GMO 101 … a gut feeling

Jeanne here.

If we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve probably seen all my “shares” about the anti-GMO movement and my constant encouraging of people not to eat GMOs. (If we’re not friends, you can find me here and friend me!)

My GMO obsession … you see … it’s a significantly personal issue for me.

The thing is my stepdad has Parkinson’s Disease.

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My mom, stepdad and me, two Christmas’ ago in a cabin in the woods after a carol-filled sleigh ride in the snow. So fun!

It’s a really ugly disease.

It causes tremors.

Stiffness.  Rigidity.

Weakness or mild paralysis in the muscles of the face and throat.

Slow or limited movement, difficulty walking, balance-problems.

Decreased dexterity.

Muscle cramps, made more complicated with a sudden, brief inability to move.

Incontinence (or conversely, constipation).

Low blood pressure.

Webmd.com says that “up to one-third of people may develop dementia and confusion, similar to Alzheimer’s disease, late in the course of the disease. Depression can further contribute to memory loss and confusion. Memory loss, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there), and vivid dreams may sometimes be caused by drugs taken to treat Parkinson’s disease.”

What’s worse …it doesn’t go away.

And it doesn’t get better.

It just gets worse.

And worse.

And worse.

And the drugs used to treat it do some good, but it’s a complicated cocktail of medications that have some awful side effects. There are radical treatments available today, too.  Like Deep Brain Stimulation which involves implanting electrodes into the brain and running electrical currents into the deep brain tissue.

Now for the actual point of this post (which was not supposed to be a lesson in Parkinson’s Disease):  While there’s no known single cause of this degenerative disease (from which my aunt and uncle both died), studies (like this one from a research team at MIT) are showing links between exposure to pesticides like glyphosate to the onset of the condition.  And glyphosate is the primary active ingredient in Round-up, the most widely used pesticide in the World. Monsanto makes Round-up. They also make “Round-up ready” crops, which are grown from genetically modified seeds that have been scientifically altered to allow the fruit or vegetable to “take up” the pesticide and then defend itself from pest invasion because they become poisonous to the invader.

Apparently, even though I have not spoken to a company representative myself, it’s public knowledge that Monsanto asserts  glyphosate is harmless to humans because we don’t have the genetic ability to process the chemical.  But the good bacteria in our guts have the ability.  So then that bacteria is destroyed.  But our relationship with that bacteria is complicated.  And losing that bacteria to this poison leaves our bodies without the ability to detoxify the food we eat, absorb nutrients, synthesize vitamins, and has an incredibly negative impact on our immune system.

That study I referred to earlier … the one from the MIT researchers … that study also suggests that glyphosate exposure might also be linked to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

And like I said, GMOs are designed to uptake the glyphosate.  So when we eat GMO food (like soy, corn, sugar from sugar beets, etc), our exposure is multiplied.  and more of the good bacteria in our bodies is destroyed.

Phys.org reported in June that by 2012, 88 percent of corn (maize) and 94 percent of soy grown in the United States were genetically modified, according to the US .

There are heavy hitters on the pro-GMO team … folks with lots of money, lots of influence, and a lot to lose if GMOs are proven to be as unhealthy as I’m convinced they are.

Why, if the science isn’t totally proven, do I care so much about not feeding our family GMOs?

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It’s a gut-feeling.

Resources: Food, Inc (documentary), Genetic Roulette (documentary), Occupy Monsanto (Facebook movement), Webmd.com, onearth.org (online alternative news source), Dr. Mercola (natural medicine expert)

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