Two Types of Genetic Engineering
Genetically engineered food comes from crops that have been altered by mixing and matching genes, usually from genetically modified organisms. They take genes from one species and force them into another species - even between species that have never mated in nature. There are two main types of GE foods:
Herbicide-tolerant crops: Plants engineered to withstand heavy herbicide spraying without sustaining damage Pesticide-producing crops: Plants engineered to produce their own pesticides - so if a bug bites one, its stomach explodes and it dies
Your Immune System on Attack
Your immune system is a finely tuned system that has evolved over time to differentiate between "normal" and "foreign" matter. When it's working properly, it can distinguish between potential threats circulating in your body that will help you and those that may harm you - and get rid of the latter.
When your immune system sees a gene sequence that's supposed to be "food," but one it's never seen before, it attacks as if it's a foreign invader. Food essentially becomes a toxin. This initiates an inflammatory response, and chronic inflammation is the underlying reason for most chronic disease.
One key site where inflammation occurs is your gut. Gut inflammation is a precursor to all sorts of chronic problems, from heart disease to thyroid dysfunction to arthritis to autoimmune disease - you name it. Since the introduction of GE corn and soy into the American diet in 1996, numerous disorders related to gastrointestinal inflammation have been on the rise.
Tinkering with the Genetics of Your Food. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Bt toxin, produced by Monsanto's genetically engineered Bt corn, is a great example of what can go wrong. Bt corn was introduced to the food supply in the mid-1990s.
One of the stated purposes of GE crops is to make it easier for farmers to control weeds and insects. Toward this end, genetic engineers capitalized on a type of soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (or Bt), whose toxin kills insects. They took the gene from the bacteria that produce the toxin and forced it into corn and cotton, so that the plants would do the killing. Every single cell in Bt corn, soy and cotton produces Bt toxin.
When Bt corn was approved, both Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured everyone that the Bt toxin produced by these plants would hurt only insects.
They claimed Bt-toxin would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system, so it would not have any impact at all. However, such was not the case. Doctors at Quebec's Sherbrooke University Hospital were shocked to find the toxin circulating in the blood of 93 percent of the pregnant women, 80 percent of their babies' umbilical blood, and 67 percent of the non-pregnant women they tested.10 Clearly, Bt toxin is not destroyed in your GI tract.
Is Your Food Turning Your Gut Into a Pesticide Factory?
Many of the health problems now linked with Bt crops have risen exponentially since their introduction to the market. The fact that the toxin is flowing through your bloodstream and passing from pregnant women to their babies is a strong warning that Bt crops cannot be considered harmless. Additionally, government-sponsored research in Italy11 showed a wide range of problematic responses in mice fed Bt corn, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple forms of cancer.
A study in February 2012 demonstrates that Bt toxin does break open the little pores in human cells, so it could potentially cause the same problem in your gut as it does for the insects it kills.
Consuming Bt corn or soy could potentially cause gut permeability ("leaky gut"), which can predispose you to all sorts of health problems.
Your gut is the frontline of your immune system. When your gut lining is too permeable, or "leaky," larger bits of food can pass directly into your blood, undigested, triggering food allergies and intolerances. Children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of leaky gut and dysbiosis (imbalance in natural flora, which is critical for their health).
Studies also suggests eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a "living pesticide factory," essentially manufacturing Bt-toxin from within your digestive system on a continuous basis. For decades now, people have been eating these frankenfoods, and allergies have been on the rise. In fact, five million children now suffer from food allergies...
Clues for Avoiding GE Foods
In the meantime, there are some measures you can take to make sure the foods you select are not genetically engineered. There are nine primary GE food crops, but their derivatives are in over 70 percent of supermarket foods, particularly processed foods. GE ingredients can hide. For example, every can of soda containing high fructose corn syrup most likely contains GE corn. Make sure none of the following are on your grocery list, unless they are USDA certified organic: Soy Cottonseed Corn Canola Oil Hawaiian papaya Alfalfa Sugar from sugar beets Some varieties of zucchini Crookneck squash
Avoid any product containing aspartame, which is derived from a GE organism. And avoid any milk product that may have rBGH. I recommend consuming only raw, organic milk products you've obtained from a trustworthy local dairy farmer.