New Study: How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UnFriendly
Two studies published in the past six months reveal a disturbing finding: glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® appear to suppress the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, leading to the overgrowth of extremely pathogenic bacteria.
Late last year, in an article titled Roundup Herbicide Linked to Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria, we reported on new research indicating that glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® may be contributing to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, both in GM-produced food and our own bodies. By suppressing the growth of beneficial bacteria and encouraging the growth of pathogenic ones, including deadly botulism-associated Clostridum botulinum, GM agriculture may be contributing to the alarming increase, wordwide, in infectious diseases that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Carbapenem-resistantEnterobacteriaceae (CRE), which the CDC’s director recently termed a ‘nightmare bacteria.’
GMO Herbicides May Lead To The Overgrowth of Harmful Bacteria, Including Deadly Clostridum Botulinum
Now a new study published in the journal Anaerobe titled, “Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. On Clostridum botulinum,” confirms this herbicide’s ability to adversely affect gut bacteria populations (i.e. generate dysbios).[i] In an attempt to explain why Clostridum botulinum associated diseases in cattle have increased during the last 10-15 years in German cattle, researchers theorized that since normal intestinal flora is a critical factor in preventing Clostridum botulinum colonization in conditions such as infantile botulism perhaps the ingestion of strong biocides such as glyphosate found in GM cattle feed could reduce their natural, lactic acid bacteria dependent immune defenses as pathogenic microbes.
They reported on the toxicity of glyphosate to Enteroccocus, the most prevalent lactic acid bacteria species in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle, and concluded “Ingestion of this herbicide could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in C. botulinum mediated diseases in cattle.”
Of course, the implications of this finding extend beyond the health of cattle or poultry. The majority of American consumers who don’t even have the legal right to know through truthful labeling if they are eating GMOs, are consuming non-organic, Roundup Ready soy, canola, cottonseed or soy on a daily basis, and therefore are being exposed to glyphosate residues year round; additionally, animals fed Roundup sprayed GMO plants will bioaccumulate glyphosate and/or glyphosate metabolites, adding to the consumer’s bodily burden of these gut flora-altering, highly toxic chemicals.
GMO Herbicides Kill More Than ‘Weeds,’ Are Broad-Spectrum Biocides
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum biocide. It does not discriminate by killing only the “weeds” that compete with the genetically modified plants resistant to it. In fact, it has been found to be toxic to human DNA at concentrations 450-fold lower than presently used in agricultural applications.[ii]When combined with adjuvants and other so-called ‘inactive’ ingredients, the glyphosate-formulations are far more toxic than their component ingredients taken in isolation.[iii] Nor are the toxic effects limited to plants. A 2012 study published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment found that Roundup herbicide has DNA-damaging effects to fish after short-term, environmentally low concentration exposures (6.67 μg/L, or, 6.67 micrograms per Liter).[iv] For a comprehensive list of the toxic effects of Roundup and glyphosate visit our research page on the topic: Glyphosate formulations.
One of the most concerning adverse effects of glyphosate most relevant to the topic of this article is its destructive effects on the fertility of soil itself. In an earlier expose titled, Un-Earthed: Is Monsanto’s Glyphosate Destroying the Soil?, concerning findings published in the journalCurrent Microbiology were discussed showing that Roundup® herbicide is having a negative impact on the microbiodiversity of the soil, including microorganisms of food interest, and specifically those found in raw and fermented foods.[v]
One of the key implications of this finding is that since many of the beneficial bacteria that make up the 100 trillion bacteria in our gut necessary for health come from our food, and these bacteria-rich foods nourish and help maintain the flora in our gut, the removal of key beneficial microorganisms from the soil will likely result in profoundly disrupting the bacteria-mediated infrastructure of our health.
We Must Reject GMO Farming Practices Or Face Dire Consequences
We must, of course, consider carefully the origin of our food. Conventionally produced produce and animal products are often grown or fed from farming practices that involve the use of factory-farmed manure and raw human sewage. Animal and human excreta today is exceedingly toxic, and contains a wide range of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hormones and antibiotic resistant bacteria and related pathogens that. contaminate our food and our bodies if we choose to eat it. It also causes us to employ ‘food security’ technologies like nuclear waste-based food irradiation and bacteriophage sprays try to disinfect inherently toxic food, only generating different and sometimes far more dangerous compounds as a result.
Instead of succumbing to the intellectually unsophisticated concept that disease is primarily caused by germs ‘out there,’ rather than viewing our risk of infection as primarily determined by immune susceptibility ‘in here,’ we must shift our understanding radically if we are to survive the wholesale destruction of our biosphere, also entirely refraining from supporting, buying, consuming food produced through GM-based farming practices. Our body is literally woven from the molecular fabric of the body of the Earth. And so, when we poison or genetically modify our environment, and we poison and genetically modify ourselves.
- [i] Monika Krüger, Awad Ali Shehata, Wieland Schrödl, Arne Rodloff. Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. on Clostridium botulinum. Anaerobe. 2013 Feb 6. Epub 2013 Feb 6. PMID: 23396248
- [ii] GreenMedInfo.com, Research: Roundup Diluted by 450-Fold is Still Toxic to DNA, Feb. 15th, 2012
- [iii] GreenMedInfo.com, Research: Roundup Herbicide Toxicity Vastly Underestimated, Oct. 15th, 2012
- [iv] Environ Monit Assess. 2013 Apr;185(4):3201-7. doi: 10.1007/s10661-012-2783-x. Epub 2012 Jul 22.
- [v] Emilie Clair, Laura Linn, Carine Travert, Caroline Amiel, Gilles-Eric Séralini, Jean-Michel Panoff.Effects of Roundup(®) and Glyphosate on Three Food Microorganisms: Geotrichum candidum, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus. Curr Microbiol. 2012 Feb 24. Epub 2012 Feb 24. PMID: 22362186