Gluten Intolerance, Gut Problems Linked with Roundup Toxicity

June 29, 2015 | Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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 Gluten Intolerance, Gut Problems Linked with Roundup Toxicity
The growing epidemic of gluten intolerance and celiac disease is now considered by some to be in large part caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Extensive detective work by a handful of researchers exposes the dangers of glyphosate linked with the destruction of the gut microbiome, resulting in development of increased intestinal permeability, gut flora, and gluten intolerance. The path of destruction has the potential equivalency of a massive avalanche from chronic low level exposure of herbicides.

Gluten Intolerance on the Rise - Confirmed

North America and Europe statistics show an estimated 5 percent of the population suffers from celiac disease. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that an estimated 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity, which is six times the number of Americans who have celiac disease. These numbers markedly increased over the last several decades. Many argue that the increase in celiac disease is due to simply better diagnostic tools at hand. However, a detailed 2009 study refutes this argument. Researchers compared frozen blood samples from over 9,000 healthy young adults at the Warren Air Force Base taken from 1948 to 1954 to individuals living in the present time matched for age, etc. from Olmsted County, Minnesota. This is the county where the world famous Mayo Clinic presides and is the land of corn, soybeans, and wheat production. The blood samples were measured for antibodies to gluten. The scientists found a four-fold increase in celiac disease in the present time compared to the blood samples from over 50 years ago. Another stark finding was that undiagnosed celiac disease was associated with a four-fold increased risk of death, mostly due to increased cancer risk.

Short-term Versus Long-term Exposure of Glyphosate

Authors A. Samsel and S. Seneff published an exhaustive detailed article examining gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and glyphosate. The argument they provide is compelling, eye opening, and even alarming if you have been sleeping through Monsato’s massive global domination. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is generally regarded as safe or nearly nontoxic to humans, less toxic than aspirin. Short-term studies, 3 months or less, show no apparent toxicity. It is this information that is often spouted to the public indicating no cause for concern.

Long-term animal studies show otherwise. Studies with exposure to food and/or water supply tainted with glyphosate over the course of the rodents’ life demonstrate tissue damage, destruction, and significant health changes. Rodents were studied for two years and fed corn treated with Roundup, GMO Roundup Ready corn, or water exposure with Roundup. Liver and kidney dysfunction and tissue death, abnormal pituitary functioning, sex hormone imbalances, tumor growth, and shorter life spans were findings seen over the two year experiment. Kidney damage and failure, tumors, and early death were common and nearly ubiquitous in both male and female rats. This is an animal study. Results in animals are not always the same in humans, but clearly it gives cause for serious concern to the public. This particular study received significant conflict within the publishing community with calls for retracting the publication saying that it was a flawed study. Other scientists willing to speak out argue that glyphosate is a powerful contributor to the autism epidemic, obesity epidemic, cancers, depression, infertility, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other disorders like celiac disease. The sharp rise in celiac disease statistics correlates to the amount of glyphosate applied to wheat crops. It took decades for the tobacco industry to admit that smoking and second hand smoke kills; have we wizened up?

Glyphosate Disrupts Gut Microbiome

One way that glyphosate works is by disrupting a pathway known as the shikimate pathway. Plants use this pathway to synthesize essential amino acids – phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. These are the main amino acids that build dopamine and serotonin. This shikamate pathway is also present in gut bacteria, i.e. the human microbiome. Did you catch that? Our gut flora uses this same shikimate pathway to live, thrive and do its job. Glyphosate has been shown to disrupt gut bacteria in animals, selectively killing off beneficial bacteria leading to an overgrowth of non-beneficial germs in the gut. Tryptophan deficiency from glyphosate can lead to concerns with depression, nausea, and diarrhea.

The massive increase in understanding of the gut microbiome over the last few years has provided us with the information that the number of bacteria within our gut flora outnumbers the rest of the cells in our body, i.e. we have more bacteria cells in our gut than the entire rest of the body. The bacteria outnumber us! These beneficial bacteria help with digestion, synthesize vitamins, detoxify toxins, help keep the intestinal barrier intact preventing Leaky Gut Syndrome, and are heavily involved with the balance of the immune system. These same bacteria also talk to our brain. It tells serotonin metabolism to function in a healthy manner or non-beneficial bacteria turn the serotonin pathway into triggering byproducts of inflammation and damage.

Increased Intestinal Permeability

There are other consequences found when live organisms or animals are exposed to glyphosate. Researchers found that fish exposed to glyphosate had celiac-disease-like changes within the digestive tract. There was noticeable disruption in the folds of the mucosal lining and intestinal microvilli. The microvilli are microscopic finger-like projections, like a shag carpet, that increase the surface area of the digestive tract and help with absorption of nutrients. These microvilli are shortened in celiac disease, going from a shag carpet to a berber carpet. Extra mucous was present in the tract as an immune reaction and the digestive enzymes that broke down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates were all diminished.

These changes found in the digestive tract of fish reflect what happens in the gut of celiac patients and the development of Leaky Gut Syndrome. Gluten proteins are hydrophobic which makes them resistant to stomach, pancreatic, and intestinal protein digestive enzymes. This leaves behind larger food particles in the gut, triggering inflammation and autoimmune responses, irritating the digestive tract. This irritation leads to a breakdown of cells called the “tight junctions” or gate keeper doors to the intestinal barrier. It is triggered by a signaling molecule called zonulin. Zonulin levels increase in response to the presence of gluten and can become dysfunctional depending on the amount of exposure, beneficial bacteria, and your genes. Zonulin dysfunction and consequential increased gut permeability literally opens the door to the development of autoimmune disorders, inflammatory disorders, neurodegeneration, and cancer.

Germ Overgrowth with Glyphosate Exposure

Several animal studies show that the gut microbiome is altered when animals are fed grains containing glyphosate. Dairy cows which ruminate or “chew their cud” and consumed glyphosate treated grains had significant increase in pathogenic bacteria, i.e. Clostridrium botulinum. The cows had increase levels in the botulinum neurotoxin and significant loss of healthy gut bacteria. The study’s authors concluded “global regulations restrictions for the use of glyphosate should be re-evaluated.”

Scientists have discovered the same gut microbiome disruption from glyphosate in poultry and pigs. The gut bacteria are changed, the good beneficial bacteria are destroyed, and the non-beneficial bacteria are plentiful. Naturally, for the conventional farmer this means a higher need for antibiotics in feed supplies, and the cycle continues. Given some of the recent devastating illness outbreaks with conventional hog and turkey livestock and the microbiome changes that occur with glyphosate treated grains, it makes one wonder if there is a connection. Is anyone willing to look at the possible connection and admit a link?

Celiac patients of all ages have similar changes to the gut microbiome. Reduced levels of the beneficial bacteria, Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus and high levels of a number of pathogens have been reported in children and adults with celiac disease. The connection here is that glyphosate preferentially kills the beneficial gut bacteria, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, and leads to an overabundance of non-beneficial germs, including the treatment-resistant Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Replenishing these bacteria are essential to restoring gut health. Thankfully, studies also show that live cultures of Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus can help heal intestinal permeability, helping the integrity of the gut tight junctions and zonulin.

Consequences of Glyphosate Induced Gut Damage

The destruction of the beneficial bacteria leads to a serious impact on the nutritional health of the host, the host being us humans. The nutritional deficits and pathological reactions inside and outside the digestive induced by the celiac disease and glyphosate exposure is staggering. These include problems with gallbladder, bile acid and cholecystokinin function, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), pancreatic inflammation, and an increasingly common disorder – EOE. EOE (Eosinophilic esophagitis) is a newly recognized disease that began to appear in the 1990s, characterized by eosinophil (white blood cells) infiltration into the esophagus, which manifested as difficulty swallowing, a lump in the throat, acid reflux symptoms in adults and children. A definite association has been found between EOE and celiac disease. EOE has increased with alarming rates in Western countries in the last three decades. Glyphosate is highly corrosive to the esophageal lining, with upper GI tract injury observed in 94 percent of patients following glyphosate ingestion. The rampant rise in adults and children with upper GI problems and antacid use is staggering. What do you think; is there a link?

Other complications that are linked with celiac disease and the compromise of the cytochrome P450 enzymes include venous thrombosis or blood clots in the leg or elsewhere in the body. Cytochrome P450 enzymes are responsible for detoxification with the liver and throughout the body. Glyphosate stresses the cytochrome P450 enzymes. Trouble occurs with detoxifying other xenobiotics or endocrine disrupting compounds stressing liver and kidney function. Known consequences of glyphosate exposure is problems with kidney and liver damage, and ultimately failure. 

Glyphosate attaches onto amino acids and minerals within plants. Plants treated with glyphosate as a consequence leads to less nutrients that we consume, leaving us nutritionally challenged. The changes and disorders from lack of nutrients are numerous and many times viewed related simply to old age, i.e. osteoporosis, poor thyroid function, dementia, degenerative joint disease, kidney failure, fatty liver problems, blood clots, heart disease, fatigue, and so much more.

World Wide Use of Glyphosate

The list of concerns that have been pointed out here in this article provide just some of the consequences identified with glyphosate. It is not a comprehensive list by any means. The destructive process that occurs to the gut microbiome and development of intestinal breakdown has a massive snowball, avalanche-like effect. This article is intended to get you to think, investigate deeper, and make different choices. The political battles will continue for years to come with big government and big agriculture. Glyphosate has become the number one herbicide worldwide, due to its perceived lack of toxicity and its lower price after having become generic in 2000. Crops commonly treated with Roundup or are Roundup Ready around world include corn, sweet corn, sugar beets, soybeans, sugar cane, sorghum, cotton, feed barley, alfalfa, flax, lentils, peas, sunflower, and canola. Don’t forget about the use of Roundup in gardens, orchards, city weed control, railroad tracks weed control, and just about anywhere you can think of for commercial weed control.

The authors from the lead article I have been discussing conclude, “The US EPA has accepted Monsanto's claim that glyphosate is essentially harmless to humans. Due to this position, there have been virtually no studies undertaken in the U.S. to assess glyphosate levels in human blood or urine. However, a recent study involving multiple countries in Europe provides disturbing confirmation that glyphosate residues are prevalent in the Western diet. This study involved exclusively city dwellers, who are unlikely to be exposed to glyphosate except through food sources. Despite Europe's more aggressive campaign against GMO foods than that in the Americas, 44% of the urine samples contained quantifiable amounts of glyphosate. Diet seems to be the main source of exposure.”

This is a real threat. Roundup has been on the market since the early 1970’s. It is embedded into cultures and industries worldwide. The only way out of this mess is to fight for your health politically and personally. Make different choices with your garden, your groceries, and start repairing your gut and replenishing these nutrients stripped out of the body. Learn about gluten intolerance and get tested for the disorder. Do an experiment on yourself. Remove all sources of Roundup as much as possible from your environment and foods, replenish your nutrients, and work on detoxification and restoring gut health. Not doing anything will guarantee a continued trip down a slippery dangerous path.

Fight For Your Health

Diseases develop as a result of cumulative tiny insults, they never typically occur in one fell blow. Insults occur as result of a choice or behavior, either by you or someone else and their behavior. We can't change others but we can change our personal choices. We can be examples to others in making healthy choices and speaking with our dollars. The only way out of this mess is to make healthier choices, heal our gut, restore what's depleted or damaged, and spread the word. Thinking ‘I'll do this tomorrow’ or ‘it doesn't affect me’ is going to get you in trouble sooner or later. Take a look around. Our country’s health is in trouble and it will only get worse if we put our heads in the sand. There are two generations who have lived their entire lives with Roundup on this planet. Our country's health has dramatically changed in the last forty years. What is our health going to look like in another twenty years? Stand up and fight for your health today! Make different, healthier choices today.

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