Glyphosate from Roundup causing soil problems in No-Till agriculture

In a recent article published for the agricultural No-Till system specialists were recommended to reduce use of the GM crops that are designed to use the herbicide Round-Up which contains glyphosate by rotating non Round-Up crops with the GM Round-Up ready crops. Research findings suggest the chemical glyphosate is remaining in the soil longer than expected, over years of time, and collecting to levels that seem to support increased fungal pathogens. Some types of healthy strains of bacteria that would typically help protect the soil environment from the harmful strains of fungi are being negatively affected by the glyphosate. Some crops are also beginning to be affected by the increased saturation of glyphosate within the soil.

See “Glyphosate & GM Crops are Harming No-Till Soils,” GMwatch.org, Jan. 10, 2018, for more detail.

The fungi that may be promoted by increased concentrations of glyphosate may include Fusarium strains which can affect large percentages of a crop causing a large financial loss to the farmer. The effect has been noted in Canadian research: Monsanto’s Roundup Spreading Fusarium Fungus, organicconsumers.org.

Some of the fungal strains may be a risk to farm workers exposed to dusty air that contains the fungal spores and protective masks were recommended. Symptoms might result in a persistent cough and testing and a diagnosis of fungal growth in the lungs is not typical. Beneficial types of fungus in the soil that also help prevent growth of the harmful strains may also be negatively effected by glyphosate. People consuming foods with glyphosate residue would not be at risk to dust in a farm field in the same way that a farm worker is at risk however increased health complaints in farm workers and people living near by may be a concern in areas with increased agricultural use of glyphosate/Roundup.

“Few cases of Aspergillus lung infections resulting in death have been recorded, but possibly only because pneumonia, asthma or viral infections are assumed to be the cause of death when respiratory failure occurs. A fungus growing in the lungs has not been considered as a cause of death by most physicians. Nor does death always occur, as the Aspergillus niger mold growing in the lungs might just cause a persistent cough and respiratory discomfort.”

– Read more: Dust Study is There More to the Story on GMO’s?, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, FarmandRanchFreedom.org.

What would be less easy to determine is if eating a diet that contains a greater concentration of glyphosate is increasing the internal percentage of pathogenic strains of fungi over more benign bacteria and fungi. Our intestines and bodies benefit from a healthy balance of bacteria as they create some important nutrients and more digestible forms of some types of carbohydrate starches from less digestible types of plant fiber.

There has been an increase in asthma (7% in 2001 to 8% in 2009, cdc.gov) and an increase in deaths due to respiratory problems in the U.S. between 1980 and 2014:

“From 1980 through 2014, more than 4.6 million Americans died from a range of chronic respiratory illnesses, the researchers reported. While the risk was pegged at 41 deaths for every 100,000 people back in 1980, it rose to nearly 53 out of every 100,000 by 2014, representing a nearly 31 percent spike over 35 years.”

Read more: Respiratory  Disease Death Rates Have Soared, Sept. 29, 2017, WebMD.com.

More information about respiratory and other types of illnesses associated with Aspergillus fungi and current treatment options is available here: aspergillus.org.uk .

The tips for avoiding glyphosate residue in food is not something anyone is likely going to be happy about – eat organically grown foods. Animal products from animals fed crops that were grown with RoundUp may also have glyphosate residue as chemically it may be similar enough to an amino acid that is incorporated into proteins throughout the body.

A summary of the main GM crops grown with glyphosate and a timeline for when use was significantly increased in the U.S.:

Avoid processed foods, as most contain ingredients made from crops on which Roundup was used as an herbicide or as a drying agent. Foods made from ‘organic’ ingredients may also contain residue of glyphosate or Roundup; but screening of food samples has found less glyphosate in organic samples than in commercially grown samples; and individuals who have switched to a diet containing only organically grown food were found to have a drop in the level of glyphosate measured in their specimen samples (blood or urine) that were taken before and after switching to the organic diet for several weeks (posts with more info: glyphosate levels in test samples and subjectsGlyphosate, a consensus statementSome tips for reducing dietary exposure to glyphosate or to replace nutrients it effects negatively; and an update on the post with dietary tips).

Soy, corn and cottonseed oil all may be sources of increased amounts of glyphosate residue since use of the chemical increased in the late 1990’s with the introduction of crops genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup which contains glyphosate also has other ingredients which in combination seem to be even more of a health risk than safety tests suggest glyphosate is on its own as a single chemical hazard.

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.

Oxidative stress and aging; trace minerals and antioxidants

For a more detailed review of the current understanding of how oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in the aging process see this chapter from a longer book: Oxidative Stress and the Aging Brain: From Theory to Prevention, [1]

Mitochondria are the main energy producers in cells. They are involved in breaking down each molecule of glucose (one half of the larger molecule that is commonly known as sugar). During the process of breaking the chemical bonds found in the glucose molecule the free radicals that can cause oxidative damage are produced. When adequate antioxidants are available the free radicals are stabilized before they can cause damage. The body’s internally produced antioxidant enzymes also require the trace minerals copper, zinc and manganese. /Separate topic: An imbalance in copper and zinc can cause health problems./

“Free radicals are chemical species with a single unpaired electron. The unpaired electron is highly reactive as it seeks to pair with another free electron; this results in the production of another free radical. The newly produced free radical is unstable in most cases and, as a result, it can also react with another molecule to produce yet another free radical. Thus, a chain reaction of free radicals can occur, leading to more and more damaging reactions.” [1]

“Several antioxidant defense mechanisms have evolved to protect cell components from the attack of oxidative stress and associated oxidative damage. These mechanisms include antioxidant enzymes, such as SOD, superoxide reductases, catalase, glutathione peroxidases (Gpx), and many heat-shock proteins.” “SOD exists in two forms: Cu/ZnSOD is present primarily in the cytoplasm while MnSOD is present primarily in the mitochondria.” [1]

More information about manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and how mitochondria function is available here: MnSOD in Oxidative Stress Response-Potential Regulation viaMitochondrial Protein Influx [2]

Supplementing the diet with a manganese and other trace minerals may be helpful as manganese and other trace minerals may be chelated by glyphosate, the active ingredient of the herbicide RoundUp. Chelation is a chemical term for the tendency for one chemical to bind with another – take hold and make the other one less freely available in the environment. The process can be helpful in some situations as it can act as a carrier, a taxi cab so to speak, but at other times it is simply removing the other chemical from being available for other uses.

Plant scientists are aware of the problem and there are agricultural suggestions for reducing the negative effects of manganese chelation by glyphosate in the following article: What About Glyphosate-Induced Manganese Deficiency? The effects of glyphosate’s chelation of iron, copper and zinc is also included in addition to the discussion of manganese. [3] The summary of plant yield research found that improved crop yields were produced when manganese, copper and zinc were applied as a supplemental fertilizer a certain amount of time after the glyphosate containing herbicide was applied to the fields:

“The greatest soybean yield response on high organic soils
was with both Mn and Cu applied 8 to 12 days after the glyphosate.
The highest yields for corn were obtained by foliar-applying Zn 15
days after glyphosate was applied in northwestern Indiana,” [3]

So if plant health scientists recommend supplementing with manganese, copper and zinc for best plant health do human health scientists? Some do, but the topic is still considered alternative medicine rather than being a mainstream medical recommendation. [4] Risks of increased toxicity from trace metals that have negative health effects such as aluminum. [4]

Antioxidant rich foods or supplements that were discussed in the chapter on Oxidative Stress and Aging include vitamin E, which had positive results when used as a supplement in animal studies and mixed results in studies with humans, addition of whole foods such as nuts which are a good source of vitamin E and other nutrients had more consistent positive results in human clinical research studies; Green Tea and its active metabolite EGCG; blueberries, spinach and spirulina, a blue-green algae. [1]

  • 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. Carmelina Gemma, Jennifer Vila, Adam Bachstetter, and Paula C. Bickford, Chapter 15: Oxidative Stress and the Aging Brain: From Theory to Prevention, from Brain Aging: Models, Methods, and Mechanisms. Riddle DR, editor. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3869/
  2. Demet Candas and Jian Jian Li, MnSOD in Oxidative Stress Response-Potential Regulation viaMitochondrial Protein Influx, Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014 Apr 1; 20(10): 1599–1617. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3942709/
  3. Don M. Huber, What About Glyphosate-Induced Manganese Deficiency?, Fluid Journal, Fall 2007, http://www.agweb.com/assets/import/files/58p20-22.pdf
  4. Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies, Surg Neurol Int. 2015; 6: 45. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392553/

Caring about others may mean caring about our food supply too

I care about others and that is why I worked in a very demanding job for a reasonable but not large salary for my profession and credentials, and why I shared health information online after resigning my demanding job. Good news I thought, about health being obtainable with some attention to neglected nutrients, however it was met with more difficulty than I expected or could ever have imagined, but also with an outpouring of love and support, that was more than I could ever have imagined. I realized that we are a very divided nation, and so I’ve continued to try to share the good news that health can be obtained – with a lot of effort and a very restricted diet in the current food climate.

Whether standard or “health” foods our modern food supply has too many negative chemicals and not as many nutrients as food would have contained prior to about 1950-1985. Modern humans are no longer built out of the same ingredients that we once were. Toxins have been found in most people and types of body fluids that have been sampled in some areas/some research. Many things are not tested for however and that lack of testing is not shared.

In 1983 there was concern that the rate of infertility in women of childbearing age had increased significantly from 6% to 9%. A type of birth control that was used at the time was thought to have been involved in the increased rate. http://www.nytimes.com/1983/02/10/garden/infertility-increases-in-young-women.html

Today 12% of women aged 15-44 (the range considered of childbearing age) have sought fertility services – 7.3 million women. Of the 15-44 year old group of women 6.7% are considered infertile and 12.1% are considered to have impaired fecundity (–> dictionary “fecundity” ~ the ability of females to produce great numbers of offspring – or ideas – or for the planet’s level of fruitfulness and fertility). https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm

The average rate of childbirth has dropped fairly rapidly and in most areas of the U.S.. Other nations are also seeing a reduction in childbirth rates and have had some success with changes in policy to be more supportive of childbearing but even those have had limited success in increasing average rate of childbirth. https://medium.com/migration-issues/the-great-baby-bust-of-2017-2f63907402fc

Pesticide residue in produce has been linked to a reduced likelihood of becoming pregnant when using fertility treatments and a 26% lower liklihood of delivering a live birth. The study compared women who ate 2 to 6 servings of commercially grown produce with low pesticide residue produce. Increased risk was associated with increasing number of servings of the commercially grown produce. Organic produce may be a safer source of nutrients for prenatal health. https://www.medpagetoday.com/endocrinology/infertility/68977

An overview of a theory regarding glyphosate, is available here: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/environmental-toxins/glyphosate-in-collagen/. Glyphosate is an artificially produced amino acid analogue that is being used as an herbicide on many crops. It is chemically so similar to the amino acid glycine that it may be incorporated directly into protein structures in plants, animals and humans.

I share information because I’m concerned about individual and planetary fecundity. As a health professional I trusted that my recommendations were based on adequate research, however once I resigned and I had more time to look into the background information I was very dismayed to find out that much of the nutrient guidelines are based on very old research or research that seems skewed by corporate or political goals or lack of common sense. Medical research in the for-profit industry is skewed towards finding a way to hijack a step in physiology and substitute a pharmaceutical medication that modifies a symptom or lab test slightly more than a placebo.

The worse news is that the placebo isn’t necessarily no treatment but may be a comparison of the ingredients of the test substance that are considered inert/inactive, however they may not be safe either. A better comparison would be the test substance or treatment compared to no treatment or just whatever dietary and lifestyle recommendations that are part of the standard treatment for the experimental condition.

Roundup is an herbicide that contains glyphosate but it also contains other ingredients that are considered inactive/inert and safety tests are primarily only done and only required to have been performed on the glyphosate. Studies have not been required to continue for an entire animal’s lifespan in the U.S. or for a few generations. I recently learned that generational research was performed elsewhere.

“A Russian study found that feeding hamsters GMO soy resulted in complete sterility after 2 or 3 generations.”  page 35 http://farmwars.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Glyphosate-Destructor-of-Human-Health-and-Biodiversity-2.pdf

The combination of the ingredients in Roundup may be even more harmful than the glyphosate alone and may particularly affect aquatic species, particularly amphibians. http://stopthespraybc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Literature-Review-of-Impacts-of-Glyphosate-Herbicide1.pdf

The rate of infertility and spontaneous abortions has increased in a variety of animal species in the wild and raised domestically for the food industry. A new infectious pathogen has also been identified that is more prevalent in animals raised with more Roundup Ready GMO foods in their diet. “The pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines).”  http://farmandranchfreedom.org/letter-dr-huber-roundup-animal-miscarriage-infertility/ However that research claim has not been followed up by more substantiated work in peer reviewed journals. He mentions a specific pathogen that includes the word glycines – more recent research suggests a risk that glyphosate is being incorporated into proteins in place of glycine. That is a wild card scenario that nature never experienced in such quantity. We as humans are unlikely to have any idea what differences might occur in a pathogen that is formed with glyphosate in the place of glycine within proteins.

Tests to detect the DNA of a pathogen based on it containing glycine might not detect the pathogen if it is present but made with glyphosate in the place of glycine. The following article discusses testing for the presence of the Fusarium solani fsp glycines pathogen and failing to do so when preliminary tests suggesting that it would be found were positive. See the discussion section regarding the PCR assay that was developed for the study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-3059.2003.00797.x/full

In later articles online that aim to disprove his (unpublished in peer reviewed journals) work he is asked about genetic sequencing of the organism that was discovered and he didn’t provide samples and said it didn’t have DNA and was more like a prion (a protein that can replicate like a virus but which contains no nucleus with DNA). https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/10/13/robyn-obrien-defends-anti-gmo-crusader-don-huber-whistleblower-or-crank/#.VDvzVVfLnVk.google_plusone_share

Prions are an infectious protein that does not contain DNA or RNA but which can infect humans and animals and be replicated by the infected cells. Brain damage can be a long term result that causes physical symptoms of loss of muscle control. An active section of the prion does contain several molecules of glycine. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/recent-research-advances-in-the-glycinexxxglycine-motif-of-mammalian-prion-proteins-2167-0501.1000e151.php?aid=24132 So in an environment/food supply where glycine was in limited supply and glyphosate was prevalent it is possible that prions might occur that are different in structure and activity because they were built with the similarly shaped molecules of glyphosate instead of glycine.

An earlier concern about unknown prion production from the GMO process as a long term potential human health hazard was expressed by a scientist who actually was working with Monsanto during development phases and who quit because of ethical concerns. http://responsibletechnology.org/allfraud/monsanto-whistleblower-says-genetically-engineered-crops-may-cause-disease/

If pathogens exist that are actually other types of pathogens but which were formed with glyphosate instead of glycine, we don’t know what they might be capable of doing because they would be brand new. Canadian research suggested there is an increased risk for Fusarium infection in glyphosate crops.  https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/ge/monsanto121503.php

If we impair the base of the food chain than all species who eat those smaller species will also be at risk of lack of food if not also being at risk of impaired health and fecundity due to the toxins in the environment. If we raise our domesticated animals who are used directly for human food on crops that contain increased amounts of a toxin than we are also increasing our own intake of the potential toxin.

Humans are intelligent but are we also wise?

/Guidance that might be helpful to avoid negative effects of glyphosate – supplemental vitamin D3, coQ10, and trace minerals may help and bathing or soaking in magnesium sulfate salt (Epsom salt) for about 20 minutes every few days. The skin’s ability to make bioactive sulfate and vitamin D may be impaired by glyphosate. To avoid the glyphosate itself – choose as much organically grown ingredients as you can afford. Organic foods used in dietary change research has shown a reduction in the body’s load of toxins before the dietary switch was made. – a summary, use at your own risk as the standard recommendation is that standard food is fine for promoting health for everyone.

/Disclosure: This 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./