Toxic Food 2 - toxic effects of glyphosate
In the previous article I decribed my experiences of unexplained pain and rapidly deteriorating joints, and described my discovery of research into the weedkiller glyphosate.
I cannot prove that my problems are definitely caused by glyphosate. I don't have access to the type of laboratory testing that could produce that evidence, and from what I've been reading it would not be considered valid anyway. However I've uncovered so much research into it's toxicity that it's worth writing about just to add one more voice to getting the information out there. Much of the evidence is framed in very scientific language, and although some technical terms are needed to explain what's happening, I'd like to try to make it as accessible as I can.
It may be that there are other environmental toxins that are also to blame, such as the neonicotinoid pesticides that are implicated in the deaths of honeybees, although some researchers are suggesting that glyphosate may have a role here too. At the end of this article I've included a report from the committee that monitors pesticide residues in food. It shows that they tested wheat for 344 different pesticides, of which 9 were detectable. I've settled on glyphosate here because it's the most likely candidate. It's by far the most commonly used herbicide, it's use is very lightly regulated, and it's use to dry out crops for harvesting seems guaranteed to create high levels of residues in food.
I therefore intend to describe as fully as I can the evidence that glyphosate is causing major health problems, and to explain the biological mechanism for this happening. In fact it doesn't really matter whether the culprit is glyphosate or a different chemical, the solution is the same. We need to eliminate man-made chemicals from our diet as far as possible by only eating organically grown food, and helping our bodies to repair the damage through taking in extra nutrients, using probiotics, detoxification, taking exercise where possible and getting more sunlight.
What are the toxic effects of glyphosate?
The manufacturers have succeeded in creating a myth that glyphosate is benign, harmless to humans, and that it breaks down rapidly in contact with soil. Through creating this myth, they have managed to persuade many governments and regulators to drop their guard, to increase allowable limits for residues to very high levels where there is very little point in testing for them. There are some exceptions, such as Sri Lanka which introduced a ban.
The research that I've been studying suggests that far from being harmless, glyphosate may be toxic to our bodies in at least six different ways, and can be linked to most of the chronic diseases that have been increasing so rapidly over the past few decades. There is an epidemic of ill health that has overloaded the National Health Service, and deprived huge numbers of people of a fit and active life. I'm amazed that I wasn't aware of this research sooner, given that so much information is readily available - somehow the problem has been allowed to slip under the radar of mainstream news, even though the troubles of the NHS are being reported almost daily.
While industry supported research gives glyphosate a clean bill of health, independent research suggests the following:
- glyphosate kills beneficial bacteria in our digestive systems, which are needed for effective digestion of food
- without these bacteria we can suffer deficiencies of vital aromatic amino acids, which our own bodies cannot produce
- glyphosate chelates (locks away) many elements such as calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium leading to deficiencies of these minerals that are vital to health.
- other compounds in herbicide formulations such as Roundup are causing our mitochondria to malfunction, which in turn leads to oxidative stress and inflammation
- the detoxification function of the liver is impaired, allowing harmful molecules to remain in the body instead of being removed
- there can be damage to cells and DNA, leading to cancer
- the killing off of healthy bacteria in our guts allows pathogenic bacteria to become established such as e.coli and c.difficile, leading to outbreaks of bacterial infections.
There may be other harmful effects which I've not yet discovered - I will update this article if more come to light.
In addition to damage to human health, there are environmental effects that are not widely known. As I mentioned earlier, it's not true that glyphosate breaks down in contact with soil, instead it reacts with the minerals there to form stable compounds that can remain for long periods of time. Farmers who have used glyphosate on fields over many years are finding that their soil becomes less fertile, crop yields reduce, weeds become resistant, harmful fungi proliferate and crop diseases increase. In addition there may be effects on other wildlife, such as bees and frogs, that haven't yet been fully evaluated.
In further articles I will expand on the toxic effects some more, and show how these are linked to diseases.