This Earth Day, educate yourself about the dangers of glyphosate, aka the weedkiller Roundup. This pervasive —and invasive — toxin not only destroys the environment, but it also damages our health in multiple ways.
And unfortunately, glyphosate is everywhere — the food we eat, the air we breathe, the beverages we drink. And unlike other pesticides, glyphosate cannot be rinsed off or cooked out of food.
Organic foods are grown without glyphosate, which means if you switch to a mostly organic diet, you will reduce your exposure to glyphosate considerably. But even organic foods may hold traces of glyphosate because the pesticide can drift through the air for miles.
How Glyphosate Wrecks the Environment
Glyphosate — the most-used pesticide in the world even though it is banned in many countries — harms the planet in several ways, including:
- Contaminating soil: Glyphosate can persist in soil for long periods of time, leading to soil contamination. This can reduce soil fertility and affect the growth of plants, including crops.
- Harming biodiversity: Glyphosate can kill non-target plant species, including important habitat for wildlife. This can lead to a decline in biodiversity in affected areas.
- Polluting water: Glyphosate can also poison waterways when it runs off fields and into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes. This can harm aquatic plants and animals and negatively affect water quality.
- Killing insects: Glyphosate can also wipe out beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies, which play an essential role in pollinating crops and wild plants.
How Glyphosate Is Silently Destroying Your Health
Glyphosate was first patented in the 1960s as an industrial metal chelator because it strips mineral deposits from pipes and other machinery.(1) It can do the same thing in your body — deplete essential nutrient reserves.
Glyphosate also wreaks havoc within your microbiome, setting the stage for gut dysbiosis by eradicating beneficial bacteria while promoting the growth and spread of harmful microbes. It has also been shown to promote antibiotic resistance in aggressive pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli.(2)
Research continues to show that glyphosate turns even more poisonous when it is combined with other highly toxic agricultural chemicals, including:
- 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid)
It’s shocking to think about, but glyphosate can be stored in tissues and organs for years. The pesticide tricks your body into storing it, increasing your risk of serious health problems, including:
- 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(5)
- Impaired detox abilities which can lead to many conditions including cancer(6)
- Impaired neurotransmitter function, with serious impacts to mental health and cognitive function(7)
Which Foods Are Highest in Glyphosate?
There are more than 220 chemical pesticides sprayed on produce grown in the U.S., and glyphosate tops the list. Foods and crops highest in glyphosate (non-organic versions):
- Sugar beets
- Canola oil
And research shows that foods high in glyphosate foods are those that kids consume regularly, including(8,9)
- Orange juice
- Granola bars
- Whole-grain pasta
How to Detox and Defend against Glyphosate
There are things you can do to protect yourself and your family against glyphosate and other agricultural toxins. Emphasizing organic foods is important, but you can go even further. Here’s how to reduce your exposure:
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit research and consumer advocacy group that fosters environmental justice through education, policy reform, and other actions. To contribute, you can sign the EWG’s petition to help remove glyphosate from our food systems.
For an extra layer of protection, seek out products that have a Glyphosate Residue Free label. The products are tested by an accredited laboratory at least three times per year, supplying extra assurance against glyphosate exposure in foods that consumers buy. More than 100 food and supplement brands and thousands of products have been certified, and many more are coming to market. You can learn more about the products that have this label at this link.
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(10,11)
- Alginates from kelp work in the GI tract to help prevent pesticide accumulation while also binding and eliminating other toxins and heavy metals(12,13)
- Glycine, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to master antioxidant glutathione. (14,15 )Glyphosate mimics glycine, so your body stores glyphosate mistakenly — but taking extra glycine helps prevents this(16)
- Organic kelp, which has essential minerals such as iodine to prevent toxins and radioactive ions from being absorbed into the thyroid gland
Pesticides such as glyphosate are not going away any time soon; however, the 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.
ENCORE WEEKEND: Environmental Toxicants, Autoimmunity, and Chronic Diseases Summit
>> Click here to register to get access to this discussion and the 50+ other experts!
You may also like: 6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Glyphosate in Foods & Our Environment
- 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.
- 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.
- Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies. Surg Neurol Int. 2015;6:45.
- Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013;6(4):159–184.
- Rueda-Ruzafa L, Cruz F, Roman P, Cardona D. Gut microbiota and neurological effects of glyphosate. Neurotoxicology. 2019 Dec;75:1-8.
- 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.
- Martínez MA, et al. Neurotransmitter changes in rat brain regions following glyphosate exposure. Environ Res. 2018 Feb;161:212-219
- 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.
- List of 50+ Foods Containing Weedkiller Ingredient Glyphosate. https://www.weedkillercrisis.com/topics/list-of-foods-containing-glyphosate/ Published March 31, 2019.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sears ME. Chelation: harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification–a review. Scientific World Journal. 2013;2013:219840.
- Pérez-Torres I, et al., Beneficial Effects of the Amino Acid Glycine. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2017;17(1):15-32.
- 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.
- 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