Most people have heard of the weedkiller “Round Up” and its star ingredient glyphosate, but many people are unaware of its dramatic impact on our health.
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is a chemical that has been used for decades to control the growth of unwanted plants. Unfortunately, we have come to learn that glyphosate has some very concerning impacts on our health that seem to be playing a role in many of the health conditions that are prevalent today.
Glyphosate and Roundup
Roundup came to the market in the 1970s as a non-selective herbicide, since this powerful herbicide killed all of the plants it contacted, its use was very controlled.
In the 1990s, Monsanto introduced RoundUp Ready plants. These plants were genetically modified to withstand the effects of RoundUp by altering the EPSP enzyme.
Glyphosate Effects on Health
Specifically, glyphosate interferes with the shikimate pathway which is critical for creating essential amino acids that are used for building proteins, B Vitamins, serotonin, melatonin dopamine, epinephrine, thyroid hormone, and melanin.
Recent research has shown that many diseases begin in the gut and one of the most concerning aspects of glyphosate’s impact on human health is its ability to disrupt the microbiome.
The microbiome is a collection of microorganisms that live inside and on our bodies. These microorganisms, also known as gut bacteria, play a crucial role in regulating immune function, nutrient absorption, and mood regulation.
Glyphosate is an antibacterial agent and has been shown to disrupt the delicate balance of an individual’s microbiome, leading to a range of conditions such as autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and digestive problems.
Glyphosate is also known to be a powerful chelator, which means that it is able to pull minerals out of our system which also has a wide variety of health implications both short-term and long-term.
Disturbingly, research indicates that diseases as varied and devastating as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Autism, depression, and Rheumatoid Arthritis likely all stem from the gut.
It would seem prudent to as much as we can to reduce the amount of glyphosate that we are consuming and put pressure on our government to outlaw the use of this dangerous toxin in our food supply or at least more tightly regulate it, as it is in the EU where the daily limit is 0.5 micrograms/kilogram instead of 1.75 micrograms/kilogram here in the states.
Another concerning factor is glyphosate’s ability to interfere with the regulation of hormones in the body. Glyphosate has been linked to endocrine disruptors, chemicals that affect the body’s hormones, leading to a range of health issues.
These issues can include developmental problems, metabolic issues, cancer, and infertility as well as other hormonal imbalances.
How to Avoid Glyphosate
I am sure you are wondering how you can avoid glyphosate. While it is seemingly everywhere (including our rain) there are a few measures we can take to avoid exposure.
- Buy Organic as often as possible. I know it can be more expensive than conventionally grown foods, but when you buy organic produce and meats you are not only reducing your toxic load but you are signaling to the market that organic products are in demand which will in turn increase the amount produced and reduce the cost down the road.
- Buy a water filter. There are many water filters on the market – I recommend getting the one best in your price range and starting here. The more we can reduce our exposure to toxins the better and water is an important place to start.
- Say no to GMOs! While the theory behind GMO crops may be an idealistic one, there is still much more research to be done. Many GMO crops have been designed to withstand a dramatic amount of glyphosate.
If you are already dealing with the effects of glyphosate exposure, you might want to explore ways to help your body detoxify. Luckily, there are several options.
For example, we can incorporate foods that are high in antioxidants such as leafy green vegetables, berries, and nuts into our diets.
Additionally, it is recommended that we incorporate fiber-rich foods to our diet to promote a healthy microbiome.
Fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut, as well as probiotic supplements, may make additional improvements to the gastrointestinal microbiome.
Lastly, engaging in light-to-moderate exercise such as walking or yoga could boost your metabolic and digestive function, in part by supporting the lymphatic system of your body.
To be honest, I think that the impacts that we are seeing on our health as a result of glyphosate are just beginning to come to light and as a mom and as a Doctor of Chinese medicine, I am truly terrified by what I am learning.
From its impact on hormonal regulation, autoimmune disorders, developmental problems, metabolic issues, and cancer, I believe we are just scratching the surface.
However, there are measures we can take to avoid glyphosate exposure, including choosing organic produce and vegetarian diets, not consuming restaurant meals, and thoroughly washing our fruits, vegetables, and meats before eating.
Finally, we can detoxify our bodies by eating foods high in antioxidants and fiber, taking probiotics, and engaging in light-to-moderate exercise.
By making these changes, it is possible to protect yourself from glyphosate and the many health problems it can cause.