, she has investigated the relationship between glyphosate and the development of a wide array of modern diseases, including autism.
She believes that glyphosate may in fact act as a transporter for aluminum (a common vaccine adjuvant) into the brain. It also appears to transport arsenic into the kidneys. For more in-depth information on this glyphosate-autism link, please listen to the full version of Dr. Seneff’s interview.
Use of Roundup Matches Increased Use of GE Crops, and Rise in Chronic Diseases
“There’s an extremely strong correlation between the use of Roundup on corn and soy over time and the increase in all these different diseases, and celiac disease is one of them,” she says.
“We certainly have seen an explosive appearance of celiac disease almost overnight in the last five to 10 years… Now you have a growing section of gluten-free choices of various food products…
Lots of people are intolerant to gluten, of course. But people aren’t thinking, ‘Why is this now true? This didn’t use to be true’… I was really puzzled because wheat is not a GE product… GMO wheat is not a product that’s on the market.”
So what’s going on? Dr. Seneff’s research reveals that when it comes to gluten intolerance and celiac disease, the problem actually doesn’t stem from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Rather it’s related to the use of glyphosate just before the harvesting of many of the non-organic wheat crops, in order to reduce the amount of residue that needs to be cleared and to get a head start on next year’s weeds.
Glyphosate-Treated Wheat Promotes Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a severe reaction to gluten that primarily affects your gastrointestinal system. Glyphosate has been shown to severely damage your gut flora and cause chronic diseases rooted in gut dysfunction.
The use of glyphosate on wheat crops has risen in tandem with the rise in celiac disease. In fact, it correlates to a greater degree than glyphosate usage on corn and soy.
According to Dr. Seneff, desiccating4 non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came in vogue about 15 years ago. Interestingly enough, when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds. “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies,” Dr. Seneff explains. “At its last gasp, it releases the seed.”
This results in slightly greater yield, and the glyphosate also kills rye grass, a major weed problem for wheat growers that is resistant to many other herbicides. What they’re not taking into consideration is the fact that rye grass helps rebalance the soil, and from that perspective is a beneficial plant.
So, most of the non-organic wheat supply is now contaminated with glyphosate. A large percentage of processed foods are made from wheat, and this helps explain the explosion of celiac disease and other gut dysfunction.
What happens is that the villi in your gut get destroyed by the glyphosate, which reduces your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Also, wheat contains gliadin, which is difficult to break down. Normally, a reaction takes place that builds connections between different proteins in the wheat.
But glyphosate gets right in the middle of that process too, resulting in wheat that is highly indigestible. Dr. Seneff and her co-researcher Dr. Anthony Samsel believe the glyphosate may attach to the gliadin as a consequence of a chemical reaction. The end result is that your body develops an immune reaction. As noted in their study:5
“[G]ut dysbiosis, brought on by exposure to glyphosate, plays a crucial role in the development of celiac disease. Many CYP enzymes are impaired in association with celiac disease, and we show that glyphosate’s known suppression of CYP enzyme activity in plants and animals plausibly explains this effect in humans.”
Glyphosate Disrupts Important Sulfate Pathway Implicated in Celiac Disease
Glyphosate causes gut dysbiosis (a condition of microbial imbalance in your intestines that can lead to gut inflammation and leaky gut) and an overgrowth of pathogens. Sulfur, and the sulfur pathway, plays in important part in optimal health, and when your gut is inflamed, your body’s ability to transport sulfate is impaired.
This is in part why Dr. Seneff recommends soaking in magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) baths rather than taking a sulfur supplement (such as chondroitin sulfate, for example.) This way, it can bypass your gut mucosa. The sulfur pathway is also implicated in celiac disease, and this is the connection between glyphosate exposure and celiac:
“There are two classes of molecules that transport sulfate. One is the sterols: cholesterol, vitamin D, and all sex hormones – estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA. On the other side, you have all the neurotransmitters. This is the dopamine, melatonin, serotonin, and the adrenaline. All of those transport sulfate. They’re all derived from this pathway that glyphosate disrupts,” Dr. Seneff explains.
“Glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway, which is a biological pathway in plants and in microbes. That pathway produces the precursors to all those neurotransmitters. When you can’t produce those precursors… because of the glyphosate, you become deficient.
This links directly to celiac disease because serotonin is very strongly implicated in celiac disease. In fact, you have an overproduction of serotonin whenever you have dietary tryptophan. In celiac, these cells are hypersensitized. They take in the tryptophan and make serotonin out of it [editor's note: the majority of serotonin is produced in your gut, not your brain].
Tryptophan is one of the products of this pathway that glyphosate disrupts. Your body is really eager to grab every bit of tryptophan it can find in the diet and immediately turn it into serotonin… But too much serotonin causes diarrhea. That’s how you get a connection to the celiac disease behavior.”
To summarize, most of the serotonin that’s produced in your body is produced in your gut in response to tryptophan. Wheat is a good source of tryptophan, but when the wheat is contaminated with glyphosate, your gut cells go into overdrive and begin producing too much serotonin, which in turn produces many of the common symptoms of celiac disease, such as diarrhea.
Celiac Disease Comorbidities
According to Dr. Seneff, there are a number of comorbidities of celiac disease: diseases or conditions that are more common in people with celiac disease compared to the normal population. For example, they have a higher risk of producing children with disabilities and various birth defects. One example is anencephaly or microcephaly, which is a missing brain or small brain.
She notes that this exceptionally rare disorder, anencephaly, has become increasingly common in babies born in certain regions of Washington State. While this serious birth defect normally affects only one in the entire US population each year, there have been about 20 cases born in Washington State over the course of just two or three years.
“They looked at everything except at glyphosate,” she notes. “They didn’t look at glyphosate because they consider it to be harmless. They are using tons of it around the waterway...There have been papers written that have shown that glyphosate causes anencephaly in frogs—a clear connection there. I even know why. It’s because of the excess retinoic acid, which is well-known to cause anencephaly… glyphosate also disrupts cytochrome p450 enzymes in the liver; it’s a CYP enzyme that breaks down retinoic acid.
When you can’t break it down… the retinoic acid builds up and becomes toxic to the embryo. It’s very clear to me, that connection. And then, of course, the celiac disease is an indicator of glyphosate exposure. Celiac patients also have a very high risk of cancer. That’s probably why they die prematurely. They typically live a shorter life. I think their life is reduced by three to five years.”
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are among the most common comorbidities among those with celiac disease. Here Dr. Seneff goes into a number of details relating to glyphosate’s influence on cancer and its link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For those details, please listen to the full version Dr. Seneff’s interview, or read through the transcript. It seems clear that if you have cancer or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you’d be wise to switch to an all-organic diet in order to avoid any further exposure to glyphosate.
Dr. Seneff believes it’s important to address sulfate deficiency whenever you’re suffering with a chronic disease, including cancer and lymphoma. In her opinion, eating sulfur-rich foods is part and parcel of the solution. Garlic is a very good source of sulfur. Raw garlic is the most potent. According to Dr. Seneff, you don’t need to concern yourself with the issue of sulfate transport because the garlic form of sulfur is very easy to transport. Your red blood cells oxidize it to sulfate, and it gets into your blood as sulforaphane.
Glyphosate Chelates Minerals and Promotes Deficiencies
Making sure you’re getting enough trace minerals is also important, as glyphosate disrupts a wide variety of them, including manganese, iron, cobalt (cobalamin) and molybdenum, and copper, just to name a few. All of these minerals are affected because the glyphosate causes your body to mismanage them. It chelates the minerals in your gut, so the gut bacteria can’t get to them. And your gut bacteria need minerals to work properly. For example, Lactobacillus depends on manganese. According to Dr. Seneff, these bacteria have an unusual mechanism to protect themselves from oxidative damage, which involves manganese. But they can’t get at it because the manganese hides inside the glyphosate molecule…
The human body depends on minerals for a wide variety of functions, but it’s important to get minerals in a bioavailable form. You can’t take a mineral supplement. You need to get them through your diet so that your body can utilize them properly. Hence, an organic diet devoid of glyphosate is again the answer. Natural salt, such as sea salt or Himalayan salt is also a good addition to eating lots of vegetables.
Is There Hope for the Future?
The chemical technology industry controls most of our government agencies from the inside these days, which can easily make one despondent. Is there any hope for the future?
“There is hope,” Dr. Seneff says. “I have hope through China and Russia, interestingly enough. Russia has made a pretty strong stand against GMO. Putin has been saying, ‘You can go ahead and eat your GMO foods, but we don’t want them.’ The guy knows, which I love. And I just came back from a conference in Beijing put on by Professor Gu.
She brought in people from around the world… who are sounding the alarm about GMOs and Roundup. Don Huber was there, and Mae-Wan Ho… Jeffrey Smith… and from Australia, there was Judy Carman, who studied the pigs…China will really have an impact if they simply refuse to import GMO soy. They’re finding, by the way, that in step with the increased imports of GMO Roundup-Ready soy… they’re finding tremendous increases in autism, Parkinson’s disease, infertility, and all the same things we’re seeing here.
…I just do not understand how the US government refuses to acknowledge that we’re basically slowly poisoning and killing our population. We’re going to have a huge autism problem in 10 or 15 years. Mothers rising up and saying ‘I’m going to feed my child organic food only’—that’s the only way we’re going to stop it. We have to push the organic movement… In fact, one of the people at this conference was Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America, which is an organization of moms. Her son had autism. She fixed his autism by putting him on an organic diet.”
Can You Detox Glyphosate?
It’s important to understand that you cannot wash glyphosate off genetically engineered foods, as it is then incorporated into each cell of the plant. And when you’re consuming processed foods, clearly you cannot rinse off any contamination—it’s already been processed into the final product. So truly, the only way to eliminate it from your diet is to avoid conventionally grown foods and processed foods, and to eat as many organic foods as possible. Organic standards do not permit glyphosate. Do not confuse this with labels that say “natural” or “all-natural.” These are not regulated, and are often GMO!
This is equally if not more important when it comes to meat and other animal products, as factory-farmed animals are typically raised on a GMO diet, and glyphosate bioaccumulates in the tissues. So what about detoxing? According to Dr. Seneff, they’ve had some success detoxing animals of glyphosate by feeding them charcoal and humus (the dark organic material in soils). The problem, again, is that glyphosate bioaccumulates throughout your body, and it can be difficult to get out. It’s also unclear just how effective taking charcoal might be for humans.
In short, it’s much harder to reverse the damage once it’s done, so the answer is to avoid glyphosate from the start—especially in your child’s diet. The only way to do that right now is to buy certified organic food, or food from a local farmer you know is not using glyphosate or other synthetic chemicals. Perhaps the best alternative is to grow your own. “I think there’s going to be a run on organic once everybody wakes up,” Dr. Seneff says. “If you’re not growing your own, you won’t have access. It would be very difficult.”
Take Control of Your Health—Choose Your Foods Wisely
According to Dr. Seneff, a number of frightening revelations concerning GE foods themselves came out during the Beijing conference, which we did not have time to go over in this interview. But clearly, besides the potential hazards associated with GE foods—which includes heightened allergenicity—the issue of glyphosate contamination is a very important one. It appears to play an instrumental role not only in celiac disease, but also in autism, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. In fact, Dr. Seneff’s work suggests it may play a role in most chronic diseases.
“There are many, many reasons to avoid these processed foods that our government is encouraging us to eat,” she says. “Taking complete ownership of your food by growing your own is the most special thing you can do, not just for yourself but for humanity and for the earth itself. Everyone who pitches in to contribute their piece of healthy grown food with developing healthy soil is so important to our future salvation because if we don’t move fast with this, we’re going to end up with a country that’s so sick… we’re going to spend all of our time and all of our money taking care of the sick and needy. We won’t be able to do anything else.
We need to move quickly, and individually make ourselves healthy by eating healthy foods and by putting in the effort to cook and the effort to grow the food ourselves. Buy organic. Support the organic farmers. Don’t worry about the fact that it’s costing you a little more in food because it’s going to save you a huge amount on healthcare down the road. It’s going to totally pay for itself. If people can get into that mindset, we can make it happen as individuals. We don’t need the government [to act].”
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- “Extreme” Levels of Roundup Detected in Food—Are You Eating This Toxic Contaminant?