Glutathione, Nrf2, Autism and glyphosate

Glyphosate use has escalated (1) at a similar rate and overlapping time frame to the increase in autism in children. The rate of autism in Japanese children is even greater than in U.S. children. The Japanese children may be consuming a larger percent of GMO soy from the U.S. as the country is a significant importer of the crop. (4)Testing has shown that basically all GMO soy, Roundup Ready, has residue of glyphosate. (1) Glyphosate residue has been found in all foods tested by the FDA except for broccoli. (6)

The herbicide Roundup has been shown to induce oxidative stress in animal studies (5), and children with autism have been shown to have an increase in oxidative stress and reduced levels of an antioxidant, glutathione, (2), that is made within our bodies during normal health.

Use of Nrf2 promoting foods might help increase our own production of glutathione. (3) Broccoli is one food that may help promote our own supply of Nrf2 which then helps us make the antioxidant glutathione.

Glyphosate may be metabolized into other chemicals within the body and it or the metabolites may inhibit enzymes important for a variety of functions throughout the body. (7) Radioactive labeling of glyphosate in animal studies by the company Monsanto showed that bioaccumulation of the chemical does occur, particularly in blood cells found in bone and bone marrow, also in the testes and ovaries, see slide 11 for a copy of the table of data: (8).

A thorough overview of the theoretical and known health risks of glyphosate is available by a personal fitness coach from Australia, Alex Fergus, (9), in part two of a three part series on his website. Part one covers the history of the synthetic chemical’s discovery and patent history and increased agricultural use in the U.S. and globally, (10), and his list of tips on how to protect yourself and try to reduce exposures through diet and supplements, (11). The list is comprehensive however doesn’t include Epsom salt/magnesium sulfate as an additional source of bioactive sulfate. Baths or footsoaks provide a topical absorption route that would bypass any problems with malabsorption in the digestive system or problems with sun exposure to bioactivate other forms of sulfur into the bioactive sulfate form.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. John Peterson Myers, Michael N. Antoniou, Bruce Blumberg, Lynn Carroll, Theo Colborn, Lorne G. Everett,Michael Hansen, Philip J. Landrigan, Bruce P. Lanphear, Robin Mesnage, Laura N. Vandenberg, Frederick S. vom Saal,Wade V. Welshons, and Charles M. Benbrook,

    Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement.  Environ Health. 2016; 15: 19. Pub. online 2016 Feb 17,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756530/?utm_content=buffere016d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  2. S. Rose, S MelnykO PavlivS BaiT G NickR E Frye,  S J James, Evidence of oxidative damage and inflammation associated with low glutathione redox status in the autism brain, Translational Psychiatry Vol. 2, page 134 (2012), nature.com, https://www.nature.com/articles/tp201261
  3. Megan L. Steele, Stacey Fuller, Mili Patel, Cindy Kersaitis, Lezanne Ooi, and Gerald Münch, Effect of Nrf2 activators on release of glutathione, cysteinylglycine and homocysteine by human U373 astroglial cellsRedox Biol. 2013; 1(1): 441–445. Published online 2013 Sep 12, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3814960/

  4. Zen Honeycutt, Shockingly Higher Rates of Autism and Developmental Delays in Asia, Report from Japan speaking tour, March 1-10, March 21, 2017, MomsAcrossAmerica.com, https://www.momsacrossamerica.com/shockingly_higher_rates_of_autism_and_developmental_delays_in_asia
  5.  Low toxic herbicide Roundup induces mild oxidative stress in goldfish tissuesChemosphere, Vol. 76, Issue 7, Aug 2009, pp 932-937
    ScienceDirect,  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653509005256
  6. Toxic Weed Killer Glyphosate Found in Most Foods Sold in the U.S., wakeup-world.com, https://wakeup-world.com/2018/05/24/toxic-weed-killer-glyphosate-found-in-most-foods-sold-in-the-u-s/
  7. Ford et al., Mapping Proteome-wide Targets of Glyphosate in Mice, Cell Chemical Biology (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/
    j.chembiol.2016.12.013 https://www.cell.com/cell-chemical-biology/pdf/S2451-9456(16)30474-3.pdf
  8. Anthony Samsel, Glyphosate Herbicide Pathways To Modern Diseases Synthetic Amino Acid And Analogue of Glycine Mis-incorporation Into Diverse Proteins , Slides 2016,,   https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/DC2016/AnthonySamsel_DC2016.pdf (8)
  9. Alex Fergus, Glyphosate: Why You Need to Eat Organic,   https://www.alexfergus.com/blog/glyphosate-why-you-need-to-eat-organic (9)
  10. Alex Fergus, Glyphosate: The Weed Killer Found in Our Food & Water, https://www.alexfergus.com/blog/glyphosate-the-weed-killer-found-in-our-food-water (10)
  11. Alex Fergus, How to Protect Yourself from Glyphosate, https://www.alexfergus.com/blog/how-to-protect-yourself-from-glyphosate (11)
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