Sunday, March 18, 2012

Could GMO Corn & Soybeans Effect Reproductive Health?

Genetically Modified Foods Already Linked to Reduced Fertility
Genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy have already been shown to reduce fertility in animals, and glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, which is heavily used on GE crops, has also been shown to alter fertility.

For example, female rats fed GE (Roundup Ready) soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy. According to researchers, if women experience similar changes in the uterus lining and altered hormonal levels, it might increase the risk of retrograde menstruation, in which menstrual discharge travels backwards into your body rather than through your uterus. This can cause a disease known as endometriosis, which may lead to infertility.

The disorder can also produce pelvic and leg pain, gastrointestinal problems, chronic fatigue, and a wide variety of other symptoms. Genetically modified soybeans are called Roundup Ready.

They contain a bacterial gene that allows the plants to survive a normally deadly dose of Roundup herbicide. Although the spray doesn’t kill the plant, its active ingredient, glyphosate, actually accumulates in the beans themselves, which are then consumed by livestock and humans. There is actually so much glyphosate in GE soybeans that when they were introduced, Europe had to increase their allowable residue levels 200-fold! 

Glyphosate Poses Risk to Female Reproductive Health
Although there are only a handful of studies on the safety of GE soybeans, there is considerable evidence that glyphosate—especially in conjunction with the other ingredients in Roundup—wreaks havoc with the endocrine and reproductive systems.

Glyphosate throws off the delicate hormonal balance that governs the whole reproductive cycle. It interferes with aromatase, which produces estrogen, and it’s also highly toxic to the placenta in pregnant women. In a 2009 French study, scientists discovered that glyphosate can kill the cells in the outer layer of the human placenta (the trophoblast membrane), which in turn can kill the placenta. A mere 1/500th the amount needed to kill weeds was able to kill these cells! The amount is so small, according to the study’s authors, that the “residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from Roundup formulation-treated crops” could be enough to “cause cell damage and even [cell] death.” 

If the endocrine function of the placenta is destroyed, then ovarian and endometrial function may also suffer, and the end result could be a miscarriage.

It’s important to remember that glyphosate can accumulate in your body, allowing its toxic effects to grow worse with repeated consumption of foods containing these Roundup Ready crops. Clearly, this may become a serious concern for the next generation, as most young children—girls and boys alike—growing up today are fed processed foods containing GE ingredients on a daily basis, year after year…
Glyphosate Affects Testosterone and Harms Male Reproductive Health Too
Last month, an animal study published in the journal Toxicology in Vitro, found that glyphosate induces necrosis and apoptosis (cell death) in rat testicular cells in vitro, and decreases testosterone production even at low exposure levels. The authors write:

“Roundup is being used increasingly in particular on genetically modified plants grown for food and feed that contain its residues. Here we tested glyphosate and its formulations on mature rat fresh testicular cells from 1 to 10,000 ppm, thus from the range in some human urine and in environment to agricultural levels.

We show that from 1 to 48 hours of Roundup exposure Leydig cells are damages. Within 24-48 hours this formulation is also toxic on the other cells, mainly by necrosis, by contrast to glyphosate alone, which is essentially toxic on Sertoli cells. Later it also induces apoptosis at higher doses in germ cells and in Sertoli/germ cells co-cultures.

At lower non toxic concentrations of Roundup and glyphosate (1ppm), the main endocrine disruption is a testosterone decrease by 35 percent. The pesticide has thus an endocrine impact at very low environmental doses, but only a high contamination appears to provoke an acute rat testicular toxicity. This does not anticipate the chronic toxicity which is insufficiently tested, and only with glyphosate in regulatory tests.” - Dr. Mercola

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