Genetically Engineered Foods could be the root cause of your digestive disorder.
If you are one of the approximately 70 million Americans who suffer from a chronic digestive issue, then you should know that the food you choose to consume could be carrying a gene that is designed to intentionally cause intestinal rupture. Genetically modified foods that contain Bt toxin, a built-in insecticide that inherently works by imploding the stomach of the creature that is feasting on it, could very well be contributing to your intestinal angst.
What exactly is Bt and how does it work?
Bacillus thuringiensis is a naturally occurring substance that is found in soil bacterium. Since the mid-nineties, some engineered crops have been modified to harbor this toxin within their genetic codes. The idea is to produce crops that have a built-in insecticide, in order to reduce the amount of food that is lost to insect invasion. As if this action alone wasn’t enough, these crops are also being sprayed with more pesticide that coats the outer area of the plant. This way, these particular crops are being protected against predators twice.
“So-called ‘Bt corn’ is equipped with a gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces Bt-toxin—a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.” – Dr. Mercola
Monsanto Corporation is the industrial giant that is responsible for most of our genetically modified foods, and for Bt being inserted into our food supply. Roundup, a plant pesticide, is Monsanto’s current, main product. This is the same company that has previously ensured the safety of other products, such as DDT and Agent Orange. We now know that both of these substances are incredibly toxic to human health, despite being originally deemed safe just like genetically modified foods, Bt toxin, and glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) are now.
What are the studies saying?
In Jeffrey Smith’s Genetic Roulette, he documents 65 health risks associated with genetically modified foods, including the fact that rats that were fed genetically modified potatoes with Bt had evidence of intestinal rupture. All 65 of the health risks can be found on the Institute for Responsible Technology’s website.
Despite what Monsanto has said about the safety of Bt, a recent study done by the Institute of Science in Society has concluded that Bt is indeed harmful to human health:
“Experiments were performed to assess both cell death and cell membrane integrity, as the pesticidal activity of Bt toxins results from creating pores in the membrane of cells in the insect gut… this study indicates that Bt toxins are not inert on human cells, and may indeed be toxic.”
Bt is also known to kill human kidney cells, and, in a recent study, has been found in 93% of pregnant women’s unborn babies. And yet, we’re still all adamantly being told that there is no way for humans to possibly experience any negative side effects from eating Bt crops. In fact, the University of California San Diego has said, “Bt products are found to be safe for use in the environment and with mammals.” Two paragraphs down, they go on to say “Bt is found to be an eye irritant on test rabbits.”
Let’s take a look at the facts
Genetically modified foods that carry the Bt toxin first came to American households in 1996. Between the years of 1979 and 1998, the number of Americans to suffer from Crohn’s Disease (a debilitating autoimmune disease of the large bowel) bounced back and forth between 225 per 100,000 people to 300 per 100,000 people. In 2000, that number shot up to 375 per 100,000 people, and has been on the rise ever since. Ambulatory care visits from those who reported inflammatory bowel symptoms went from 275 per 100,000 people to 375 per 100,000 people between the years of 1994 and 1998.
Let’s do another. The number of Americans suffering from ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) hovered between 185 per 100,000 Americans to approximately 210 per 100,000 people between the years of 1979 and 2001. In 2002, those numbers shot to 225 per 100,000 people and have been on the rise ever since. Ambulatory care visits went from approximately 190 per 100,000 people in 1995 to about 235 per 100,000 people in 1998.
These are significant changes in bowel health that occurred within approximately 5 years of Bt hitting the supermarket. This rise in altered bowel health does not follow the general population increase, but it does make sense when considering the fact that we are consuming more and more food that has been genetically encoded with this toxic pesticide.
How do we avoid exposure to Bt?
Although there are other crops that are being grown using Bt (such as potatoes), corn is generally the most worrisome. This is because corn (or maize) is in almost all processed foods (corn meal, corn syrup, corn starch, corn flour, etc.) Soy is also a concern, because as with corn, a lot of foods contain GMO soy
embedded within the list of ingredients, such as soy lecithin and soy starch.
For non-meat eaters, who generally tend to consume more soy products than meat-eaters, it is important to look for non-GMO, organic soy product foods when consuming tofu, tempeh, and any other soy-derived products.
Because genetically modified foods in the United States are not required to bear a label notifying the consumer that it is a “frankenfood”, the only real way to avoid it is to eat a very clean, mindful, organic, naked whole food diet. However, when buying packaged food, look for the NON-GMO label or NON-GMO PROJECT logo.
Besides taking action to personally ensure you don’t consume Bt, you can also rally for better quality food on a local or even global level. Find out more about genetically modified foods by using the plenitude of resources available. Here are some ideas:
- Visit Non-GMO Shopping Guide.com and educate yourself on what brands contain genetically engineered ingredients.
- Visit Non-GMO Project and click on “get involved.”
- Read Jeffrey Smith’s Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette. Or, if you don’t have time to read the books, get a hold of the video versions.
- Whenever you can, vote against genetically modified foods. California’s Proposition 37, an initiative to ensure that all GMO foods in the state of California be required to bear a GMO label, almost passed. Every vote counts.
- Know what foods are most commonly sprayed with chemicals. (The dirty dozen vs. clean fifteen).
- Visit environmentalist David Suzuki’s website for more ideas and information on how to avoid everyday toxins, including GMOs.
In regards to your gut—all of these toxins and chemicals end up in there. Clean up your food, and you will improve the health of your digestive tract.