Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Throughout our existence as humans, our genes have shown they are highly adaptable to the available food supply and a wide variety of diets. Over time, our genes gradually adapted to new ways of eating and we continued to thrive. But all these “new” foods were whole foods, unprocessed, unaltered, and found in nature.
So, how does this adaptation relate to the new era of genetically modified foods, made in the laboratory?
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO): What Are They?
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genetic sequence (the inherited blueprint for life) of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.
The genetic modification process brings about alterations in genetic makeup and in the properties of the organism developed.
“Genetic engineering is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the “One Gene – One Protein” hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The Human Genome project completed in 2002 showed that this hypothesis is wrong… Every scientist now learns that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic. The whole paradigm of the genetic engineering technology is based on a misunderstanding.” ~ Dr. Thierry Vrain, research scientist for Agriculture Canada and former-GMO advocate.
“The truth is… every time (corporate scientists) insert a novel gene into a plant cell, the gene ends up in a random location in the plant’s genome. As a result, each new gene amounts to a game of food safety roulette, leaving companies hoping that the new gene will not destabilize a safe food and make it toxic.” ~ Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.
GM plants and their derivatives now found in high numbers throughout the United States are soy, corn, cottonseed, sugar beets, canola, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, papaya. They all have had foreign genes forced into their DNA, the long-term results of which are still largely unknown. To make matters worse, there are many more GM derivatives of these foods which have flooded the processed food industry: like corn fructose syrup, starch, soy sauce, lecithin, vegetable oils, etc.
The Impact of GMOs on Your Health
Traditional genetics used selective breeding, tissue cultures, hybridization and other natural methods, which didn’t pose the negative health effects we see in the GMO era. Genetic Engineering is highly mutagenic and leads to unpredictable changes in the DNA and the proteins produced by the modified/inserted genes.
What remains to be proven is that the biotech industry’s claim that the proteins introduced, which can lead to toxic or allergic reaction, pose no greater risk to human health than non-GE crops.
It’s not hard to observe how worrying the health statistics have become since GMO were introduced. Within nine years of widespread introduction of GMOs into the U.S. food supply, the number of people with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled. Overall food related illnesses doubled as well from 1994 to 2001, according to Centers for Disease Control.
Although human GMO feeding studies are rare (non existent), several animal studies reveal a long list of resulting disorders including: infertility, immune dysregulation, dysfunction in cholesterol synthesis, negative changes in the liver, kidney and gastrointestinal system and more. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology:
“When mice were exposed to Bt-toxin, they not only mounted an immune response to it directly, but they subsequently reacted to foods that had not formally triggered a response. There was something about the Bt-toxin that primed the immune system to become reactive to other, once benign, foods. If humans exposed to Bt-toxin react in a similar manner, eating GM corn could directly lead to the development of [immune issues and] gluten or other food sensitivities.”
Monsanto, the leading GMO producer developed the Bt corn (Mon 810) containing an allergenic protein that is not produced in natural corn. This type of corn is designed to produce Bt-toxin in every cell, which kills insects by destroying the integrity of their gut. Studies on mice fed this GMO corn showed serious health problems like immune dysregulation, allergies, and tissue damage in their small intestine. Further studies have shown the Bt-toxin punctures the digestive tract of humans too. Not broken down by the digestion process, the Bt toxin was detected in as many as 93% of pregnant women who were tested, as well in the fetal cord of 80% of their unborn children.
GMO soy contains as much as seven times the level of a natural soy allergen, trypsin inhibitor, compared to non-GMO soy. The genes inserted into the GMO crops produce new proteins into the human diet, which may be allergenic and toxic.
In a study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2012, researchers proved that Bt toxins can exert toxicity on human cells. The Bt gene might transfer from GM corn and convert our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories. Bt-toxin disrupts the membrane in 24 hours, causing certain fluids to leak through the cell walls. This is a serious consequence which leads to the modern “leaky gut syndrome”, that many health practitioners are seeing these days in their patients. Additionally, the Bt transgene has also been linked to blood disorders, such as hemolysis and leukemia.
In numerous other studies performed on animals, rats fed GM potatoes had smaller, partially atrophied livers, more than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, male rats fed soy had changed testicles, including altered young sperm, female rats fed GM soy showed changes in their ovaries and uterus. By the third generation, most hamsters fed GM soy were unable to have babies.
Farmers in Europe and Asia say that animals died after eating Bt corn varieties and grazed on Bt cotton plants.
Another serious danger stems from the excessive use of toxic herbicides on GMO crops, which are herbicide tolerant. Herbicide tolerant crops have led to an increase in herbicide use of 527 million pounds in the US over the first 16 years and much higher levels of toxic residues in GM food.
“Roundup’s main ingredient glyphosate is now a ubiquitous poison, found in virtually all water, air, soil and rainfall samples tested. It contaminates the groundwater, the source of most of our natural drinking water, and the soil to the point where it has suppressed and destroyed the microbial biodiversity in certain regions of the world, including probiotic organisms of major food importance. Moreover, it has been found to exhibit toxicity and carcinogenicity in cell studies at concentrations several orders of magnitude lower than found in agricultural applications (within the parts per trillion range)…” [source]
Multiple studies done in the the past several years have shown that glyphosate (the active ingredient in the RoundUp Ready herbicide) to be strongly connected to the rise of cancer, birth defects, endocrine disorders, autism, liver and kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease and damage to gut bacteria, as well in increases in antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and the overgrowth of deadly bacteria. Glyphosate is also a known neurotoxin, which destroys natural soil biology.
One of the only published studies on humans eating GMO revealed that a part of the transgenes from GM soy transferred into bacteria living inside our intestines, where these soy transgenes continue to produce Roundup Ready proteins. These might continuously trigger immune reactions. (For more information, please see How GMO Foods Turn Your Intestines Into an Insecticide Factory.)
Research led by a team from New Zealand at the University of Canterbury, has found that commonly used herbicides, including Roundup can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. GM papaya, zucchini and yellow squash have viral transgenes that may produce viral proteins. More than one hundred studies show that viral proteins can suppress an organism’s defenses against viral infections or have toxic effects.
Moreover, the rising use of agricultural herbicides has been shown to be responsible for the collapse of bee colonies in the United States and Europe. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology:
“… researchers found that concentrations of glyphosate (GLY) consistent with the type of exposures associated with standard spraying practices in GM agriculture and neighboring eco-systems reduced the honeybees’ sensitivity to nectar reward and impaired their learning abilities – two behavioral consequences likely to adversely affect their survival abilities… ” [source]
Ironically, it seems the agricultural system that GMO advocates claims will solve the problem of world hunger depends on a chemical (glyposate) that actually kills the pollinator on which around 70% of world’s food supply depends.
The Current Situation
Governments have not been too responsive to the mounting evidence of harm from GMOs and genetically engineering companies continue to forcefully push their agenda. Those who demand more science are ironically labeled by the biotech industry as “anti-science”! The scientists who do discover safety problems or even express concerns are typically attacked and dismissed. Yet consumers and farmers are reacting in great numbers. Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Brazil and India all banned the use of Roundup herbicide and 38 countries worldwide have banned GM crops.
Furthermore, it is clear that the efforts to educate people about the dangers of GMO and the clear clinical evidence has driven consumer concern and a higher demand for non-GMO products. According to 2012 Nielsen Health and Wellness Claims Performance Report, 2012 sales of products labeled as non-GMO in the US increased more than any other health and wellness category. In fact, an interesting aspect mentioned by an executive at the national food store chain Whole Foods is that when a product becomes verified as non-GMO, sales increase by 15-30 percent.
“Non-GM advanced methods of plant breeding are already delivering the sorts of traits promised by GM crops, including resistance to diseases, flood and drought tolerance. GM crops are not only an ineffective type of innovation, but they also restrict innovation due to intellectual property rights owned by a handful of multinational corporations.” ~ Organic Consumers Association, “Twenty Years of Failure: Why GM Crops Have Failed to Deliver on Their Promises“.
But, while there is still money to be made, corporate science will no doubt continue to falsely claim “substantial equivalence” between GMO and non-GMO foods, and push the belief that GMOs can help us “feed the world”, despite the fact that there are no GMO food crops designed to deliver high yields.
The reality we all need to face is that GMOs are promoting the rise of numerous diseases in humans and animals, and creating widespread chemical and genetic pollution in the environment. This will have untold long-term negative effects not only on our generations, but on those to come as well. Putting a stop now will give us all a chance for a better health — the way nature intended!
- Smith, Jeffrey. Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.
- Smith, Jeffrey. Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods.
- Robin, Marie-Monique. The World According to Monsanto.
- A.Pusztai and S. Bardocz, “GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals (Elsevier, 2005).
- L Zolla, et al., “Proteomics as a complementary tool for identifying unintended side effects occurring in transgenic maize seeds as a result of genetic modifications,” J Proteome Res. 2008 May;7(5):1850-61
- Vazquez et al, “Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal antibody responses in mice,” Life Sciences, 64, no. 21 (1999): 1897–1912;
- Vazquez et al, “Characterization of the mucosal and systemic immune response induced by Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis HD 73 in mice,” Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 33 (2000): 147–155
- Nagui H. Fares, Adel K. El-Sayed, “Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on Endotoxin Treated Potatoes and Transgenic Potatoes,” Natural Toxins 6, no. 6 (1998): 219–233.
- de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726.
- Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
- Seralini, et al., “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 50, Issue 11, November 2012, Pages 4221–4231 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637
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About the author:
Raluca Schachter is a dedicated Clinical Nutritionist / Natural Health Practitioner a.k.a “The Health Detective”. Raluca was able to naturally reverse chronic health conditions she was struggling with most of her life, and now uses her knowledge to help as many people as possible do the same. Her health programs and diet plans offer a very unique and comprehensive approach to health, where individual nutritional and biochemical requirements are firstly met using specific nutrients and foods that each metabolism thrives on. Raluca offers her services to international clientele and her practice is fully online based. You can connect with Raluca at www.metabolicenergy.net and https://www.facebook.com/raluca.schachter.metabolicenergy