A GMO labeling bill has passed the Senate but it may create loopholes in what will be considered GMO

Genetically modified organisms created for agricultural purposes may be required to be listed on food labels but the wording of the proposed legislation may allow some types of foods or ingredients to not be listed. Refined ingredients that would not be expected to contain “genetic” content (DNA or RNA) may not be required to be listed as GMO.

The risk to health however has to do with the proteins that the GMO DNA cause to be produced throughout the plant rather than the DNA itself. Allergens might be produced that weren’t present in the normal crops. And in Bt GMOs the Bt toxin is produced throughout the plant as an insecticide, even within the part we harvest for food use. And while it is believed to not be harmful to human health it was initially developed as an antibiotic and mineral chelator. And humans depend on having a healthy balance of microbes within the intestines and glyphosate may be harmful to them. A refined ingredient might not contain much DNA protein or much of a Bt endotoxin protein either but it would be nice to have a lab test showing that it wasn’t present in the refined ingredient rather than be concerned only about GMO DNA. Testing for glyphosate residue levels would be of interest to me also.

Read more about the Senate bill on GMO labeling, it is a bipartisan backed bill that is expected to pass the House:  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-food-gmo-vote-idUSKCN0ZO08N

“About 75% of the foodstuffs at the grocery store are now genetically manipulated, in what has been called the world’s largest biological experiment on humans.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36746-monsanto-bayer-and-the-push-for-corporate-cannabis

Sometimes progress can seem like progress but if it misinforms the public then is it really progress? A food label that claims to inform consumers about GMO content but which actually excludes major categories of refined ingredients that are based on GMO crops is providing disinformation – inaccurate information about the food’s content. Sick people who are trying to improve their health wouldn’t be able to trust the labels if the labels still allowed ingredients that were making the sick people to feel sicker. If the goal is supporting an individual’s right to know what is in their food then the labeling requirements ideally would include all types of GMO based ingredients whether the ingredient includes GMO DNA are not.

On a different but related topic — a couple recent posts [1, 2] included history about concerns I’ve had regarding excessive vitamin D and calcium supplementation, the new information I learned about glyphosate provides the likely solution – but more research is needed. The glyphosate information about CYP enzyme inhibition of vitamin D metabolism could be an explanation for the increase in low vitamin D levels observed in the U.S. population. And excessive supplementation with inactive vitamin D may not have been found to be helping as expected because of inhibition by the herbicide glyphosate.

A quote from a book on an unrelated topic: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. page 79, (Harper, 1998)

The question of why U.S. citizens had lower vitamin D levels than Canadians, when I knew our food supply had adequate amounts of vitamin D and that we would collectively be getting more sunshine than Canadians on average with most of the country being located farther south, was a mystery I’ve been pondering ever since learning of it in 2010.

And the inhibition of CYP enzymes by glyphosate could be a cause of low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to supplementation and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population. There was a large increase of the herbicide with Round-Up ready GMO crops and with the introduction of glyphosate as a crop desiccant . (And magnesium deficiency may be another cause of low vitamin D levels when there is plenty of vitamin D available and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population, but more on that later.)

As a dietitian I was uncomfortable ethically in 2010 regarding the high dose supplements being given to people for long term treatment without monitoring the active hormone level and I am still uncomfortable about the potential risks for the minority of people who may develop elevated levels of the active hormone D. Elevated levels can cause worsening of chronic illness and even increase risk of death. A large number of studies have now been performed that have not found high dose supplements to be consistently helpful — and it turns out that the form of the supplements may be inhibited from being activated by glyphosate.

In past writing I’ve included information about types of infection that may be affecting hormone D metabolism in some people but infectious disease is likely to affect a smaller number of people than the population wide levels of low vitamin D that have been observed. Some pathogens are known to modify the vitamin D receptor metabolism. Inhibiting the vitamin D receptor would reduce immune function of the cell and allow the microbe to infect the cell. Infection likely is affecting vitamin D levels for some people but a food contaminant would likely affect a larger percentage of the population.

A GMO labeling law is progress but the law wouldn’t include crops that use glyphosate as a desiccant in addition to excluding some refined but GMO derived ingredients from being listed as GMO and it may be the glyphosate itself – the Round-up herbicide – in Round-up ready crops that is the biggest risk to health– not the genetically modified DNA. And similarly it may be the Bt toxin itself that the genetically modified DNA encodes for rather than the DNA that is a risk to health. The Bt toxin may be causing harm to the intestinal bacteria and may have been modified enough from the original Bt toxin that the genetically modified Bt toxin is now also a risk to the cell walls of human intestinal and red blood cells unlike the Bt toxin that previous research has been based on. Research with the GMO seeds by private research labs or scientists is being limited by the companies that own the GMO seed patents.

Intestinal bacteria can affect mood positively or negatively and an imbalance in magnesium, vitamin D, and calcium can also affect mood. My condolences to all of the families and individuals who have lost loved ones or friends to gun violence. Part of the reason I’ve been concerned about the excess supplementation of vitamin D is because an imbalance in vitamin and hormone D can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can lead to severe irritability and even homicidal violence. Epsom salt baths are inexpensive and provide a form of magnesium that can be absorbed well even when there is an imbalance in the vitamin and hormone D levels which tends to promote calcium absorption in the intestines and increased magnesium losses in the kidneys.

Calcium is also important but the average U.S. diet tends to include many calcium rich sources and promote calcium supplements more than magnesium. Magnesium however is necessary for converting vitamin D into 25 hydroxy D and 1, 25 dihydroxy D in addition to CYP enzymes so magnesium deficiency might also be an underlying factor for low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to vitamin D supplements.  “Data indicate a reduced risk of insufficient/deficient vitamin D status at high magnesium intake and an inverse association between circulating 25-hydroxy vitamin D and mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality, among those with magnesium intake above the median.”  ~ People with more magnesium intake also had better vitamin D levels and reduced risk of death, particularly less risk of death due to heart disease.   http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-11-229

Unlike most other nutrients the blood levels of vitamin D can be affected in a number of different ways as it is actually a hormone rather than being simply controlled by intake of food or supplements. And levels of blood calcium and magnesium are also carefully controlled in a number of ways because they are electrically active. Excess calcium can cause muscle contractions and magnesium helps muscles relax. Excess calcium is associated with more severe coronary artery disease and magnesium deficiency is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Elevated hormone D tends to promote elevated calcium levels and may lead to heart disease and osteoporosis. Elevated calcium levels is also associated with increased risk for kidney failure. the following link has a chart that compares risks of elevated blood cholesterol and calcium and the difference is startling. http://blog.parathyroid.com/high-blood-calcium-risks/

Many nutrients are important (all of them in fact), and an older article (2013) reviews a variety of nutrients and research on violence and aggression and diet or other factors affecting violence such as psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Adequate omega 3 fatty acids may be protective. Cholesterol is essential too, low levels of it is associated with increased aggression according to the article. The review of research was in response to the increase in school shootings (2013): http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/ – that link is to a site that promotes a diet based on the foods that are believed to have been available to ancient people. The article reviews a large number of nutrients and other topics and their possible role in promoting or preventing violence. Magnesium is just one of the many nutrients essential for health but it is also essential for a good mood. There were many other results for the search terms that I used, “magnesium deficiency violence aggression‘: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=magnesium%20deficiency%20violence%20aggression

Solving the mystery has led to information that has helped my health and a GMO label law might make it easier for me to avoid GMO products but it might not be that helpful if the law is written so that many types of GMO ingredients wouldn’t be included and a GMO-free label actually meant only possibly GMO free. The labels wouldn’t be reliable if foods might still contain refined GMO ingredients and yet not be required to have the GMO label.

The list of foods that might be sources of glyphosate or Bt toxin:

It is our right to protect our health and I find my health is improved when I avoid or moderate use of some of those foods, I wasn’t aware of the specific oils on the list but had been avoiding excess poly-unsaturated oils in general because it may increase inflammation to have too little omega 3 fatty acids and too much of certain fatty acids found in poly-unsaturated fats..

  • An imbalance in the two types of fats has also been associated with increased aggression per a link provided earlier:  (2013):  http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/
  • And having certain types of controlling parents has also been associated with increased risk for aggression or violence per the book I quoted earlier in this post: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. quote page 79, (Harper, 1998)

Glyphosate and the  GMO Bt toxin may be affecting our intestinal bacteria which can affect our moods. Disrupted vitamin D metabolism can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can affect our moods. When the body works it seems simple but it isn’t.

The GMO labeling law has language that will identify ingredients as GMO by how refined they are rather than whether the whole food was a GMO or not. Information about GMO content would be helpful but a refined ingredient might still contain glyphosate residue or Bt toxin or other unknown allergens that may have developed during the genetic modification of the organism. Research and testing of those chemicals would be helpful. Labeling laws would be a challenge for the food industry to comply with. Working on using less glyphosate and GMO crops (that have been shown to potentially be hazardous to humans or the environment), seems like a more direct route to improving health to me.

/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./

An article on Morgellons; a link, and a comment I added re keratinocytes

Morgellons, chapter from a book, skeptic busting or quack busting, but open-minded regarding the sufferers having a real itch problem rather than a delusional psychiatric disorder as the mainstream medical world is treating the condition. Sufferers have lost jobs due to a condition that has no physical diagnosis:[https://medium.com/matter/the-itch-nobody-can-scratch-4d980e3ac519#.tcwvu9neq]

It is horrible to have physical symptoms that are dismissed as “all in your head,” — that is no help if there is pain in your skin or under your skin.

I added a comment, slightly edited here:

Maybe they have overactive keratinocytes that produce Substance P and causes itch and neuropathic pain. Magnesium deficiency can lead to increased production of Substance P.

“Keratinocytes are able to detect itch-associated signals by expression of protease-activated receptor-2,[11] opioid,[12] cannabinoid[13] and histamine H4 receptors.[14] By responding to these signals, keratinocytes can modulate itch in many ways. For example, keratinocytes can release neurotrophins including NGF[15,16] and neurotrophin-4[17] (Fig. 1), lipid mediators[18] or endothelin-1,[19] which can either directly activate itch fibres in the skin or activate mast cells to release pruritogenic mediators. In addition, neuropeptides including substance P have been shown to significantly increase the release and production of NGF of human cultured keratinocytes, indicating a neuroimmune interaction mechanism between sensory nerves and keratinocytes[20] (Fig. 1). Interestingly, keratinocytes can also inhibit itch through the release of endocannabinoids, which bind directly to inhibitory receptors on sensory nerves.”

— so maybe the Morgellons sufferers have a defect or insufficiency in endocannabinoids. Epsom Salt baths for magnesium in case gastrointestinal absorption of magnesium is a problem might help, and supplements with phospholipids like phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylserine might help if endocannabinoid deficiency is a problem — or chocolate, rosemary and nutmeg are food sources.

Excerpt from: “Pathophysiology of Itch and New Treatments,” Ulrike Raap; Sonja Ständer; Martin Metz, Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;11(5):420–427. [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/749608_2]

/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./

Links about magnesium deficiency and Substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammation

Magnesium is Essential for Preventing Substance P Overload , May 24, 2011, by Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist , “Substance P is a neuropeptide that is typically ”over-heated” in situations of anxiety, depression, digestive bloating, insomnia, fibromyalgia, PTSD, and cardiovascular deterioration. New research shows that one of the first signs of magnesium deficiency1 is that it enables the over-production of substance P.” Read More:  [http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/magnesium_is_essential_for_preventing_substance_p_overload/]

Raw shelled pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and essential fatty acids. A few prenatal clients that I have worked with in the past, who were high risk due to a history of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia during their first pregnancy, did report that the raw shelled pumpkin seeds that I had recommended they try adding to their diet during their second pregnancy did seem helpful for preventing high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia from reoccurring.  So it is also possible that raw unsalted pumpkin seeds may be a beneficial food for use during the perinatal stage for women who hope to prevent autism from developing in their infant during conception or the early weeks of pregnancy. [http://transcendingsquare.com/2014/07/24/magnesium-might-help-protect-against-beta-amyloid-placques/]

/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./

Additional notes to think more about later:

  1. Gehan A Mostafa; Laila Y AL-Ayadhi, The Possible Link Between the Elevated Serum Levels of Neurokinin A and Anti-ribosomal P Protein Antibodies in Children with Autism, J Neuroinflammation. 2011;8(180) Excerpt from the background section: “Neurogenic inflammation is orchestrated by a large number of neuropeptides. Tachykinins (substance P, neurokinin A and neurokinin B) are pro-inflammatory neuropeptides that may play an important role in some autoimmune neuroinflammatory diseases. Autoimmunity may have a role in the pathogenesis of autism in some patients.” And an excerpt from the discussion section: “In our series, increased serum levels of anti-ribosomal P protein antibodies were found in 44.3% of autistic patients. This study was the first to investigate serum levels of anti-ribosomal P protein antibodies in autistic children.” [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261830/]
  2. Julio Hernandez, et. al., Substance P Is Responsible for Physiological Alterations Such as Increased Chloride Ion Secretion and Glucose Malabsorption in CryptosporidiosisInfect. Immun. March 2007 vol. 75 no. 3 1137-1143
    [http://iai.asm.org/content/75/3/1137.full] *Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection that can be more of a risk for AIDS patients than for average people — reason unknown — The reason speculatively might be that there is a magnesium deficiency or an elevated calcium level resulting from elevated hormone D levels underlying the increased risk for crypotosporidiosis in AIDS patients.
  3. Sylke Müller1 and Barbara Kappes, Vitamin and co-factor biosynthesis pathways in Plasmodium and other apicomplexan parasitesTrends Parasitol. 2007 Mar; 23(3): 112–121.
    This article is primarily about a few B vitamins and protozoan parasites but one section addresses vitamin D, Excerpt: “One way in which vitamin D3 might affect Plasmodium is through its involvement in phospholipid metabolism and signalling pathways 60. Vitamin D3 and analogues have pronounced inhibitory effects on P. falciparum erythrocytic late stage development possibly because the phospholipid biosynthesis pathways of the parasite is affected by these compounds 61. Inhibition of phospholipid biosynthesis by other classes of inhibitors (for instance choline analogues) has been followed up extensively 62, 63 and it is likely that these inhibitors will be developed as new drugs against malaria in the near future 64. Thus the activity of vitamin D3 analogues merits further attention.” [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2330093/]
  4. 60. Boyan BD, et al. 1,25-(OH)2D3 modulates growth plate chondrocytes via membrane receptor-mediated protein kinase C by a mechanism that involves changes in phospholipid metabolism and the action of arachidonic acid and PGE2. Steroids. 1999;64:129–136. [PubMed] *Roughly this title could be translated into: Hormone D affects growth plate cartilage cells by affecting the endogenous cannabinoid system, — arachidonic acid and PGE2 can be formed from cannabinoids that are released from storage within cell membranes. Elevated levels of calcium intracellularly can be a trigger signalling the release of endogenous cannbinoids from the membranes.
  5. 7. Regulation of growth plate chondrocytes and bone cells,                                        Excerpt: “In recent years it has been demonstrated that a large number of growth factors and cytokines regulate the proliferation and differentiation of bone and cartilage cells in vitro and in vivo (Table 2). This subject has been extensively reviewed (Goldring & Goldring, 1990; Canalis, McCarthy & Centrella, 1988a; Price & Russell, 1992; Martin, 1989). There is also increasing evidence that abnormal production of cytokines in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis may result in inappropriate responses by bone and cartilage cells. Those cytokines and growth factors considered to be of particular importance during bone development and growth include the IGFs, TGF a and b, bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), FGF, PDGF and epidermal growth factor (EGF). Many of the cell types present in the microenvironment of growing bone contribute to the local synthesis of cytokines and growth factors including the resident endothelial cells, marrow stromal cells, osteoblasts, periosteal cells and chondrocytes. The haemopoetic cells present in bone marrow include circulating monocytes, macrophages and T cells; these are another potential source of cytokines. In fact, several lines of evidence point to there being a close relationship between bone cells and cells of the immune system (Skjodt & Russell, 1993).”

    7.12. Parathyroid hormone related peptide (PTHrP)

    “PTHrP is a peptide closely related to PTH that is produced by normal tissues, with similar effects to PTH on bone. It has been established as having an important role in regulating the hypercalcaemia that is associated with some malignancies (Webb et al., 1988). PTHrP has also been identified as a fetal hormone which may regulate placental calcium (Ca2+) flux (Orloff, 1989). This peptide may also have an important role in skeletal development, having been localised in embryonic bone, and a recent study has shown that mice with a defective PTHrP gene have multiple skeletal abnormalities (Karaplis et al., 1992).” [http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/food2/UID06E/UID06E0V.HTM]

  6. Arnold J. Felsenfeld, et. al., Dynamics of Parathyroid Hormone Secretion in Health and Secondary HyperparathyroidismCJASN November 2007 vol. 2no. 6 1283-1305 [http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/2/6/1283.full]

  7. S. C. Kukreja, et. al., Antibodies to parathyroid hormone-related protein lower serum calcium in athymic mouse models of malignancy-associated hypercalcemia due to human tumors. J Clin Invest. 1988 Nov; 82(5): 1798–1802 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442751/] Abstract: “A parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) has recently been isolated from tumors associated with hypercalcemia. In the present study, we tested the effects of neutralizing antisera to the PTHrP on serum calcium and urine cAMP in two animal models of malignancy-associated hypercalcemia. The animal models consisted of (a) a human squamous cell lung cancer and (b) a human laryngeal cancer, both serially carried in athymic mice. The antisera specifically reduced the elevated serum calcium and urinary cAMP levels in the tumor-bearing animals. We conclude that PTHrP plays a major role in the pathogenesis of malignancy-associated hypercalcemia.”

  8. Moniz C., et. al., Parathyroid hormone-related peptide in normal human fetal development., J Mol Endocrinol. 1990 Dec;5(3):259-66. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2288637Abstract:

    “Parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP) has been detected in fetal serum and amniotic fluid. Using a combination of immunocytochemistry and molecular biology we have detected the peptide and its mRNA in a variety of fetal tissues throughout gestation. Tissue-specific mRNA isoforms were observed, the pattern of hybridization of which changed throughout gestation. In addition, the intensity and pattern of immunocytochemical localization of the peptide was found to vary over the time-period studied (8-30 weeks). PTHrP is expressed by a variety of tumours associated with the syndrome of humoral hypercalcaemia of malignancy and probably accounts for the hypercalcaemia by virtue of its limited amino acid homology with parathyroid hormone. These data demonstrate for the first time that PTHrP, a tumour-related peptide, is expressed during normal human fetal development, and suggest the possibility that it may function to regulate fetal calcium balance and growth in utero.”


  9. “Parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP) can be elevated in pregnant and lactating women and in newborn infants. Nonmalignant conditions that have been described in association with elevated plasma PTHrP levels include systemic lupus erythematosus, HIV-associated lymphadenopathy, lymphedema of chest or pleural cavities, and with benign tumors of the ovary, kidney and the neuroendocrine system.” [http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/81774]
  10. Shane T. Mortimer, David A. Hanley, William K. Stell, Immunohistochemical identification of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P in nerves of the bovine parathyroid gland., Cell and Tissue Research
    , Volume 261, Issue 2, pp 339-345, [http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00318675Summary:

    “Although peptide neurotransmitters have been shown to modulate hormone secretion in many glands, there are very few studies of neurotransmitters in the parathyroid gland. Bovine parathyroid glands were collected at a local abattoir, fixed with paraformaldehyde, sectioned using a cryostat, and stained by indirect immunohistochemistry for calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P. We were able to positively identify both neuropeptides. Nerve fibres containing calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P were identified in contact with the tunica media of arteries and arterioles and dispersed throughout the stroma of the gland. While many of the fibres encircled parenchymal lobules, no intimate contact with the peripheral chief cells was observed. All immunoreactive fibres were found to contain both neuropeptides. Since calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P are vasodilators, they may increase blood flow within the gland. In addition, the neuropeptides may diffuse from perilobular nerve fibres into the parenchyma, thereby modulating secretion of parathyroid hormone.”

  11. And for the swish and score — calcitonin gene-related peptide is associated with migraine attacks — hmmmmm — health is a miracle when it works. [https://migraine.com/blog/what-is-calcitonin-gene-related-peptide-cgrp/]