Could GMO’s Be A Possible Cause For Autism?


Nx86xdrewssexybody-3Written by: Liz Perkins

No GMO’s, no autism for my kid? Is it THAT simple?

Pregnant mothers and parents of young toddlers – how DO you protect your growing child from developing autism? Is this projection true, that half of the kids in 2025 will be autistic?

The charts illustrating the rise in cases of autism over the last 30 years show a dramatic increase from 1 in 10,000 children in 1980 to 1 in 68 children now.

An MIT scientist, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, believes that this increase is correlated with the increase in sheer tonnage of Roundup (glyphosate) applied to GMO Roundup Ready crops, such as corn, soy and wheat (see the charts here).

If this is the case, what would our world look like in ten years with so many children on the autistic spectrum?

And how could NOT eating GMO’S make your kids safer?

According to Dr. Seneff, the amount of herbicides used on crops since GMO’s have been introduced have skyrocketed. GMO’s are engineered to be able to resist herbicides, so more and more of the Monsanto herbicide – Roundup – has been sprayed on lawns by homemakers and by farmers on fields of “Roundup Ready” crops.

Roundup has been called safe by the EPA and the Environmental Union, despite studies done by Monsanto that have shown that it has teratogenic effects (causes birth defects).   

Should we make blanket recommendations that pregnant and nursing mothers should not consume foods that have been sprayed with Roundup? Does the stuff actually persist once it is sprayed, or does it breakdown? Is Monsanto’s claim that it does not bioaccumulate false?

This data tells us that the pesticide stays with the foods you eat and is showing up in blood, urine and breast milk. Blood levels of Roundup in America average 10 times the levels in Europe, where Roundup use has been curtailed (autism rates are not increasing since roundup use has been banned by some countries in Europe).

Roundup shows up in the breastmilk of American moms at levels that are 760 times greater than the recommended safe levels for European Drinking Water Directives and this is breast milk, not water.

Why is this an issue and what is the link between glyphosate use and autism?

Evidence in laboratory animals has shown that glyphosate can cause birth defects. Also, continued exposure to glyphosate in food is toxic to the body and these toxicities are the same biomarkers for autism in the body.

What this means is that, if a child is autistic, his/her body usually shows the following symptoms, according to Dr. Seneff, low serum sulfate, disrupted gut bacteria, inflammatory bowel, serotonin and melatonin deficiency, mitochondrial disorder, zinc and iron deficiency and more.“  

She also notes that Roundup affects the ability of the body to metabolize sulfate, allows pathogenic bacteria to proliferate in the gut, inflames the gut and, as documented in laboratory studies, specifically affects the electron transport chain enzyme p450 in the mitochondria and chelates minerals in the body.

Although there is no direct evidence of Roundup toxicity for humans, it has been shown in laboratory animals to cause changes to the cortex in the brain and increase inflammation in organs. And the charts show a statistically significant correlation between Roundup tonnage applied to crops and the prevalence of autism, as well as other chronic diseases that are on the rise, such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

So, IS Roundup safe?

If we look at why it works, maybe this might tell us why they say it is safe.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, kills plants by interfering with the shikimate pathway in plants. More specifically, glyphosate inhibits the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS). ‘Roundup Ready’ genetically modified crops overcome that inhibition.” Mammals do not utilize this biochemical pathway, so Monsanto says it is safe and that it would not affect a non-existent pathway in people.

However, Dr. Seneff points out that the inert ingredients in the herbicide (the adjuvants) potentiate the toxicity of Roundup and your gut flora DOES feel the effects of Roundup on the shikimate pathway. Plus, the number of bacteria in your body outnumbers the numbers of your mammalian cells so this does matter.

Gut health is mediated by happy gut flora and Roundup, according to Seneff, causes pathogenic gut flora to grow.

But there is hope! Here are 4 tips to avoid this toxic exposure and keep you and your kids safe.  

1. Eat organic and/or local foods from farmers that do not use Roundup on their fields. If you purchase mesclun mix and it has lambsquarters or amaranth weed in it, that’s a good sign that the only weeding that’s going on in their fields is mechanical or hand-pulling.

2. Make sure that when you purchase wheat products that they are certified organic with a USDA certified organic seal. You will then be assured that you are not eating wheat that has been sprayed with Roundup during storage or in the fields.

3. Support GMO labeling laws, such as the law passed by Vermont in 2014, especially if your state or country has a bill up for vote in your legislature. You have a right to know what is in your food – it affects your gut and your health.

4. Eat as many greens as possible – juiced, steamed, grilled, as a nutrient-dense salad. The more dark leafy greens you eat, the greater the prebiotics in your diet. Prebiotics feed the probiotics (the “good” bacteria). The happy bugs in your gut need food too! They love complex carbohydrates, which  we cannot break down completely.

A good example of a prebiotic that is added to foods, is inulin, which can be found in certain foods such as jerusalem artichokes. This type of food produces methane and is a good prebiotic. The methane production is a byproduct of the bacteria’s meal.

Just another reason to Go Green for your Gut! When your gut has more healthy bacteria than pathogenic bacteria, inflammation goes down and the colon cells gobble up the butyrate produced by the probiotic bacteria there. The butyrate is a food for colon cells and is correlated with a lowered risk of colon cancer.

Is this prediction about autism rates accurate?

Hopefully not, but better to be safe than sorry. Maybe more states will follow the lead of the brave citizens of the state of Vermont and demand the right to know what is in their food and demand GMO labeling laws.

Making conscious decisions regarding the source of the food you’re consuming has big payoffs. It’s up to you to decide what will work best for you and your family. I encourage you to educate yourself on what is exactly going on in our food supply. The more you know, the more informed your decisions creating a healthier environment for you and your family to thrive.

Toxic effects of glyphosphate:

The main toxic effects of glyphosate identified by Dr. Seneff are as follows:

  • Kills beneficial gut bacteria and allows pathogens to overgrow
  • Interferes with function of cytochrome p450 (CYP enzymes)
  • Chelates important minerals (iron, cobalt, manganese, etc)
  • Interferes with synthesis of aromatic amino acids and methionine – leads to shortages in critical neurotransmitters and folate
  • Disrupts sulfate synthesis and sulfate transport


Seneff notes a number of well known “bio-markers of autism.” These include low serum sulfate, disrupted gut bacteria, inflammatory bowel, serotonin and melatonin deficiency, mitochondrial disorder, zinc and iron deficiency and more.  She also points to the fact that:

“These can all be explained as potential effects of glyphosate on biological systems.”  

autism rates have risen from 1:10,000 in 1981 to 1:68 in 2014. (source)

autism rates in Europe have remained pretty steady over the last decade. This coincides with the fact that in more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or complete bans on the production and sale of GMOs and the pesticides that go with them.  (source)

Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?


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Liz Perkins

Liz Perkins

Integrative Nutrition Cancer Advocate at Liz Perkins Nourishing
Liz Perkins, MS. is an Integrative Nutrition Cancer Advocate.She is the mom of a leukemia survivor and leads clients through cancer with whole foods, meditations and humor.
Liz Perkins


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