Originally published by Health and Wellness Magazine
by Angela Hoover
Cross discipline research shows a correlation between gut health and autism; and also the negative health effects of genetically modified (GM) food on gut function.
GM Animal Feed Effects Parallel Autism Symptoms
It began in Oct. 2011 with a talk given in Germany by an American researcher who examined the physiological, neurological and behavioral symptoms of pigs, cows and rats fed GM feed. After Don Huber, PhD, professor emeritus from Purdue University gave his lecture, he was approached by a physician and autism specialist who said the symptoms Dr. Huber described are exactly the same as he and his colleagues were finding in autistic children.
The animals in Dr. Huber’s study were fed the same GM soy and corn eaten by children and adults in the United States. Both crops contain bacterial genes that allow them to survive being sprayed with herbicides that would normally kill the crop. This results in a higher level of toxic residue inside the food. Additionally, some GM corn varieties are inserted with genes that produce an insect-killing poison called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin inserted in every cell. Despite biotech seed companies’ claims that GMOs are harmless, independent scientists are finding several disturbing and major harmful effects of GMOs.
Autism Rates Increase; Gastrointestinal Problems Rampant in Autistics
Twenty years ago, autism was rare. By 2008, 1 in 54 boys are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States. A disproportionate number of autistic children have digestive ailments, suggesting it plays a significant role in the disease. As found in numerous studies, most autistic children had some type of gastrointestinal (GI) symptom: inflammation, intestinal permeability (leaky gut), imbalances in the intestinal bacteria, food allergy or absorption problem. A 2006 study found a history of GI symptoms in 70 percent of children with ASD. The correlation between digestive health and autism is still controversial. However, numerous healthcare practitioners report greater success when they address the gastrointestinal disorder as part of their autism treatment protocol.
Gastrointestinal Problems In GMO-Fed Animals
The same GI issues human autistics show are found in animals fed GM-feed. As early as 1999 the first evidence of GMOs causing GI tract distress was published in the Lancet journal. After just 10 days of GM feed given to rats, the cells of their stomach lining and intestines were significantly altered. The intestines of GMO-fed pigs show the intestinal lining is deteriorated and the critical microbial balance is drastically changed, according to Dr. Huber. Butchers report that GMO-fed livestock have thin small intestines that can tear easily, whereas they are stronger in non-GMO fed animals. In fact, meat processors in the United States import intestinal sausage casings from New Zealand because U.S. livestock intestines are of too poor quality. Livestock veterinarian of 40 years, Dr. Don Skow reports that after GMOs were introduced in America in the mid-90s he has seen an increase of inflammation and infection of the lower part of the small intestine in farm animals. Iowa agricultural consultant, Howard Vlieger, says GMO-fed livestock have inflamed and ulcerated stomachs. A Danish pig farmer switched to GMO feed and it resulted in numerous deaths from ulcers, bloat and loss of appetite. He also had a massive diarrhea problem on the farm. After returning to non-GMO feed, overall health improved, the average litter size and milk production increased, the deaths ceased and the diarrhea stopped. Both diarrhea and bloat are common symptoms of autistic children.
Compromised Flora In Both Autistic Humans and GMO-Fed Animals
Autistic patients not only demonstrate structural deformities in their digestive tracts, but also have intestinal flora that has gone wild. Bacteria living inside of our digestive system, which is 10 times the number of cells in our entire body, plays an important role in digestion, immunity, detoxification and the production of nutrients. There is also growing evidence that GMO-fed animals have an improper flora balance, too. Dr. Huber reports that pigs fed GMOs have dramatically different microflora that has a terrible odor. Farmers that butcher their own livestock report GMO-fed pigs and cows have a horrible stench and discolored organs. The German physician who approached Dr. Huber after his German lecture is convinced of the GMO connection to autism, via GI problems and gut bacteria. He said he now understands why diet modification that produced success 10 years ago doesn’t do so today is because we cannot change the microflora back when we are continuing to feed our children GMOs.
Increase In GI Problems In Rest Of Human Population
Yet, it’s not just autistic patients who are experiencing a rise in GI problems. Pediatrician of 30 years, Michelle Perro, reviewed a 2011 animal GMO-feed study that showed increased cellular growth and abnormal architecture and concluded that the same results can be extrapolated in babies clinically. Babies and children are not digesting their food; they are mal-absorbing, according to Dr. Perro, and she sees this commonly as digestive issues are skyrocketing among her patients. According to U.S. hospital discharges and ambulatory admissions records data, inflammatory bowel disease in the United States population has exploded by 40 percent since the introduction of GMOs. Other family practitioners see a rise in food allergies and celiac disease.
Intestinal Permeability: Holes In Our Guts
The same diseases that research suggests are connected to intestinal permeability are the diseases that seem to be on the rise. When intestinal permeability increases, larger bits of food that have not been digested pass through into the blood stream, which causes an immune reaction. Bt in GM crops is a poison designed to create porous holes in the digestive tracts of insects, and therefore, is of paramount consideration in intestinal permeability problems in humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insists that Bt-toxin has absolutely no influence on human or mammalian cells yet researchers prove the EPA wrong. This February research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology documents that Bt-toxins from GM plants are not inert on human cells and do exert toxicity; thus, creating small holes in our intestines. Permeable intestines cause an entire spectrum of disease from premature aging and Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to autism to cancer and to asthma. Numerous professionals believe that Bt-toxin produced in GM corn is already accelerating diseases in America. “It appears there is a direct correlation between GMOs and autism,” Arden Andersen, DO, PhD, MPH has said.
Human GMO Study: GMO DNA Remains Active Inside Our Guts
The only human GMO feeding study ever published shows interactions with our intestinal flora. British scientists discovered that part of the DNA inserted into GM crops can transfer into the DNA of our gut bacteria. Specifically, part of the Roundup Ready gene found in Monsanto’s soybeans took up residence within the intestinal flora of three out of seven subjects tested. The transfer did not occur in the lab – it took place after consuming GM soy in some previous meal(s). Of important note, these subjects lived in the UK, where GM soy consumption is a small fraction of what is eaten in the United States. This study was published in Nature Biotechnology in 2004 as a condensed version of a larger, more detailed study. The published version left out a significant fact: the gut bacteria that contained the Roundup Ready gene was not killed when exposed to glyphosate. This suggests that the transferred genes may continue to function inside of us; GM proteins continuously producing inside our intestines long after we stop eating GMOs.
Should the Bt-toxin in Monsanto corn transfer to our gut bacteria, it could convert our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories. With the inside of our intestines continuously exposed, Bt-toxin might erode the integrity of our GI tract, leading to widespread gut permeability and dysfunction.