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Op-Ed: Roundup's Glyphosate's Are Killing Our Gut Microbes

Submitted by Food Democracy Now on April 13, 2015 - 2:17pm

By: Karen Graham

Celiac disease and gluten-intolerance is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe. The causative factor in the increase of these disorders can be explained by studies done on the use of Roundup on the foods we eat.
 

Even though many private laboratories have seen an increase in the number of food products being tested for glyphosate residues, it is with surprise that this Digital Journalist discovered the Internet is filled with studies on the dangers of Monsanto's Roundup, and its effects on the human gut microbes.

Most studies of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup have not gained a great deal of media attention, perhaps because the signature product of the internationally known company is being used on all our food crops. But studies being done around the world are all coming up with similar results.

Skyrocketing rates of celiac disease and gluten-intolerance are the result of the way wheat is grown

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, as well as other wheat-related diseases, may not have anything to do with eating wheat products. This is because of the way wheat in the United States is grown.

For instance, most people do not realize that Roundup is applied two and even three times over the course of a wheat crop's growth. Most farmers in the U.S. douse the wheat crop one final time with Roundup just before harvest, and this is more than likely why glyphosate residues are found in flour today.

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Dr. William Davis, the author of the New York Times bestseller "Wheat Belly," a book that advocates losing wheat from our diet says, "A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup pre-harvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature." And Department of Agriculture data backs this up.

The latest USDA figures for 2012 show that 99 percent of durum wheat, 97 percent of spring wheat, and 61 percent of winter wheat were doused with herbicides just prior to harvest. Using Roundup may increase profits for the farmer, and maybe save some money, but the practice is devastating to human health.

What does the glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup do to humans?

It is important to understand that glyphosate accumulates in leaves, grains, and fruits. These residues cannot be washed away and cooking will not get rid of them. Glyphosate residues can remain stable in foods for a year or more, regardless of if a product is dried, frozen or processed in some way.

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Now here is some "deep chemistry" that explains the action of glyphosate. Specifically, it inhibits, or stops the action of 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate 3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS). This is an enzyme of the shikimate pathway that is in charge of the synthesis of aromatic amino compounds in higher plants, algae, bacteria, and fungi. You can see why this would be important in a herbicide, right?

But humans and mammals don't have this enzyme, so it is assumed that glyphosate is not harmful to mammals and humans. To date, there have not been any long-term studies done on the toxicity of glyphosates on humans, or more aptly put, on vertebrates.

The second point of contention is this: Although humans lack the EPSPS enzyme, glyphosates have been reported to inhibit other enzymes, such as the cytochrome P450 (Cyp450) family. Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff published a study in 2013 in the journal[i]Interdisciplinary Toxicology[i], entitled Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases.

The researchers explained that celiac disease and gluten intolerance, in general "is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure, and cancer."

The two scientists contend that the imbalances in gut bacteria can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut human bacteria. The characteristics of celiac disease point to an impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes that are necessary to detoxifying many environmental toxins.

The P450 enzymes are essential to activating vitamin D3, as well as metabolizing vitamin A and maintaining bile production and sulfate supplies to our gut. The report says it very plainly: Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. I have only touched on a couple studies that certainly indicate the dangers from glyphosate residues in food products.

The best way to sum things up will be to use the conclusions of another study, published in the journal Environmental & Analytical Toxicology in 2014, entitled: "Detection of Glyphosate Residues in Animals and Humans.

The conclusion was this: "The presence of glyphosate in urine and its accumulation in animal tissues is alarming even at low concentrations. Unknown impacts of glyphosate on human and animal health warrants further investigations of glyphosate residues in vertebrates and other non-target organisms."

Originally Published: Digital Journal

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