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What Does Roundup Do to Your Liver?


If you started your day with a bowl of oatmeal, Cheerios or even organic cage-free eggs, there's a good chance you consumed a small amount of glyphosate residue along with it. Likewise, if you've recently snacked on popular brands of crackers, tortilla chips and pita chips, or consumed beer or wine.1

As the results of increasing numbers of independent tests come in, it's becoming increasingly clear that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, is showing up virtually everywhere — in our food, water and even in baby food and women's breastmilk.

It's not altogether surprising — glyphosate is the most heavily-used agricultural chemical in history — but it is incredibly concerning. The health risks of glyphosate, though downplayed by the chemical's makers, are accumulating daily.

Roundup Causes Liver Disease at 'Ultra-Low' Doses

What happens when you expose rats to an extremely low dose of Roundup for two years? It's a question researchers from King's College London recently set out to answer, following previous research that suggested it may lead to liver injury.

The current study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, unfortunately appears to confirm this.2 The study involved glyphosate exposures of 4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per day, which is 75,000 and 437,500 times below EU and U.S. permitted levels, respectively.3

After a two-year period, female rats showed signs of liver damage, specifically non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and progression to non-alcoholic steatohepatosis (NASH). Study author Michael Antoniou, Ph.D., told Sustainable Pulse:4

"The findings of our study are very worrying as they demonstrate for the first time a causative link between an environmentally relevant level of Roundup consumption over the long-term and a serious disease — namely non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Our results also suggest that regulators should reconsider the safety evaluation of glyphosate-based herbicides."

How Glyphosate May Cause Liver Disease

The researchers noted that glyphosate may bring about toxic effects via different mechanisms, depending on the level of exposure, including possibly mimicking estrogen and interfering with mitochondrial and enzyme function.

"Glyphosate is also a patented antibiotic (Patent No.: US 7771736)," the researchers said, "and can inhibit the growth of susceptible bacteria by inhibition of the shikimate pathway and could cause dysbiosis in the gastrointestinal tract."5

Anthony Samsel, Ph.D., research scientist and environmental consultant, and Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have also suggested that NASH, which is often linked to excess dietary fructose, is actually due primarily to the disruption in gut metabolism of fructose due to glyphosate blocking the shikimate pathway.

People with NASH may go on to develop cirrhosis of the liver, which in turn is linked to an increased risk of liver cancer (rates of liver cancer have been increasing over the last two decades).6 Samsel and Seneff wrote in Glyphosate: Pathways to Modern Diseases:

"Exposure of Wistar rats to the herbicide Glyphosate-Biocarb over a period of 75 days resulted in liver damage, including elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST)

This suggests irreversible hepatocyte damage, as well as large deposition of reticulin fibers containing collagen type III, suggesting liver fibrosis, which is a major risk factor for hepatocarcinogenesis [liver cancer]."

How Much Glyphosate Are You Consuming?

Just how much glyphosate is the average individual getting, if they're eating a primarily processed non-organic food diet every single day of the week? No one knows at this point, but the evidence suggesting liver disease may occur from very low doses should have public officials scrambling to find out.

Instead, in July 2013, right in the midst of mounting questions about glyphosate's safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised the allowable limits of glyphosate in both food and feed crops.

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