Steve Shenk

Back in the mid-1980s, in an attempt to make grains hardier and more resistent to the pesticides used to destroy weeds and other pests, scientists undertook the task of genetically modifiying the grain seed. Using genetic engineering techniques, these seeds had specific changes introduced into their DNA and became what is commonly referred to today as “genetically modified organisms” or GMOs. It may sound like the begining of a science fiction movie from the ’50s or the work of a mad scientist wanting to play God, but it is big business and the unfortunately, the stakes could involve your health.

In the period from 1996 to 2011, the planting and harvesting of GMO grains has exploded. The land used for cultivating GMOs has increased from 4.2 million acres to 395 million acres. By 2010, ten percent of the world’s croplands were used to raise genetically modified crops. In a 2011 forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it was reported that U.S. farmers intended to plant nearly 90 million more acres of corn GMOs, 58 million acres of wheat GMOs, and over 76 million acres of soybean GMOs.
GMOs are big business and are constituiting a larger and larger portion of the foods you eat on a regular basis.

One side effect of GMOs—I’ll let you decide whether it was intended or not—was that GMO grains possess two substances that distort our body’s ability to process the amino acids, proline and glutamine. Instability in these two sulfur rich amino acids affects your body’s ability to deal with heavy metals, regulate genes, and control protein function.

It makes sense that anything that inhibits your body to perform the way it was created has the ability to be problematic with a person’s health. One of the ways in which this is happening is with celiac disease. Studies conducted show an increasing link between consuming GMOs and celiac disease.

Celiac disease, or commonly referred to as a gluten intolerance, inhibits a body’s ability to break down fat in the digestive system. With symptoms as unpleasent as abdominal distention and diarrhea to ones as threatening as anemia and malnutrition, people suffering from this condition must eat a special diet requiring that all food is gluten grain free. And this is for the “lucky” ones who are able to have the condition properly diagnosed. Many are suffering with the effects of celiac disease and all of its accompaning symptoms because of a mis-diagnosis of the condition.

The American Academy of Enviromental Medicine (AAEM) has conducted several studies concluding that GMOs pose serious health risks. They have found that three proteins (peptides) found in GMOs are linked to the gluten intolerance seen with those suffering with celiac disease. These peptides cause a reaction that distorts the immune system, inflames cells, and plays havoc with cell communication.

Whether you are suffering from celiac disease or not, one needs to be aware of what is in our food. But even then, it can be tricky. In fact, one of the more clever marketing techniques used is labeling items as “whole grains.” While sounding like a healthy choice, these whole grains are often the GMOs corportations have our nations farmers produce on an ever-increasing basis. Couple that with the fact that in the U.S., GMOS are not required by law to be labeled as such and you find yourself at a distinct disadvantage.

However, labeling can also be part of the solution. While some want to keep GMOs a secret from you other companies realizing the dangers of GMOs are proud to label their products as GMO-free. If you value your health and are concerned with what goes into your body, I encourage you to search these companies out.

Doing so will not only help you sleep better at night, but may very well help you avoid the next condition caused by GMOs.

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