GMO Foods: The Effect on Your Body

Here in Oregon we've got a vote coming up on labeling GMO foods.  I think most people don't have a grasp on which foods these are and how they may effect our health.  So I spent some time today digging deep into the topic.

I was also curious about the battle over GMO labeling.  This initiative already lost in California, and I was shocked to hear it.  Now that the vote is approaching in Oregon, I can see why.  There is a lot of money being invested into this legislation not passing by companies with deep pockets like Monsanto and Pepsico.

As 93% of pregnant women tested had a GMO by-product in their fetal cord blood, it behooves us to understand how these foods could be effecting ourselves and our future generations.

Part 1:  What are GMO Foods?

According to Jeffrey Smith of the Institute of Responsible Technology, there are two categories of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods currently approved in the US.

Both categories fit his definition of "the gene of one species is forced into the genes of another species."

1.  Crops designed to withstand being sprayed with the herbicide Round Up 

2.  Crops that have been altered to release Bt toxin, an insecticide derived from a bacterium

These are the current US GMO crops that qualify:

Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette

Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette

  • canola
  • cotton
  • corn
  • soy 
  • sugar beets
  • Hawaiian papaya
  • zucchini and yellow squash

Seems like a short list, but one of these ingredients is in over 75% of foods on the shelves in the US!  Also keep in mind that many animals are being feed on GMO corn or soy feed, and then those animals are fed to us.  There are more GMO foods awaiting approval, or already available elsewhere such as potato, tomato, rice, wheat and salmon.

Part 2:  How Do GMO Foods Effect Health?

The effect of GMO foods on health is still not fully understood.  There is not a large body of research on the subject, and it's effect over time / generations is not fully grasped.  

However, the information is coming to our understanding.

There are four areas where we can see an effect:

1.  Hormones / Fertility 

Animal studies showed that GMO foods caused an increase of testosterone in women and an increase of estrogen in men.  It's also linked to sterility, abnormal and lower sperm counts, miscarriages, placental cell death, birth defects, and cancer.

2.  Gut Health and Digestion

This is the big one.  Let's review that there are two categories of current GMOs in the US.  The first is 'Round Up Ready' crops.

Round Up's chief ingredient is glyphosate.  Glyphosate works by decreasing healthy organisms in the soil and increasing soil pathogens.  Simultaneously it is weakening a plant's immunity.  

This same action is basically taking place in our bodies when we ingest Round Up Ready foods. Our good bacteria are being attacked, while pathogenic bacteria can abound.  When we lose our good bacteria, we have a decreased level of butyrate, a fatty acid that lowers inflammation and build cells in the gut.  Butyrate also increases insulin sensitivity.

Round-up also binds to vitamins and minerals in crops, especially to trace minerals. It does the same in your body.  Even as you may swallow down a whole food supplement, if you are eating it with a GMO soy-based power bar or a GMO corn chip, the glyphosate will bind with the nutrients.

Translation:  Eating GMO foods will result in gut bacteria imbalance, which can in turn cause inflammation and weakness in the gut, which can result in high blood sugar, overeating and colon cancer.  Plus it's stealing your nutrition.

The second category of GMO foods is those injected with Bt toxin.  Bt toxin is used to 'poke holes' in insects; it's in insecticide.  Although Monsanto pushed the safety of these Bt toxin crops to the FDA, they are now known to actually poke holes in human cells as well. This can cause leaky cells / leaky gut.  And it's suspected these toxins can even be absorbed into our own cells and released again.  

Lastly GMO foods are connected with a sharp increase in trypsin inhibitor.  Trypsin is a enzyme that helps us break down protein.  When it's inhibited, our protein digestion is slower / incomplete, resulting in a feeling of indigestion, possible malnutrition, and possible autoimmunity as these under-digested proteins enter the bloodstream through what is now a leaky gut, thanks to consumption of GMO foods.

3.  Immunity

If over 70% of immune activity happens in the gut, you can imagine that an imbalanced gut will effect immunity.  

Farm workers exposed to Bt toxin frequently report skin rashes.  Villagers exposed to glypohosate report illness, sometimes even death.

It makes you wonder what happens as we eat it bit by bit, day by day.

The increase in food allergies worldwide is suspected to be related to the introduction of GMO foods into our diets in the last 10-20 years.

4.  Brain health

If inflammation is running wild in the gut, it will 'travel' to other parts of the body, including the brain.  Plus the lack of nutrients being bound with GMO foods or being mal-absorbed in an inflamed gut could effect the brain.

The rise is ADHD and autism in children has a suspected link to GMO foods.  

Part 3:  How to Avoid GMO Foods and Heal Your Body

In part 1 you read the list of GMO foods in the US.  However they are often in foods you don't quite suspect: 

  • A can of soup you buy has a little canola oil in it (90% chance of being GMO.)
  • You eat a delicious meal of beans and tortillas at your neighborhood Mexican food cart. (Those corn tortillas have an 88% chance of being GMO.)
  • You buy some granola bars for your kid's lunch and don't notice the soy flour in the ingredients. (The soy has a 94% chance of being GMO.)
  • A food may not be GMO, but it's sprayed with Round Up before harvesting.

So what can you do?

  1. Read labels.  Don't assume a food is GMO free, even if it's from the health food store.  You can look for the Non-GMO Verified label, show to the right.
  2. Buy organic.  Certified organic food cannot contain GMOs or be sprayed with Round Up.
  3. Cook for yourself.  It's a lot easier to know your ingredients when you make it yourself.  Never cook with canola oil (it's bad for a lot of reasons), and always choose organic soy and corn products.  
  4. Make your best decisions when you eat out.  Most meat will be grain fed, most oils will be canola; it's sad but true.  And ask questions!  It only raises awareness.
  5. Get involved.  Hopefully you are now more aware of the seriousness of this issue. Here in Oregon you can vote yes on measure 92.  You can applaud gestures like Whole Foods made, when they voluntarily chose to label GMO foods (by 2018 in their case.) You can even become a certified GMO speaker through the Institute for Responsible Technology.

Thanks so much for reading and I truly hope it can have a positive impact on your family's health and on our planet's health as well.

Feel free to share this article at the links below to help others understand the impact of GMO on health.

Bridgit Danner, LAc

 

 

 

 

Get a Second Opinion on Your Digestion through Functional Medicine

I'm pretty darn excited about the upcoming Digestion Sessions, part 2 of the Second Opinion Series hosted by Underground Wellness.


Registration is now open, and there are some sweet freebies before the event starts in early November.  


Click on the above image  to see a very exciting preview trailer for the event.  

All the event videos are shot in person with beautiful, high-quality production.  It's so cool to see our 'alternative' health leaders looking like true media leaders on the big screen!

Register here

We will be celebrating all things digestion this month on our podcast and blog.  Digestion is critical in supporting all the other systems in the body, as you will learn in the Digestion Sessions.

Stay tuned for talks on kombucha, blogs on GMO foods and more.  

If you aren't yet signed up for our newsletter, grab one of our free gifts on the site and you'll also be in the loop for lots of in-depth digestive information this month!

Bridgit Danner, LAc  

Functional Medicine for Women's Health

Healthy Decision Making: part 2

In Part 1 of this two part article, we talked about how to make decisions from your heart.

Great!  So you've made a bold decision.  You want to lose 40 pounds so you can have more energy for your kids and yourself.  Or you want to start dating again.  Or you want to cook healthy meals.

Perhaps you've made this goal before, and have gotten all excited for about one week.  But then you got frustrated or scared.  Or you felt too busy.  Or you didn't believe in yourself.

How can you avoid getting back into this quagmire?  (Wow, always fun when I can use the word 'quagmire.')

Sky's the limit, baby.

Sky's the limit, baby.

Sometimes the answer comes from within.  Maybe it's not that you chose the wrong diet, or that 'you just can't cook.'

Perhaps instead it's your mindset, or something you assume about yourself.  (You know what they say about assumptions...)

Sometimes the most important work we can do for our health is to look within, to question what we 'know' about ourselves.

One technique is journaling, which I discuss in my free e-book "Ten Tips to Find Ease and Gratitude" you can pick up on my homepage.  Ask yourself, 'what do I believe around this topic?' and then 'are these beliefs really true?'

Tune in to our expert on un-stucking, Tim Gallagher of NLP of San Francisco, CA, on our podcast, Women's Wellness Radio to learn new tools for new results.

To get yourself a different result this time, you need to introduce new tools, and release old, limiting beliefs.  Buh-bye, limiting beliefs!

Did you find the article helpful?  Please like and share below so others can find it too.

Learn About Colostrum

One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get to continually learn more. Two supplements I've recently studied I wanted to share with you.

They are IGG Colostrum powder and its cousin, Immunolox, by Nutrasumma.

Colostrum is the 'first milking' of mammals, but it's not exactly milk. It's a fatty, nutrient-dense liquid that has (at least) 200 beneficial components to human health. Some of those components include stem cell growth factor (read: makes you new tissue) and proline-rich polypeptides (read: regulates inflammation through the immune system response.)

When baby mammals are first born, their guts needs to be readied to process the nourishment, and block the foreign invaders, it will soon encounter. As 70% of our immune system is in our gut, colostrum is a big benefit to the immune system as well.

When babies are born, their guts are leaky. They have not yet developed a barrier. Colostrum quickly comes in creates the initial barrier. So colostrum, even for us non-babies, is very helpful for healing leaky gut and reducing food sensitivities.

In addition to these uses, colostrum products are great for airborne allergies, as allergies are a manifestation of one branch of the immune system being under-active, while another branch is over-active.

When our bodies are constantly dealing with the stressful inflammation of leaky gut, airborne allergies and food sensitivities, there's a lot less energy available for sex drive and ovulation!

Dr. Tom O'Bryan of thedr.com has found the product Immunolox (i.e. PRP spray) to be beneficial to brain health by reducing inflammation. He recommends for 'aging adults' and children with ADD.

Using these two supplements together will be a 1 month course for mild cases, and two months for severe cases. The cost per month is about $70. They are both easy to take, BUT you also need to remove offending foods and habits during this month!

To summarize, consider colostrum products for:

Leaky gut
Food sensitivities
Airborne allergies
ADD
Forgetfulness
Optimal health for fertility

Supplement protocols, along with diet and lifestyle adjustments, are what I love to create with my clients.  See our website for opportunities to schedule and co-create your own custom protocol.

Regards,

Bridgit Danner, LAc

Functional Women's Health Practitioner

Healthy Decision Making: part 1

Your head or your heart-who’s in charge of you?

If you are stuck in elevator, between floors, it's a great time to use your wits to figure out how to get the heck out of there.  And, thankfully, in our culture today, we are encouraged to follow our hearts when choosing a mate.  

But what about all the decisions in between these two extremes, when we are deciding what to eat, or when to exercise?  How about deciding our career, or what we are going to say next?

Do we follow our heart, or our brain?  

I am noticing how rarely in our culture we slow down, tune in, and listen to our heart, or our gut, in our decisions.  Most Americans just seem to rush frantically from task to task without any consideration of how they are feeling or what their true needs are.  

Women are a bit more prone to this, because of the way we deal with stress.  We are less apt to recognize that we need to unwind when we are in fight or flight.  

Rushing around with little regard to our true needs can have a major impact on our health.  We may eat comfort or convenience foods as we ignore our body's cry for pure water or a fresh salad.  We may stay in relationships or jobs that are draining our limited resources.

Here's an experiment:  Dedicate one hour of your day today to really tune in to your needs before making every decision.  Do you want music or quiet?  Do you need a rest next, or some movement?  Do you need to reflect or learn?

You may be surprised to find how much more at peace you are when you work in tandem with your body and spirit, rather than letting your gray matter run the show!

Would you like to gain skills in following your heart?  Tune in to our podcast recording with the author of Heart Led Living, Sue Dumais, here.

Thanks for reading and please like, share or comment below!

~Bridgit Danner, LAc