We all know that glyphosate and other herbicides are sprayed on almost all of our commercial grains, legumes and seed oil crops to kill the plants all at once, thus making the processing much easier. These desiccants, as they are called, are found in trace amounts in our commercial grains and seed oils as well as legumes. That means in our breads, flours, crackers, cookies, cakes and snack foods that are not labelled organic will contain glyphosate or another herbicide. You know, pretty much all of the food found on the inside aisles of our grocery stores.
A March 2023 paper found in the peer reviewed journal Plants measured the amounts of glyphosate residues found in grains that had been treated with glyphosate as a “pre-harvest” (desiccant) in Central Lithuania (1). The study found that glyphosate residues were found in higher concentrations in wheat bran and oilseed rape meal and that these residues could be found a year after harvest.
A study in Canada found 30% of food samples in Canada contained glyphosate.
These results correlate with another recent study out of Canada (Jan 2023), whereby the urine of pregnant women in their first trimester were tested for glyphosate and AMPA (the metabolite of glyphosate). Nearly 75% of women had detectable concentrations of glyphosate and AMPA in their urine. The study authors observed a dose-response relationship between consumption of whole grain bread and higher urinary glyphosate concentrations. This is not only worrying, it is unacceptable!
Another March 2023 peer reviewed study was published in Birth Defects which demonstrates that mice fed glyphosate throughout the pregnancy had babies that had significant behavioral abnormalities, as well as neuroinflammation. Behavior behavioral changes of the baby mice included anxiety and hyperactivity. Furthermore, the mouse brains had detectable neuroinflammation soon after birth.
A 2023 PNAS paper clearly demonstrates neuroinflammation is involved in Austism (ASD) in humans (4).
Yet another 2023 paper makes the case for the involvement of neuroinflammation in Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (5).
(1) Grains treated with glyphosate had measurable levels of residue and that residue did not decrease after a year of storage. Furthermore, 30% of foods tested in Canada have measurable levels of Glyphosate.
(2) Nearly 75% of Canadian women in their first trimester of pregnancy had detectable concentrations of glyphosate in their urine. The more whole wheat grains in the diet, the higher the levels of glyphosate.
(3) Exposure to glyphosate during mice intrauterine development induces hyperactive and anxious behavior, as well as measurable levels of neuroinflammatory markers.
(4) Neuroinflammation can be measured in the ASD temporal cortex in humans (at autopsy).
(5) There appears to be a link between Neuroinflammation and ADHD.
It doesn’t not take a rocket scientist to draw the conclusion that the significant increases in autism and ADHD in children over the past two decades could very well be linked to the use of glyphosate as a drying agent in our grain, legume and seed oil crops.
Finally, if glyphosate is causative, this is all very preventable. A risk benefit analysis should convince anyone planning a family or with children to eat clean and organic as much as possible. Buy organic flours, grains, oils (please don’t use canola oil ever), and legumes. Buy organic grain products (bread, crackers, cookies). Consider baking your own. If you can’t buy these items locally, shop online.
The use of herbicides in other countries is a common practice. Be careful when buying foods from other countries, particularly those without a strong regulatory agency monitoring food production.
As an aside, one of the other desiccants used in the USA and around the world is diquat (sold as REGLONE®). Diquat is used as a non-selective herbicide for use as a desiccant in barley, green beans, lentils, peas and soy beans. Although less studied or publicized than glyphosate, a pubmed search found a number of papers which document that chronic, low level exposure is associated with reproductive toxicity, as well as gut inflammation (6, 7, 8) and other concerning health issues.
(1) Oilseed Rape, Wheat, and Barley Grain Contamination as Affected by Different Glyphosate Usage
Plants (Basel) 2023 Mar 16;12(6):1335. doi: 10.3390/plants12061335.
The main purpose of this study was to explore the effects of different glyphosate usages on harvested grain/seed contamination…
The use of glyphosate at pre-harvest, despite the dosage and application timing, led to glyphosate’s, as well as its metabolite, aminomethosphonic acid’s, occurrence in grain/seeds,…
The grain storage test showed that glyphosate residues remain in grain/seeds at steady concentrations for longer than one year. A one year study of glyphosate distribution within main and secondary products showed that glyphosate residues were mainly concentrated in wheat bran and oilseed rape meal, while no residues found in cold-pressed oil and wheat white flour, when glyphosate used at pre-harvest at the label rate.
(2) Urinary concentrations and determinants of glyphosate and glufosinate in pregnant Canadian participants in the MIREC study
2023 Jan 15;217:114842. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.114842. Epub 2022 Nov 18.
Background: Despite the widespread use of these herbicides (Glyphosate), biomonitoring data – which inform risk assessment and management – are sparse.
Objectives: To identify determinants of urinary concentrations of these herbicides and their metabolites in pregnancy.
We measured urinary concentrations of glyphosate, glufosinate, and their primary metabolites aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in a single spot urine specimen collected during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Results: Among women with biobanked urine samples (n = 1829-1854), 74% and 72% had detectable concentrations of glyphosate and AMPA, respectively.
The specific gravity-standardized geometric mean (95% CI) concentrations of glyphosate and AMPA were 0.112 (0.099-0.127) μg/L and 0.159 (0.147-0.172) μg/L, respectively. We observed a dose-response relationship between consumption of whole grain bread and higher urinary glyphosate concentrations.
Conclusions: We detected glyphosate and AMPA in the majority of pregnant women from this predominantly urban Canadian cohort. Diet was a probable route of exposure.
Nearly 75% of women had detectable concentrations of glyphosate and AMPA.
Diet is a probable route of exposure to glyphosate and AMPA.
(3) Behavioral and neuroinflammatory changes caused by glyphosate: Base herbicide in mice offspring
Birth Defects Res 2023 Mar 1;115(4):488-497. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.2138. Epub 2022 Dec 18.
Background: Glyphosate is a pesticide considered of low toxicity, but scientific evidences show it can be harmful to health. This study aimed to evaluate the toxicity in mice offspring exposed to glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) during the intrauterine period.
Methods: Female matrices (mice) received glyphosate 0.3 mg/kg daily per oral throughout the gestational period, which was variable between 18 and 22 days. From the 25th until the 28th days post-birth, mice offspring were subjected to behavioral tests, and the prefrontal cortex was processed for immunohistochemical analysis.
Results: Two significant behavioral changes were observed: anxiety in the GLIF0.3 group, increase in the behavior burying marbles in the marble-burying test and hyperactivity, expressed by the significant increase of the crossing number in the open field test. The increased microglia, TNF-alpha, and astrocyte expression were also observed in the prefrontal cortex of offspring treated with GLIF0.3.
Conclusion: Exposure to GBH during mice intrauterine development induces hyperactive and anxious behavior, evidencing neuroinflammation.
(4) Neuron-specific transcriptomic signatures indicate neuroinflammation and altered neuronal activity in ASD temporal cortex
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2023 Mar 7;120(10):e2206758120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2206758120.Epub 2023 Mar 2.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heterogeneous disorder, yet transcriptomic profiling of bulk brain tissue has identified substantial convergence among dysregulated genes and pathways in ASD. However, this approach lacks cell-specific resolution. We performed comprehensive transcriptomic analyses on bulk tissue and laser-capture microdissected (LCM) neurons from 59 postmortem human brains (27 ASD and 32 controls) in the superior temporal gyrus (STG) of individuals ranging from 2 to 73 years of age. In bulk tissue, synaptic signaling, heat shock protein-related pathways, and RNA splicing were significantly altered in ASD. There was age-dependent dysregulation of genes involved in gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) (GAD1 and GAD2) and glutamate (SLC38A1) signaling pathways. In LCM neurons, AP-1-mediated neuroinflammation and insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathways were upregulated in ASD, while mitochondrial function, ribosome, and spliceosome components were downregulated. GABA synthesizing enzymes GAD1 and GAD2 were both downregulated in ASD neurons. Mechanistic modeling suggested a direct link between inflammation and ASD in neurons, and prioritized inflammation-associated genes for future study. Alterations in small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) associated with splicing events suggested interplay between snoRNA dysregulation and splicing disruption in neurons of individuals with ASD. Our findings supported the fundamental hypothesis of altered neuronal communication in ASD, demonstrated that inflammation was elevated at least in part in ASD neurons, and may reveal windows of opportunity for biotherapeutics to target the trajectory of gene expression and clinical manifestation of ASD throughout the human lifespan.
(5) A Potential Role for Neuroinflammation in ADHD
Adv Exp Med Biol 2023;1411:327-356. doi: 10.1007/978-981-19-7376-5_15.
…ADHD involves several factors that have been associated with an increase in neuroinflammation. This chapter presents an overview of factors that may increase neuroinflammation and play a potential role in the development and pathophysiology of ADHD. The altered immune response, polymorphisms in inflammatory-related genes, ADHD comorbidity with autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and prenatal exposure to inflammation are associated with alterations in offspring brain development and are a risk factor; genetic and environmental risk factors that may increase the risk for ADHD and medications can increase neuroinflammation. Evidence of an association between these factors has been an invaluable tool for research on inflammation in ADHD.
(6) Chronic Exposure to Diquat Causes Reproductive Toxicity in Female Mice
PLoS One 2016 Jan 19;11(1):e0147075. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147075. eCollection 2016.
(7) Oxidative stress affects sperm performance and ejaculate redox status in subordinate house sparrows
J Exp Biol 2017 Jul 15;220(Pt 14):2577-2588. doi: 10.1242/jeb.154799.Epub 2017 May 15
(8) Chronic ingestion of a potential food contaminant (Diquat) induces gastrointestinal inflammation in rats: role of nitric oxide and mast cells
Dig Dis Sci 2000 Sep;45(9):1842-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1005509623060.