Glyphosate is the active ingredient in one of the most heavily used herbicide in the world: Monsanto’s Roundup©. The Industry claims that Roundup© is quite safe, but authors of a recent article in the scientific journal Entropy reach a very different conclusion:
“Contrary to the current widely-held misconception that glyphosate is relatively harmless to humans, the available evidence shows that glyphosate may rather be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.”
This is a bold assertion. Is it possible that we are only now realizing the harmful effects of this herbicide that has been in common use since the 1970s? How does glyphosate harm humans? How did we overlook these problems for decades?
Acute vs. Chronic Toxicity
The acute toxicity of glyphosate is relatively low, meaning that accidentally ingesting it will likely not cause immediate harm. Chronic toxicity — the effects of continually ingesting glyphosate residues in food — is cause for concern. Glyphosate interferes with fundamental biochemical reactions and may predispose humans to obesity, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and the health problems.
It’s easy to overlook these effects. Toxicity studies on laboratory animals are typically short term, often only a few months. The harm from low-level, chronic exposure can only be seen after a long period of time, often years, or even decades. The real guinea pigs in this case are humans.
For a scientific perspective, it is impossible to prove that a chemical ingested on food can harm a person’s health decades later. However, it is possible to study the specific biochemical action of the pesticide, and then examine the diseases that have been related to malfunction of that biochemical pathway.
Indirect Evidence of Harm: Glyphosate Interferes with Biochemistry of Bacteria.
Describing the effects of glyphosate, the Entropy article states: “Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time.” The authors cite several ways glyphosate may contribute to the chronic diseases that have occurred with increasing frequency as use of the herbicide has increased.
Roundup© kills plants by interfering with a biochemical pathway involved with synthesis of amino acids, call the shikimate pathway. This pathway is not in humans, therefore it was assumed that glyphosate does not harm humans. The pathway is found in bacteria, however, and humans depend on bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to synthesize the essential amino acids.
By interfering with the biochemistry of bacteria in our Gi tract, consumption of glyphosate depletes essential amino acids and predisposes humans to a host of chronic health problems. Specifically, glyphosate depletes the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which can then contribute to obesity, depression, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
There is also evidence that Roundup© inhibits cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in plants and animals. The CYP enzymes help to detoxify foreign chemicals (such as pesticides), regulate levels of vitamin D, and control cholesterol in humans.
Excerpted from Gut Wrenching. Learn more about how glyphosate interferes with fundamental biochemical reactions.