Glyphosate is the chief ingredient in the weed-killer RoundUp, one of the most commonly used herbicides worldwide. Meanwhile, glyphosate and RoundUp applications have increased around the globe. Despite precision techniques, we’re using more herbicides than ever before, and we’re sicker than we’ve ever been.
Glyphosate is so ubiquitous in our food, water, and air that it is regularly found in human urine. (link to study)
The toxicity of glyphosate is hotly debated. The EPA says glyphosate is safe; the International Agency for Research on Cancer says glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. Questions about Monsanto’s influence on studies proclaiming its safety abound.
Human epidemiological studies have found correlations between glyphosate exposure and increased risk for kidney failure, fertility problems, cancer, birth defects, and more.
Glyphosate Carries an Environmental Impact, Too
Glyphosate’s effects extend beyond human health into the environment. Negative environmental impacts include:
1. Development of glyphosate-resistant weeds, leading to further increased applications of glyphosate and/or other herbicides.
2. Contributes to the declines in butterfly and honeybee populations, affecting pollination of plants.
3. Toxicity to aquatic life, including algae, invertebrates, fish, and amphibians, potentially threatening entire ecosystems
4. Threats to soil health and fertility. (link to study)
The Role Glyphosate Plays in the body
1. DISRUPTS THE GUT MICROBIOME
Glyphosate, which is patented as a broad-spectrum antibiotic, may damage beneficial bacteria in your microbiome. Glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway in our gut bacteria. One overlooked, yet important fact, is that the shikimate pathway is present in our gut bacteria, which play vital roles in our development, immune system, and overall health Pathogenic strains of gut bacteria, like Salmonella and Clostridium, were resistant to glyphosate exposure, while glyphosate attacked beneficial strains like Enterococcus, Bacillus, and Lactobacillus. Glyphosate may even compromise antibiotics’ ability to fight pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella. Gut dysbiosis is linked to many health problems, including obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, ADHD, type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and more.
2. ENDOCRINE DISRUPTOR
Some research suggests that glyphosate herbicides may act as endocrine disruptors, chemicals that interfere with the body’s normal hormone signaling pathways. BPA is probably the most well-known endocrine disruptor on a growing list. Endocrine disruptors are insidious; they wreak havoc over time at very low levels, in contrast to acute toxicity studies performed at high levels of exposure.
Cell experiments have shown that glyphosate-based herbicides interfered with estrogen and androgen receptors and also with aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Glyphosate was also shown to induce human breast cancer cell proliferation via estrogen receptors.
3. A PROBABLE CARCINOGEN
In 2015, over 40 years after glyphosate was first approved, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosates as “probably carcinogenic to humans” based on both human epidemiological data and controlled rodent studies.
4. MINERAL CHELATOR
Glyphosate chelates minerals like copper, magnesium, cobalt, iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium, which could prevent proper absorption and utilization of these minerals in the body. Nearly one-third of American adults and children are already at risk for at least one nutrient deficiency, and many of these minerals are enzymatic cofactors for normal cellular functions. Glyphosate potentially could contribute to mineral deficiencies.
How to Avoid Glyphosate (and Other Toxins)
Sadly, glyphosate is merely one of the hundreds of environmental toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis. We just don’t know the long-term health and environmental consequences of being exposed to cocktails of man-made chemicals throughout a lifetime.
When it comes to avoiding glyphosate, it’s simple: eat organic food. Certified organic foods are free of toxic herbicides like glyphosate, have lower pesticide residues, and are richer in micronutrients. Glyphosate urine levels were lower in people who chose mostly organic food versus those who ate conventional.
Supporting your local organic farmers ensures you are not consuming glyphosate.
A product with the Certified Organic seal must be grown or produced with no synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers—and that means no RoundUp and no glyphosate.
But organic is more than that. Organic not only bans synthetic herbicides like RoundUp—it prohibits the use of hundreds of chemical additives, preservatives, colorings, and more.