Here’s the Real Story Behind Gluten Intolerance

By Janet Duvall

(This article was published originally on Feb. 2, 2018. It was updated with new information on May 3, 2018.)

How come so many of us—who used to eat bread and other grain-based foods without a problem—are now experiencing ill effects when we eat wheat and find ourselves prowling the grocery aisles for gluten-free foods?

We call it gluten intolerance, but this name is misleading and hides the ugly truth. Gluten is not the problem for many people; it’s the poisonous herbicide glyphosate sprayed on food crops that is making us sick.

Janet Duvall holds a master’s degree in ecology/zoology. She has been a writer and editor for three decades. Her writing focuses on social and environmental issues, along with mystery, true crime, and politics. She lives near Fort Collins, Colo. Learn more about Janet…

A review of glyphosate research, compiled by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, was published in 2013 in Interdisciplinary Toxicology. Examining the results of 271 scientific studies, Samsel and Seneff reported:

“Celiac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, macrocytic anemia and depression. It is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer. Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup, is the most important causal factor in this epidemic.”

Monsanto started marketing Roundup (a glyphosate herbicide) in 1974, but Roundup kills every plant that it touches, so it had limited agricultural application. Determined to sell more of their virulent herbicide, Monsanto chemists used genetic engineering (GE) in the late 1990s to create seeds that could tolerate high doses of Roundup.

After planting Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds, many farmers began freely spraying Roundup on their genetically modified (GMO) corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and alfalfa crops. The weeds died, and the GMO crops survived.

Then, in addition to pushing Roundup for weed control, Monsanto’s “Preharvest Staging Guide” encourages farmers to spray Roundup, as a slow-acting desiccant, just before harvest to accelerate the drying and maturation of their crops.  The Guide recommends the application of Roundup when crops — including non-GMO crops such as wheat, barley, oats, canola, flax, peas, lentils, soybeans, and dry beans — are at the end of the growing season and ready for harvest.  The crop plant is killed by the Roundup, along with any surrounding weeds, but the seeds (the peas, the beans, the kernels) are theorized to be protected from glyphosate as they remain inside their pods. The pods are then harvested, and we get to eat their contents.

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According to Monsanto, “When it comes to safety assessments, no other pesticide has been more extensively tested than glyphosate. In evaluations spanning four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide, including the EPA, has been that glyphosate can be used safely according to label instructions.”

Evidently, Roundup is deemed safe for the sprayer who follows label instructions, but what about the people and animals that innocently consume the grains contaminated by this powerful herbicide?

Can anybody believe that the poison is not carried on the grain as it is harvested, ground into flour and used in food and other products too numerous to mention?  EcoWatch, in “15 Health Problems Linked to Monsanto’s Roundup,” tells us: “In the nearly 20 years of intensifying exposure, scientists have been documenting the health consequences of Roundup and glyphosate in our food, in the water we drink, in the air we breathe and where our children play.” The 15 health problems attributed to exposure to Roundup or glyphosate, are listed and explained in EcoWatch’s article, including celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

In the 2013 opinion of researchers Samsel and Seneff: “The monitoring of glyphosate levels in food and in human urine and blood has been inadequate. The common practice of desiccation and/or ripening with glyphosate right before the harvest ensures that glyphosate residues are present in our food supply. It is plausible that the recent sharp increase of kidney failure in agricultural workers is tied to glyphosate exposure. We urge governments globally to reexamine their policy towards glyphosate and to introduce new legislation that would restrict its usage.”

As if in response to Samels and Seneff, a research team tested glyphosate residues in the urine of animals and humans and reported results in Environmental and Analytical Toxicology (2014). They found that “chronically ill humans showed significantly higher glyphosate residues in urine than healthy population[s]. The presence of glyphosate residues in both humans and animals could haul the entire population towards numerous health hazards; studying the impact of glyphosate residues on health is warranted and the global regulations for the use of glyphosate may have to be re-evaluated.”

The responsibility for this gluten-intolerance epidemic must be placed directly on the doorstep of Monsanto, the creator and pusher of Roundup. Those of us who are suffering from celiac disease and/or who are now considered gluten intolerant can help accelerate legislation to restrict the use of Roundup and glyphosate by refusing to play the duplicitous word game. Call “gluten intolerance” by its true name: MONSANTO HERBICIDE INTOLERANCE.

Good advice:

If people who are “gluten intolerant” are actually “Monsanto Roundup intolerant,” it may be most important to search for food products that have not been sprayed with the poisonous herbicide.  That means eating only “USDA organic” or “certified organic” products — both certifications indicating that the grain has not been sprayed with herbicide.  If a product labeled “gluten-free” contains GMO corn, for example, it is likely that the corn would have been sprayed with Roundup and, thus, cause a negative reaction to the Monsanto Roundup intolerant person.

Furthermore, due to possible preharvest application of Roundup on non-GMO crops, people who are intolerant of Monsanto Roundup should consider whether the pod is protection against glyphosate and may need to avoid even non-GMO wheat, barley, oats, canola, flax, peas, lentils, soybeans, and dry beans.

Hospital discharge diagnosis (any) of celiac disease ICD-9 579 and glyphosate applications to wheat (R=0.9759, p≤1.862e-06). Sources: USDA:NASS; CDC. (Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson) as published by Samsel and Seneff in Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 2013 Dec. 6(4): 159 – 184.

David Adamson, a writer in Oregon, points out, “One of the leading national voices about wheat is Dr. William Davis, a preventative cardiologist. He is famous for the “Wheat Belly” series. His contention, backed by lots of clinical data, is that celiac disease is actually caused by a protein called gliadin. He would fully agree that wheat has become so adulterated by Monsanto and others it no longer resembles the wholesome grain from biblical times.”

Some people are unable to eat any grain for best health. According to Davis, “The few foods that increase blood sugar higher than even wheat include rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato flour–the most common ingredients used in glutenfree foods. A glutenfree whole grain bread, for instance, is usually made with a combination of brown rice, potato, and tapioca starches.”

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