Genetically modified foods are a health scourge

Dr. Jim Roach is associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, state chairperson for the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Board.
Dr. Jim Roach is associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, state chairperson for the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Board.

Genetically modified foods were ushered in with great promise, an answer to the world's evolving food crisis. Instead we have a meltdown in food quality and antibiotic-like destruction of our intestinal microbiome, producing nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, toxins and a slowly evolving tsunami of ill health.

In surging numbers, Americans and countries worldwide — including France, Germany, Russia, and Japan — shun these foods. State mandates requiring GM food labeling are beginning to succeed, a move that over 90 percent of Americans support.

How was the promise transformed into the scourge?

Already 70 percent to 80 percent of us are deficient in magnesium, and half in zinc, due to processed foods. Hugely, glyphosate kills bacteria both in the soil and intestinal tract. As soil bacteria free up critical minerals, GM foods have only one-fifth of the magnesium and zinc of regular food, meaning GM processed foods have only a tiny fraction.

Together, these deficiencies are major contributors to hormone imbalance, infection, autoimmune disorders, all mental disorders, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia. Glyphosate is essentially a low-grade antibiotic, killing off most intestinal bacteria, especially lactobacilli. These bacteria are essential for the integrity of the intestinal lining, whose injury floods the bloodstream with toxins, especially the brain, breasts and nerves.

Every child I treat with brain disorders, such as autism or ADHD, has severe food sensitivities triggered by intestinal injury. Resulting inflammation and toxin overload with genetically impaired detoxification is fundamental in the pathology of these disorders.

New research worsens these concerns: GM soy has been found to boost carcinogen formaldehyde, and dramatically reduce the primary detoxifier glutathione. Combined with common genetic mutations, toxin elimination is massively impaired.

GM foods are the top candidate for causing autism. Beyond autoimmune brain inflammation and toxin overload, autistic children usually have a mutation blocking a key pathway for detoxifying glyphosate. The graphs of glyphosate use and rise in autism are nearly duplicate.

The conservative, highly regarded New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial recommending labeling of all GM products, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not mandate.

Two recent developments are dramatically changing the landscape.

First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops, and further increases — the largest in a generation — are scheduled.

Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops, as a "probable human carcinogen" and classified a second herbicide as a "possible human carcinogen."

The Environmental Protection Agency's approval of the herbicides was made in haste, based on poorly designed, outdated studies and on an incomplete assessment of human exposure and environmental effects, the cancer research agency said. The editorial notes the science was based solely on studies commissioned by herbicide manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s and never published.

Little consideration was given to potential health effects in infants and children, ignoring federal pesticide law. Ecologic impact, such as on the monarch butterfly and other pollinators, was not considered.

Legislation denying mandatory labeling of GM food passed the House of Representatives. Kentucky representatives supported it. Andy Barr shunned efforts to consider the opposing view.

Senators are scheduled to take up the debate soon. Will they be our heroes?