Glyphosate: What is it and why should you care?



Ten years ago, I like most of my patients and readers, wouldn’t have recognized the word.  Today, however, it’s been so frequently in the news that even if you didn’t recognize it as the key ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, you likely are being affected by it as its use in agriculture is growing worldwide. 

Roundup is used liberally on non-organic, Roundup-ready crops including corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, wheat, oats, barley, rye, sugar cane, beans, lentils, peas, cotton, tobacco and alfalfa. It’s also used as a dessicant for drying or ripening agricultural products including flax, sunflowers and chickpeas. 

MIT researcher Stephanie Seneff found striking correlations between the rise in the use of Roundup since its introduction in 1974 and the rise of diseases including obesity, diabetes, thyroid cancer, urinary and bladder cancer, and end-stage renal disease.  She also drew troubling connections between glyphosate and birth defects including neural tube defects and autism, as well as osteoarthritis, obesity and fatty liver disease.

Other recent reports have found that glyphosate is implicated in the killing of bees and Monarch butterflies, and even organCalifornia wines have glyphosate contamination because it's in the groundwater. 

The reason this scourge is more deadly to some than others depends on the degree of exposure as well as each person’s ability to detoxify.  The keyword here is methylation.  Methylation is the process by which our bodies turn B-vitamins (folate or B9 and B13, in particular) into SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) and glutathione.  SAMe and glutathione play a role in creating energy, protecting our cells, and maintaining our mood, focus and daily functioning.  They also help the liver to detoxify substances that enter our bloodstream, including toxins, medications and estrogens. 

The testing panel I most frequently recommend measures the accumulation within the body of glyphosate and 71 other environmental toxins. In addition, genetic tests can provide insight into the fundamentals of your individual capacity to detoxify. Pregnant women and all prospective parents of both genders might want to be at the front of the line for both of these tests, which also can provide useful guidance for people suffering from a variety of conditions. 

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Eileen Henry