Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are food crops that have been engineered to increase yields, hardiness and resistance to herbicides. This genetic engineering creates plant, animal and bacteria food groups that do not occur in nature. There is much controversy over the issue of GMO safety and while the scientific debate is ongoing, many concur that GMOs may have adverse effects on health.
One key concern about GMOs is that they have been deemed "safe" based solely on animal studies.Dietician Carole Bartolotto
writes, "The point is, if an animal study does not find harm with a particular substance, it could still cause harm in humans."
Special: GMO Foods: Are We Unknowingly Poisoning Our Families?
According to the Institute for Responsible Technology,
"Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses."
Here are seven ways that GMOs may adversely affect health:
1. Food allergy - According to the Organic Consumers Association
, "The list of GM food products intersect with the eight most common food allergens: eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat." OCA states that protein in foods is what triggers allergic reactions and "most of the foreign proteins being gene-spliced into foods have never been eaten by humans before or tested for their safety."
2. Toxicity -
"A review of 19 studies (including industry's own studies submitted to regulators in support of applications to commercialise GM crops) on mammals fed with commercialised GM soy and maize that are already in our food and feed chain found consistent toxic effects on the liver and kidneys," reports GMeducation.
3. Infertility - According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine
, "There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects." In a study on GM corn and fertility there was a "significant decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter weight in mice fed GM corn."
4. Gluten Disorders -
In a 2013 report released by the Institute for Responsible Technology
, internist Emily Linder MD states, "Based on my clinical experience, when I remove genetically modified foods as part of the treatment for gluten sensitivity, recovery is faster and more complete. I believe that GMOs in our diet contribute to the rise in gluten sensitivity in the U.S. population."
Special: Are We Unknowingly Poisoning Our Families With GMO Foods?
5. DNA Transfer -
GMOs are created using horizontal gene transfers as opposed to natural reproduction, which is accomplished via vertical gene transfer. Horizontal gene transfer "involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results." There are concerns that GM DNA can transfer to humans and the environment. According to geneticist Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, "It is now clear that horizontal transfer of GM DNA does happen, and very often. Evidence dating from the early 1990s indicates that ingested DNA in food and feed can indeed survive the digestive tract, and pass through the intestinal wall to enter the bloodstream," reports Mercola.
6. Birth defects -
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp. Monsanto Company, considered the giant of GMOs, engineers "RoundUp Ready" crops that are routinely treated with the herbicide. According to Andres Carrasco
, head of the molecular Embryology Lab at the University of Buenos Aires glyphosate "is responsible for causing birth defects, infertility, sperm destruction, and cancer."
7. Cancer -
A study that linked GMOs and RoundUp to cancer was first published in 2012, was retracted in 2013 and republished in 2014. The controversial study reported that rats were more likely to develop tumors and die after eating a diet of Monsanto GM corn. The study was retracted due to concerns about methodology but the researchers claim Monsanto's economic interests were the cause, reports CBS News.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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