Renewable Farming

Another medical study that could nudge people toward non-GMO foods

A series of health research studies in Belgium link human depression with a reduction in two microbial groups in the digestive tract. These are coprococcus and dialister, which have anti-inflammation properties. 

February 5, 2019 — We’d encourage a followup study: What’s killing those bacterial species in so many people

This link takes you to the French website which reported the research by the Flemish Gut Flora Project. Such research has progressed quietly for several years. However, the entire medical profession has only begun identifying and tracing the many metabolites produced by the body’s bacteria. Such cells far outnumber non-microbial human cells in the body. 

Gut bacteria seen with scanning electron microscope

Jeroen Raes, from the department of Microbiology and Immunology at KU Leuven University, says “The last few years, the gut-brain axis field really exploded. It’s really, really exciting at the moment.”

We’re seeing a much wider array of medical research expanding knowledge of the gut biome. With that scientific base comes the question: How can beneficial microbes be protected from chemical residues in our food? Also, the studies lead to more knowledge of “unintended consequences” of the many antibiotics, antidepressants and other medications widely prescribed. 

People worldwide are become more aware of the need for healthy gut bacteria — just as farmers are more aware that a healthy soil depends on a wide array of beneficial microbes. Medical researchers are also talking about “bugs as drugs” to restore good gut function. Sounds like in-furrow inoculation of “good bugs” at planting time, to colonize plant roots with helpful bacteria and mycorrhiza.

We asked some of our independent bioscience friends to send us any relevant information on this subject. 

Independent researcher Dr. Anthony Samsel responded today: 

“Glyphosate probably inhibits this gut bacteria or dysregulates it.  You don’t have to kill the bacteria to cause commensal problems.  Dysregulation of bacterial gene function can be problematic too.
“Lack of Coprococcus or its dysregulation is why there are so many Salmonella infections.

“Coprococcus is a genus of anaerobic cocci which is part of the human faecal microbiota. They are among the most sensitive to chemicals and human targeted drugs. The bacteria Coprococcus comes sp. manufactures the fatty acid propionate which is the primary protector of the gut. It inhibits Salmonella, thus preventing infection.  Propionates and butyrates are necessary for the tight junctures of cells. Propionate is used both as a primer and substrate in odd-chain fatty acids.”


Dr. Samsel also sent us two research papers on this subject. We’ve linked to one published in 2018 which you can download as a PDF. In this study, the microbiologists tested susceptibility of many species of gut bacteria to commonly prescribed drugs. Dr. Samsel notes: “Their research shows that Coprococcus is very sensitive — near the top of the list” for being weakened by prescription drugs.

Since glyphosate is a powerful antibiotic, it’s quite possible that its population suffers among people exposed to glyphosate in their food. Today, glyphosate is widely found in food. Even non-GMO small grains commonly have glyphosate residues, as they’re sprayed as harvest approaches to kill weeds and desiccate the wheat uniformly.

In 1992-93, Northwest Iowa farmer Howard Vlieger hosted an on-farm study of GMO/glyphosate corn and soymeal fed hogs versus hogs fed on non-GMO corn and soy. It was reasoned that the non-GMO rations would have contained far less glyphosate residue. Dr. Judy Carmen of Australia was the lead scientist in that study. You can see details of the study and others on Dr. Carmen’s website. 

Another study revealing rising interest in food-residue effects on the body will be presented Saturday, Feb. 23 at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference at La Crosse, Wisconsin. This is a huge conference with about 3,500 participants and growing each year.  Friends of the Earth partnered with families who agreed to change their diet to all-organic for a limited time. The meals were prepared by a local chef, and carefully recorded. Researchers tested participants for pesticide residue before and during the diet changes to measure what effect, if any, organic foods have. The roundtable discussion is 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. in Room S.