Jamie Truppi

I’ve been swapping salads for soup, coffee for lemon tea, and ice cream for gut-healing food. Knowing gut health is essential for supporting my immune health and sanity; it’s more complicated than probiotics and avoiding sugar.

Glyphosate is the most common herbicide in the U.S., with 280 million pounds sprayed annually on conventionally grown field crops, orchards, vineyards, vegetables, pastures, nurseries, forests, lawns, gardens, and parks. It efficiently mitigates weeds to increase yield of cotton, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and more.

Unfortunately, many other plants are killed by glyphosate. It’s not a targeted chemical and doesn’t distinguish between plants. It blocks a specific enzyme (EPSP synthase) required for plants to grow, resulting in genetically modified crops boasting glyphosate-tolerance. Since the blocked enzyme is essential for nutrient absorption, plants simply don’t grow. The chemical remains in the soil for two weeks or up to a year, depleting the soil of nutrients because other plants no longer grow to nourish it. Unless the soil washes away, glyphosate just hangs out where it’s deposited.

Soil sucks glyphosate away from plants, but it exists on our food. Studies detect glyphosate residues on leafy plants for a half-life of 10-27 days (at which point concentration is reduced by 50%). Lettuce and other greens are sprayed minimally four times: twice before transplanting leafy greens onto soil, after transplanting starts, and after plants begin to grow.

On berries, glyphosate’s half-life is 13 to 20 days. Toxic to fish, frogs, rainbow trout, sockeye, and Coho salmon, glyphosate is in many brands still approved for aquatics.

In a study of almost 8,000 foods, only 46 samples contained glyphosate levels exceeding limits deemed “safe.” These foods included: whole grains and flours (buckwheat, millet, oat, rye, quinoa, wheat); legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans); corn; a few fruits (apples, grapefruit, lime), and a couple of ’shrooms. Seventy-six percent of 800-plus wheat samples had detectable glyphosate residues, plus 61% of processed foods (most containing grains) and, shockingly, 31% of baby foods.

Many leading organizations continue to declare no long-term ill-effects of glyphosate on microbial colonies in the soil and claim that levels of glyphosate in food are safe for consumption. Conversely, the International Agency for Research on Cancer decided that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” citing countless studies with compelling evidence linking glyphosate to cancer (specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, infertility, celiac disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, osteoporosis, and more.

What do we do?

Reduce exposure to glyphosate:

  • Wash fruit and veggies.
  • Buy Certified USDA Organic grains and legumes.
  • Buy food from sustainable farmers.
  • Grow your own food.
  • Grow native plants.
  • Limit conventional foods processed with grains: cookies, crackers, cereal, oatmeal, snack bars, pizza.
  • Limit intake of conventional whole foods commonly exceeding maximum levels of glyphosate: oats, wheat, corn, other grains; legumes (soy and chickpeas); fruits and veggies.
  • Limit fish consumption.
  • Stop using weedkiller on your lawn and garden.

Protecting yourself from unnecessary glyphosate exposure means protecting your environment, too. Your family and neighbors will thank you for that (and so will I).

Jamie Truppi, MSN, is an integrative nutritionist focusing on functional foods and family wellness.

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