By Jessica Yoches, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Marie Starling
GMO’s, or genetically modified organisms, permeate today’s food supply, and are of major concern because of their impact on health, hormone balance, and the micro-biome.
According to one report, “More than 80% of the foods we eat on a daily basis contain one or more types of GMOs.1” Unfortunately, food manufacturers are not required to label genetically modified foods.
GMO consumption contributes to a leaky gut, the foundation of our health and a major issue we see at The Healing Center. Minimizing contributing factors for leaky gut is critical for increasing your health.
At The Healing Center Denver, we practice functional medicine and specialize in autoimmune conditions, healing a leaky gut, providing detoxification support and more, as well as resolving complicated and unresolved issues. Adding toxic substances to the body is not ideal, especially for those with Hashimoto’s, MS, Lupus, Celiac disease, or methylation impairment from Gene Snips and MTHFR.
- GMO foods serve two purposes: first, they are altered genetically to exhibit desired traits. For example, attaining uniform size or color for a tomato. Genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant to exhibit a desired trait. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or humans.
- Second, GMO crops are grown to be resistant to pests and chemicals, such as Roundup, or glyphosate.
- Round up with glyphospate binds critical minerals in the soil so they become unavailable for the plant’s production of energy. The genetic modification allows alternate pathways of energy production to be utilized by the plant.
- This is great in theory, but in practicality it creates mineral deficient plants and unusual fungal overgrowth.
- The use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture implies the use of toxic chemicals, mainly glyphosate, which soaks into the soil.
- The GMO plant is resistant to glyphosate, while the surrounding weeds are not, allowing the plant to thrive while the weeds die.
Why are GMOs a concern?
Research on the safety of long-term use and consumption of GMOs has not been conducted, but studies have shown they:
- Increase allergies and sensitivities to foods
- Toxically affect organs and systems, such as the hepatic, renal, and reproductive systems2
- Disrupt the Endocrine system
- Are neuro-toxic
- Contribute to antibiotic resistance
- Alter biochemical balance and disrupt the immune system2
- Cause reproductive system disorders
- Expedite aging
- The use of recombinant GH in GMOs is also of concern because “it increases IGF-1, which may promote cancer.2”
- “Contain enhanced amounts of heavy metals.3”
- Disrupt our gut-microbiome, allowing pathogenic bacteria to thrive
Another concern: the super-weeds that become resistant to Roundup and other herbicides, necessitating either an increase in herbicide use or finding a new chemical to spray with.
Alternatively, these weeds can cross-pollinate with the GMO crops so that they acquire the same genes that will also make them resistant to Roundup, and thus super-weeds.
The use of Round up also affects the beneficial insects that protect plants from crop pests, and most likely affects the whole food chain, from the soil to the plant to the animal or human consuming the food5.
It is possible that “residues from herbicide or pest resistant plants could harm key groups of organisms found in surrounding soil, such as bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and other microorganisms5.”
Lastly, studies have demonstrated how glyphosate suppresses beneficial gut bacteria that protect us from Clostridium and other pathogenic bacteria’s. Heavy consumption of glyphosate sprayed foods led to the decrease of beneficial gut bacteria and to an increase in gut dysbiosis and disease.
GMO consumption alters our gut microbiome and the beneficial bacteria we need to fend off diseases. We also don’t know if genetically altered bacteria or substances can trade genes with our own, another potential issue of concern.
What Foods to Avoid
The most common GMO containing foods are:
- Sugar Beets
- Salmon (from AquaBounty and unlabeled!)
- Foods with canola and corn oils, and their byproducts
How to Avoid GMO foods
- Plant your own garden or join a community garden
- Buy locally from a farmer or farmers market
- Look for foods labeled GMO-free
- Shop for organic produce (by law, they can contain no more than 5%)1
Shopping locally and knowing who grows your food will reduce your exposure. Your dollar is a vote, so vote for local, organic food grown without genetic alteration and the use of toxic chemicals. Two great movies to watch for more information are My Fathers Garden, and The World According to Monsanto.