If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, mood disorders, or fatigue, this episode will help convince you to switch to organic, non-GMO products. Listen as Jeffrey describes the science behind glyphosate creating or exacerbating, these conditions.
Notes for this week's Podcast
[0:45] Monsanto has always argued that glyphosate is safe for human consumption because it effects plants’ shikimate pathway - something that plants have but humans and animals do not. Science now tells us that our gut bacteria use the shikimate pathway and it controls the creation of key chemicals in our bodies.
[7:25] Roundup is sprayed in all sorts of growing situations - so it’s in our food supply in a big way. Let’s look at the things it can cause and decide whether those symptoms have increased in the population since its introduction.
[11:04] If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, mood disorders, or fatigue, and you’re still eating nonorganic food, please switch to organic and see if you get better. 50% of people that we surveyed said they saw improvements in these areas!
[17:55] “If you have friends who are saying, "I don't need to eat organic because I don't have any particular disease, et cetera.." Well, their mind may become sharper, their memory may improve, their fatigue level may decrease the brain fog may lift. There's plenty of mental and mood conditions that have been reported as improving when people switch to organic food, and this may be the mechanism.”
This week's Transcript
Hi everyone. This is Jeffery Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology and welcome to our podcast, Live Healthy, Be Well. Be sure to subscribe where you get your podcasts or go to livehealthybewell.com.
Today I'll be introducing new information - new research about glyphosate and Roundup in our food and how it may be linked to all sorts of problems including impulsive behavior, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, poor appetite, poor memory, et cetera.
It links to something called the shikimate pathway. Now, this pathway is what Monsanto used for years to describe why glyphosate was safe for humans. They said that the way that glyphosate kills plants is it blocks an enzyme called EPSPS, which is part of this biochemical pathway in plants, the shikimate pathway.
They claim, and there's a lot of things that they don't go into and we won't go into it now, that this is how it kills plants. There's actually more to it, but they say that by blocking the shikimate pathway, that's how the herbicide kills plants.
Now, what's interesting is they said that because humans and animals don't have the shikimate pathway and that's all that glyphosate, the chief poison in Roundup does, then Roundup is safe.
They've described it as something so safe you can drink it. They said it was as safe as table salt. Well, first of all, it does a lot of things besides damaging the shikimate pathway and this research confirms what we had been talking about for years.
That is that the gut bacteria in our bodies have the shikimate pathway, and they use the shikimate pathway to synthesize the aromatic amino acids: L tryptophan, tyrosine phenylalanine - these are the precursors to serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine.
Now if you don't have enough serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine, that's bad. I'll describe what kind of symptoms you may get with low levels of those in just a moment, but let me finish.
This study was done led by Dr. Michael Antonio who I know well, at King's College in London. It was a study on rats and they administered both Roundup and glyphosate and also in a control group, a certain amount in the water - all at different doses.
Now, the doses were the level that was considered an acceptable daily intake by the European Union based on a per body weight per day. The higher dose than that was what the European Union said would have no adverse effects observed and then higher than that was what the US said would have no adverse effects observed.
So the US and the EU differ - the US always allows more Roundup in the drinking water and food, et cetera. Well, what they found conclusively was that at these low levels - first of all, they found that there was an effect in the microbiome at all dose levels tested causing a shift in the bacterial populations.
Now what this means is that you can throw out the European Union's acceptable daily intake - their no observed adverse effect level and the US no observed adverse effect level. Just throw them out. If you had any faith whatsoever in the EU or US regulators regarding Roundup - well, you haven't been paying attention. Now you can simply throw that out.
In addition, they found out for sure that the shikimate pathway in the gut bacteria was inhibited or shut down. They found out because there were two substances, shikimic acid, and the 3- Dehydroshikimic acid that was in the gut.
If the shikimate pathway had been functioning, it would have broken these down to the next phase - and they weren't breaking it down. So this was a demonstration that clearly there was a problem. Now, the way that they did this analysis is that they looked at all the different DNA in the gut.
It's called metagenomics, which is a very powerful technique and it gives a big total impression of all the organisms in the gut. They also did something called metabolomics, which is all of the biochemistry in the gut, all the alterations.
Now, I remember speaking to a person at the USDA years ago and saying, "We should be doing these, what they're calling Omix analysis, the full genome and the transcriptome and the metabolome. We should look at all of this information when we're doing research on GMOs."
And this guy who was from the USDA - who was going around promoting GMOs around the world said, "No, we shouldn't."
I said, "Why not?"
He said, "Because we wouldn't know how to interpret it." This is one of the most unscientific things you could say. We shouldn't do the research because we wouldn't know how to interpret the data - it absolutely made no sense.
Well, he ended up working for the biotech industry after he left the USDA. Now in this study, they found that because it had shikimic acid that has been proposed as a cancer promoter - it also could stimulate proliferation of human breast cancer cells.
So this is yet another way that Roundup or glyphosate may promote cancer. We've talked about many different ways over the years. The oxidative stress, for example. And in fact, yes, oxidative stress was also increased in the rats.
We found another example was in a previous talk - we talked about the gap junctions being reduced by Roundup by 50%, that's another mechanism for cancer. Genotoxicity, another mechanism for cancer. So here, we have yet more mechanisms of how glyphosate causes cancer.
They also reveal that there were liver and kidney damage in the rats even over the relatively short period of 90 days. All right, so that's the study. Now let's talk about its implications.
Remember that Roundup is sprayed on a lot of different crops, not just the GMOs that are Roundup-ready. Roundup is sprayed in all sorts of growing situations - the grains, on the beans, it's sprayed in orchards. It's sprayed to get the kill the weeds in all sorts of vegetables and fruit fields.
So it's in our food supply in a big way, and if it tends to increase particular disorders, then we might see those disorders rise throughout the population. So for example, with low levels of serotonin - if in fact, glyphosate in our diet reduces the availability of L tryptophan because it blocks the shikimate pathway, which reduces the amount of serotonin which is produced in the gut.
About 90% of serotonin in the body is produced in the gut. Then if there's a decrease in serotonin - that could lead to anxiety and depression. Now in the survey that we did with 3,256 people, we asked people what they reported getting better from when they switched to non-GMO and organic diets and anxiety and depression were reported by more than 50%.
Anxiety and depression are huge in the United States where a lot of glyphosate is consumed. The third symptom of low serotonin is aggression and impulsive behavior. So we certainly have a lot of that going on in the United States. Insomnia, irritability, low self-esteem, poor appetite, poor memory, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorders.
It is also going to affect men and women differently. For example, in a 2007 study, low levels in the brain caused depression and other mood changes in women, whereas in men they became more impulsive but didn't report any mood changes.
And then also another study more recently showed that those who have not had depression may not become significantly depressed when serotonin is deficient, but those who have had depression may get depressed if they have deficient serotonin.
Now it's also involved with carbohydrate cravings, weight gain, fatigue, nausea, and digestive or gastrointestinal motility, things like irritable bowel syndrome or constipation. So a lot of these things are on the rise and if you are suffering from any of these things, and you're still eating nonorganic food, please switch to organic food and see if you get better.
A lot of these symptoms are reported in our research to improve when people switch to non-GMO and organic food. In addition, doctors report the same thing. Now, serotonin can become melatonin, so if you have low levels of serotonin, you may have low levels of melatonin, which is needed to induce sleep.
According to the Sophia Health Institute, it's the primary way that the brain detoxifies itself and they said chronic disease almost always includes a deficiency in melatonin. One website said these are particular symptoms of possible melatonin deficiency.
I look older than I am. I have trouble falling asleep at night. I wake up during the night, I can't get back to sleep. My mind is busy with anxious thoughts while I'm trying to fall asleep. My feet are too hot at night. When I get up, I don't feel rested. I feel like I'm living out of sync with the world, going to bed late and waking up late. I can't tolerate jet lag or I smoke, drink or use beta-blockers or a sleep aid.
Now, it's interesting that when you look at the correlations of glyphosate use in the United States, sprayed on genetically engineered soy and corn for example, and you look at certain diseases, they rise in parallel.
Now correlation doesn't prove causation, but when you understand that there is a plausible causative pathway - in other words, we see how glyphosate could create these particular disorders. And we have all this evidence from survey results, from doctors report results, even animal feeding studies supporting these connections.
Then these correlations are very telling and there's a correlation between a Roundup increase and anxiety and also insomnia and other sleep problems. So we see both in the epidemiological side and the case study side and the mode of action support as to why glyphosate may be damaging our ability to use these important neurotransmitters. And the third one is dopamine.
Now dopamine for some and in some websites they describe it as may well be a part of what makes us human, meaning bright, able to plan ahead and resist impulses when necessary. The having dopamine versus not is basically something that distinguishes us from primates.
It's the main brain chemical for us to feel motivated to work towards long term and short term goals. It delivers the feeling of satisfaction when you've accomplished what you set out to do and it's released when your needs are about to be met.
Lab mice with dopamine deficiency can get so unmotivated that they can starve to death even when food is readily available. And when there's inefficient dopamine during development, it can cause mental retardation.
Dopamine problems are implicated in ADHD, which is also linked correlationally with the increased use of Roundup in the American diet. Alzheimer's, same thing. Parkinson's, same thing. In addition, depression, bipolar disorders, binge-eating, addiction, gambling, and schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is also correlated - it increased along with the increased use of Roundup on GMO crops. In fact, low dopamine levels play a role in many mental disorders, some physical signs are muscle cramps, spasms or tremors, aches and pains, stiffness in the muscles, loss of balance, constipation, difficulty eating and swallowing, weight loss or weight gain.
Also, acid reflux, frequent pneumonia, trouble sleeping or disturbed sleep, low energy, inability to focus. What a dreadful list this is. Moving or speaking more slowly than usual. Feeling fatigued, feeling demotivated, feeling inexpressibly sad or tearful. Mood swings, hopelessness, low self-esteem, guilt, anxiousness, suicidal thoughts, low sex drive, hallucinations, delusions or lack of insight or self-awareness, psychosis, hallucinations or delusions and Parkinson's.
Now if this research is verified across the board - that we are in fact dopamine deficient, then these are characteristics that we would probably see rise in the US population and reflected in American culture. You can decide whether you're seeing that.
Now, it's not necessarily a one to one correlation cause - it's not just the only thing that affects the presence of these neurotransmitters is the shikimate pathway. For example, for the causes of dopamine deficiency, poor diet is a big factor.
Diets high in sugar and saturated fats can suppress dopamine. Well, it turns out a lot of diets high in sugar and saturated fats come from processed foods that are loaded with GMOs and Roundup. Also, you may need cofactors to take the L tyrosine which is produced from the shikimate pathway - to turn it into dopamine.
So the B complex vitamins: copper, zinc, and iron. Copper, zinc, and iron are minerals and minerals are chelated by glyphosate - meaning glyphosate grabs onto them, doesn't let go. So even though you have the minerals in your body, they're unusable.
And B complex vitamins can be produced by the gut bacteria, which can be compromised by glyphosate because it is an antibiotic - killing off bacteria, which might be involved with B complex vitamins. So it's interesting that even the cofactors may be influenced - so to create a low dopamine level.
Vitamin D deficiency is also important, iit can relate to dopamine problems because vitamin D activates the genes that release dopamine, and there is a correlation between lower vitamin D levels and higher glyphosate in the United States.
That was put forth, I believe, by Dr. Stephanie Seneff and Dr. Nancy Swanson. And she has a very specific biochemical, it's Dr. Swanson, pathway that she suggests as to why vitamin D is reduced in the presence of glyphosate.
Now, dopamine deficiency is also linked to chronic inflammation, genetic disorders, hormone imbalance, manganese toxicity, mercury toxicity, obesity, Parkinson's, substance abuse, thyroid disorders, et cetera.
So let's summarize. Monsanto had claimed because humans don't have the shikimate pathway. Glyphosate is safe. Well, we do use the shikimate pathway as part of our gut bacteria and it is absolutely critical because it produces the L-tryptophan that produces serotonin and it produces the tyrosine that then translates into dopamine and serotonin, in turn, gets translated into melatonin.
If we are as a species, as a culture, as a civilization, suppressing that pathway and not getting enough dietary sources of these amino acids that the shikimate pathway produces, we are in trouble. We have a situation where you have impulsive behavior, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem.
It's a formula for a disaster in the culture. And that may explain a lot as what we're seeing in the United States and in some cases around the world. So if you have friends who are saying, "Well, I don't need to eat organic because, you know, I don't have any particular disease, et cetera.."
Well, their mind may become sharper, their memory may improve, their fatigue level may decrease the brain fog may lift. There's plenty of mental and mood conditions that have been reported as improving when people switch to organic food, and this may be the mechanism.
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