Dr. Sarah LoBisco, ND
In part one of my article, I discussed GMOs and reviewed the political debate around them. I also gave three incidences where safety of their use was questionable.
In this article, I’m going to review some other reasons to reconsider.
GMO’s- More Reasons to Reconsider
Below are three areas in health that one should contemplate when deciding if they want to go “GMO-free”:
1. The use of glyphosate
Glyphosate is an herbicide that has been used increasingly with the use of GE herbicide-tolerant crops.1-7 A 2014 study was released that correlated the use of glyphosate to an increase in 22 diseases.1 Now, granted correlation is not causation, but it does make one ponder. In fact, in a recent cow study, this herbicide caused negative response in their microbiome. Specifically there was an inhibition of a select group of bacteria and an increase in pathogenic species with the consumption of glyphosate. This led the authors to conclude:
In conclusion, glyphosate causes dysbiosis which favors the production of BoNT in the rumen. The global regulations restrictions for the use of glyphosate should be re-evaluated.6,7
Furthermore, glyphosate has also been correlated to the increase rise in gluten sensitivity.8-10 The various mechanisms of how glyphosate exposure can manifest in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity symptoms also represent some safety concerns. These include:
- …impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut…9
- Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals due to glyphosate’s ability to chelate these elements.
- Depletion in the amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine.
- An increased risk to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive issues which have both been linked to Celiac disease and glyphosate exposure.9-10
Furthermore, the use of chemicals alone, regardless of GE foods, has been linked to a variety of health concerns.11-12
2. They may contain less nutrition.
In one study, nutrient and elemental composition of 31 soybean batches from Iowa were compared amongst three different categories: genetically modified, glyphosate-tolerant soy (GM-soy, unmodified soy cultivated using a conventional “chemical” cultivation regime, and unmodified soy cultivated using an organic cultivation regime. The authors concluded:
Organic soybeans showed the healthiest nutritional profile with more sugars, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose, significantly more total protein, zinc and less fibre than both conventional and GM-soy. Organic soybeans also contained less total saturated fat and total omega-6 fatty acids than both conventional and GM-soy.13
3. The Process Itself Could Cause Harm14-15
Below is a summary 65 Health Risks Presented in Genetic Roulette, by Jeffrey Smith:
Section 1: Evidence of reactions in animals and humans
Section 2: Gene insertion disrupts the DNA and can create unpredictable health problems
Section 3: The protein produced by the inserted gene may create problems
Section 4: The foreign protein may be different than what is intended
Section 5: Transfer of genes to gut bacteria, internal organs, or viruses
Section 6: GM crops may increase environmental toxins & bioaccumulate toxins in the food chain
Section 7: Other types of GM foods carry risks
Section 8: Risks are greater for children and newborns32
GMO Safety Study Announced
With all the evidence in animals and documentation of harm with pesticides, the risk for GMOs in our foods is still hotly debated. According to the Daily Mail, a new study may put the argument to rest once and for all:
- The £15.6m project will involve using 6,000 rats to test safety of GM crops
- Scientists from Europe, America and Russia will work on Factor GMO
- It has been called the largest inquiry into GM crops and linked pesticides
- Project will involve tests on five generations of rats over two or three years
- Experts hope it will give an answer about how safe GM crops are to eat
- Previous studies found increased risk of cancer in rats undergoing tests16
The European Union is currently reevaluating its stance on GMOs ; however, still requires labeling for consumers to make an informed decision.17 I tend to go with the precautionary principle and feel safest and healthiest foods to consume are labeled as organic. Until more studies can prove they are safe, I’ll go with the precautionary principle and skip the GMOs on my holiday plate.
From what I know, I’ll just say, “No”.
SARAH LOBISCO, ND, is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport’s College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM). She is licensed in Vermont as a naturopathic doctor and holds a Bachelor of Psychology from State University of New York at Geneseo. Dr. LoBisco speaks professionally on integrative medical topics, has several journal publications, and is a candidate for postdoctoral certification in functional medicine. She currently has a private integrative medicine consulting practice located in Ballston Spa, New York, where she incorporates her training in holistic medical practices with conventional medicine.
Note: Her book BreakFree Medicine is due to be released by early next year.
- Outcomes in Correlation to 22 diseases tested: Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America. Journal of Organic Systems, 2014; 9(2). http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf
- USDA Approves New GE Corn and Soy, Triggering Onslaught of Millions of Pounds more Pesticides [Webpage]. Center for Food Safety site. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/3467/usda-approves-new-ge-corn-and-soy-triggering-onslaught-of-millions-of-pounds-more-pesticides. Accessed December 8, 2014.
- Mercola, J. Herbicide and Insecticide Use on GMO Crops Is Skyrocketing, and Rubber-Stamped Approvals Now Usher in Next-Gen GMOs [Webpage]. mercola.com. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/10/12/herbicide-insecticide-gmo-crops.aspx. December 8, 2014.
- 2014 News Releases: 10/15/2014: EPA Announces Final Decision to Register Enlist Duo, Herbicide Containing 2, 4-D and Glyphosate/Risk assessment ensures protection of human health, including infants, children. 2014. Available at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/596e17d7cac720848525781f0043629e/72fde554930f3f6985257d7200591180!opendocument. Accessed January 16, 2015.
- Wells, L. EPA ignores health and safety risks; approves drastic increase in use of toxic pesticide 2,4-D. 10/15/2014. Available at: http://www.panna.org/epa-ignores-health-and-safety-risks-approves-drastic-increase-use-toxic-pesticide-24-d. Accessed December 8, 2014.
- Ackermann, W, Coenen, M, Schrodell, W, et al. The Influence of Glyphosate on the Microbiota and Production of Botulinum Neurotoxin During Ruminal Fermentation. Current Microbiology. November 2014. doi:10.1007/s00284-014-0732-3
- Ji, S. GM Food Causes Deadly Bacteria To Grow In Your Gut. GM Food Causes Deadly Bacteria To Grow In Your Gut. 2014. Available at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/gm-food-causes-deadly-bacteria-grow-your-gut-1. Accessed January 16, 2015.
- GMI Reporter. News Release: GMOs Linked to Exploding Gluten Sensitivity Epidemic. 2013. Available at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/news-release-gmos-linked-exploding-gluten-sensitivity-epidemic-free-pdf1. Accessed December 8, 2014.
- Samsel, A & Seneff, S. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. 2013;15, 1416-1463; doi:10.3390/e15041416.
- Samsel, A & Seneff, S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. Dec 2013; 6(4): 159–184.doi: 10.2478/intox-2013-0026
- Gannon, M. 4 New Substances Added To List Of Carcinogens. 2014. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/03/new-carcinogens-ortho-toluidine-cumene-_n_5926936.html?utm_hp_ref=health-news&ir=Health+News. Accessed October 2, 2014.
- HHS Releases 13th Report on Carcinogens. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. October 2, 2014. Available at: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2014/october2/index.cfm. Accessed October 2, 2014.
- Differences in Nutrient Content: Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans. Food Chemistry. 2014; 153; 207-2015. Available at: http://farmandranchfreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/glyphosate-accumulates-roundup-ready-gmo-soybeans.pdf. Accessed January 16, 2015.
- Institute for Responsible Technology. 65 Health Risks of GM Foods. Institute for Responsible Technology site. http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/65-health-risks. Accessed December 8, 2014.
- GM crops and the rat digestive tract: A critical review. Environment International. 2014; 73: 423-433. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2014.08.018
- Sean Poulter for the Daily Mail. World’s largest inquiry into safety of GM crops will use thousands of rats and cost £156million . Mail Online. 2014. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2830199/world-s-largest-inquiry-safety-gm-crops-use-thousands-rats-cost-15-6-million.html#ixzz3ixp85bkp. Accessed January 16, 2015.
- European Commission. DG Health and Consumers. Regulations 1829/2003 and 1830/2003. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/legislation/gm_food_animal_feed_en.htm. Accessed January 16, 2015.