Glyphosate, Leaky Gut Syndrome, the Microbiome, and Obesity

Glyphosate is the toxin in the very popular weed-killer Roundup, which Ellen Brown describes as poisoning “everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.” There are a lot of reasons to dislike glyphosate, including its link with obesity and its proclivity for promoting leaky gut syndrome which, in a more circuitous way, seems to also lead to obesity, one way or another.

Also, glyphosate gets into us. When it does, it blocks the absorption of essential minerals. Quite possibly, some compulsive eaters are in pursuit of nutrients that are decreasingly available because the body can’t take them up. Unknowingly and instinctively, and misguidedly, they may be trying to self-medicate with food.

Glyphosate is more than a broad-spectrum herbicide, it as an antimicrobial agent that kills creatures as well as plants. This appears to be one of many causes of leaky gut syndrome, which is called “nightmarish” by health journalist Leah Zerbe. She writes:

The problem is harmful pathogens like Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, and E. coli are able to survive in the gut, but the “good guys” in your digestive tract, protective microorganisms, bacillus and lactobacillus, for instance, are killed off.

Some health proponents are doubly concerned about the combined effects of glyphosate and Bt proteins, which may affect the bioavailability of Roundup. A report says:

The combined effects were not investigated in terms of glyphosate’s other known interactions with the cellular biochemistry such as endocrine disruptions. Further studies are needed to understand the combined effects of stacked herbicides and pesticides on the human body.

“Stacked” seems to be another way of saying that mixtures can have synergistic effects. Meanwhile, just as we live on the planet, trillions of life-forms live in our guts. If they have a vote, which they emphatically do, they don’t much care for glyphosate.

We learn from Hrefna Palsdottir how one critic reminds the public that “harmful bacteria seemed to be highly resistant to glyphosate,” while the beneficial ones can easily be vanquished – which is not what we want. Also:

One article that received a lot of attention on the internet even hypothesized that the glyphosate in Roundup is to blame for the increase in gluten sensitivity and celiac disease worldwide.

However, this needs to studied a lot more before any conclusions can be reached.

Absolutely, and researchers are finding out more every day. Glyphosate has been the topic of a former Childhood Obesity News post, and here are the highlights:

  • Russian farmers want nothing to do with the stuff.
  • The negative effects of many substances can’t be measured over months. They need to be observed over decades, which nobody has yet done.
  • Legitimate science has made the case that America pays twice as much for healthcare as any other developed nation because of glyphosate.
  • Regarding the safety of this or any other chemical, whose word do we have for it? Assurances of these chemicals’ benign nature comes from the biotech companies that manufacture them. And they don’t have to tell the Food and Drug Administration anything.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance,”, 11/27/13
Source: “How Much Roundup Are You Eating?,”, 06/19/15
Source: “Bt Toxin Kills Human Kidney Cells,”, 03/14/12
Photo credit: Chafer Machinery via BY

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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