What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup™, and many other agricultural, forestry, and residential herbicides with the product names Rodeo™ and Pondmaster™, etc. Glyphosate’s primary use is as a herbicide, but it has also been patented as an antibiotic and historically used for chelation.
Glyphosate doesn’t just kill weeds; it is damaging to humans too. We find Glyphosate exposure relevant for almost any inflammatory condition including, but not limited to, Autism, MS, Diabetes, IBS, IBD, NAFLD, Kidney Failure, and Cancer.
We’ve mentioned Glyphosate as being an ingredient in Roundup, but rarely actually is Glyphosate found without a plethora of other ingredients. Pesticides are used throughout the world as mixtures called formulations. Studies have found that Glyphosate makes up approximately 49% of most formulations and has a synergistic effect with other bactericidal ingredients. Some studies have found the effects of Glyphosate to be enhanced by up to 125x when in a formula vs. on its own. [Mesnage et al]
How does Glyphosate impact humans?
Glyphosate is potent, but how exactly does it impact humans? Glyphosate drives pathology in humans mainly via the following four processes:
1.) The microbiome; Shikimate Pathway and antibiotic action
2.) Metal and mineral chelation
3.) Disruption of Cytochrome P450 detox pathway
Through these four pathways, Glyphosate manages to have an impact on nearly every aspect of health, turning on genes associated with poor health, weakening our innate immunity and predisposing us to disease.
Glyphosate and the Microbiome
Disruption of the Shikimate pathway (a seven-step metabolic pathway used by bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, some protozoans, and plants for the biosynthesis of folates and aromatic amino acids) is one of the ways that Glyphosate exerts its effects on plants. Humans don’t have this pathway, but our gut bacteria do, and we rely on their use of it to produce amino acids and subsequently, neurotransmitters, enzymes and hormones. This alone can result in rather serious impairments, however Glyphosate’s effects don’t stop there.
Glyphosate’s antibiotic effects promote dysbiosis and chronic low-grade inflammation of our gut microbiome, which fosters mood disorders, autoimmunity and advances conditions such as diabetes. [Baly et al] If exposure to Glyphosate is chronic, this can induce resistance to antibiotics. Some research has commented on Glyphosate’s alteration of bacterial metabolites, which impacts inflammatory immune responses and enhances inflammatory cytokine production. This means that glyphosate could progress a cytokine storm. [Mendler et al] [Archibald FS et al] [Micek et al] [Moore et al] [kohanski et al]
Further to altering gut microbial composition, decreasing beneficial microbes such as lactobacillus, and increasing pathogens, glyphosate exposure has been found to decrease intestinal villus height to crypt depth. Additionally, activity of antioxidant enzymes is decreased. These two factors decrease nutrient absorption. [Tang et al]
Glyphosate as a Mineral Disruptor
Glyphosate has a strong ability to chelate iron, cobalt, molybdenum and copper. It’s ability to chelate manganese has particularly extensive effects. Small quantities of manganese are essential for antioxidant protect, conversion of glutamate to glutamine, bone development and sperm motility. Glyphosate disrupts our ability to detoxify manganese and through chelation, disseminates it to other areas of the body; including, but not limited to the brain, where it can have neuro-toxic effects.
Glyphosate Disrupts Detoxification
Glyphosate’s disruption of the CYP detox pathway has far-reaching effects via its impairments of the liver and the gallbladder. CYP enzymes are required for bile formation; one of the main detoxification pathways of the body. This means that glyphosate is linked to gallbladder stagnation, toxin build-up and indigestion (particularly of fats). Cholesterol, which is normally used in the formation of bile, is now allowed to accumulate, contributing to higher blood cholesterol levels. In general, removal of toxins is now slowed, which permits other toxins to persist longer in the body and do more damage.
Glyphosate further impairs detoxification by depleting glutathione, our master antioxidant.
For those with Oxalate intolerance, you’ll want to be aware the current Roundup™ formula uses oxalates to increase plant uptake of glyphosate. So, if you want to limit your Oxalate exposure, you’ll need to adopt a GMO and chemical free diet. [Xu et al]
Reducing our exposure to Glyphosate
Now that you know why glyphosate is so toxic, what can you do about it?
- Eat organic chemical free foods. As glyphosate residue can collect in animals via their feed, this also includes choosing organic or grass-fed meats.
- Avoid GMO foods; look for the GMO-free certification on the label.
- Grow and cook your own food.
- Use a sauna.
- Filter your tap water.
- Avoid living in areas with high use of Glyphosate.
If you suspect glyphosate toxicity for yourself, you can get your glyphosate levels tested through the urine test provided by Great Plains Laboratory.
Compounds that have been shown to help with glyphosate detoxification include:
- Humic and fulvic acid
- Cruciferous veggies: garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, radish
- Support detox via microbiome:
- probiotic foods and supplements
- prebiotic foods
- Protect your liver cells: dandelion root, burdock root, barberry, milk thistle
- Support mitochondria: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Photobiomodulation, Co-Q10, Magnesium, Ribose,Alpha Lipoic Acid, B vitamins, Omega 3, Carnitine, Pyrroloquinoline Quinone
- Manganese: supplement or in food (leafy greens)
- Vitamin C
- Bile Support: Swedish or digestive bitters formulas, bitter greens and foods, taurine, choline
A particularly good combination for detoxing glyphosate is sauerkraut juice, humic and fulvic acid, activated charcoal and bentonite clay. This combination has been used to detoxify cows with glyphosate poisoning. [Gerlach et al]
Hopefully this summary has helped you understand how critical it is that we reduce our exposure to glyphosate and has left you empowered with methods to do so.
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