Ever wonder why wheat seems give people so many issues in this country? While gluten certainly plays a huge role, the question we are often asked is why people who are so sensitive to wheat in the US seem ok with it when traveling to other countries. It has been said that the genetic modification of wheat and hybridization plays a big role and while that is true, the new hybrid wheat has spread all over the world so it’s no longer specifically concentrated here in the US. So what is the issue?
There was a wonderful article about this in the healthy economist last month and below is a summary of what they found:
Believe it or not, it is actually a common wheat harvest protocol in the United States to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest.
“Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup or other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980. It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.”
According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT who has studied the issue in depth, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came into vogue late in the 90s with the result that most of the non-organic wheat in the United States is now contaminated with it. Seneff explains that when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds resulting in a slightly greater yield: “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies. At its last gasp, it releases the seed” says Dr. Seneff.”
While the herbicide industry tells us glysphsaphe is supposedly non toxic, there is multiple studies showing its effects on the cytochrome P450 system (which is the pathways our liver uses to detoxify). Just because it doesn’t kill us instantly, it certainly does not mean its non toxic and doesn’t have serious and long term effects.
Roundup disrupts the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut which then leads to intestinal permeability which is the breeding ground for autoimmunity. In fact, since roundup has been introduced in this practice in the 90’s, the amounts used have skyrocketed. Interestingly, celiac disease has as well. There is a very interesting study from Dec of 2013 connecting glyphosate in roundup to many of the things that are thought to be celiac symptoms.
Celiac is associated with imbalance in gut bacteria and that can be explained in the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria. Characteristics of celiac diease point to impairment in many cytochrome p450 enzymes which are involved in detoxifying environmental toxins, activating D3, breaking down vitamin A and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplied to the gut. Glyphosate is known to inhibit these enzymes. Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to attached to these elements. Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methioine and selenomethionine are associated with celiac disease match glyhosate’s known depletion of these amino acids.
Furthermore, this exposure happens a little at a time over years which slowly damages the cells contributing to high levels of inflammation and inflammation is linked to a myriad of diseases. This can lead to a perfect storm where things are just enough off balance that the body is not able to self correct and leads to chronic disease.
If you do not have a wheat/gluten sensitivity but find that you don’t feel well when eating wheat at restaurants, this can be your issue. Eating organic wheat would be helpful for you as well as avoiding wheat when going out as most restaurants do not use organic wheat.