Gluten intolerance is an issue for a lot of people. As we explored in episode 066, it can cause a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, bloating, skin irritations, and migraines. For some people, gluten may seem like the root cause, but it could actually be something else. In this episode, we examine a chemical closely tied to wheat that could be the real issue.
Root Cause of Gluten Intolerance in America
Ever wonder why wheat seems to give people so many issues in this country? While gluten certainly plays a huge role, the question we are often asked is why people who are so sensitive to wheat in the US seem ok with it when traveling to other countries. It has been said that the genetic modification of wheat and hybridization plays a big role and while that is true, the new hybrid wheat has spread all over the world so it’s no longer specifically concentrated here in the US. So what is the issue?
The article points out that, believe it or not, it is actually a common wheat harvest protocol in the United States to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest.
“Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup or other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980. It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.”
According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT who has studied the issue in depth, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came into vogue late in the 90s with the result that most of the non-organic wheat in the United States is now contaminated with it. Seneff explains that when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds resulting in a slightly greater yield: “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies. At its last gasp, it releases the seed” says Dr. Seneff.”
The article goes on to explain that while the herbicide industry tells us glyphosate is supposedly non toxic, there are multiple studies showing its effects on the cytochrome P450 system (which is the pathway our liver uses to detoxify). Just because it doesn’t kill us instantly, certainly does not mean it’s non-toxic and that doesn’t have serious and long term effects.
Roundup disrupts the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut which then leads to intestinal permeability which is the breeding ground for autoimmunity. In fact, since roundup has been introduced in this practice in the 90’s, the amounts used have skyrocketed. Interestingly, celiac disease has as well. There is a very interesting study from December, 2013 connecting glyphosate in Roundup to many of the things that are thought to be celiac symptoms. Specifically, the abstract of the study (published by Interdisciplinary Toxicology) reads:
“Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria. Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut. Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to chelate these elements. Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids. ”
Furthermore, this exposure happens a little at a time over years which slowly damages the cells contributing to high levels of inflammation and inflammation is linked to a myriad of diseases. This can lead to a perfect storm where things are just enough ‘off balance’ that the body is not able to self correct, leading to chronic disease.
Banned in Other Countries
While Roundup and the use of Glyphosate is legal in the United States, countries around the world are labeling it a toxic chemical that is carcinogenic and banning it. For example, Australia, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, Holland, Portugal, and some cities in Spain have all banned it or are in the process of banning it. This may explain why you can eat wheat in other countries and feel fine but not at home.
Eliminating Health Mysteries
You don’t have to travel to another country to experiment with glyphosate-free wheat. You can try organic wheat sold in the US to find out if you feel better than eating genetically modified wheat. Imagine if all of the health issues you’ve assumed were related to gluten intolerance were actually related to glyphosate!
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