Glyphosate, commonly known by its original trade name Roundup (manufactured by Monsanto), is the world’s most widely used herbicide (weedkiller). Glyphosate-based herbicides are manufactured by many companies in many countries.
Glyphosate is used on many crops to control weeds, including about 80% of genetically modified (GM) crops. Seeds are modified to be resistant to glyphosate so that when the herbicide is used it kills only the weeds around the crops. It is also sprayed on many crops, including cereals, such as wheat and oats, as a pre-harvest desiccant. This encourages the crops to dry quickly and evenly, allowing for earlier harvesting.
In addition, it is used by landowners, such as councils, to control weeds in our towns and cities. It is used in our parks, playgrounds, schools and on our pavements and verges. It is also readily available in many supermarkets and garden centres as an easy tool for gardeners at home and on allotments.
Studies have found that glyphosate-based herbicides can interfere with various organs and biochemical pathways in mammals. Genotoxicity and endocrine disruption also lead to chronic health and developmental effects. It causes imbalances in gut bacteria and some studies have found that glyphosate appears to accumulate in human cells. A 2018 rat study conducted by the Ramazzini Institute reported that low-dose exposures to Roundup at levels considered safe significantly altered the gut microbiota in some of the rat pups. Another 2018 study reported that higher levels of glyphosate administered to mice disrupted the gut microbiota and caused anxiety and depression-like behaviours. All of these studies have extremely important findings as they show how glyphosate has the ability to adversely affect the gut’s microbiome and mental health.
As mentioned in many areas of the website, toxic build ups within the body also affects gut microbiome and mental health and complaints relating the gut e.g constipation and digestion issues as well as mental health problems such as anxiety or depression are common in people with Parkinson’s even before a Parkinson’s diagnosis has been given. Preventative measures such as ceasing to consume foods produced with this pesticide is a great protective measure to protect our gut and brain health. In addition, avoiding conventional insect and weed killers in and around your home will reduce your exposure.
In the UK, pesticide residues are found in approximately 60% of the non-organic fruit and vegetables that are available to consumers. Many of these contain the residues of more than one pesticide so in effect they offer a cocktail of residues with each bite. On the other hand,there is almost never a detectable pesticide residue present on organic produce. On the rare occasion that a residue is detected on organic food, it is usually as a result of cross-contamination from non-organic agriculture, or as a result of pesticide persistence in the environment.
It is a fact that consuming organic produce is an effective way to reduce your dietary exposure to pesticides. Since rinsing conventional produce does not wash away all pesticide residue, eating an organic diet is the best way to reduce your exposure to pesticides.