GMOs and Herbicide Linked to Diabetes

Two long-term feeding studies of genetically modified foods have shown a possible link to diabetes and endocrine dysfunction.

Researchers found that animals fed GMOs, with or without the herbicide glyphosate, had "significant" changes in the pancreas and other organs.

Conflicting research findings may be due to length of studies

Short-term safety studies of GMOs done in the United States often show no link to any adverse effects; however, two long-term studies done in France and Norway did show a link.

A 10-year GMO safety study led by Professor Åshild Krogdahl at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (NVH) found several connections between GMOs and gene assimilation. A report on the Norwieian site forskning.no says:

It has often been argued that the new genes in genetically modified foods can not do any harm because all genes are decomposed beyond recognition in the gut. Our results show on the contrary that genes can be absorbed across the intestinal wall is transferred to the blood and found in the blood, muscle and liver in such large chunks that can be easily recognized.

In the study, two groups of salmon were fed the same recipe of fish meal, but the test group included genetically modified corn, while the control was non-genetically modified. The researchers report:

We saw changes in the fish that ate genetically modified corn, regardless of age. We saw it in their digestive organs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals and sex organs ... Their intestines had a different microstructure, the digested proteins slightly lower, and the immune system has changed somewhat.

While the researchers concede that these changes could happen in any two groups fed different feeds, the feed was designed to be the same in all other ways to "get a good basis for comparison."

The French study, run by the University of Caen with help from the University of Verona in Italy, reveals GMOs may be linked to endocrine disruption, as mice fed genetically modified feed developed large tumors and died 2 to 3 times more rapidly than controls. The study’s abstract says:

Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher.

These findings are most likely due to "the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences." The results may also be due to the endocrine-disrupting effects of glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the popular weed killer, "Roundup." The levels of glyphosate tested were at levels determined as “safe” in drinking water supply.

These findings can be translated into increased diabetes risk due to possible disruptions in pancreatic function and possible damage to pancreatic tissue. However, further study is required to establish a direct link.

Sources: Science Direct and forskning.no

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