Crop Dusting Airplane

Health Impact News Editor

Wheat has taken quite a beating in recent years, being blamed for all sorts of diseases and illnesses. The rise of gluten intolerant conditions like Celiac disease has led to an increase in negative attitudes towards wheat. Gluten is the protein in wheat that is difficult to digest in so many people. Some have gone so far as to propose that wheat was never meant to be part of the food chain, and it is treated as if it is a form of poison.

However, there are always several factors to consider when looking at gluten sensitivity. First, as we have pointed out in other places, it is always dangerous to classify a food group as a static entity, such as a mineral in the periodic table of elements. Food is alive, and not static. There are multiple varieties and cultivars, as well as multiple growing conditions that make it nearly impossible to simply make sweeping generalizations about any agricultural product, including wheat. Any statement starting out as “Wheat is” or “Wheat does” risks making the statement almost meaningless without further defining what kind of wheat, and in what form.

There are probably few foods so controversial today as wheat. Yet most people’s experience with wheat as a food is in highly processed industrial food products. There is increased interest in recent times in ancient grains, the precursors to modern wheat. While wheat does not yet exist in the market place as a genetically modified product, it has been hybridized quite extensively over its long history to produce the common varieties we have now in the food system. There are some studies showing that some of these ancient grains are more easily digested and tolerated by those with gluten sensitivities.

The other factor that gets almost no attention when discussing the negative effects of modern wheat, is the fact that it could possibly be an innocent bystander, rather than a causative factor in sensitivities that result in poor digestion. For one thing, gluten is not the only protein Americans are having problems digesting. Similar problems exist with casein (from dairy) and other proteins.

Not only has wheat changed over the years into the modern era, so too has our digestive system. There are many culprits in destroying our digestive systems from being able to digest complex proteins, including our record levels of consuming pharmaceutical products. There is research showing that probiotics can reduce or eliminate gluten sensitivity, lending evidence that this is primarily a digestive issue. (See: Probiotics Prevent Gluten Sensitivity and Intestinal Damage from Gliadin)

The blame-game attacks against an entire food group, in this case wheat, reminds me a lot of the attacks against dietary cholesterol in the 1970s, when cholesterol was classified as something slightly less than poison. As it turns out, cholesterol has simply been wrongly convicted as an innocent bystander, as cholesterol is essential to life.

So we come to the most recent research published by Dr. Stephanie Seneff. Her wider body of research is not unknown here at Health Impact News. Dr. Seneff was one of the first to link statin drug use and artificially lowering cholesterol levels with Alzheimer’s Disease back in 2011. (See: The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins may Cause Alzheimer’s) She is a controversial scientist with three degrees from MIT who is not constrained by Big Pharma funding.

In her most recent research published in a peer-reviewed journal along with Anthony Samsel, she looks at the role of  glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, which is the most popular herbicide used worldwide, and its toxic effect in destroying our digestive system. Here is another piece of the problem when looking at gluten sensitivities. In a recent interview she was asked about glyphosate’s role in Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities, and this was her reply:

Gluten sensitivity by itself doesn’t necessarily have the transglutaminase immunogenicity of Celiac. It shares the same features with Celiac disease, but it’s not as extreme. But these things also have a host of other pathologies that are associated with this particular condition of gluten sensitivity, which is what’s so fascinating to me. All of these risk factors that co-occur with Celiac disease could be explained through other ways that glyphosate disrupts physiology. That’s the most fascinating thing to me, is that you can explain all of these other things, maybe not directly through the effect of gluten but through the effect of glyphosate on the body.

People who have Celiac disease have increased risk for other things; for example, non-hodgkins lymphoma, and they die earlier because of these other risks. They also have fertility problems, they are more likely to produce children with birth defects, and are more likely to have depression and serotonin problems. All of these things that are connected to Celiac disease, but also exist independently from Celiac disease, are also caused, in our opinion, by glyphosate. (Source)

Read the full study online free here.

Here is the Conclusion of the study:

This paper presents an exhaustive review of the toxic effects of the herbicide, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, in humans, and demonstrates how glyphosate’s adverse effects on the gut microbiota, in conjunction with its established ability to inhibit the activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes, and its likely impairment of sulfate transport, can remarkably explain a great number of the diseases and conditions that are prevalent in the modern industrialized world. Its effects are insidious, because the long-term effects are often not immediately apparent. The pathologies to which glyphosate could plausibly contribute, through its known biosemiotic effects, include inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations. Glyphosate works synergistically with other factors, such as insufficient sun exposure, dietary deficiencies in critical nutrients such as sulfur and zinc, and synergistic exposure to other xenobiotics whose detoxification is impaired by glyphosate.

Given the known toxic effects of glyphosate reviewed here and the plausibility that they are negatively impacting health worldwide, it is imperative for more independent research to take place to validate the ideas presented here, and to take immediate action, if they are verified, to drastically curtail the use of glyphosate in agriculture. Glyphosate is likely to be pervasive in our food supply, and, contrary to being essentially nontoxic, it may in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.


Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases

Anthony Samsel and Stephanie SeneffEntropy 2013, 15, 1416-1463

See Also:

Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance

Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff – Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013; Vol. 6 (4): 159–184.