Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Weed Killer for Breakfast: Beware of this Toxic Ingredient in your “Health Food”

By Sarah Axtell, ND April 17, 2019

Glyphosate is the world’s top-selling weed killer and key ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup.

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that glyphosate has “low toxicity for humans,” the World Health Organization (WHO) declared glyphosate a “probable carcinogen.” In addition to increasing cancer risk, animal studies show glyphosate exposure is linked to hormone disruption, birth defects, infertility, depression, and gastrointestinal issues.  In fact, glyphosate was first created as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. That’s right- glyphosate kills bacteria, including the beneficial flora in your gut.

The most common crops exposed to glyphosate include wheat, barley, oats, chickpeas, soy, and canola. In 2018, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study with oats and cereals and found that almost 75% of those samples contained glyphosate levels higher than what EWG considered safe.

The amount of the toxic pesticide actually exceeded the amount of both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 in the breakfast cereals. That means there is more weed-killer in your child’s breakfast cereal than there are vitamins!

What’s safe?

The EWG has established the safety threshold of 160 parts per billion (ppb). Not surprisingly, most conventional breakfast cereals and oats have levels exponentially higher than this.

Cheerios, an oat-based cereal, for example, contains glyphosate level of 577 parts per billion (ppb). Ritz crackers contains 569 ppb; Sabra classic hummus contains 506 ppb; Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey and Almonds contains 625 ppb; Quaker Instant Oatmeal contains 543 ppb; and Quaker Steel Cut Oats contains 530 ppb.

For a complete list of results of EWG’s glyphosate tests see here.

This means your seemingly “healthy” morning bowl of oats or your snack of hummus could be laden with this dangerous weed killer. Even though small amounts of glyphosate have been found to be “safe” according to the EPA, exposure is cumulative.

Minimizing Exposure

The first step to minimizing glyphosate exposure is to select products and fruits and vegetables that are certified organic. 

Also, consider relying less on oats, corn, and wheat as the bulk of your “healthy whole grains,” and opt for ancient grains, such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, and brown or wild rice.

Consider alternatives to grains in the morning all together. Eggs, smoothies, goat-milk yogurt with berries, and these “Easy Peasy Gluten-Free Pancakes” are regular protein-packed breakfast items in our house. If breakfast cereal or oatmeal is a must, opt for certified organic!

Negating Ill Effects of Glyphosate

It is nearly impossible to completely avoid glyphosate exposure here in the US. Thank goodness we have built-in ways to detoxify harmful chemicals. We must support our organs of elimination (GI tract, liver, kidneys, skin, lungs) to promote detoxification and help negate the ill effects of glyphosate:

  • GI tract: Regular bowel movements are a must! We achieve healthy bowel movements with adequate dietary fiber (from fruits and vegetables), fermented foods, water, and magnesium. Also, consider taking a daily probiotic to replenish your healthy gut flora that glyphosate can readily eradicate.
  • Liver: Limit alcohol to no more than 4 drinks per week. If your liver is too busy detoxing alcohol or medications, for example, it won’t be very efficient at detoxing other harmful chemicals in our environment, such as glyphosate. Other liver supportive therapies to consider include castor oil packs, lemon water in the morning, and cleansing herbs, such dandelion root, burdock, and milk thistle. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and glutathione are also great liver detoxifiers.
  • Kidneys: A simple yet effective way to support your kidneys is to stay hydrated. Aim for ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day (ie. 75 ounces daily if you weight 150 lbs). Also, include parsley and cilantro in your diet to promote kidney and liver detox.
  • Skin: Sweating through exercise and saunas is helpful for eliminating toxins. After all, the skin is the largest organ of the body. We cannot underestimate the power of a good sweat!
  • Lungs: Practice deep breathing and exercise regularly.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


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