Huffington Post, 25 August 2009
Stop eating dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods! That's the upshot of the Lyme Induced Autism (LIA) Foundation's position paper released today (http://www.lymeinducedautism.com/gmopositionpaper.html).
The patient advocacy group is not willing to wait around until research studies prove that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cause or worsen the many diseases that are on the rise since gene-spliced foods were introduced in 1996. Like the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) earlier this year, the LIA Foundation says there is more than enough evidence of harm in GM animal feeding studies for them to "urge doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets" and for "individuals, especially those with autism, Lyme disease, and associated conditions, to avoid" GM foods.
Dr. Jannelle Love, founder of the Autism Relief Foundation, is quoted in Kimberly Wilcox's excellent article:
"It is known that children on the Autistic Spectrum suffer from fragile immune systems, significant digestive and brain inflammation, and the environmental toxin overload. Putting foreign entities such as GMO foods into such a fragile child may indeed cause further deterioration and perhaps block the delicate biochemical pathways needed for appropriate functioning and possible recovery."
The LIA Foundation calls for physicians and patient advocacy groups to explain to patients the role that GM foods may play in disease and to distribute non-GMO educational materials, including the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, which makes it easier to find brands without GM ingredients. (See www.nonGMOGuide.com). They also called for a moratorium on all GM foods and for "Research to evaluate the role of GM foods on autism, Lyme disease, and related conditions."
GMOs: pervasive and high-risk
The five main GM foods are soy, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets. Their derivatives are found in more than 70 percent of the foods in the supermarket. The primary reason the plants are engineered is to allow them to drink poison. They're inserted with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of poisonous herbicide. Biotech companies sell the seed and herbicide as a package deal. Roundup Ready crops survive sprays of Roundup. Liberty Link crops survive Liberty. US farmers use hundreds of millions of pounds more herbicide because of these herbicide-tolerant crops, and the higher toxic residues end up inside of us. The LIA position paper acknowledges that "Individuals with infections that compromise immunity... and/or high toxin loads may also be especially susceptible to adverse effects from pesticides."
Some GM corn and cotton varieties are also designed to produce poison. Inserted genes from a soil bacterium produce an insect-killing poison called Bt-toxin in every cell of the plant. Bt is associated with allergic and toxic reactions in humans and animals, and may create havoc in our digestive system (see below).
All GM crops, in fact, should be considered high-risk. Irrespective of which gene you insert, the process of genetic engineering itself results in massive collateral damage within the plants' natural DNA. This can result in new or higher levels of toxins, carcinogens, allergens, or nutrient-blocking compounds in our food.
Because of a corporate takeover at the FDA (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/obamas-team-includes-dang_b_147188.html), they don't require a single safety test on GMOs -- so almost none of the potential side effects are evaluated before the crops are approved for sale. The few animal feeding safety studies that have been conducted, however, show serious problems. It's obvious why those suffering from autism, Lyme, or any ailment, would want to stop being used as a guinea pig in this massive GMO feeding experiment.
AAEM physician Amy Dean, a board certified internal medicine specialist, says:
"GMOs have been shown to adversely affect the digestive and immune systems of animals in laboratory settings. Lyme and autism, on the rise in the US, are also associated with digestive and immune system dysfunction. Therefore, patients with Lyme and autism should avoid GM foods."
Autism, food allergies, and GMOs
It is noteworthy that children with autism are often allergic to corn and soy. Both are genetically engineered. Many are also allergic to dairy.
The LIA press release (http://www.lymeinducedautism.com/gmopositionpaper.html) points out, "dairy cows are usually fed GM feed and sometimes injected with GM bovine growth hormone." Although no studies have looked at the impact of eating meat or milk from GM-fed animals, secret FDA documents (http://biointegrity.org/list.html) made public from a lawsuit revealed that their Center for Veterinary Medicine was very concerned that toxins from GM foods might bioaccumulate in the livestock (http://biointegrity.org/FDAdocs/08/view1.html). If so, their milk and meat may be even more dangerous than the GM plants.
Studies on the impact of bovine growth hormone (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/governor-sebelius-must-ve_b_183838.html) on the cows' milk are less ambiguous. The dairy products from treated cows contain higher amounts of puss, antibiotics, bovine growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The last on the list is considered most dangerous. IGF-1 is linked to a much higher risk of cancer, and according to one study, may also be responsible for the high rates of fraternal twins born in the US.
GMO health risk sampler
Our Institute for Responsible Technology's Campaign for Healthier Eating in America (http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/CampaignforHealthierEatinginAmerica/index.cfm) has been very busy distributing our Non-GMO Shopping Guide to doctors around the nation, who are quite concerned about the impact of GMOs on their own and their patients' health. They are also giving patients our small pamphlet (http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/HealthRisks/HealthRisksBrochure/index.cfm) that summarizes the health dangers of GMOs. This helps to inspire people to use the Shopping Guide. Some of the health risks are included below. (Citations are posted (http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/HealthRisks/HealthRisksBrochure/index.cfm).) See if you're also "inspired."
According to GMO safety expert Arpad Pusztai, PhD, the digestive tract is the first and largest point of contact with GM foods and can reveal reactions to various toxins. Lab animals fed GM feed developed lesions in the stomach, damage intestines, and abnormal and proliferative cell growth in the walls of the stomach and intestines.
Toxic intestinal bacteria
The beneficial bacteria living inside our digestive tract is used for digestion and immunity. Excessive herbicide residues on herbicide-tolerant GM crops may kill beneficial gut flora. More importantly, the only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have dangerous GM proteins continuously produced inside us. Consider, for example, if the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were also to transfer. It might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.
Compromised immune system
Virtually every animal feeding study that looked for immune changes from GMOs found them. GM-fed animals had a sluggish immune responses, damaged organs associated with immunity, altered parameters in the blood, and dangerous inflammatory and immune reactions.
No tests can guarantee that a GMO will not cause allergies. Although the World Health Organization recommends a screening protocol, GM soy and corn fail those tests--because their GM proteins have properties of known allergens.
Soon after GM soy was introduced in the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent. A skin prick allergy test verified that some people react to GM soy, but not to natural soy. GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen. Both GM soy and corn contain at least one new unexpected allergen, not found in natural crops.
The biotech industry claims that Bt-toxin is harmless to humans and mammals because the natural bacteria version has been used as a spray by farmers for years. In reality, hundreds of people exposed to natural Bt spray had allergic and flu-like symptoms. Now, farm workers throughout India are getting those same symptoms from handling Bt cotton. Likewise, mice fed natural Bt had powerful immune responses; now mice and rats fed Bt corn also show immune responses.
GMOs may make you allergic to non-GM foods
Since GMOs were introduced in the US, food allergies have become a huge problem, especially for kids. Some of the foods that trigger reactions, however, are not genetically engineered. But studies show how GM foods might create sensitivity to other foods, and may in fact be contributing to this national epidemic.
GM soy, for example, drastically reduces digestive enzymes in mice. If our ability to breakdown proteins was impaired, we could become allergic to a wide variety of foods.
Mice fed Bt-toxin not only reacted to the Bt itself, they started having immune reactions to foods that were formerly harmless. The Bt-toxin in the corn we eat may have a similar impact. Mice fed experimental GM peas also started reacting to a range of other "safe" foods. The allergen responsible for this reaction may be found in GM foods on our supermarket shelves.
GMOs and liver problems
The liver is a primary detoxifier. Its condition can indicate if there are toxins in our food. Mice and rats fed GM feed had profound changes in their livers. In some cases, livers were smaller and partially atrophied. Some were significantly heavier, possibly inflamed. And certain cellular changes indicated a toxic insult from the GM diet.
Reproductive problems and infant mortality
Both male and female animals showed horrific problems when fed GM soy. More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, compared to 10 percent of the non-GM soy controls. The GM babies were also considerably smaller, and were unable to conceive in a subsequent study. Male rats and mice fed GM soy had changed testicles, including altered young sperm cells in the mice. And when both mouse parents ate GM soy, the DNA of their embryos functioned differently. GM corn also had an impact. The longer mice were fed the corn, the fewer babies they had and the smaller their babies were.
Livestock sterility, disease, and death
Many of the problems seen in laboratories are also reported by farmers and investigators in the field.
Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants after harvest. Others suffered poor health and serious reproductive problems.
Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties.
About two dozen US farmers report that GM corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows.
Ready to change your diet?
Inspired? How about alarmed? Choosing non-GMO diets is not only a good idea for those suffering from disease, but for anyone wanting to eat healthy and prevent disease.
International bestselling author and filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology (http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/Home/index.cfm). His first book, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating (http://www.chelseagreen.com/index/bookstore/item/seeds_of_deception/), is the world's bestselling and #1 rated book on GMOs. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods (http://www.chelseagreen.com/index/bookstore/item/genetic_roulette/), documents 65 health risks of the GM foods Americans eat everyday. Both are distributed by Chelsea Green Publishing (http://www.chelseagreen.com).