As we celebrate Earth Day this week, we are reminded how important it is to continue making healthy choices for the environment…choices that have a direct effect on our own health and wellness. In today’s world, the growing impacts of environmental injustices can feel overwhelming. But it’s important to remember that we can take actions, for example, by defending against harmful chemicals and toxins that pollute our environments. Every step counts.
One of the most immediate things we can do today is limit pesticide and agricultural chemical exposure, by choosing organic foods and household products. This is particularly important to avoid glyphosate—the number one pesticide in the world.
Why is Glyphosate So Dangerous?
Glyphosate is used as a weedkiller, but it was first patented as an industrial metal chelator because it strips mineral deposits from pipes and other machinery.  That means it also does the same thing in your body, depleting essential nutrient reserves.
Glyphosate also destroys your microbiome, and promotes gut dysbiosis by eradicating healthy good bacteria, while promoting the growth and spread of harmful microbes in your gut. It is also shown to promote antibiotic resistance in aggressive pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli.
Research continues to show that glyphosate is bad enough on its own. However, it’s also used in combination with other highly toxic agricultural chemicals including:
- 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid)
These toxin combinations are creating what experts are calling “toxic soup”— and we have minimal understanding of how these chemicals interact together to create even more dangerous compounds. But the research coming out is showing cause for alarm.
One of the biggest problems with glyphosate is that it tricks your body into storing it, and increases your risk of serious health problems:
- Depletion of minerals such as manganese and iron that can lead to diabetes, neurological diseases, and many other conditions [3,4]
- Gut dysbiosis, which disrupts immune function and increases inflammation, putting you at risk for dozens of chronic diseases 
- Impaired detox abilities which can lead to numerous conditions including cancer 
- Impaired neurotransmitter function, with serious impacts to mental health and cognitive function 
Which Foods Have the Most Glyphosate?
There are currently more than 220 chemical pesticides sprayed on produce grown in the US…with glyphosate at the top of this list.
Even more concerning, research shows that some of the highest glyphosate-containing foods are ones that kids consume regularly: [9,10]
- Orange juice
- Granola bars
- Whole grain pasta
These and other foods may contain seemingly small amounts of this health-robbing toxins, but experts emphasize that regular doses, even small, can add up to serious health impacts. Especially since glyphosate can be stored in tissues and organs.
As mentioned, there are things we can do to protect ourselves and our families from the damage of glyphosate and other agricultural toxins. Emphasizing organic is important, but we can go beyond that and take action to keep glyphosate out of our environments, and our bodies.
Take Action against Glyphosate
The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit research and consumer advocacy group that works toward environmental justice through education, policy reform and other actions.
Take action today and sign their petition to help remove glyphosate from our food systems, here.
There’s also a new, independent certification that manufacturers can obtain to verify products as glyphosate-free. While still in the early stages, this new certification may be something to keep an eye out for, as awareness about the dangers of glyphosate continues to climb.
How to Detox and Defend against Glyphosate
Because glyphosate is so prevalent, and can be stored for a long time in the body, one of the most important strategies is gentle detoxification to help remove this pervasive toxin and prevent it from accumulating in tissues.
In my practice, I recommend a targeted pesticide detox formula that includes the following natural binders to help kick glyphosate and other pesticides out:
- Citrus pectin that supports optimal gut health and detox, removes excess cholesterol and binds and eliminates heavy metals in the GI tract [11,12]
- Alginates from kelp work in the GI tract to help prevent pesticide accumulation while also binding and eliminating other toxins and heavy metals [13,14]
- Glycine, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to master antioxidant glutathione. [15,16] Glyphosate mimics glycine, so your body stores glyphosate mistakenly—but taking extra glycine helps prevents this 
- Organic kelp, which contains essential minerals such as iodine to prevent toxins and radioactive ions from being absorbed into the thyroid gland
Pesticides including glyphosate are not going away any time soon. However, pressure is mounting, as more and more countries ban the use of glyphosate and other dangerous chemicals. As we continue to make our choices and voices heard, we also need to take proactive steps—like incorporating gentle yet effective detox measures— to defend against environmental toxins and safeguard long-term health and wellness in today’s modern world.
1) Mertens M, Höss S, Neumann G, Afzal J, Reichenbecher W. Glyphosate, a chelating agent-relevant for ecological risk assessment?. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018;25(6):5298–5317.
2) Kurenbach B, Marjoshi D, Amábile-Cuevas CF, et al. Sublethal exposure to commercial formulations of the herbicides dicamba, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and glyphosate cause changes in antibiotic susceptibility in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. mBio. 2015;6(2):e00009-15.
3) Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies. Surg Neurol Int. 2015;6:45.
4) Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013;6(4):159–184.
5) Rueda-Ruzafa L, Cruz F, Roman P, Cardona D. Gut microbiota and neurological effects of glyphosate. Neurotoxicology. 2019 Dec;75:1-8.
6) Woźniak E, et al. Glyphosate affects methylation in the promoter regions of selected tumor suppressors as well as expression of major cell cycle and apoptosis drivers in PBMCs (in vitro study).Toxicol In Vitro. 2020 Mar;63:104736.
7) Martínez MA, et al. Neurotransmitter changes in rat brain regions following glyphosate exposure. Environ Res. 2018 Feb;161:212-219
8) U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2018 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary, https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/2018PDPAnnualSummary.pdf Published December 10, 2019. Accessed February 25, 2020.
9) List of 50+ Foods Containing Weedkiller Ingredient Glyphosate. https://www.weedkillercrisis.com/topics/list-of-foods-containing-glyphosate/ Published March 31, 2019. Accessed February 25, 2020.
10) Glyphosate Contamination in Food Goes Far Beyond Oat Products. https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2019/02/glyphosate-contamination-food-goes-far-beyond-oat-products Published February 28, 2019. Accessed February 25, 2020.
11) Brouns F, et al. Cholesterol-lowering properties of different pectin types in mildly hyper-cholesterolemic men and women. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 May;66(5):591-9.
12) Eliaz I, Weil E, Wilk B. Integrative medicine and the role of modified citrus pectin/alginates in heavy metal chelation and detoxification–five case reports. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007 Dec;14(6):358-64.
13) Wilks MF, et al. (2008) Improvement in Survival after Paraquat Ingestion Following Introduction of a New Formulation in Sri Lanka. PLoS Med 5(2): e49.
14) Sears ME. Chelation: harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification–a review. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013;2013:219840.
15) Pérez-Torres I, et al., Beneficial Effects of the Amino Acid Glycine. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2017;17(1):15-32.
16) Lee DY, Kim EH. Therapeutic Effects of Amino Acids in Liver Diseases: Current Studies and Future Perspectives. J Cancer Prev. 2019;24(2):72–78.
17) Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate pathways to modern diseases V: amino acid analogue of glycine in diverse proteins. J Biol Phys Chem (2016) 16:9–49.10.4024/03SA16A.jbpc.16.01