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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Is Roundup by Monsanto Behind Skyrocketing Celiac Disease?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Image: CC-Benjah_BMM27

    Celiac.com 04/03/2014 - Since the introduction of glyphosate-based herbicides, like Roundup, by Monsanto in the 1970s, celiac disease levels have increased 400%. Could these herbicides play a significant role in driving the autoimmune condition that is celiac disease?

    Photo: CC--msdonnaleeA team of independent researchers claims that data show glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup, to be the most important causal factor in epidemic rises in celiac disease levels.

    The researchers were independent Scientist Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Their paper on the subject is called Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance, and it may be read in its entirety in Interdisciplinary Toxicology.

    Some interesting tidbits from their paper include:

    Celiac.com 04/03/2014 - Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria.

    Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut.

    Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to chelate these elements.

    Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids.

    Celiac disease patients have an increased risk to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has also been implicated in glyphosate exposure.

    Reproductive issues associated with celiac disease, such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects, can also be explained by glyphosate.

    Glyphosate residues in wheat and other crops are likely increasing recently due to the growing practice of crop desiccation just prior to the harvest.

    The researchers argue that the practice of “ripening” sugar cane with glyphosate may explain the recent surge in kidney failure among agricultural workers in Central America.

    They conclude with a plea to governments to reconsider policies regarding the safety of glyphosate residues in foods.

    The repost offers compelling data to support the claim, and certainly the report will receive a great deal of attention, but it remains to be seen how much provable evidence the report contains.

    There's an old saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim that Monsanto's glyphosate-based Roundup is driving global rates of celiac disease is an extraordinary claim. As such, more than circumstantial evidence, however compelling, will be needed to prove this claim one way or the other.

    Doubtless, this is a story that merits close scrutiny. Stay tuned to see what specific evidence, if any, can be offered in support of the assertions about the data made by the researchers.

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    Sure anything can be analyzed with research, but Italy has a 10% celiac diagnosis and they don't support Monsanto products. Mostly the USA supports these types of products. Do you know more about this?

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    This study has been discredited and debunked all over the internet because of it's inability to show cause and effect between the use of glyphosates and celiac disease. We know that the prevalence of celiac disease has skyrocketed, but we also know that the environmental changes since the Fort Walton samples were first taken are innumerable. There has been such a variety of unknown poisons fracked into the water table, run into or directly dumped into our rivers, so many different chemicals used on lawns and farms and in industry that we can only guess which ones are killing us.

     

    But the points Jefferson makes aren't going to go away. Truly the claims weren't well-proved, but neither have they been disproved because there hasn't been near enough testing on humans to show that RoundUp, as commonly used, is safe for our consumption.

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    Guest Peter Olins, PhD

    Posted

    The simple answer is, no!

     

    I suspect that many people will just read the abstract of the Samsel/Seneff article, and assume that it is true. Few people on earth will have the stomach to read the whole article, let alone verify if the numerous references actually support their alarming claims. I have spent several days doing just that, and am pleased to report that the article provides no reason for concern that glyphosate causes celiac disease! In fact, in my reading, I was surprised to discover how much research has been actually done on glyphosate, and was amazed by the large margin of safety.

     

    I think we just need to put this notion to rest, and move on.

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    Thank you!! Very intriguing!

    I found Dr. Seneff years ago when she was talking about cholesterol, brilliant mind. Regardless if you can 'prove beyond a reasonable doubt' that GMO and RoundUp and other toxins are causing Autism, Alzheimer's or any other Auto Immune disease including celiac (which we all have in our family but didn't know it until just recently). Diet is responsible for the skyrocketing numbers, you are what you eat.

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    I don't know if Roundup caused my celiac disease, but I do know how sick I got after being sprayed with it by a country road crew spraying it along the road in front of my house. I get stomach pains from eating GMOs and other foods associated with that herbicide. And considering all of the other health damage that can be caused for everyone, by that toxic chemical, I will continue to avoid eating anything that is likely to be contaminated with it. Anyone who claims that a chemical herbicide or pesticide is totally safe have a right to their own opinion, but should respect that other people also have a right to question harmful substances, that may impact their health and safety. Pesticides and herbicides kill stuff. That is their only purpose. Naturally, sensible people are going to consider that, and try to avoid them as much as possible.

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    Sure anything can be analyzed with research, but Italy has a 10% celiac diagnosis and they don't support Monsanto products. Mostly the USA supports these types of products. Do you know more about this?

    Regardless of whether they allow GM seeds or not, Italy uses plenty of glyphosate.

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    Good to know you're taking advice on biomedical issues from a computer scientist.

    Computer scientists (software and hardware engineers) are the ultimate detectives and masters of logic, not lawyers.

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    Despite being pretty far to the left on most social issues, I am growing tired of the left continuously trying to link every scientific advancement in food production to celiac and other diseases. The fact is that even more people would be hungry than there are now without these amazing ways to grow food in harsh conditions (weather, insects, etc). With the epic droughts we've had lately in California and the southern plains, we'd be facing substantially higher food prices than we already are.

     

    I am also alarmed that when I see articles like this, there is not even a passing comment about the higher awareness and better diagnosis of celiac disease over these last couple of decades. When I was diagnosed seven years ago, testing for celiac disease was one of the LAST things my doctor thought to look for - it took nearly two years! Doesn't anyone think that might be why celiac is "on the rise"? Maybe it's just that celiac DIAGNOSIS is on the rise, but not the occurrence of the disease itself.

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    This is an interesting hypothesis but the data do not bear it out. Regulations to allow glycophosphate to be used on foods entering the EU were only approved in 2002.

     

    Yet the significant increases in celiac rates in many European countries predate use of glycophosphates. For example there was a dramatic increase in Sweden in the mid-1990s that other researchers have attempted to explain.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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