Glyphosate: An Assault on Your Microbiome

Autoimmunity & Healing Diets

Feb 29

The rise in chronic inflammatory diseases has emerged along with the increasing use of the chemical glyphosate (over 300 million pounds a year) – the main pesticide in Monsanto’s Roundup.


Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. It is a non selective herbicide that was patented in 1964 as a strong metal chelator. That means that it grabs hold of elements and makes them unavailable.

In 1974 Monsanto registered glyphosate as an herbicide. It binds up calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, nickel, boron and zinc.

Glyphosate disrupts plant physiology so that they cannot grow and can’t defend themselves against disease. The plants die as a result of the diseases they may acquire — indirectly from the glyphosate.

Glyphosate is systemic.  It takes only one drop sprayed on any part of the plant and it goes throughout the entire plant. A minimum of 20% of glyphosate that hits the foliage is exuded through the plant’s root system directly to the soil. It stays in the soil, and has been found pervasive throughout the environment and in the bodies of infants, children and adults.

Glyphosate kills gut bacteria. That’s what it does – it is a pesticide, herbicide and an antibiotic.

When people eat foods that have been treated with glyphosate – which is endemic in the modern food supply – they are ingesting a powerful chemical that kills gut bacteria.

This leads to chronic inflammation. We are in an epidemic of chronic inflammation, which is the base cause of many diseases. Inflammation is an immune system response with 80% of the immune system residing in the gut.

In chronic inflammation, at the cellular level, it is the shutdown of the anti-oxidant system, and loss of communication between cells. This leads to an inability to repair on the cellular level.

The immune system causes the loss of cellular communication with the mounting oxidative stress. Cells normally use redox (reduction/oxidation molecule) for repair when there is inflammation. As the positive charge goes up the cells lose their ability to signal and repair.  The redox molecules are made by the mitochondria and/or bacteria in the gut.

The mitochondria is the battery or energy of the cell and although the number one symptom is gastrointestinal many people also experience lack of energy and/or brain fog.

What is the Root Cause of Inflammation?

Inflammation is the root cause of many chronic diseases that are in epidemic proportions today in this country. There is a structure in human anatomy that connects this cause from the gastrointestinal tract to the brain and all other areas of the body. That structure is the tight junction of the cell wall.

Sadly, not only do we have grains that are hybridized and dramatically changed from what they were originally, for the past few years, along with many other problems with modern wheat – there is yet an additional burden that has been added to wheat production.

Wheat growers have adopted the practice of spraying the entire wheat crop with glyphosate days before harvesting, in order to make it easier to run the harvesting machines through. This puts tons more pesticide on most commercial wheat products and exposes the entire population to the damaging effects of glyphosate.

Additionally, there seems to be a synergistic effect against the human immune system when wheat (glutin) and glyphosate is ingested. It appears to cause a more powerful effect against human gut bacteria.

Glyphosate, Leaky Gut and Redox Molecules

It has been shown that glyphosate breaks down the tight junction in the gut wall and all mucous membranes and also the gut/brain barrier. For instance, when a person eats gluten, a substance called zonulin is released and this opens up the spaces between the barrier membrane cells. When zonulin goes systemic, it damages tight junctions throughout the body and causes leaky gut.

The more diversity in your gut bacteria, the greater the amount of carbon redox molecules you make – these molecules are made by your beneficial gut bacteria. The more species you have the more variety of redox molecules and the greater is your language of immunity. They estimate that we should have 20,00 – 30,000 species of bacteria, when in fact, in the western world we have about 5,000 – 10,000. With this small diversity, the pathogenic, disease causing bacteria such as, C. diff, E. coli, salmonella, candida, etc. can flourish – which is what we have today.

The carbon redox molecules made by the bacteria are the support system of the tight junction. When you lose tight junction integrity because you have lost your beneficial bacteria, you have leaky gut.

Zonulin is a peptide made by the intestinal lining, which can be over produced due to glyphosate in the intestinal tract.

The redox molecules keep the zonulin in check. When the redox molecules are decreased due to glyphosate injury to the gut bacteria, zonulin increases and causes the tight junction to open up when it shouldn’t, thereby causing leaky gut.

Here is the time line:

Eat glyphosate –> kill good gut bacteria –> decrease redox molecules –> increase zonulin –> open tight junctions –> allow pathogens and large food molecules in that shouldn’t be there –> immune reaction –> inflammation –> zonulin goes systemic and affects clearance ability of kidneys–> toxins build up –> disease.

Diseases and Disorders that are Affected by Glyphosate

Any chronic inflammatory disease:

Autism, cancer, celiac and all autoimmunity, intestinal diseases, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc., depression, sleep disorders, allergies, asthma, joint diseases, cadiovascular, fatigue, obesity, skin conditions, etc.

Diet Affects Your Microbiome

A recently published study in the journal Cell Host & Microbes, explored the question of whether it is genetics or diet that drives changes to the gut microbiome.

The researchers found that diet was the more important driver of microbiome diversity – not the genetics.

If you are eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) you are getting a lot of glyphosate in your gut. Perhaps you have noticed some symptoms or perhaps you have or know someone who has a chronic health condition that may be related to consumption of glyphosate.

Change Your Diet to Change Your Health

Well, although we have not had the benefit of double blind, multi-clinic studies, many of us who have changed our diets for therapeutic benefit have already experienced a change in the gut microbiome in a positive direction.

There are several diets that come to mind such as Weston Price, SCD, GAPS, Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, FODMAPS and other elimination diets just to name a few.

Read more about changing your diet for better health here.

I’m looking forward to the time when a conventional doctor will instruct a patient on the specific diet necessary as a therapeutic tool instead of just writing a handful of prescriptions.

Have you experienced benefits from changing your diet? Leave a comment and let us know!

Want much more current information on the microbiome?

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Some of the information for this article comes from a fascinating interview with Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology and Dr. Zach Bush.

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