Nrf2: helps activate beneficial genes, protective against inflammatory disease

Nrf2 is an acronym for a substance that helps activate genes that protect against oxidative stress and the resulting inflammation from excess oxidative chemicals. Nrf2 is a lot easier to remember then: nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). 

The list of chronic illnesses and genetic conditions that it may help prevent or treat is also quite long. The protective benefits against electromagnetic field radiation that was discussed in the last post may be due to the genes activation and resulting increased protection against oxidative stress chemicals – and this mechanism may be the same pathway for its beneficial role in preventing or treating the long list chronic illnesses.

It has been studied by a number of different groups in the prevention or treatment of: 

  • Cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, ischemic cardiovascular disease, vascular
    endothelial dysfunction, and heart failure;
  • Neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Huntington’s diseases;
  • Cancer (prevention);
  • Chronic kidney diseases;
  • Metabolic diseases: Type 2 diabetes; metabolic syndrome; obesity;
  • Several types of toxic liver disease; (not from the pdf article (1) – Nrf2 helps the liver to better utilize free fatty acids and triglycerides as an alternate energy source during times of starvation/malnutrition, which speculatively then, a deficiency of Nrf2 might be a factor in fatty liver disease (8))
  • Chronic lung diseases including emphysema, asthma, and pulmonary fibrosis;
  • Sepsis;  — (sepsis is a serious type of infection that spreads throughout the blood system.)
  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease;
  • HIV/AIDS;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Epilepsy;
  • See Table 1 for the list of studies regarding Nrf2 and the above conditions: (1).

Other diseases or conditions that may also be helped by adequate levels of Nrf2 have been less well studied but the same mechanism of reducing oxidative stress might also benefit in the prevention or treatment of:

  • “hemoglobinopathies including sickle cell
    disease and β-thalassemia [35], malaria [36],
  • spinal cord injury [37], traumatic brain injury [38,39],
  • altitude sickness [40,41], the
    three classic psychiatric diseases, major depression,
    schizophrenia and bipolar disorder [42–45],
  • gastric ulcers [46,47],
    glaucoma [48], age-related macular degeneration [49],
    cataract [50,51],
  • pathophysiological responses to herpes
    activation [52] and
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia [53,54].”
  • Nrf2 was reported to lower skin sensitization produced by sensitizing chemicals [57,58].” — (“skin sensitization..” – this likely refers to chronic itch type of conditions that are exacerbated by chemicals that activate TRP channels, which I discuss in more detail in a series of posts. TRP channels are also a big topic that could use more discussion time: (2, 3, 4, 5,))
  • See page 3, for the quotes and see the citation list of the pdf for the [__] references: (1).

Those are some common and severe conditions – so why aren’t we all aware of Nrf2? I don’t know. Possibly because the suggested treatment by the research discoveries are simple dietary changes which are not high profit margin treatments. However the list of foods that may help happens to overlap with those that I’ve been finding helpful for my own autoimmune and undiagnosed digestive problems. (There is a website with guidance about products that may be falsely claiming to have peer-reviewed studies showing that they are effective as Nrf2 activating compounds 2300 articles are mentioned as having been published on the topic of Nrf2, so I have some reading to catch up on. See: (9).)

So skipping the medical jargon, I’ll share some recipes and menu ideas that incorporate some of these foods and phytonutrients (list from the last post, the phytonutrients were quoted from this pdf: (1)

Specific foods or phytochemicals mentioned to help increase Nrf2 include:

  • sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables, (such as broccoli and cauliflower);
  • foods high in phenolic antioxidants, (This is a large group including bright yellow and red fruits and vegetables, and deep purple produce. The group includes the subgroup flavonoids which include anthocyanins, flavonols, and it also includes the less familiar subgroup chalcones which are found in the commonly used fruits apples, pears and strawberries. The group also includes aldehydes which are found in vanilla and cinnamon, phenolic acids which include salicyclic acid, and tannins which are found in tea, coffee and wine. Baking cocoa and cherries, beans and whole grains are also mentioned, the summary point would be eat more fruits and vegetables; see: (11))
  • the long-chained omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, (salmon, tuna, sardines, krill oil, ground flax meal, walnuts, hemp seed kernels);
  • carotenoids (especially lycopene), (such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, and lycopene is in tomato, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava); 
  • sulfur compounds from allum vegetables, (such as onions, garlic, shallots, green onions); 
  • isothiocyanates from the cabbage group and
  • terpenoid-rich foods. (Terpenes are found in real lemon and lime oil, rosemary, oregano, basil and other aromatic green herbs).
  • The Mediterranean and the traditional Okinawan Diets are also mentioned as being Nrf2 promoting diets. See: (wakeup-world.1)

Menu ideas, a start –

  • Add more fruits and vegetables to any meal or snack.
  • Add a dash of real lemon or lime juice to salads or soups. A large spoonful can help aid digestion as we reach middle age. The digestive system tends to produce less natural acidity and it is needed for better absorption of B vitamins. Or sprinkle fresh lemon or lime zest grated from the peel or add a teaspoon of Ground Dried Lemons / Citron Seche Moulu / Limon Seco Molido which may be available at an India foods market. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar or other food grade vinegar could also aid digestion but would not provide the terpenoids found in lemon or lime oil. High quality apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar may contain other beneficial phytonutrients from the phenolic group from the above list as apples and wine are sources of some types.
  • Add a teaspoonful or more or less or any, to taste, of dried green leafy herbs to your salad or soup for aromatic terpenoids and likely phenolic phytonutrients as well; such as Basil, Cilantro, Italian Seasoning, Tarragon, Thyme. Basil and Cilantro are mild and are also used fresh in larger amounts as part of the salad greens. Basil is used fresh or dried in larger amounts in Pesto sauces. Parsley is also used fresh in larger amounts in Tabouli salads.
  • The herb Rosemary is also a good source of terpenoids but is slightly like pine needles and needs to be added to a dish that will be cooked about 20 minutes for better texture. I enjoy Rosemary with beta carotene rich orange flesh Sweet Potatoes which I cook as a skillet scalloped potato. I first saute an Onion sliced in thin rings (allium group) and then add thinly sliced triangles of Sweet Potato so they cook fairly quickly and a teaspoon to a tablespoon of Rosemary. Rosemary is strongly flavored and accidentally spilling too much in the pan can leave the dish inedible, scoop out the excess.
  • Rosemary is a medicinal herb which may help with pain and in traditional folk medicine has been used as a strong tea for pain and inflammation conditions but several cups can have a diuretic effect similar to too much coffee.
  • While discussing hot beverages, Herbal Teas, Green Teas and Black Teas, and Coffee provide phenolic phytonutrients and other antioxidants.
  • Chamomile is a medicinal herb that is frequently used as an Herbal Tea. It has been studied in animal based cell research to increase Nrpf2. (10) The amount used in a cell based study is not something that I could calculate a human recommended serving size for but the traditional medicinal information is available here: (12), caution against its use for asthma, and some seasonal allergy sufferers is mentioned and it is not recommended for use in pregnancy due to a possible risk of miscarriage. Chamomile is a tiny daisy like flower with white petals and a yellow center. The bright yellow center may be a source of phenolic nutrients. (11) Medicinal uses mention digestive and skin complaints, inflammation, relief from muscle contractions, particularly in the intestines, and relief from anxiety. (12)
  • Baking Cocoa is also a source of some phenolic and antioxidant nutrients and can quickly be made into a cup of Hot Cocoa by boiling  a cup of water and adding one or two large spoonfuls of the baking cocoa powder, to taste, along with a spoonful of sweetener. If richness is desired a half teaspoon of Coconut Oil can be stirred in for a hint of creaminess. Less processed/cold pressed Coconut Oil is also a source of phenolic nutrients. (6)
  • Sugar itself can be a source of inflammation so limiting sugar in beverages or other foods is generally a good idea for a health promoting menu plan.
  • Wine can be a source of phenolic nutrients, however it can also be a migraine trigger for some migraine sufferers (like me). Some of the benefits of wine are provided by the free (not-bound-within-a-larger-protein) amino acid content and other free amino acids in wine may be part of the migraine cause. Due to a genetic difference I found a bulk supplier of powdered free amino acids and tried Methionine and Glycine in water. A half teaspoon of each provides a cheerful mood boost without causing excess energy boosting effects – I tried a teaspoon of each initially and it could cause sleeplessness if taken late in the evening and almost too much of a energy boost to the point of increased heart rate. The free amino acids are acidic and cause a puckery tart wine effect. Adding an ounce or two, 2-4 Tablespoons of a 100% purple grape juice or cherry juice or black currant juice could add a hint of sweetness and makes the beverage slightly more juice or wine like. A deficiency of Methionine whether due to a genetic difficulty in metabolism such as I have or due to a dietary lack can increase the body’s need for Nrf2. (7) A deficiency of Nrf2 could negatively effect the body’s supply of the amino acids glycine and serine and it is involved in their biosynthesis pathways. (13) The pathway, called the pentose phosphate pathway, is shown in Figure 2: (14). So speculatively glycine wouldn’t be helping make Nrf2 but if there was a problem with supply of Nrf2 then there might be a shortage of glycine or serine, and they do have biological roles throughout the body.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. Martin L Pall, Nrf2, a master regulator of detoxification and also antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other cytoprotective mechanisms, is raised by health
    promoting factors., Stephen Levine, Acta Physiologica Sinica, February 25, 2015, 67(1): 1–18  http://www.actaps.com.cn/qikan/manage/wenzhang/2015-1-01.pdf (1)  // quoted in: Joseph Mercola, The Harmful Effects of Electromagnetic Fields Explained, wakeup-world.com, Dec. 22, 2017, https://wakeup-world.com/2017/12/22/the-harmful-effects-of-electromagnetic-fields-explained/ (1)
  2. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/g3-5-negative-stress-chemicals-may-cause-symptoms-like-itching-migraines-pain-or-ibs/ (2)
  3. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/antihistamines-may-help-if-genetic-tendency-overproduce-histamine/ (3)
  4. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/g3-6-1-calcium-sparklets-and-oxidative-stress/ (4)
  5. https://effectiveselfcare.info/2017/10/15/trpv-channels-comfort-vanilla-heat-capsaicin/ (5)
  6. Marina AM, Man YB, Nazimah SA, Amin I.,  Antioxidant capacity and phenolic acids of virgin coconut oil. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 2:114-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19115123 (6)
  7. Lin AH, Chen HW, Liu CT, Tsai CW, Lii CK., Activation of Nrf2 is required for up-regulation of the π class of glutathione S-transferase in rat primary hepatocytes with L-methionine starvation., J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jul 4;60(26):6537-45. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22676582 (7)
  8. Yu-Kun Jennifer Zhang, Kai Connie Wu, Curtis D. Klaassen, Genetic Activation of Nrf2 Protects against Fasting-Induced Oxidative Stress in Livers of Mice., March 18, 2013http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0059122 (8)
  9. Which Nrf2 Products have Peer-Reviewed Studies – Beware of Phony Science, nrf2.comhttp://www.nrf2.com/?page_id=38 (9) Stuff to read later list: */Curcumin restores Nrf2 levels and prevents quinolinic acid-induced neurotoxicity. */Curcumin attenuates Nrf2 signaling defect, oxidative stress in muscle and glucose intolerance in high fat diet-fed mice. */Effects of a Water-Soluble Curcumin Protein Conjugate vs. Pure Curcumin in a Diabetic Model of Erectile Dysfunction. */Curcumin enhances non-opsonic phagocytosis of Plasmodium falciparum through up-regulation of CD36 surface expression on monocytes/macrophages. */Function and regulation of the Cyp2a5/CYP2A6 genes in response to toxic insults in the liver.– Curcumin is a vitamin/hormone D analog and is an extract of the root vegetable Turmeric which provides the bright yellow color to Indian curry spice mixes. CYP enzymes are actively involved in vitamin/hormone D metabolism.  /Yes, Vitamin D is needed to produce Nrf2: (15)/ */Role of Nrf2 in preventing ethanol-induced oxidative stress and lipid accumulation. – so yes, speculatively, a deficiency might increase risk of fatty liver disease. */Effects of aging and methionine restriction applied at old age on ROS generation and oxidative damage in rat liver mitochondria. */Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields activate the antioxidant pathway Nrf2 in a Huntington’s disease-like rat model. */Quercetin ameliorates cardiovascular, hepatic, and metabolic changes in diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. */Chamomile Confers Protection against Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Toxicity through Activation of Nrf2 -Mediated Defense Response.
  10. Bhaskaran, Natarajan & Shukla, Sanjeev & Gupta, Sanjay. (2012). Abstract 2594: Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) upregulates heme oxygenase-1 through activation of ERK-Nrf2 signaling: Cytoprotective mechanism against oxidative damage. Cancer Research. 72. 2594-2594. 10.1158/1538-7445.AM2012-2594. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275442168_Abstract_2594_Chamomile_Matricaria_chamomilla_L_upregulates_heme_oxygenase-1_through_activation_of_ERK-Nrf2_signaling_Cytoprotective_mechanism_against_oxidative_damage (10)
  11. Maria de Lourdes Reis Giada, Chapter 4: Food Phenolic Compounds: Main Classes, Sources and Their Antioxidant Power, Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology » “Oxidative Stress and Chronic Degenerative Diseases – A Role for Antioxidants”, book edited by José A. Morales-González, ISBN 978-953-51-1123-8, Published: May 22, 2013    https://www.intechopen.com/books/oxidative-stress-and-chronic-degenerative-diseases-a-role-for-antioxidants/food-phenolic-compounds-main-classes-sources-and-their-antioxidant-power (11)
  12. Roman Chamomile, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000233 (12)
  13. Gina M. DeNicola, Pei-Hsuan Chen, Edouard Mullarky, Jessica A. Sudderth, Zeping Hu, David Wu, Hao Tang, Yang Xie, John M. Asara, Kenneth E. Huffman, Ignacio I. Wistuba, John D. Minna, Ralph J. DeBerardinis, and Lewis C. Cantley., NRF2 regulates serine biosynthesis in non-small cell lung cancer., Nat Genet. 2015 Dec; 47(12): 1475–1481.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4721512/ (13)
  14. Albena T.Dinkova-KostovaAndrey Y.AbramovThe emerging role of Nrf2 in mitochondrial function., Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Vol 88, Part B, Nov 2015, Pages 179-188, Part of special issueNrf2 Regulated Redox Signaling and Metabolism in Physiology and Medicine Edited by 
    G E Mann, H J Forman, M Yamamoto, T Kensler, J D Hayes,

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584915002129 (14)

  15. K Nakai, H Fujii, K Kono, S goto, R Kitazawa, S Kitazawa, M Hirata, M Shinohara, M Fukagawa, S Nishi, Vitamin D Activates the Nrf2-Keap1 Antioxidant Pathway and Ameliorates Nephropathy in Diabetic Rats., American Journal of Hypertension, Volume 27, Issue 4, 1 April 2014, Pages 586–595, https://academic.oup.com/ajh/article/27/4/586/2743232 (15)

 

G3.11: A patient with DID says the voices are not like schizophrenia.

More severe dissociative disorders like Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, MPD) have occurred in some cases of extreme childhood trauma. A strong alter character may develop in the child’s mind that takes over during scary times as a defense strategy. The protective personality may cope with the harsh situation and leave the core personality not only protected from coping with the negative event, but also may leave the memory of the event suppressed from the core personality’s memories. The child or adult may be left with no memories of what happened while the alter personality was in charge.

A person with the condition describes “multiplicity” as being like a bus that has a variety of passengers who may take over driving occasionally, and go and do things without asking, and the bus may not remember it. The “host” or main personality is not the bus driver but is the whole bus.

The full description is in the book, Living with Your Selves, by Sandra J. Hocking and Company;  (G3.34), some of the author’s alters helped write parts of the book. The author would like people to understand that the condition can be coped with and that it isn’t possession by any external force. The alters were all protectors at some stage of the host’s difficult life.

The main difference between DID and less severe forms of dissociative disorders is that memory is suppressed in DID in order to protect the core child personality from whatever trauma is or was going on in the child/former child’s life.

My own feelings of disconnection as a child or as an over-worked adult have never included missing blocks of time or forgetting whole days, which can be symptoms of DID.

Seeing bad memories from above as if watching oneself from the ceiling can be a symptom of milder forms of dissociation. Conversations that you aren’t part of or other voices taking place inside the head may be symptoms of DID. Sandra Hocking mentions that hearing voices externally from inanimate objects like a bicycle would be a symptom of a different type of mental health problem and she encourages talking to someone (other than the bicycle) if any odd voices are being heard.

Recent research has shown that the “voices” that people with schizophrenia symptoms “hear” are actually their own internal sub-vocalizations – their own inner thoughts – but that some disconnection occurred in the brain that seems to make them unable to recognize the “voice” or “voices” as their own thoughts or memories.

Hearing voices may be a symptom that is due to many possible reasons rather than being due to “schizophrenia” – it may be more of a set of symptoms that all resemble “schizophrenia-like symptoms.” Several different nutrient deficiencies may cause a symptoms of “hearing voices“. If a person was deficient in all of the nutrients, which is not uncommon in malnutrition, then supplementing only one of the nutrients would be unlikely to show much improvement in the schizophrenia-like symptoms even though it might have been helping somewhat. All of the nutrients are important for health.

  • The voices heard by patients with these symptoms have been found to be the patient’s own internal monologue but the patient no longer recognizes the voices as their own thoughts or memories from their past.  See:  “When People With Schizophrenia Hear Voices, They’re Really Hearing Their Own Subvocal Speech, Unlike most people, they just can’t tell it’s themselves.By Eliezer Sternberg  (G3.35)

G3.12: Nutrient deficiencies may be a physical and treatable cause symptoms of “hearing voices.”

  • Folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause schizophrenia like symptoms; possibly due to an increase in levels of c-reactive protein. Folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are needed to breakdown c-reactive protein. (G3.36)
  • Genetic differences in metabolism can affect the risk of deficiency in folate and vitamin B12. Genetic screening for methylation cycle differences can help clarify whether extra supplements of the more bioactive methylated forms would be more helpful than standard supplements.
  • And a zinc deficiency and/or copper excess is more common for patients with schizophrenia; so pyroluria, a condition also thought to be due to genetic differences may be an issue. (G3.37)
  • A zinc deficiency prenatally may be linked to schizophrenia later in life: (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1491625) (G3.38)
  • Vitamin D deficiency is more common in people diagnosed with schizophrenia. (G3.39)

Health isn’t easy on a good day for someone of average age and average metabolism. Seeking help from mental health counselors and other healthcare professionals can help provide care for a variety of topics that may not fit easily in visit with the family physician.

A specialist in research explains the oxidative stress chemical process in the background section of a review paper regarding the possible connection between psychiatric disorders and oxidative stress. (G3.110) The short story on the chemistry is about balance between the waste produced when burning energy for use in metabolism and antioxidants available to neutralize the oxidizing chemicals produced as waste. The oxidizing waste chemicals are smaller parts of what was once the larger molecule of sugar, glucose. We do need to be able to use the stored energy from glucose, so having plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables in the diet gives the balance of antioxidants necessary to neutralize the “free radical” waste products. They are like the ions of calcium or magnesium in the way they are “free” to donate or take energy from other molecules, which may leave them in disrepair.

An excerpt gives a summary of oxidative stress and the potential link to psychiatric disorders, (G3.110)

Hence, oxidative stress can be considered as a state where the level of oxidants [hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, nitric oxide, etc.] produced by biological reactions exceeds the oxidants scavenging capacity of the cells. These oxidants modify cellular macromolecules [proteins, DNA, lipids] and alter cellular functions [19] resulting in apoptosis or necrosis [2022].” (Apoptosis or necrosis = cell death)

“The brain with its extensive capacity to consume large amounts of oxygen and production of free radicals, is considered especially sensitive to oxidative damage [12, 23]. Therefore, it is not surprising that oxidative stress is implicated in several disorders of the brain including neurodegenerative disorders [2326], psychiatric ailments [27], and anxiety [28]. This association is largely due to the high vulnerability of brain to oxidative load [27].

Read more: Oxidative Stress and Psychological Disorders, (G3.110).

  • The topic of psychiatric disorders, TRP channels, oxidative stress, infertility and pre-eclampsia is more complex than I’ve led you to believe in this overview and this page is already long so the discussion will be continued on a separate page focused more on TRP channels – they are an exciting topic, see G. Pre-eclampsia &TRP Channels.

So speak nicely to yourself, you might be listening. And it turns out that words can hurt after all, not just sticks and stones. A book called What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter, goes into more detail about the emotional impact that can occur due to how and what we think to ourselves. How we phrase our thoughts and goals can affect our success and enjoyment in life, that seems like a no-brainer, but maybe not to the nervous toddler who is still trying to stand up in the adult sized shoes – a little wobbly but trying. (G3.111)

The glossary section G. Fear & the Inner Child has more information and resources about early childhood experiences and emotional development and the possible creative benefits of dissociation. The section G. Autoimmune Disease & Vitamin D continues the medical discussion of oxidative stress, magnesium deficiency, and why an Epsom salt foot soak or bath might help an autoimmune condition in addition to improving a bad mood and soothing a muscle cramp and sore back – one stop shopping, now that is efficiency.

See a healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)

Crisis Hotlines and Resources:

  • U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255, Available 24 hours everyday. (I.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
  • National Helpline: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: “SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.”  (I.samhsa.org)
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE, (I.RAINN.org)
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway: a variety of toll-free hotline numbers for concerns involving the safety of children. (I.20)
  • Power and Control and Equality Wheels  The following training materials are for helping victims of domestic violence and batterers learn how to recognize problem behaviors but emotional manipulation or abuse of power and control can occur in many types of relationships not just between couples.The Power and Control Wheel (I.21) was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP). (I.22) Manipulative behaviors are grouped into eight categories in the model. An additional Equality Wheel (I.23) was developed to help guide batterers and victims of emotional or physical abuse towards healthier ways to interact. It is grouped into eight equivalent categories with examples of healthier ways to interact with each other. Problems frequently can involve communication issues by both people in a relationship.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

References:

A GMO labeling bill has passed the Senate but it may create loopholes in what will be considered GMO

Genetically modified organisms created for agricultural purposes may be required to be listed on food labels but the wording of the proposed legislation may allow some types of foods or ingredients to not be listed. Refined ingredients that would not be expected to contain “genetic” content (DNA or RNA) may not be required to be listed as GMO.

The risk to health however has to do with the proteins that the GMO DNA cause to be produced throughout the plant rather than the DNA itself. Allergens might be produced that weren’t present in the normal crops. And in Bt GMOs the Bt toxin is produced throughout the plant as an insecticide, even within the part we harvest for food use. And while it is believed to not be harmful to human health it was initially developed as an antibiotic and mineral chelator. And humans depend on having a healthy balance of microbes within the intestines and glyphosate may be harmful to them. A refined ingredient might not contain much DNA protein or much of a Bt endotoxin protein either but it would be nice to have a lab test showing that it wasn’t present in the refined ingredient rather than be concerned only about GMO DNA. Testing for glyphosate residue levels would be of interest to me also.

Read more about the Senate bill on GMO labeling, it is a bipartisan backed bill that is expected to pass the House:  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-food-gmo-vote-idUSKCN0ZO08N

“About 75% of the foodstuffs at the grocery store are now genetically manipulated, in what has been called the world’s largest biological experiment on humans.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36746-monsanto-bayer-and-the-push-for-corporate-cannabis

Sometimes progress can seem like progress but if it misinforms the public then is it really progress? A food label that claims to inform consumers about GMO content but which actually excludes major categories of refined ingredients that are based on GMO crops is providing disinformation – inaccurate information about the food’s content. Sick people who are trying to improve their health wouldn’t be able to trust the labels if the labels still allowed ingredients that were making the sick people to feel sicker. If the goal is supporting an individual’s right to know what is in their food then the labeling requirements ideally would include all types of GMO based ingredients whether the ingredient includes GMO DNA are not.

On a different but related topic — a couple recent posts [1, 2] included history about concerns I’ve had regarding excessive vitamin D and calcium supplementation, the new information I learned about glyphosate provides the likely solution – but more research is needed. The glyphosate information about CYP enzyme inhibition of vitamin D metabolism could be an explanation for the increase in low vitamin D levels observed in the U.S. population. And excessive supplementation with inactive vitamin D may not have been found to be helping as expected because of inhibition by the herbicide glyphosate.

A quote from a book on an unrelated topic: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. page 79, (Harper, 1998)

The question of why U.S. citizens had lower vitamin D levels than Canadians, when I knew our food supply had adequate amounts of vitamin D and that we would collectively be getting more sunshine than Canadians on average with most of the country being located farther south, was a mystery I’ve been pondering ever since learning of it in 2010.

And the inhibition of CYP enzymes by glyphosate could be a cause of low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to supplementation and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population. There was a large increase of the herbicide with Round-Up ready GMO crops and with the introduction of glyphosate as a crop desiccant . (And magnesium deficiency may be another cause of low vitamin D levels when there is plenty of vitamin D available and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population, but more on that later.)

As a dietitian I was uncomfortable ethically in 2010 regarding the high dose supplements being given to people for long term treatment without monitoring the active hormone level and I am still uncomfortable about the potential risks for the minority of people who may develop elevated levels of the active hormone D. Elevated levels can cause worsening of chronic illness and even increase risk of death. A large number of studies have now been performed that have not found high dose supplements to be consistently helpful — and it turns out that the form of the supplements may be inhibited from being activated by glyphosate.

In past writing I’ve included information about types of infection that may be affecting hormone D metabolism in some people but infectious disease is likely to affect a smaller number of people than the population wide levels of low vitamin D that have been observed. Some pathogens are known to modify the vitamin D receptor metabolism. Inhibiting the vitamin D receptor would reduce immune function of the cell and allow the microbe to infect the cell. Infection likely is affecting vitamin D levels for some people but a food contaminant would likely affect a larger percentage of the population.

A GMO labeling law is progress but the law wouldn’t include crops that use glyphosate as a desiccant in addition to excluding some refined but GMO derived ingredients from being listed as GMO and it may be the glyphosate itself – the Round-up herbicide – in Round-up ready crops that is the biggest risk to health– not the genetically modified DNA. And similarly it may be the Bt toxin itself that the genetically modified DNA encodes for rather than the DNA that is a risk to health. The Bt toxin may be causing harm to the intestinal bacteria and may have been modified enough from the original Bt toxin that the genetically modified Bt toxin is now also a risk to the cell walls of human intestinal and red blood cells unlike the Bt toxin that previous research has been based on. Research with the GMO seeds by private research labs or scientists is being limited by the companies that own the GMO seed patents.

Intestinal bacteria can affect mood positively or negatively and an imbalance in magnesium, vitamin D, and calcium can also affect mood. My condolences to all of the families and individuals who have lost loved ones or friends to gun violence. Part of the reason I’ve been concerned about the excess supplementation of vitamin D is because an imbalance in vitamin and hormone D can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can lead to severe irritability and even homicidal violence. Epsom salt baths are inexpensive and provide a form of magnesium that can be absorbed well even when there is an imbalance in the vitamin and hormone D levels which tends to promote calcium absorption in the intestines and increased magnesium losses in the kidneys.

Calcium is also important but the average U.S. diet tends to include many calcium rich sources and promote calcium supplements more than magnesium. Magnesium however is necessary for converting vitamin D into 25 hydroxy D and 1, 25 dihydroxy D in addition to CYP enzymes so magnesium deficiency might also be an underlying factor for low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to vitamin D supplements.  “Data indicate a reduced risk of insufficient/deficient vitamin D status at high magnesium intake and an inverse association between circulating 25-hydroxy vitamin D and mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality, among those with magnesium intake above the median.”  ~ People with more magnesium intake also had better vitamin D levels and reduced risk of death, particularly less risk of death due to heart disease.   http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-11-229

Unlike most other nutrients the blood levels of vitamin D can be affected in a number of different ways as it is actually a hormone rather than being simply controlled by intake of food or supplements. And levels of blood calcium and magnesium are also carefully controlled in a number of ways because they are electrically active. Excess calcium can cause muscle contractions and magnesium helps muscles relax. Excess calcium is associated with more severe coronary artery disease and magnesium deficiency is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Elevated hormone D tends to promote elevated calcium levels and may lead to heart disease and osteoporosis. Elevated calcium levels is also associated with increased risk for kidney failure. the following link has a chart that compares risks of elevated blood cholesterol and calcium and the difference is startling. http://blog.parathyroid.com/high-blood-calcium-risks/

Many nutrients are important (all of them in fact), and an older article (2013) reviews a variety of nutrients and research on violence and aggression and diet or other factors affecting violence such as psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Adequate omega 3 fatty acids may be protective. Cholesterol is essential too, low levels of it is associated with increased aggression according to the article. The review of research was in response to the increase in school shootings (2013): http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/ – that link is to a site that promotes a diet based on the foods that are believed to have been available to ancient people. The article reviews a large number of nutrients and other topics and their possible role in promoting or preventing violence. Magnesium is just one of the many nutrients essential for health but it is also essential for a good mood. There were many other results for the search terms that I used, “magnesium deficiency violence aggression‘: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=magnesium%20deficiency%20violence%20aggression

Solving the mystery has led to information that has helped my health and a GMO label law might make it easier for me to avoid GMO products but it might not be that helpful if the law is written so that many types of GMO ingredients wouldn’t be included and a GMO-free label actually meant only possibly GMO free. The labels wouldn’t be reliable if foods might still contain refined GMO ingredients and yet not be required to have the GMO label.

The list of foods that might be sources of glyphosate or Bt toxin:

It is our right to protect our health and I find my health is improved when I avoid or moderate use of some of those foods, I wasn’t aware of the specific oils on the list but had been avoiding excess poly-unsaturated oils in general because it may increase inflammation to have too little omega 3 fatty acids and too much of certain fatty acids found in poly-unsaturated fats..

  • An imbalance in the two types of fats has also been associated with increased aggression per a link provided earlier:  (2013):  http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/
  • And having certain types of controlling parents has also been associated with increased risk for aggression or violence per the book I quoted earlier in this post: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. quote page 79, (Harper, 1998)

Glyphosate and the  GMO Bt toxin may be affecting our intestinal bacteria which can affect our moods. Disrupted vitamin D metabolism can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can affect our moods. When the body works it seems simple but it isn’t.

The GMO labeling law has language that will identify ingredients as GMO by how refined they are rather than whether the whole food was a GMO or not. Information about GMO content would be helpful but a refined ingredient might still contain glyphosate residue or Bt toxin or other unknown allergens that may have developed during the genetic modification of the organism. Research and testing of those chemicals would be helpful. Labeling laws would be a challenge for the food industry to comply with. Working on using less glyphosate and GMO crops (that have been shown to potentially be hazardous to humans or the environment), seems like a more direct route to improving health to me.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

CYP enzymes are needed to produce both 25 vitamin D and 1, 25 hormone D; and more on glyphosate

The CYP enzymes that were mentioned as being inhibited by glyphosate and necessary for the conversion of 25 hydroxy D into the active 1, 25 dihydroxy D form turn out to also be essential for conversion of vitamin D3* into the 25 hydroxy D form [12] — so glyphosate could be the smoking gun that explains why U.S. citizens on average had lower 25 hydroxy D levels than Canadians (who presumably live farther North and receive less direct sunshine over the course of a year).

  • *I have read more recently that supplements of the D3 version are active in the vitamin D receptor so it may not need the same CYP enzymes to be activated as the D2 supplement form does but the D2 form is more commonly available in supplements, double check the supplement bottle when shopping to see which type is included.  See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944755

And this could help explain why taking high doses of supplemental vitamin D has not been found effective to help raise patient’s 25 hydroxy D levels — if the person has glyphosate within their body inhibiting the CYP enzyme then they wouldn’t be able to convert the vitamin D supplement into the 25 hydroxy D form that the lab test is checking for and the supplemental form wouldn’t show up on lab tests for the 25 hydroxy form (which in normal health would then be available as needed to be converted by a CYP enzyme into the active 1, 25 dihydroxy D form whenever the active form was needed). There are multiple types of CYP enzymes with a variety of roles. Breaking down the active form, 1, 25 dihydroxy D, also requires a type of CYP enzyme.

CYP enzymes are also involved in the production of bile salts which help with the digestion of fat. Intestinal problems with symptoms of fatty diarrhea can occur when there is limited bile salts available and fat soluble nutrients may be more poorly absorbed (which includes vitamin D as well as vitamin A and E).

Glyphosate was not originally developed as an herbicide it was first used medically as a mineral chelator (binds with minerals) and as an antibiotic:

It’s important to realize that glyphosate is not “just” an herbicide. As explained by Dr. Huber, it was first patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, so they’re not physiologically available for your body. [4]

“You may have the mineral [in the plant], but if it’s chelated with glyphosate, it’s not going to be available physiologically for you to use, so you’re just eating a piece of gravel,” Dr. Huber says. [4]

Glyphosate is alsopatented as an antibiotic—and a very effective one at that— against a large number of beneficial organisms. Unfortunately, like all antibiotics, it also kills vitally important beneficial soil bacteria and human gut bacteria. [4]

“Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus faecalis—these are organisms that keep you healthy either by providing accessibility to the minerals in your food or producing many of the vitamins that you need for life. They’re also the natural biological defenses to keep Clostridium, Salmonella, and E.coli from developing in your system,” Dr. Huber explains. [4]

“When you take the good bacteria out, then the bad bacteria fill that void, because there aren’t any voids in nature. We have all of these gut-related problems, whether it’s autism, leaky gut, C. difficile diarrhea, gluten intolerance, or any of the other problems. All of these diseases are an expression of disruption of that intestinal microflora that keeps you healthy.” [4]

Glyphosate first came into use as an agricultural herbicide in the U.S. in 1974. Use of the herbicide in the U.S. increased significantly around 2005 when the use of genetically modified Round-UP Ready crops became more common.  “Nearly 67 % of total agricultural glyphosate use in the U.S. since 1974 has occurred in just the last 10 years (Table 2).” [3] Table 3 from the same reference shows a significant increase in use of glyphosate also occurred between 1995 to 2000 but then the total use doubled again between 2000 and 2005 and has not quite doubled again between 2005 and 2014. Table 4 shows that the timing of use and increase of use is similar for global averages. And Table 5 simplifies the information by showing the amount used each decade since 1974 as a percentage of the total; 71.6% of the total agricultural use occurred in the years between 2005 and 2014. Glyphosate is also used as a spray along railroad tracks and other areas where an herbicide that kills all types of plants is desired (and frequently glyphosate used for non-agricultural purposes may be used in those areas at higher concentrations than recommended for agricultural uses or it may be sprayed more often).  [3]

It is unethical to use humans as research test subjects for assessing the toxicity of a substance but when a substance is approved for use in the food supply then the entire population become test subjects (whether they know or not). Comparing health data between communities or countries that don’t use glyphosate products and those that do then becomes a way to assess toxicity of the substance — without having to worry about any pesky ethical issues in research design — the government says the stuff is safe so it must be safe right? The entire population where a product is in use can be assumed to be in the experimental group on average; individuals may or may not be consuming the same amounts of the substance but on average within the country or community where a product is in the use the average person may be assumed to have been exposed to an average amount that would be more than the average amount of exposure that an individual living in a country or community where the product is not in use making those individuals part of the control group — less exposed to the substance in question.

Assessing the health of populations that may be exposed to larger amounts of the suspected toxin can be another way to do “human” research without directly giving toxins to experimental test subjects in one group and not giving the toxins to the control group.

Agricultural workers might be exposed to more of an agricultural herbicide or pesticide than people who simply are eating foods that might have herbicide or pesticide residues. And sure enough agricultural workers do seem to be suffering from negative health affects due to glyphosate. Kidney failure has been a problem among sugar cane cutters and glyphosate is now used as a desiccant applied to the crop just before harvest. Kidney failure has also been observed in agricultural workers in Costa Rica and India:

Agricultural workers in Costa Rica and India are experiencing high rate of kidney failure.” – [2]

Looking at the rates of increase in disease compared to the rate of increase in use of the suspected toxin can be another way to do “human” research without directly giving an experimental group toxins and not giving the toxin to the control group. When looking at the rate of disease increase there are over thirty diseases including autism and Alzheimer’s Disease with increasing rates of incidence that overlap the increased rate of glyphosate and genetically engineered proteins in our food supply:

2. Epidemiological patterns show there’s an identical rise in over 30 human diseases correlated with our increased usage of glyphosate and the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our food. [4]

Genetically engineered proteins refers to the mystery substances that can be created during the process of developing genetically modified organisms. Genes from one species are inserted into the DNA of the organism that is being modified. The segment of DNA that is inserted may contain many individual genes that encode a variety of proteins in addition to the desired one (such as resistance to glyphosate). New allergenic proteins can be created in addition to the desired goal (of resistance to glyphosate for example). [4]

Do we want a food supply based on traditional foods that nourish the body as nature designed? Or do we want a corporate profit system that sells food like substances that are actually man-made, untested experiments? Genetically modified crops have been shown to have less nutrient content and more herbicide and pesticide residue than traditional crops as well as the mystery genetically engineered proteins.

To give a gross but memorable example – what if the makers of clam tomato juice (a real product used in some alcoholic drinks) wanted to save their product from the risk of ocean acidity or increased temperatures in fresh water ecosystems [5] causing a reduction in the number of clams available for making clam juice and so they decided to develop a genetically modified clam flavored tomato?

The segment of DNA that encodes for clam aroma might be selected for insertion into a tomato seed’s DNA. The segment of DNA from the clam, however, might also include a few other genes that encode for shellfish proteins that cause allergies. If the genetically modified tomato incorporates not only the clam aroma gene but also incorporates some allergy causing shellfish protein genes then the resulting genetically modified clam-tomato would be an allergy risk to people with shellfish allergies.

This would not be a problem if the GM clam-tomato was only used to make clam tomato juice as consumers with shellfish allergies would have a product label that suggested there was clam content in the substance but if the GM clam tomatoes ended up being grown as a replacement for most of the tomatoes and were used in most tomato products  then the shellfish allergic person might not know to start avoiding all tomato products in addition to having to avoid all shellfish products. (This is a smelly and not realistic example; if the GM hybrid worked as hoped then the clam aroma would be obvious whether the label mentioned GMO or not and so shellfish allergy sufferers would likely learn to avoid tomato products after having a few bad reactions or to at least sniff them before eating.)

I digress and am now giggling, sorry for the smelly example. Except that people with fish allergies actually may be at risk from a different type of genetically modified tomatoes:

Tomatoes have been developed that resist frost and freezing temperatures with antifreeze genes from a cold-water fish, the winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus). [9]

The cold-water fish-tomato GMO has not been approved yet for general use so fish allergy sufferers can eat tomato products without worry (yet, tomato isn’t on this list of GMO crops that have been approved for general use: [10] *and I haven’t cross checked this reference for validity, it may be a joke, I read it on the internet after all aplogies to the scientists involved if it isn’t a joke.

But do we really want a food supply based on man-made untested experiments? Or on man-made untested herbicides that may have originally been designed as mineral chelators or antibiotics? Or on man-made untested experiments that produce pesticides within the portion of the plant that is intended to be sold for human or animal consumption? (Bt GMOs are designed to produce a bacterial toxin within all parts of the plant so insects eating any part of the plant will be killed by the bacterial toxin. The GM Bt toxin turns out to be a slightly different shape than the type of Bt toxin that was traditionally used as a surface spray pesticide and which was used as a basis for safety expections about the Bt GMOs. [8] More on Bt crops and other references are in the last post.)

Genetic modification is not well controlled with one specific gene being inserted into the plant to by modified.  A segment with many genes may be inserted and a number of changes can occur within the new species of plant. We are playing with Mother Nature or God’s roles in the creation of life. Genetic modification may be profitable for the agribusinesses or chemical company but it may be costing our environment and individual health more than we realize. Our food supply is not the only species at risk for human manipulation. Goats have been genetically modified to produce spider silk proteins within their milk which is then filtered out to be used to “make a lightweight, ultra-strong silk with a wide range of industrial and medical uses.” [9] *I didn’t cross check this for validity.  (While that’s great for humans is it healthy for the new species baby spider-goats? *my term. The article does not mention whether baby spider-goats are allowed to nurse from their mother’s or if they are bottle fed goat milk from normal goats.)

If there’s a summary point it may be that we really need to stop the use of glyphosate and Round-Up Ready genetically modified crops and Bt crops and any others that have been associated with up to or over 30 diseases. “Proof” that something is harmful can be difficult to provide when human clinical trials can’t ethically be performed due to the risks of the experimental substance. We have to rely on the less clear but increasing large amount of circumstantial evidence that humans (and animals and insects and soil microbes) are being harmed by the man-made and largely untested experimental crops and chemical herbicides and pesticides. Agricultural workers as a group are among the most at-risk group of industrial workers for suffering acute or long-term health problems due to chemical exposure [6] — they are producing our “food” or are they producing our “food-like toxin delivery units“?

Lack of protective gear and safety information in a foreign language are part of the problem of farm-worker poisonings. The majority of acute (short-term high dose exposure) poisonings occur in developing nations even though the they don’t use the majority of total pesticides used globally. “As a result of the frequently problematic handling of pesticides in developing countries, 70% of all pesticide poisonings and 99% of resulting deaths occur in these countries, despite the fact that of all pesticides used globally, only 25% are applied there.[41]” [6]

It’s a little unrealistic but individually if enough consumers stopped buying all of the Round-Up Ready GMO crops and crops that use it as a desiccant and Bt crops then maybe eventually the agribusiness profit margin would be affected enough to lead to their spontaneously stopping the use of those products. I won’t hold my breath though, I will just continue avoiding the products myself as I have found they do make my autoimmune symptoms worse.

This is likely an incomplete list but just for starters:

The glyphosate avoid list: “corn, soy, sugar beets, canola oil, and cottonseed oil, as well as wheat and sugar cane” (glyphosate is used as a desiccant on wheat and sugar cane) [http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/roundup-the-nontoxic-chemical-that-may-be-destroying-our-health/]

The Bt avoid list: corn, cotton (the cotton crop may be used to make cottonseed oil which is used in prepared deep fried foods, in margarine, and other oily packaged foods). [9, 10] *I’m not sure if this means cotton clothing should also be avoided as a source of glyphosate exposure or if it is just in reference to the cottonseed oil products.

And soy has been modified not only to be glyphosate resistant but it has also been developed to produce two types of Bt toxin. [11]

At least 90 percent of the soy, cotton, canola, corn and sugar beets sold in the United States have been genetically engineered. The adoption of herbicide-resistant corn, which had been slower in previous years, has accelerated, reaching 89 percent of U.S. corn acreagein 2014 and in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [9]

Genetically modified products can be life saving, and they may even be able to help save species at risk from widespread infections (papaya was at great risk from a virus and the genetic modification made a GMO virus resistant strain of papaya), but they can also be a wild-card with unknown effects on the environment and within humans and other species. The genetically modified papaya may have risks for allergy sufferers as the virus protein that was used has similar chemical structure to a known allergen and wind is causing cross-pollination and hybridization of the virus resistant strains with organic farmer’s natural strains of papaya which can then leave them at risk of being sued by the chemical company Monsanto for use of patented crop. [12]

“If you control the seed, you control the food; if you control the food, you control the people.” – an old saying shared by Hawaii Co. Councilwoman Margaret Wille at a “March against Monsanto” rally. [13]

Hawaii has had a significant amount of herbicides and pesticides and GMO crops used on the chain of islands because the Monsanto company has been raising the GMO seeds there. Hawaii Co. councilwoman Margaret Wille also shared the concern of farmers who would like to be able to sell their crops to Japan and European countries that have banned GMO crops. If wind can cause cross-hybridization of an organic crop that not only places the farmer at risk of a lawsuit by Monsanto it also makes the crop unable to be sold to Japan or other countries that have banned GMO crops. [14]

There is a market for non-GMO food. Crops and soil microbes and weeds are at risk of incorporating genes from genetically modified crops into their own genetic structure through cross pollination with the GMO pollen or horizontal gene transfer. The segments of genes that are inserted into a plant to create a GMO can transfer to some other types of species such as soil microbes directly in a way somewhat similar to the way the scientist made the GMO. The gene segments were designed to invade and be incorporated into the species being modified and once they are in widespread use in nature they may be continuing to invade and be incorporated into many other life forms to create super weeds and possibly may be adding to the problem of increasing varieties of drug resistant bacteria and the more virulent viral diseases that are being spread at increased rates by mosquitoes. [14]

Human health and Vitamin D and hormone D are important but so is protecting the environment and all of its many life forms from mobile mutant gene segments. Humans are not Mother Nature or God and so we need to stop pretending that random genetic experiments are automatically safe for widespread use with only minimal testing.

Increased rates of over thirty diseases have been associated with the introduction of GMO crops and the increased use of glyphosate and 70% of the glyphosate has been used in just the last ten years. What are we to expect regarding chronic illness and more virulent virus and drug resistant bacteria in another ten years?

*This veered away from glyphosate’s inhibition of the CYP enzyme and vitamin D and whatever my original point might have been (that glyphosate may be inhibiting the conversion of supplemental vitamin D into the form the lab tests look for — 25 hydroxy D as well as inhibiting the activation of 25 hydroxy D into the hormone form 1, 25 dihydroxy D which is essential for many things including immune health), into a more general discussion of GMOs and the environment, but the connection is that most species have many similarities in how their bodies work. And problems in human health are going to suggest problems will be occurring in other mammals’ health — our pets, livestock and wildlife. The enzymes for vitamin and hormone D and the functions of  vitamin D receptor act in the same ways across many species and types of life. Health problems are likely to show up throughout the food chain due to the glyphosate being applied on food crops and for non agricultural purposes.

It lingers in the environment and in our bodies as it’s not readily broken down. Ten years of heavy use has already led to super weeds and health problems and the approval of DDT for GMO use — we need to stop risking we don’t know what kind of consequences as more toxins add up and interact in ways we also don’t know the consequences of. GMOs are very helpful but should be tested in small isolated areas for many years before being released into general use. And the issue of horizontal gene transfer and risk of more super-weeds and more virulent or drug resistant bacteria developing is a serious one that should be considered also. Genetic modification may need to be limited for use in general — it is an ethical question facing future generations as the chemicals linger.

As individuals we can avoid using glyphosate products on our own lawns and gardens. We can also try to buy more organic choices of the foods listed above but truly avoiding all of those foods is extremely difficult as they are used as ingredients in many types of processed foods that you wouldn’t think of as corn or soy or cottonseed oil (deep fried snack foods like chips). But for people who are really sick it may be worth trying to use less of the listed foods and see if you feel better. Food is our fuel and our building blocks to repair and regrow.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. Jones G, et. al., Cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism of vitamin D, J Lipid Res. 2014 Jan; 55(1): 13–31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3927478/
  2. Seneff, S., Roundup (C): The Elephant in the Room, MIT CSAIL, Oct. 16, 2013,  [https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/glyphosate/glyphosate_wellesley.pptx]
  3. Charles M. Benbrook, Trends in Glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globallyEnvironmental Sciences EuropeBridging Science and Regulation at the Regional and European Level 2016 28:3 (Feb. 2, 2016)
    https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0
  4. Dr. Mercola, Toxicology Expert Speaks Out About Roundup and GMOs(Oct. 16, 2013) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/06/dr-huber-gmo-foods.aspx
  5. by Guy Woodward, Daniel M. Perkins, Lee E. Brown, Climate change and freshwater ecosystems: impacts across multiple levels of organizationhttp://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1549/2093 *Interesting but unrelated to CYP enzymes or glyphosate: Increased freshwater temperature can be expected to impact species’ need for nutrients as the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is increased at higher temperatures and it also increases with larger body size. So larger species may have a difficult time increasing their foraging enough to meet their increased calorie needs as their environment becomes warmer on average.

    “Essentially, because individual basal metabolic rate (BMR) is set by body size and temperature, respiratory costs will rise as BMR increases, and this will be most pronounced among larger organisms at higher temperatures (Brown et al. 2004; figure 4a).”

  6. Pesticides and Health Hazards: Facts and Figures, Pestizid Aktions-Netzwerk e.V PAN Germany, (2012)  http://www.pan-germany.org/download/Vergift_EN-201112-web.pdf
  7. [http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/roundup-the-nontoxic-chemical-that-may-be-destroying-our-health/]
  8. http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/3-health-hazards-gm-foods/3-8-myth-gm-bt-insecticidal-crops-harm-insects-harmless-animals-people/
  9. http://www.livescience.com/40895-gmo-facts.html
  10. http://time.com/3840073/gmo-food-charts/
  11. http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/01/11/new-double-bt-toxic-soy-just-approved-us-department-agriculture/
  12. http://butterbeliever.com/trouble-in-paradise-gmo-papayas-from-hawaii/
  13. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/us/on-hawaii-a-lonely-quest-for-facts-about-gmos.html?_r=0
  14. Hawaii Co. Councilwoman Margaret Wille on bill to ban GMO on the islandhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY_nYv_7uI4