A new review of scientific literature is linking one of the most well-known and notorious herbicides in the United States to a variety of diseases as a result of a mechanism that modifies the function of human DNA.
In the review entitled “Glyphosate pathways to modern disease V: Amino acid analogue of glycine in diverse proteins,” conducted by Anthony Samsel, PhD, an independent scientist, and Stephanie Seneff, PhD, a scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology adds yet another litany of reasons why glyphosate is dangerous to human health.
According to the researchers, glyphosate acts as a glycine analogue that incorporates into peptides during the process of protein synthesis. During the course of this process, glyphosate alters some proteins that rely on conserved glycine to fulfill their proper function. This glyphosate substitution for glycine, according to the researchers, correlates with a number of diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
As Samsel and Seneff write in the abstract of their study,
Glyphosate, a synthetic amino acid and analogue of glycine, is the most widely used biocide on the planet. Its presence in food for human consumption and animal feed is ubiquitous. Epidemiological studies have revealed a strong correlation between the increasing incidence in the United States of a large number of chronic diseases and the increased use of glyphosate herbicide on corn, soy and wheat crops. Glyphosate, acting as a glycine analogue, may be mistakenly incorporated into peptides during protein synthesis. A deep search of the research literature has revealed a number of protein classes that depend on conserved glycine residues for proper function. Glycine, the smallest amino acid, has unique properties that support flexibility and the ability to anchor to the plasma membrane or the cytoskeleton.
Glyphosate substitution for conserved glycines can easily explain a link with diabetes, obesity, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary edema, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, prion diseases, lupus, mitochondrial disease, non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neural tube defects, infertility, hypertension, glaucoma, osteoporosis, fatty liver disease and kidney failure. The correlation data together with the direct biological evidence make a compelling case for glyphosate action as a glycine analogue to account for much of glyphosate’s toxicity. Glufosinate, an analogue of glutamate, likely exhibits an analogous toxicity mechanism. There is an urgent need to find an effective and economical way to grow crops without the use of glyphosate and glufosinate as herbicides.
This study comes as a number of European nations fight the European Union over the ubiquity of the herbicide and their attempt to ban it individually. It also comes after a delegation of independent scientists presented their findings at a Congressional briefing in June.
Samsel and Seneff ultimately concluded that glyphosate is not only harmful to human health on a number of different levels, but that the toxic herbicide – unfortunately one of the most heavily used in the United States – must be removed from the food supply and from the environment as a whole.
As Samsel and Seneff write in their own article’s conclusion:
In this paper, we have shown that glyphosate, as an amino acid analogue of glycine, may be erroneously misincorporated into polypeptide chains during proteinsynthesis. The research literature documents evidence of severe protein impairment through substitution of conserved glycines by other amino acids. It leads to the disruption of function of many proteins with essential roles in metabolism and regulatory processes. Glyphosate substitution for conserved glycines in essential proteins can explain the destruction of glands and organs revealed by Monsanto (the original patent holder)’s own studies.
Glyphosate is pervasive in the food supply, and chronic exposure will lead to slow accumulation of damaged proteins, systemically. Fibrillary plaques and tangles intransigent to proteolysis may be due to glyphosate substitution for conserved glycines, accounting for multiple neurological diseases. Impairment in dimerization, membrane attachment, cytoskeleton attachment and active site flexibility are some of the defects we anticipate. Some consequences are impaired fatty acid release leading to obesity, impaired insulin receptor response leading to diabetes, impaired one-carbon metabolism leading to neural tube defects and autism, impaired oxidative phosphorylation causing mitochondrial disorders, impaired Nrf2 regulation leading to hyperkeratosis and fatty liver disease, impaired cell cycle control during DNA synthesis, impaired collagen cross- linking, and disregulated phosphorylation cascades leading to cancer, lung disorders, and autoimmune diseases. These effects easily account for the multitude of diseases and conditions whose incidence is rising in the USA and elsewhere, in step with the rise in the use of glyphosate on core crops. We urge regulatory agencies worldwide to take action to remove these synthetic amino acids not only from the food supply but from our biosphere.