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Roundup and its potential links to coeliac disease, obesity, autism and many more

Almost every week we identify patients in our practice with gluten intolerance, coeliac disease and autoimmune conditions. Our aim is always not only to identify and treat health conditions, but to search for root causes. By doing so we found research linking these and many other health conditions to Roundup®

Roundup is the brand name of a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide originally produced by the U.S. company Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018, and contains the active ingredient glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the USA. Monsanto also produced seeds which grow into plants genetically engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate, which are known as Roundup Ready crops. 

According to a paper published in 2013 Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup®, is the most important causal factor for Coeliac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance. Coeliac disease is associated with an increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Another paper from the same year described glyphosate as potentially a key contributor to the obesity and autism epidemic in the United States, as well as to several other diseases and conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, infertility, depression, and cancer.

Glyphosate has been shown to disrupt gut bacteria in animals, preferentially killing beneficial forms and causing an overgrowth of pathogens. Coeliac disease is associated with a reduced presence in the gut of commensal [healthy] bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which are known to be preferentially killed by glyphosate, and with an overabundance of C. difficile, which is known to be promoted by glyphosate exposure.

Glyphosate leads to chelation [binding] of minerals such as iron - which might be causative to widespread iron deficiency. It has further been found to decrease the activity of the digestive enzymes protease [for protein digestion], lipase [for fat digestion], and amylase [for starch digestion] in the gastrointestinal tract. Evidence from this effect suggests that glyphosate may interfere with the breakdown of complex proteins in the human stomach, leaving larger fragments of wheat in the human gut that will then trigger an autoimmune response.

Glyphosate is associated with an overgrowth of pathogens along with an inflammatory bowel disease in animal models.

Several countries have responded to these concerns and either restricted or banned the use of glyphosate:

• Belgium: In 2017, the Flemish government banned individual use of glyphosate and voted against re-licensing glyphosate in the EU. The country was one of six EU member states to sign a letter to the EU Commission calling for "an exit plan for glyphosate." 
• Bermuda: The island outlawed the private and commercial sale of all glyphosate-based herbicides.
• Colombia: In 2015, the country forbid the use of glyphosate to eliminate illegal plantations of coca, often used to make cocaine, due to concern that the herbicide causes cancer. However in 2017, the country re-instituted its controversial fumigation program. But instead of using aerial fumigation, glyphosate is now sprayed manually, from the ground.
• Netherlands: Dutch officials have banned all non-commercial use of glyphosate.
• Sri Lanka: In 2014, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa mandated an all-out ban on glyphosate, following a study linking Roundup to Fatal Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), the second-leading cause of death among males in the country. Sri Lanka was the first country to issue a nationwide ban on glyphosate.
• El Salvador: Passed a law banning glyphosate, citing the same study linking fatal chronic kidney disease to Roundup.
• Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi ArabiaKuwaitQatarBahrainOman and the United Arab Emirates, have stopped glyphosate use.
• France: President Emmanuel Macron announced in November 2017, an outright ban on glyphosate, to take effect "within three years."


  • Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013;6(4):159-84.
  • Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate's suppression of cytochrome P450 enzymes and amino acid biosynthesis by the gut microbiome: Pathways to modern diseases. Entropy. 2013;15:1416–1463.
  • Risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in celiac disease. Catassi C, Fabiani E, Corrao G, Barbato M, De Renzo A, Carella AM, Gabrielli A, Leoni P, Carroccio A, Baldassarre M, Bertolani P, Caramaschi P, Sozzi M, Guariso G, Volta U, Corazza GR; Italian Working Group on Coeliac Disease and Non-Hodgkin's-Lymphoma. JAMA. 2002 Mar 20;287(11):1413-9.
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Food Matters 2018

CountryHealth spent two busy days at this years food matters LIVE in the London ExCel We made several excellent contacts.

Many of our clients have food intolerances, especially to gluten. We were on the look-out for clever solutions and found two companies who can offer our clients an excellent alternative to bread, pasta and even waffles.

BEST gluten free bread in the world ...

We met the team from Davina Steel who has been winning prices for the BEST gluten free bread in the world for several years running - even in the gluten bread category. 

Not only are the breads the best we tasted, we can even offer a 10% discount to our clients. 

You can also make yummy and easy pizza ...

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Thyroid Awareness week 20.-26.10.2018

Thyroid Awareness Week is held to raise awareness of thyroid disease.

Thyroid disorders are relatively rare in infants and children. Nevertheless, being aware of their symptoms is vital to allow early diagnosis and treatment.

We found this very engaging child-friendly video from Thyroid Aware to look into thyroid problems in children:


It is also available as a little e-book: Storybook for Children


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Welcome to Liam

We are excited to welcome our newest team member Liam. Liam has over 16 years experience taking bloods and examining patients through his role as skills technician in a busy accident & emergency department. He has excellent communications skills and is a real team player. He is constantly improving his skills, currently studying for a foundation degree in associated nursing.

Liam is in charge of health screenings, registration health checks and taking blood samples.

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The Bitter Aftertaste of UK’s new Sugar Tax

“From Friday (6 April 2018), millions of children across the UK will benefit from the government’s key milestone in tackling childhood obesity, as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy comes into effect.” Or, will they?

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.

According to estimates from Public Health England, two thirds of adults and a quarter of children between two and 10 years old are overweight or obese. Obese children are more likely to become overweight adults and to suffer premature ill health and mortality, and by 2034, 70 per cent of adults are expected to be overweight or obese.

The fundamental causes behind the rising levels of childhood obesity are a shift in diet towards increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other healthy micronutrients. Choosing healthy foods for infants and young children is critical because food preferences are established in early life.

One of the UK Governments interventions to tackle obesity has been the introduction of the “sugar tax”, adding up to 24p per liter on sugary drinks. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in a sharp increase of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks as sugar replacement.

Although artificial sweeteners have been considered safe, accumulating evidence indicates that they can induce glucose intolerance and disturb energy levels in the human body. In particular, the gut microbiome has been demonstrated to play a role in these processes. In a study from 2017 Acesulfame-K increased the abundance of Bacteroides bacteria in the gut microbiome which is associated with obesity and indeed resulted in a significantly higher body weight.

Toxic products generated by gut bacteria can enter systemic circulation and induce chronic inflammation. The above study found that Acesulfame-K may increased the risk of developing systemic chronic inflammation.

Another study from 2015 reviewed the nutritional benefits and risks related to intense sweeteners [IS]- analyzing 10,989 scientific papers. It found that – contrary to claims that use of artificial sweeteners leads to weight loss, “no conclusion can be drawn as to the long-term effect of replacing caloric sweeteners with IS on the weight of regular adult consumers of sweet products.” It further found that “most of the prospective observational studies undertaken in children show that IS use is paradoxically associated with weight gain.”

“Some studies … suggested that aspartame consumption may be involved in triggering epileptic seizures and migraines.”

Sucralose [e.g. Splenda, E955, Canderel Yellow] was found to be mutagenic at elevated concentrations. Cooking with sucralose at high temperatures was reported to generate a potentially toxic class of compounds. It alters the microbial composition in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), with relatively greater reduction in beneficial bacteria.

The artificial sweetener aspartame remains one of the most controversial food additives. A study found that people who consumed high-aspartame diets, had more irritable mood, exhibited more depression, and performed worse on spatial orientation tests.  Chronic use of aspartame was found to cause liver injury, depletion of Glutathione (GSH) [an important antioxidant] and to trigger the blockade of an important detoxification pathway [trans-sulphuration pathway].

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the three major complications of Diabetes mellitus (DM). . The artificial sweetener Sorbitol was found in a study from 2015 to damage Schwann cells which regulate peripheral nerve function, which can make the neuropathy worse.

Instead of loading foods with unhealthy artificial sweeteners, and as one of the study rightly states “for the general population, the overall assessment of potential risks and benefits does not justify the long-term use of IS as sugar substitutes, particularly in beverages” we should skip the artificially-sweetened and sugar-sweetened frankenfoods and replace them with natural foods and – when it comes to drinks – water.

Dr Oliver Frey MD MRCGP

Health & Wellbeing



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