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)

Good ideas and essential ideas – a comparison

Good ideas are those that might be useful in some situations or with some fine-tuning to make them work well or to fit a particular situation.

Essential ideas are those that would be useful in all situations because they address basic facts about nature. Essential ideas would be helpful with fine tuning to particular situations or not – they pertain to physics and physiology. Gravity works basically the same in all situations on earth but would be different on different planets. Physiology – the physics of the human body and other life forms also works basically the same throughout all humans and for many types of species. Some fine tuning for slight differences across species or for different groups of humans might be needed for best results but the underlying physics of physiology works roughly the same for much of life. Nature loves a good design and repeats it from single celled organisms through much of the plant and animal world.

I keep sharing information in the hope that it can be useful for creating a more sustainable society. Our current trajectory is heading towards extinction for the human race and many other species because we are polluting the environment in ways that reduce health and fertility for our own species and across the plant and animal world and for single-celled organisms. We are also polluting the air and water and soil in ways that are affecting weather and climate and ocean physics/physiology. Ocean water is somewhat alive in that it is the host for many microorganisms and is somewhat like blood plasma for the planet. Between the rain and ground water and ocean water there is a cycle that can clean toxins but only within a range of acidity and then the chemistry is tipped towards less oxygen and less support of the life-forms that we are similar to and accustomed to living with. Much of geological history during the early years of Earth the type of life that predominated was sulfur-loving bacteria – humans would not have been able to survive in that environment.

Ignoring physiology and physics is not a good idea. Sustainability and respect for nature is an essential idea.

Examples from a few recent posts – the solar windmill air cleaning ideas are examples of good ideas that might be implausible as I wrote them but with some fine-tuning by mechanical and chemical engineers might become plausible and helpful ideas. (Imagining solar windmills)

The information about phospholipids and fertility and nutrition are essential ideas that will always be important for humans and in the care of the environment for supporting many other species that we value – more than we value or could survive if sulfur loving bacteria become the predominate type of microorganisms living on the planet again. (Phospholipid and infant formula) (Phospholipid and fertility)

The chemical invented by humans initially as an antibiotic and mineral chelator that is now being used in large quantities as an agricultural herbicide (glyphosate) may also be inhibiting the function of CYP enzymes which are needed for many important functions in metabolism for humans and plants and animals and single celled organisms – 195000 search results: (CYP enzymes and phosphorylation) Farmers are now being recommended to rotate fields where the herbicide Roundup/glyphosate containing herbicides are in use because it has been found to build up in the soil and can affect crop yield due to inhibition/destruction of the actively growing root tips.

Phospholipids can be made in average healthy humans but the process does require phosphorylation – the question to ask yourself is: What percentage of infertility and birth defects will be too much? When will we stop polluting our environment and our food supply with chemicals that cause infertility, birth defects and other types of chronic illness and cancer? Agricultural workers and people living near agricultural fields are the ones most prone to cancer and some other rare diseases. Is that what we want from our food supply?

Coastal areas near agricultural areas (ocean dead zones map) and some regions of the Pacific Ocean (Pacific coastal dead zones) are now without oxygen – sulfur-loving bacteria can survive without oxygen. Far more information on sulfur-loving bacteria than the average person probably knew existed, is available online, in free full text, thanks for sharing: (Biochemistry and molecular biology of lithotrophic sulfur oxidation by taxonomically and ecologically diverse bacteria and archaea)

Some of the types of sulfur-loving microbes are how life exists in extreme climates such as thermal heat vents in deep ocean areas. A few have evolved as symbiotic species living within larger organisms and which provide energy in low oxygen or oxygen free areas of the ocean for species of mussels and tubeworms. Sulfate sources allows growth in environments that lack oxygen and light. Even they need to be able to metabolize phosphorus – it is used in enzymes to metabolize energy. Sulfur loving bacteria may need to make the enzymes: “adenosine 5′‐phosphosulfate (APS) reductase” and “ATP sulfurylase” Other types of bacteria can grow in environments that lack oxygen but have light. Extremely acidic briny marshes and highly saline salty marshes also can support life for some of the group of anoxygenic (don’t need oxygen) photolithotrophic (can make energy from light) bacteria:

 “However, diverse groups of optimally adapted anoxygenic photolithotrophic bacteria thrive in moderately extreme temperature, pH or salinity conditions, and act as primary producers in such unusual habitats (Madigan, 2003).” – (Biochemistry and molecular biology of lithotrophic sulfur oxidation by taxonomically and ecologically diverse bacteria and archaea)

Even arsenic-loving bacteria able to grow in extreme environments  need phosphorus. Six nutrients are essential to all life forms, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. there was some controversy over a new type of bacteria that was discovered because it can substitute arsenic for phosphorus in some of its chemical composition but further study showed that it also needs some phosphorus. (Arsenic-loving bacteria needs phosphorus after all)

Why care about phosphorus? Because we all need it and the Earth’s supply of bioactive phosphorus is in limited supply. Estimates suggest that at the rate it is currently being used in agriculture (wastefully, without being recycled back into the growing cycle) that we have about forty years supply left for the planet. That is two generations of people – what are we going to tell our great grandchildren? Sorry kids we enjoyed life but you have to figure out something else – or enjoy extinction.

More traditional farming methods used recycled fertilizers such as composted manure or compost made from other vegetative material such as last year’s leaves and lawn clippings. The current chemical fertilizer is more wasteful in that it gets washed off into ground water and eventually ends up in coastal waters where algae overfeed on the excess nutrients, using up available oxygen in the process and then dying off leaving dead zones with no oxygen and no more excess phosphorus in the coastal region. So returning to more traditional agricultural methods that conserve phosphorus and cause less runoff into coastal regions leading to less dead zones in those areas of the ocean seems like an essential idea for our great great grandchildren and like a good idea for us to tackle right now, this generation.

Recognizing that phosphorylation is an essential part of health and fertility and that some people, such as infants, need an external source in their diet seems like an essential idea for this generation if we hope to have a healthy generation of grandchildren or great great grandchildren.

Disclosure: This information is being 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 care guidance. Please seek an individual health care provider for individualized health care guidance.

Sumac tea was a lemony drink used by Native Americans

Sumac is  a shrubby tree that grows easily in many areas of the U.S. and other countries. Types with reddish berries/seed clusters are safe for tea or use as a ground spice while a type with whitish berries is not safe. As a plant it is considered an invasive species because it grows so easily it can be difficult to remove from an area. It grows wild in patches along highways in some areas such as Iowa for example:

Sumac growing wild along U.S. Highway I-80 in Iowa during the winter season. when no leaves are present but last years seed clusters can still be observed on the top branches

Why care about Sumac? I bought a jar at a Middle Eastern grocery store of the plant prepared as a ground dried spice to sprinkle on foods during cooking or at the table. The jar I bought was imported from Lebanon. I paid $3.99 for a little less than a half pound size container so it isn’t a high profit margin spice but on the other hand I would be happy to by Sumac that was harvested in Iowa or Oklahoma or Michigan – all places where it grows wild.

One species that is safe for use is known to grow in all 48 contiguous states. Early in the spring the newly sprouted shoots can be eaten as a salad like vegetable. the lemony flavored tea can also be made into a jelly or candy: (http://www.eattheweeds.com/sumac-more-than-just-native-lemonade/)

Research performed with the plant in other nations regarding its medicinal benefits have found the spice or extracts to have a wide range of benefits.  More information about medicinal benefits are in an earlier post on the topic and are also listed with summertime images of the red seed clusters in an article Sumac: Nutritional Properties: https://iowaherbalist.com/tag/sumac-nutritional-properties/ and one about Sumac Tea: https://allnaturalideas.com/sumac-tea/.

The spice or tea can have significant diuretic properties similar to drinking coffee or alcoholic beverages so having smaller amounts earlier in the day along with plenty of water throughout the day can help the body cleanse toxins early in the day without waking you in the middle of the night. Overly acidic urine may cause an extreme urge to urinate but then produce only a small amount – which means the body is working hard to remove acidity without adequate water to dilute it – so drink plenty of water and acidity and toxins will be readily removed in the more dilute urine. Diuretic medications are often given to patients who are retaining excess water with a goal to help the body remove the excess water and salt from edematous areas between organs and outside of blood vessels. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/tips-for-taking-diuretic-medications  They are different but similar in effect to a diuretic beverage such as coffee or alcoholic beverages.

The acidic and antimicrobial properties of sumac have also been studied in food preparation of raw chicken to reduce the risk of salmonella and other food pathogens: The Effect of Water Extract of Sumac (Rhus coriariaL.) and Lactic Acid on Decontamination and Shelf Life of Raw Broiler Wings,  https://academic.oup.com/ps/article/85/8/1466/1524938

Gallotannins are one of the phytonutrients in sumac with medicinal benefits and is concentrated enough that the plant can be a source for extracting the substance, gallotannins and sumac. While the active phytonutrients in pomegranate peel extract and sumac extract are slightly different they both exhibit antifungal properties that may be beneficial for commercial, agricultural use: Chemical Characterization of Different Sumac and Pomegranate Extracts Effective against Botrytis cinerea Rots http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/20/7/11941/htm

To connect the dots for those who don’t see the bigger picture in the same way that I do – one easy to grow crop that grows across the nation could be used to flavor anything lemon flavored for possibly less cost that lemons cost.  The lemon flavor is from the terpene content, it contains the same type as lemon and limes: limonene. Sumac could be used for a variety of products for direct use by humans and might also be useful as a medication for humans or for animals. It also might have industrial and agricultural uses for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. One negative side effect that has become more apparent in agriculture is that pathogenic fungal strains seem more prevalent in soil that has had a buildup of Roundup/glyphosate. Hard to treat fungal illnesses in humans may also becoming more common. A lemony drink or food that treats hard to treat diseases in humans or farm animals and which can be grown very inexpensively could be useful if it was recognized as useful instead of simply an invasive weed.

The seed clusters left over from last fall could likely be harvested now, before spring growth occurs, and used for agricultural experiments this season, instead of waiting for the next new crop of seed clusters that would be ripe at the end of next summer, approximately in August.

The pomegranate peel leftover from making pomegranate juice is currently also being wasted when it might be useful as a medicine or food substance or even as an agricultural antifungal treatment.

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.