Posted on 4th October 2023 at 07:28
It’s fair to say there are some topics we never expected to write about – let alone more than once – and this certainly applies to the subject of today’s blog post. What is equally true is that the initial concern of its link to certain Cancers, particularly Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, was only the start. We last wrote about this topic back in 2019 and the post can be found here.
Sadly, it’s become increasingly clear that it has a much more general – and insidious – effect on our health. One which isn’t immediately obvious, if at all, but helps start the dominoes falling in completely the wrong direction and may explain the increase in many seemingly unrelated health problems over recent years. Ah, now the choice of picture makes sense!
So, what are we talking about this week?
Glyphosate, better known as “Roundup.” Developed by Monsanto in the 1970’s, it’s a broad spectrum herbicide, providing a quick and easy way for farmers to deal with weeds. With it replacing the time consuming job of removing weeds by hoeing or hand, it’s easy to understand how it quickly became so popular with farmers and gardeners alike.
However, this was only the start. Monsanto then developed crops that were “Roundup Ready”, in other words, largely immune to Roundup. This allowed Roundup to be directly sprayed on to the crop to kill weeds and used in larger amounts. From there, it was only a short step to developing genetically modified crops resistant to Roundup. The infamous GMOs.
Look at the fact sheets for Glyphosate and it all sounds very reassuring. Low toxicity. Easily excreted from the body. Quickly broken down in the soil.
Unfortunately, this has not turned out to be the case. The environmental impact is enormous and ongoing. What is particularly heartbreaking is that the alarm was sounded – and ignored – in the early 1960’s by Rachel Carson, in her landmark book, “Silent Spring”. It can still be found online and, if you only read the sample of the first few pages, it’s definitely worth doing so.
Sadly, this was only the beginning.
What tends not to be mentioned, is how easily Glyphosate is absorbed from the Digestive System into the body, whether that of a human, animal or insect. And, once it’s passed into the blood stream, it’s then free to affect every part of the body. However, it doesn’t stop there. If that animal is then eaten, its tissues – and any residues – pass up the food chain, so multiplying its effects.
So, saying that Glyphosate is quickly excreted from the body, only provides part of the picture. Not only does it fail to highlight what happens in the meantime, but how easily Glyphosate can pass up the food chain whether, directly, from the plant itself or, indirectly, from the animal eating it.
Added to this, numerous studies have found that Glyphosate also disrupts the natural balance of the Digestive System and it’s this aspect we’re going to focus on today.
It’s easy to forget that the Digestive System has a whole ecosystem of its own. Bacteria – “good” and “bad” – fungi, protozoa, worms and much more besides. And if that doesn’t make you squirm at the thought, nothing will! When in balance they ALL play a part in good health but, as with any ecosystem, it only needs for one tiny part to get out of kilter for the ripples to spread far and wide.
Alongside this are all the digestive enzymes and other substances needed to digest the food itself, as well as to synthesise many different vitamins and minerals AND then convert them into a form the body can easily absorb.
So, yet again, it’s a many layered process. Or, wheels within wheels. Whichever is the case, it’s been found that Glyphosate affects both the gut bacteria and digestive enzymes. In other words, it hits both the digestive process itself AND the synthesis of many different vitamins and enzymes.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.
Glyphosate has been found to cross easily from the Digestive System into the bloodstream and from there around the body. Added to this, it’s also proved to be much more toxic than first thought, due to the interaction of its various ingredients.
However, there’s another aspect of the Digestive System which is easy to overlook and one that Glyphosate can also disrupt. While we don’t tend to think of it in these terms, the Digestive System is an important first line of defence for the Immune System. It’s one of the easiest ways for any potential invader or threat to enter our bodies, whether as something we eat, drink or otherwise swallow. This is one of the reasons why the Digestive System is so acidic, as this provides a very hostile environment for any potential invader or threat.
Alongside this are many other lines of defence, including the mucous membranes lining the Digestive System and small lymph nodes known as “Peyer’s Patches” which provide an immune response to any threats or invaders. Not only does Glyphosate disrupt these first lines of defence but, if eaten regularly, it can over stimulate the Immune System draining the body’s resources and leading to hypersensitivity.
With the Digestive System and its many functions being affected in so many seemingly unconnected ways, it’s easy to see why Glyphosate is now being linked to many different health conditions. This is particularly the case as the part played by digestive imbalances in many chronic health conditions becomes clearer, whether between “good” and “bad” bacteria or more generally. Allergies and Food Intolerances, IBS and Crohn’s Disease, Obesity, Parkinson’s Disease, Cancers and much more.
So where are we going with this – although we’re sure you can probably guess?!?
Well, yet again, it’s all about being aware of what we’re eating AND, just as important – if not more so – HOW it’s produced.
In other words, buying local and organic wherever possible. If you can, grow your own – or go to your local farm shop. In the summer many people are happy to sell their excess fruit and veg, so why not keep an eye out in your local area? Popping them in the freezer for the winter months is easy to do, saves a small fortune and means you know exactly what you’re eating.
If that’s impractical for a whole host of reasons, just being aware of the worst offenders so far as chemical residues are concerned, and avoiding them or buying organic, will make a real difference. Most are quite obvious when you think in terms of which fruit and vegetables are particularly juicy and would be attractive to slugs and snails (!). Strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes. We wrote about the “Dirty Dozen” in 2018 and the post can be found here. The 2023 list can be found here.
Cook your own food from scratch at home. That way, you know exactly what’s in the food you’re eating. Don’t rely on processed or pre prepared foods, where you can’t be sure of the ingredients, how they were produced or where they came from.
A regular detox can help mitigate the ill effects of any chemicals in the food you eat. As can taking a good quality probiotic, to help maintain your natural digestive balance.
We appreciate that, at first glance, this can seem completely overwhelming – and rather depressing. But that isn’t our intention at all. It’s about helping you join the dots and opening your eyes. Allowing you to make informed decisions about things that affect your own health, rather than falling for all the hype or a rather selective message.
As always, the choice is yours.
Photograph by unknown author
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