Monday, May 27, 2013

How the Herbicide Roundup® May Contribute to Chronic Disease

In my last post I wrote about the importance of maintaining gut flora for normal bile salt metabolism and the elimination of bilirubin. Dysbiosis, the overgrowth of yeast, fungi, or "bad" bacteria in the gut, can negatively impact bone health not just by increasing bilirubin levels which is toxic to osteoblasts but by robbing us of vital nutrients and creating inflammation. Gastrointestinal microbial imbalance does not just adversely effect bone health but it has been implicated as a catalyst for many
chronic diseases.

We commonly attribute dysbiosis to the overuse of antibiotics, high sugar low fiber diets, alcohol abuse, and stress...but what about herbicides? What about Roundup® the most popular herbicide used worldwide?

In a review article published in Entropy, Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff explain how glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, may be pervasive in our food and not as harmless as we are lead to believe. Glyphosate is an organophosphate claimed to be non-toxic to humans and other mammals. Glyphosate's mechanism of action is the disruption of a biochemical pathway (shikimate) found only within plants and not in mammals. The problem is that this pathway is also present in the bacteria that reside in your gut. By interfering with the health of gut flora, Samsel and Seneff claim that glyphosate is not harmless and that its adverse effects may lead to long term chronic health consequences. Although Samsel and Seneff do not mention osteoporosis specifically, they do explain several mechanisms (such as vitamin D deficiency, impaired zinc absorption, and enhanced oxidative stress) whereby exposure to glyphosate could directly impacting bone health.

Samsel, A and Seneff, S. 2013. Glyphosate's suppression of cytochrome P45 enzymes and amino acid biosynthesis by the but microbiome: pathways to modern diseases. Entropy 15:1416-1463.

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