Health Consequences of Roundup Herbicide - Long Version
Health Consequences of Exposure to Roundup Herbicide
Below is a link to a video interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The interviewer is Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology.
This article in rich text format
The interview presents very technical information at a fast rate and so it is very difficult to follow without a guide. The following nine pages of material is designed to help you understand exactly why glyphosate, the active ingredient of Roundup, is so toxic to our health.
I don’t think I will spoil the ending by telling you that the conclusion is that to protect your health, you will want to avoid Roundup, Roundup Ready crops and, beef, pork or chicken etc that has been fed Roundup Ready grains.
People who avoid glyphosates and eat an organic diet still are exposed but the contaminant level is about 10% of that a person who doesn’t make the effort.
I have also prepared a shorter summary for those you who just want the nuts and bolts and don’t really care to follow the gory details.
I have organized this summary to list the sources of glyphosate, results of glyphosate exposure, descriptions of biochemicals and other concepts you will have to be familiar with to follow along, common diseases associated with glyphostate contamination and finally research papers and articles for further study.
I highly recommend that you print this article and get through this video at least once. Encourage your loved ones to do the same.
Sources of Glyphosate
Glyphosates can be found in water from runoff from sprayed areas, that is fields, parks, golf courses, path and road maintenance areas.
Glyphosates are also found in roundup ready foods especially grains like wheat, oats, soy beans, barley, rye, rice, sorghum, millet and peas and other lentils as they store a portion of the herbicide in their cells. These grains are often sprayed just prior to harvesting which can increase the concentrations of glyphosates if all the grain is not fully mature.
People spray their grass, the dog or cat rolls on it.
We get a combination of effects from inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes along with alterations of gut bacteria that leads to nutritional deficiencies and toxicity.
Monsanto claims that glyphosate is harmless to human cells because it interferes with the shikimate pathway that doesn’t exist in human cells.
One flaw in argument is the dependence of human cells on gut and other bacteria that do have a shikimate pathway. Bacteria cells outnumber human cells 10:1 in the human body.
Glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria more than pathogenic types and shifts the balance of these organisms leading to a detrimental overgrowth leading to the toxins they produce and the resulting inflammation.
Toxins damage the gut lining leading to leaky gut and escape of toxins into the blood.
Western medicine is beginning to embrace the concept of leaky gut connecting this with a wide range of syndromes. Knowing the glyphosate contribution helps us understand some of the origins of the leaky gut syndrome.
Glyphosate -broad spectrum systemic herbicide, especially broadleaf weeds and grasses (1970). Commercial name = Roundup.
2, 4-D -broad spectrum herbicide (1941). Key component of Agent Orange. Used in many commercial herbicide formulas with glyphosates. Dioxin is contaminant product of 2,4-D synthesis and considered extremely toxic. Also was found in Agent Orange.
Shikimate Pathway –biosynthetic sequence employed by plants and bacteria such as E. coli to generate aromatic amino acids: phenylalanine, tyrosine and trypotophan.
Glutathione – made of three amino acids - cysteine, glycine and glutamine. 89,000 medical articles about this key antioxidant. Our body’s ability to make and utilize glutathione is one the most critical factors in preventing or recovering from chronic disease.
Cytochrome P450- (CYP) A family of enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of organic substances. They are the major components of drug metabolism and bioactivation. CYP is found in all classes of living organisms including viruses. In people they are most commonly located in the inner cell membranes or mitochondria. They metabolize thousands of endogenous and exogenous chemicals. They are involved in estrogen and testosterone and cholesterol synthesis and vitamin D synthesis, activation and metabolism.
In the current context they are instrumental in the conversion of sulfides to sulfate and attaching the sulfate to cholesterol to make cholesterol sulfate.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin when it interacts with UV light. Vitamin D synthesis depends on several CYP enzymes.
p-cresol –an aromatic derivative of phenol. Some effects of p-Cresol include: central nervous system disorders such as confusion, depression, respiratory distress, weak pulse; eye burns, skin burns, dermatitis, lung, liver and pancreas damage.
N- nitrosoglyphosate – a contaminant of the glyphosate manufacturing process. 75% of this family of chemicals have been demonstrated to be carcinogenic.
Cholesterol sulfate - Cholesterol sulfate is quantitatively the most important known sterol sulfate in human plasma. It is an important regulatory molecule, stabilizes cell membranes among other things. Sulfate comes primarily from homocysteine.
Ceramide – structural component of the sphingomyelin, that is, the fatty layer of the cell membrane. Can participate in cell signaling including differentiation, proliferation and programmed cell death or apoptosis.
Sulfatide – sulfated galactosylceramides. Key to myelin function and stability. Synthesized primarily in the oligodendrocytes of the central nervous system. Disruption of sufatide metabolism linked to early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) – type of linear polysaccharide found in all animal tissues. Two of the heparin sulfate (HS) chains are attached in close proximity to cell surface or extracellular matrix proteins. In this form, HS regulates a wide variety of biological activities including development, angiogenesis, blood coagulation, tumor metastasis. Reduced HSPG activity found in Alzheimer’s Disease.
Lipid raft – Lipid rafts are specialized cholesterol (cholesterol sulfate) and sphingolipid enriched membrane microdomains that serve as organizing centers for assembly of signaling molecules, influence membrane fluidity and trafficking of membrane proteins, and regulate different cellular processes such as neurotransmission and receptor trafficking. Lipid rafts are used to store glucose outside the cell that is especially important for heart and neuron metabolism.
Tryptophan – an essential amino acid. Produced in plants via the shikimate pathway. Produced from indole and the amino acid serine via tryptophan synthase.
Tyrosine – plants produce tyrosine from prephenate via the shikimate pathway. Mammals can produce tyrosine from phenylalanine via phenylalanine hydroxylase.
Serotonin – monoamine neurotransmitter found in the gut, CNS and platelets. Serotonin is involved in gut mobility, mood, appetite, sleep and wound healing.
Homocysteine – a sulfur containing amino acid. It is synthesized from methionine by the removal of its terminal methyl group. It is a major contributor to the body’s sulfate stores. Although homocysteine is associated with plaque and hardening of the arteries, some researchers say this is because the body is using this secondary mechanism of providing sulfate to the heart when primary pathways are insufficient due to chemical contamination as we might find with glyphosates.
eNOS – endothelial nitric oxide synthase (AKA NOS3 or cNOS. eNOS) helps generate NO in blood vessels and is involved with vascular tone.
Diseases Linked to Glyphosate
Most results focus on genetics instead of environmental factors. Has genetics changed in the last 25 years? Not a likely scenario.
One major environmental factor that has changed is the amount of glyphosate. GMO development has resulted in an increase in glyphosate usage. Increase is a two-fold increase during one five year period in the 2000’s.
Weeds have become more resistant to glyphosates. 49% of farmers are reporting glyphosate resistant weeds. That is up from 34% in 2011.
Farmers then need to use more glyphosate (glyphosate and 2,4-D combinations) to effectively control the weeds.
Glyphosate now found in 60-100% of air samples, rain, surface water, unborn fetus, urine of city dwellers in Germany. We, in the US, consume 25% of glyphosate sold.
Autism linked with two measurable problems.
1. Dysbiosis or gut problems, ie leaky gut, etc.
2. Low sulfate levels. Sulfur barely mentioned in nutrition texts because is considered ubiquitous, that is so plentiful it can’t be a problem. There is no minimum daily requirement.
3. Depletion of micronutrients
In autism, the synthesis and transport of sulfate is adversely affected. This reduces levels of sulfer based biochemical ie cysteine, homocysteine, methionine and glutathione.
Autistic kids tend to have about 1/3 the sulfate levels in the blood as a healthy child.
Glyphosate interrupts the shikimate pathway so the beneficial bacteria cannot make the aromatic essential amino acids. The biochemical pathways get deflected to other pathways. Products produced includes p-cresol a toxic phenol. An example of p-cresol problems includes the production by Clostridium difficile infections from antibiotic use.
P-cresol and other like phenols can disrupt DNA and interfere with cell membranes. Again these phenols are produced by our gut bacteria that should be making beneficial amino acids but are making phenols due to disruption of the shikimate pathway by glyphosate.
Some bacteria can break down glyphosate but produce ammonia in the process. ASD and Alzheimers patients both show elevated ammonia levels. Ammonia in general causes encephalopathy and encephalitis, that is brain inflammation.
200 ppm now seen in corn. 1-2 ppm considered safe for short term exposure.
Formaldehyde – heavily regulated due to extreme toxicity. One of the glyphosate breakdown products.
30 ppb can cause decreased lung function in children. Between 60 and 120 ppb, children have more asthma and chronic bronchitis.
Glyphosate chelates or binds micronutrients such as manganese, zinc, copper, cobalt and iron rendering them unavailable for enzymatic pathways.
Glyphosate interferes with cytochrome p450 and glutathione S tranferase that are vital to the body’s toxin processing. See referenced paper. “Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the “textbook example” of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins.”
Therefore cholesterol regulating problems may be linked to glyphosate.
Vitamin D deficiency probably related to glyphosates as well as reproductive issues.
When Monsanto releases a new Roundup Ready Crop, they lobby the federal government to raise the allowable amounts in the crops and food. An example is sugar beets. RR sugar beets are fed to animals as well as people. RR sugar beets have the status of being non-regulated by the USDA.
Glyphosate also linked to certain cancers including thyroid, testicular and kidney.
N- nitrosoglyphosate is a contaminant of the glyphosate manufacturing process. It is a member of a carcinogenic family of compounds.
Cholesterol-sulfate is critical for proper cholesterol storage and function.
Protects the cell membrane from ion leaks. Energy demands on the cell increase if have to use more ion pumps to maintain equilibrium. When sulfates become more and more scarce, the ratio of sulfatide and ceramides changes in favor of increased ceramides. Cholesterol is then not stored properly.
Cell energy becomes increasingly focused on ion transport. It needs more glucose but can’t properly utilize glucose either which leads us to Type III Diabetes.
Type III Diabetes – brain cells can’t use glucose. Part of the problem may be the inability to store glucose in extracellular matrices that require the proper function of heparan sulfate proteoglycans. Glucose needs to bind to this extracellular matrix to be available to the brain cell and also to limit the toxic glycation damage.
Cholesterol also important for the transport of glucose via lipid rafts.
Tryptophan now more deficient in food because of glyphosate in our foods. Gut bacteria tryptophan production down due to glyphosate in our diets due to decrease in shikimate pathway activity.
Not only are beneficial bacteria down due to glyphosates but we get an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.
The immune system sends in macrophages to control the pathogenic bacteria.
One of the chemicals used to protect the macrophages themselves is based on tryptophan (kynurenine).
The macrophages take up all the tryptophan they can for their own protection leaving less available for absorption into the blood.
Tryptophan is the sole precursor to serotonin. Decrease in tryptophan leads to a decrease in serotonin that can therefore affect mood, sleep, weight regulation and gut motility. Low serotonin often related to obesity.
Low serotonin associated with violent behavior. Is low serotonin part of the reason we are having so many violent events? For example, we have had 260 shootings of more than four people in the U.S. this year as of September 19, 2013. That’s about 1 per day.
Veterinarians and farmers are reporting more examples of aggressive behavior that is reversed when switched from non-GMO foods.
Tyrosine is the precursor to dopamine. Tyrosine is an aromatic amino acid. It can be synthesized from phenylalanine but phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that plants produce using the shikimate pathway. Therefore interfering with the shikimate pathway in gut bacteria will lead to less phenylalanine and therefore have less tyrosine and less dopamine.
The link to Parkinson’s had been known to researchers for some time. They are told to avoid all organo phosphates such as glyphosates and others. Part of the mechanism may be the phenylalanine link listed above.
It is suspected that Monsanto studies don’t show cancer increases for two reasons.
The use pure glyphosate that is different than the combination of chemicals used in Roundup. Different chemicals are used to help drive the glyphosate into the plant cells.
They also stop their studies at 3 months just before the cancer of mammals begins to show signs of health problems.
Serolini fed roundup ready corn to rats over two years. After about 4 months of this diet is when the rats began to show problems. 80% of the females developed breast tumors. Males had problems of kidneys etc.
1 in 5 women in the US will have breast cancer in their lifetime.
People, like field workers who work with glyphosate tend to get blood disorders.
Because the shikimate pathway is interrupted, instead of 6-carbon ring amino acids being made, we get 5-carbon ring with attached oxygen or phenols that are potent cancer stimulating agents.
Phenols can become sulfated and can easily cross the hepatic-portal vein that leads directly to the liver from the gut. The sulfate then become available to the liver for other uses. Sulfate by itself gels the blood.
Once the phenol and sulfate become disconnected, however, the phenol begins killing the liver. Look for cirrhosis, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver and more.
MS is a problem with inflammation of the myelin around the axons of the neurons. Myelin is essential for proper signal transmission. Key to myelin is cholesterol, sulfate and cobalamine. Therefore anything that interferes with cholesterol and
Researchers are seeing hind limb paralysis in hogs through cobalamine deficiency. Is this from glyphosate tying up cobalt?
Get an autoimmune reaction to the myelin sheath.
Leaky gut. Leaky gut due in part to this sulfate deficiency. Sulfate deficiency causes a shrinkage of the cell due to the cholesterol sulfate cell membrane problems mentioned earlier and physically causes a smaller cell and therefore more of tendency to open up the intercellular spaces. Basically a less healthy intestinal membrane.
See discussion of how glyphosate inhibits eNOS pathways leading to sulfate problems.
BT toxin punches holes in the cells themselves increasing leaky gut syndrome.
Now bacteria and glyphosate and other products can leak out. Antibodies try to clean this up and at the same time end up targeting host tissue like myelin or thyroid proteins.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Glyphosate changes the biochemical pathways and resulting production.
New yy-products = formaldehyde, LPS, ammonia, phenols.
Macrophages move in
Cholitis and crohns associated with sulfate deficiency
Sulfate is needed for cell protection. Genetic predisposition determines which organ system goes down first.
Muscle wasting happens for the same reasons that affects the brain cells as described earlier.
Fat has a certain amount of protective function, ie can take up and store toxins.
GM fed animals stink. Discolored intestines. Intestines paper thin and can’t be used for sausage casings.
Liver-showing gross pathologies.
Bacteria on the skin use eNOS to produces sulfate from sulfide and attach it to cholesterol. Skin is therefore, the greatest producer of cholesterol sulfate. Some other cells like platelets and red blood cells contribute to the eNOS formation of cholesterol sulfate.
eNOS is a CYP enzyme. Glyphosate interrupts eNOS ability to make sulfate which impairs release of cholesterol sulfate resulting in a deficiency.
When the body has a deficiency of cholesterol sulfate, it produces more cholesterol trying to compensate. Heart needs cholesterol sulfate to help protect the membranes. Lipid rafts support heart muscle contraction. If potassium leaks out, cell retains calcium that is a bigger molecule and too much calcium decreases ability of heart muscle to contract.
Sulfate helps cells clean up the cell. Cells become disabled due to build-up of oxidized molecules.
Sulfate also critical for electrical transfer. Sulfate problems leads to decreased electrical control leading to weakened contraction and arrhythmias.
Elevated homocysteine is a good marker for heart disease. Homocysteine is a sulfate containing amino acid. Homocysteine is converted to sulfate in the presence of inflammation. Homocysteine induces inflammation. It attaches to the plaque, inducing the cells to release superoxide. The superoxide is used to make sulfate from homocysteine and macrophages in the plaque holding on to the cholesterol then the sulfate is combined to the cholesterol to make the essential cholesterol sulfate.
Therefore since ENOS cannot make cholesterol sulfate, the body uses the homocysteine superoxide mechanism to make it instead.
Problems are well known, ie buildup of cholesterol and fats and artery inflammation. Cholesterol is not the problem as we have been saying.
Need cobalt, manganese, copper and other micro nutrients. Hunger won’t slow down until body gets the micro nutrients necessary. Glyphosate chelates and ties up the micronutrients
The extra cellular matrix helps store glucose on loading dock. Sulfates are essential for the proper extra cellular storage.
Sugar causes glycation damage so can’t remain in the blood. Cells can grab more than they can use and store some of it outside the cell where it is ready.
Vitamin D deficiency - Blood levels of vitamin D have dropped sharply from 2001 to 2004 as compared to 1988 to 1994. This could be due in part to increasing interference with D synthesis from CYP enzyme decrease from glyphosates. CYP enzymes are involved in the synthesis and two CYP enzymes catalyze 25-hydroxylation of D3 to its active form.
Peer Reviewed Research Papers and Relevant Articles
Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases
The Effect of Glyphosate on Potential Pathogens and Beneficial Members of Poultry Microbiota In Vitro, Curr Microbiol. 2013 Apro;66(4):350-8
Impaired Sulfate Metabolism and Epigenetics: Is There a Link in Autism? Entropy 2012, 14, 1953-1977; doi:10.3390/e14101953
Elevated fecal short chain fatty acid and ammonia concentrations in children with autism spectrum disorder. Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Aug;57(8):2096-102. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2167-7. Epub 2012 Apr 26.
Hyperammonemia in Alzheimer's disease. Am J Psychiatry. 1985 Jan;142(1):71-3. “Postprandial blood ammonia levels were significantly higher in 22 patients with Alzheimer's disease than in 37 control subjects.”
Cholesterol sulfate in human physiology: what's it all about? J Lipid Res. 2003 Jul;44(7):1268-78. Epub 2003 May 1. “Cholesterol sulfate is quantitatively the most important known sterol sulfate in human plasma”
Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Nov;50(11):4221-31. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005. Epub 2012 Sep 19
Alteration of lipid status and lipid metabolism, induction of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation by 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic herbicide in rat liver. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2013 Jul;23(6):449-58. doi: 10.3109/15376516.2013.780275. Epub 2013 Apr 17. “In conclusion, at higher doses, 2,4-D may play an important role in the development of vascular disease via metabolic disorder of lipoproteins, lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress.”
Assessing eco-toxicological effects of industrial 2,4-D acid iso-octylester herbicide on rat pancreas and liver. Biotech Histochem. 2013 May;88(3-4):202-7. doi: 10.3109/10520295.2012.758312. Epub 2013 Feb 11. “Our observations indicated that this herbicide potentially is a cancer initiator.”
Fetotoxicity of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in rats and the protective role of vitamin E. Toxicol Ind Health. 2012 Sep 4. “2,4-D induced oxidative stress in the liver of mothers and fetuses which was indicated by a significant elevation of malondialdehyde level with reduction in catalase activity and total antioxidant capacity. Coadministration of vitamin E can counteract the deleterious effects of 2,4-D by successive reduction in the oxidative stress.”
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