Glyphosate is the most widely used agricultural herbicide applied to agriculture fields, forests, lawns and gardens to regulate weeds. Glyphosate is also used to ripen crops and regulate plant growth. Glyphosate is considered a non-selective herbicide meaning it will kill most plants. There are hundreds of products that contain glyphosate, but Monsanto’s original herbicide called Roundup™ (introduced in 1974) is a primary source of the chemical glyphosate. Monsanto also patented its genetically modified seeds that resist its herbicide, Roundup, offering farmers a convenient way to spray fields with Roundup without affecting crops. This also explains how genetically modified foods are also often high in the chemical glyphosate. Ranger Pro Herbicide and Eraser Max are additional products that contain glyphosate.
Most people are exposed to glyphosate daily through diet and/or lifestyle choices. Risk factors for glyphosate exposure may include living in a rural area, working in the non-organic farming industry, Professional gardeners, Landscapers, Groundskeepers and applying Roundup™ on your home lawn and garden. Drinking unfiltered or contaminated water and eating a diet primarily of conventional (non-organic) produce and processed foods may also increase exposure to glyphosate. The Environmental Working Group recently tested popular processed foods and glyphosate was detected in all wheat-based foods, including dry pasta from Barilla, cereal such as Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and General Mill’s Wheat Chex. Popular oat-based products including Cheerios, Quaker Oatmeal and Nature Valley granola bars were tested and contained glyphosate.
Glyphosate can also enter the body by inhalation or direct contact with the skin. Inhalation and direct skin contact may result in higher levels of glyphosate in the body. High levels of glyphosate exposure are associated with an increased risk for developing endocrine system dysfunction such as thyroid dysfunction, neuro-degenerative conditions such as Dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Autism Spectrum Disorders. A recent study showed the correlation between glyphosate applied to dietary sources of corn and soy and increased rate of autism. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization.
In the gut, glyphosate disrupts the balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria which may lead to irritable bowel conditions and intestinal infections. This disruption may also be associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, and mood-related conditions. Because glyphosate binds calcium, studies have found that this toxin can accumulate in bones. It is suggested that the reason glyphosate causes chronic health conditions is through its impact on the gut microbiome, chelation of metals, methylation pathway dysfunction, and reduced activity of the liver enzymes that support healthy detoxification.
Because glyphosate is excreted in the urine, testing for levels in the body is simple and non-invasive. Determining levels of glyphosate, but also identifying areas for exposure provides valuable knowledge that can greatly impact overall health and wellness.