Sunday, January 07, 2018 by Isabelle Z.
A new study has revealed that Roundup exposure leads to major changes in the gut microbiome of rats, and it’s a finding that could have significant ramifications on human health.
This study was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Caen in France led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini. Seralini is a French molecular biologist known for his groundbreaking study that linked genetically modified corn and glyphosate in Roundup to cancer. His findings were so damning that Roundup manufacturer Monsanto took action to have the study retracted, only to see it later republished elsewhere.
In his latest study, fecal samples of rats were analyzed to assess their gut microbiomes. The researchers also grew bacteria in vitro using feces taken from control animals and then treated with three concentrations of Roundup: 0.1 ppb, 400 ppm, and 5,000 ppm.
The study found a sex-specific alteration in the female rats’ gut microbiomes. There was a rise in the Bacteroidetes family S24-7, while the Lactobacillae bacteria family noted a decrease. These changes were seen in all three of the Roundup doses given to the rats, which would appear to indicate that the effect is more related to the presence of Roundup in the first place than the amount administered.
What can happen when gut bacteria is out of balance? Several medical conditions have been linked to gut microbiota dysbiosis, including inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer, along with conditions one might not normally associate with gut health, such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, obesity and autism. The researchers pointed out that a recent spike in gut disease in industrialized countries in the West cannot be explained by genetic reasons alone; environmental factors also play a big role.
This research is interesting on its own, but it could also serve as a useful starting point for further investigations. For example, some experts would like to see the study repeated with a bigger group of animals in an investigation that compares the effects of glyphosate alone and those of Roundup at the various concentrations. This would help narrow down which component of the Roundup herbicide – whether it’s active ingredients like glyphosate, adjuvants, or the combination of the two – is causing these gut microbiome changes.
In addition, GM Watch is calling for further investigation into the link between exposure to Roundup and liver damage, which they point out is something that has already been demonstrated in other studies.
Indeed, a study from King’s College London found that Roundup causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This occurs when fat cells accumulate in the liver for reasons not related to alcohol consumption, and it can lead to problems ranging from the tissue scarring that leads to cirrhosis and liver inflammation to liver cancer and liver failure.
In that study, rats were exposed to levels of glyphosate that were equivalent to those that are approved by regulators. Toxicity studies carried out on rats are typically considered a reasonable indication of the effects a particular substance could have on human health, so it stands to reason that a similar effect can be seen in humans. This is a frightening prospect when one considers the widespread use of Roundup and how much of it is present not only in our food supply but also rainwater and samples taken from air. It’s been found in tap water, food, and even breast milk.
It will be interesting to see what tricks Monsanto tries to pull in order to dismiss or discredit the latest study from Seralini that shows, like so many others before it, just how dangerous its products really are.
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