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As a health-conscious consumer, you’re already doing everything you can to steer clear of harmful toxins.
You’re consistent with sunscreen usage… use all-natural cleaning products… invested in a high-quality air purifier…
But is all of that enough?
Those strategies, while incredibly effective, only address what’s going on outside of your body.
But what about what’s going into your body?
Because believe it or not, some of your favorite “healthy” foods might actually be hurting you more than they’re helping you, mainly due to the astonishing amount of glyphosates they contain.
If you’ve never heard of glyphosates, you’re not alone. Not many people are aware of this harmful toxin, its disturbingly common presence in our food supply, and the damage it can do to your gut.
What Is Glyphosate?
Before we dive into how glyphosates affect your gut, let’s take a closer look at what they are, what they do, and how they can be introduced into your body.
Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide, a substance created to destroy unwanted vegetation. They’re commonly known as “weed killers,” since that is what herbicides are most often sprayed on.
Glyphosate can be sold in various forms, including liquid concentrates, ready-to-use liquids, and solids. They’re found in many of the most popular weed killers found in nurseries and home improvement stores. In fact, they’re so common that in just the U.S., there are over 750 products for sale that contain glyphosate.
What Is Glyphosate Used For?
Glyphosates have agricultural, commercial, and residential uses.
The farming industry uses them to cut down invasive vegetation while leaving more space for growing crops such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Glyphosates are also used by homeowners and business owners who want to have tidy landscaping without spending time each week pulling weeds.
Exposure to Glyphosate
If you use weed killers in your garden, here are some ways you might be exposed to glyphosates.
- Touching it, getting it in your eyes, or inhaling it while you’re using it
- Touching plants that are still wet after glyphosate application
- Ingesting it if you don’t wash your hands after applying it
In weed killers, glyphosate is also mixed with other ingredients. Combined, they can have toxic effects on humans and pets.
If you think you may have been exposed to glyphosates, here are some signs to look out for.
- Skin or eye irritation
- Irritation or burning sensation in the nose and throat
- Increased and/or excessive saliva production
- Burns in the mouth and throat
Pets are particularly vulnerable to glyphosate poisoning, since they may touch, lick, or eat plants that are still wet from weed killers.
Here are some symptoms your pet may exhibit if they’ve ingested glyphosate.
- Loss of appetite
But weed killers are only one path to glyphosate exposure. Even if you aren’t a gardener, you can still be exposed to glyphosates. The most common way this occurs is when you eat GMOs.
What Are GMOs?
GMO. You’ve probably seen those initials before, and hopefully know that you should be doing your best to avoid them.
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. These are organisms that have had their DNA modified by scientists, changing their genetic makeup. While animals can be GMO, it’s very rare. Most GMO products are plants, especially crops.
Companies create GMO products for a variety of reasons.
- They want crops with higher resistance to herbicides. This way, when weed killers (including glyphosates) are sprayed, the crops themselves will survive.
- They want crops that won’t be negatively impacted by insecticides. This allows them to control bugs, rodents, etc. without losing crops.
Because genetically modified crops are immune to the side effects of pesticides, these companies can spray them with increasingly excessive amounts of herbicides and pesticides without lowering their production.
Unfortunately, this means that GMOs are often saturated with pesticides, especially the glyphosates we mentioned above.
Glyphosates and Gut Health
While the makers of glyphosates maintain that it is low in toxicity, there are numerous studies that question its safety.
Glyphosates and Gut Microbiome Balance
Recent studies show that, in the human body, glyphosates act as an antibiotic.
And you might think it’s a good thing, like the antibiotics that you’d take for an infection or illness.
But in reality, an antibiotic is any substance that attacks and destroys microorganisms. And in this case, the glyphosates aren’t attacking harmful invaders within your body.
Instead, glyphosates are attacking the beneficial bacteria in your gut, the ones that maintain the correct balance in your gut microbiome.
Your gut microbiome is home to two types of bacteria.
- Beneficial (“good”) bacteria that promote digestive health, improve your immune response, and boost your overall well-being
- Pathogenic (‘bad”) bacteria that wreak havoc on your emotional, physical, and mental health
The space within your gut microbiome is limited, so when one type of bacteria flourishes, it crowds out the other kind.
Ideally, your gut microbiome will be occupied by healthy, thriving colonies of beneficial bacteria, with little to no room left for pathogenic bacteria.
Unfortunately, for most people, the opposite is true. The colonies of “bad” bacteria are greater in strength and size, leading to a gut imbalance known as dysbiosis.
And products such as glyphosates make dysbiosis so much worse. By targeting the beneficial bacteria, they create space for the pathogenic bacteria to multiply, resulting in a number of health issues.
Along with the digestive issues associated with dysbiosis, scientists have also found that glyphosates can affect the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems.
Plus, study participants exposed to glyphosates were more likely to develop neurological disorders such as ADD/ADHD, autism, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Syndrome.
Glyphosates and Food Intolerances
Glyphosates can also lead to what is commonly known as a “leaky gut”.
Your gut lining is like a net, with tiny holes. When the lining is damaged, these holes become so large that they can no longer act as an effective barrier.
When this happens, toxic substances including bad bacteria, undigested food particles, and more can enter your system and cause considerable damage to your health.
Why should this matter to you?
Well, one of the biggest symptoms of a leaky gut is the development of food intolerances and allergies, particularly when it comes to consuming gluten. And these intolerances can result in a great number of medical issues, from skin conditions to digestive disorders to autoimmune diseases.
While further research is needed, there are studies that show how the rise in food intolerances could be linked to glyphosates—one more reason to avoid it as much as possible!
Are Glyphosates Carcinogenic?
While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that glyphosate poses no risk to humans and is not likely to be a carcinogenic product, other research suggests vastly different results.
A group of leading cancer experts from around the world met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for one recent study.
These scientists studied both real-world glyphosate exposures (i.e. with farmers) and experimental exposures (with “pure” glyphosate).
In the end, they found strong evidence that glyphosate is “probably a carcinogen”, regardless of its formulation.
Avoiding Glyphosates and GMOs
Accidental glyphosate ingestion is incredibly common!
Because of its widespread use, glyphosate can be found in fruits, vegetables, cereals, and other foods and vegetables. Although most people wouldn’t willingly ingest a pesticide, it’s almost unavoidable.
The best way to know exactly what you’re eating is to grow your favorite produce yourself. This way, you’ll know just how it was grown and which, if any, pesticides were used. For example, a window box full of easy-to-snip herbs can yield plenty of delicious, pesticide-free flavor for your favorite dishes.
However, the reality is that most of us can’t grow everything we eat. When you’re shopping, you’ll have to be a wise consumer and make choices that promote your health and well-being.
The only way to be sure that you’re avoiding harmful pesticides is to choose foods that have been certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Organic foods are the most heavily regulated foods. Any genetic modifications are strictly prohibited. Organic foods cannot be grown, fed, or processed with any GMO methods, and must be protected from contact with prohibited substances (including GMOs).
Here are some examples of how certified-organic labels protect you from glyphosates and GMOs.
- Crops can’t be grown from GMO seeds. They also can’t be grown in close proximity to GMO crops, to avoid cross-pollination.
- Animals can’t be fed GMO grains and other foods.
- Finished, ready-to-eat products can’t contain GMO ingredients.
But beware! Many foods proudly boast that they are “all-natural.” However, that doesn’t mean that they are GMO-free.
Protecting Your Gut
No matter how clean and organic your diet is, there’s always a chance that you’ll be exposed to glyphosate, whether through GMOs, gardening, or other means.
We strongly encourage you to be proactive about your gut health with probiotics.
Probiotics are similar, or sometimes identical, to the beneficial bacteria that already reside in your gut microbiome.
When you consume them, they strengthen the colonies of good bacteria, promoting their growth while inhibiting that of bad bacteria.
Our favorite probiotic supplement, Just Thrive Probiotic, is unmatched in its market. Unlike other probiotic supplements, it’s been clinically proven to “arrive alive” in your gut, 100% ready to defend your body from harmful pathogens and other invaders.
And remember how we talked about the “leaky gut” caused by glyphosates? There’s good news here, too! This probiotic is clinically proven to address leaky gut syndrome in just 30 days.
Just because GMOs and glyphosates are growing in usage doesn’t mean you have to accept them!
The damage they do to your gut is undeniable, but with intentional food choices, you can avoid, or at the very least minimize, their presence in your body.
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