GMOs, Roundup, and Sunscreen Linked with Diminished Brain Resiliency
Monday, October 13, 2014
Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition
Our brains are not bouncing back like they used to. Neurological injury and disease are on the rise. We are experiencing a marked increase in the incidence of sports related concussions despite decreased participation in these sports. Minor concussions or repetitive subconcussive impacts that used to heal in 3-7 days now wreak havoc for weeks and months. Researchers delving into this complex topic have determined that many with slow recovery from concussions had other depleting factors prior to the event. They have coined this deficit– Diminished Brain Resiliency Syndrome.
W. A. Morley and S. Seneff in the June 2014 journal Surgery Neurological International wrote a powerful, expose describing the link with modern day poor brain health and increased susceptibility to concussion, mild brain trauma, and consequential neurodegeneration. The researchers pointed out several factors that show a compelling parallel trend with the disproportionate increase in concussions and neurological disorders compared to 10 years ago. These factors demonstrate an insidious role in reducing brain health and resiliency. The concepts presented by the authors are eye opening and must not be dismissed.
Monsanto and GMOs
One of the biggest factors is genetically modified foods (GMOs) and the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. These chemical exposures activate our brain’s microglial cells into a state of heightened awareness. The priming causes a hyper-vigilant response to subsequent brain insults even if it is a very mild trigger. This creates the down hill cascade of increased brain injury and decreased resiliency.
The most problematic concern is with Monsanto’s Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate. Roundup use has increased by an unbelievable 6504% from 1991 to 2010. Foods that contain this compound are GMO corn, soy, alfalfa, canola oil, sugar beets, cottonseed oil, and crops such as wheat and sugar cane that are desiccated prior to harvest. This also pertains to food animals that consume these products.
A significant reason why this problem occurs is because glyphosate changes healthy, human gut bacteria function. It drastically alters the gut microbiome and predisposes towards non-beneficial bacteria, e.g. Clostridium and Salmonella and yeast overgrowth. In addition, glyphosate strip the plants of nutrients, i.e. nutrients that we need to function and survive. Researchers have identified several nutrients that are markedly reduced in plants treated with Monsanto’s Roundup. These include tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, serine, glycine, methionine, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. These nutrients are heavily involved with neurotransmitter formation, immune function, inflammation regulation, detoxification, thyroid, bone health, and more.
Glyphosate also disrupts the liver’s ability to detoxify which allows toxins such as formaldehyde, and aluminum to disrupt and cross the blood brain barrier and further intrude on brain health. Roundup containing foods lack nutrients for glutathione synthesis, which compounds poor detoxification with consequential problems elsewhere. Glutathione is the most important antioxidant needed for clearing neurological excitotoxins and reducing neuroimmune inflammation associated with injury. Sensitive limbic system structures cannot be protected by GMO nutrient depletions, glutathione disruption and imbalanced gut microbiomes.
The omega 3 fish oil, DHA, is clearly the most important fat for the brain and is essential to nerve cell membranes and synapses. It is paramount for reducing excitoxicity in the brain and quenching glutamate and other inflammatory compounds. Researchers showed that adequate DHA in the brain prior to injury reduced nerve damage. DHA improves the ability to quench excitatory chemicals released after trauma and prevent cell death. This has powerful implications for those who do not consume fatty fish or fish oil supplements, especially for teenagers who often forego these foods. Anyone who lacks DHA in their diet is priming the brain for poor development and consequential breakdown or neurodegeneration.
The ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 in the diet also relate to the amount of inflammation in the brain. The higher the omega 6 along with processed, pesticide laden foods leads to a pro-inflammatory status within brain. This imbalance leads to the decreased resiliency to minor traumas and even day to day stimulation.
Zinc and Magnesium
Zinc is the most abundant trace mineral in the brain. Inadequate zinc is definitively linked with neurodegeneration especially Alzheimer’s disease. Intake of zinc is generally quite low in the diet, especially in highly processed foods and foods grown with Roundup. Youth going through growth spurts need adequate zinc for growth. Perspiration also causes increased loss of zinc. Zinc deficiency leads to an increased production of free radicals in the brain along with impairment in the brain’s structure.
It is estimated that at least 90% of athletes are deficient in magnesium. Plants treated with Roundup have a marked reduction in magnesium leading to decreased intake through the food supply. Physical activity causes loss of magnesium through sweat and urine. This leads to a devastating combination of increased need and reduced intake. Without magnesium, inflammation levels increase in the brain and the body, driving up TNFa and excitatory glutamate, and reducing anti-inflammatory glutathione.
Sunscreen and Vitamin D
Vitamin D and cholesterol are needed to protect the gel-like nature of the brain and allow proper electrical activity. These compounds are activated into sulfate forms from sunshine exposure. Sunscreen stops this process of activating vitamin D and cholesterol. This leads to increased weakness in brain structure and higher vulnerability to sudden and repetitive impact.
Think of how many children have grown up with sunscreen use from infancy that now play sports and have neurological concerns. Add in the exposure to the weed-control chemicals put on lawns and playground. All which prime the microglial cells to hyperactivity. Combine that with subconcussive hits from playing soccer and you wonder what is wrong with your child or you.
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