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Glyphosate Creates Oxidative Stress

In a previous blog (reproduced at the end), I showed how endocrine disruptors create oxidative stress.

  • That means they are oxidizing agents.

  • That means they steal electrons.

  • The stealing of electrons can either destroy tissue (break bonds) or rob you of energy.

  • Our mitochondria produce electrons - the transport chain - to synthesize energy (ATP).

  • Any toxin that creates oxidative stress, if inside cells, rob you of energy.

  • Our world is full of these substances and

  • That's why the #1 health complaint of people I work with is "lack of energy" and fatigue.


You might think taking supplemental anti-oxidants is a solution, but these tend to be indiscriminate and could impact your innate and adaptive immune system. You don't want to do this. Instead, eat lots of low-glycemic vegetables, which are high in natural antioxidants. Also, take a fulvic/humic mineral (liquid) supplement and sulfur compounds (certain vegetables) to optimize your enzyme supply.

But also work on reducing intake of other "oxidizing stress" creating substances like seed oils and high carbohydrates.

Foods that Cause Oxidative Stress

What food causes oxidative stress? Some foods contribute to oxidative stress by either causing the production of free radicals or by reducing antioxidants – or both.

Fats and oils

Fats and oils may oxidize after exposure to light, air, or heat during storage, for example, and this oxidation causes free radicals. Heating fat and oil to high temperatures during deep-frying may also cause oxidation.

Note - they should just refer to omega-6 and processed seed oils and exclude the fish and non-nasty-seed oils.

Dr. Mercola gives his list of good and bad oils here:


Sugars and starches are refined carbohydrates that the body breaks down to use as fuel, creating free radicals as a byproduct. Eating a diet high in sugars and starches shifts the production of free radicals into overdrive. High-carbohydrate foods include:

  • Pancakes

  • Soft pretzels

  • Bread products

  • Ice cream and milkshakes

  • Popcorn

  • Spaghetti

  • Soft drinks

  • Candy

Processed meat

The preservatives in processed meat may also contain free radicals. Processed meat includes:

  • Sausages

  • Bacon

  • Ham

  • Pepperoni

  • Hot dogs

  • Salami

  • Corned beef

  • Many deli meats


Alcohol increases the production of reactive oxygen species, reduces the level of antioxidants present in cells, and enhances oxidative stress in many body tissues, especially in the liver.

Foods that Improve Oxidative Stress

Missing from this list is fish oils (cod liver oil is the best). Fish oils oxidize easily!

Is this good or bad? Neither - it is critical!

When fish oil oxidizes, you don't. Think about a regular iron nail. Put it outside, and rust soon develops. However, if it is coated with zinc it doesn't rust. Oxidation is still occurring, but the zinc oxidizes more easily and takes the "hit" for the iron. It is what is known as a sacrificial anode.

Term definitions:

Anode: Site of oxidation

Cathode: Site of reduction (anti-oxidation)

This is simply REDOX.

Some foods can improve oxidative stress by containing vitamins, minerals, and chemicals that introduce antioxidants into the body. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and spices. Cocoa, tea, and coffee also contain antioxidants that fight oxidative stress.

Vitamin C

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cantaloupe, leafy greens, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, lemon, kiwi, orange, snow peas, papaya, sweet potato, strawberries, tomatoes, and bell peppers contain vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant.

Vitamin E (note they are not suggesting taking a vitamin E supplement, but instead list foods highest in the vitamin)

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that fights oxidative stress. Find vitamin E in avocados, almonds, Swiss chard, red peppers, leafy greens, peanuts, boiled spinach, and sunflower seeds.


Carotenoids give plants their color; carotenoids are also antioxidants. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that gives carrots their orange color, for example, and lycopene makes tomatoes and pink grapefruit red. Other foods rich in carotenoids include apricots, asparagus beets, cantaloupe, watermelons, and bell peppers.


Selenium is a trace mineral found in Brazil nuts, shellfish, fish, beef, poultry, brown rice, and barley.


Zinc is an essential mineral in beef and poultry, shrimp, oysters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, chickpeas, cashews, and fortified cereals.

Phenolic compounds

Phenolic compounds help plants resist stress, and they can help humans fight oxidative stress. Several types of phenolic compounds exist in food, including:

  • Quercetin in apples, red wine, and onions

  • Catechins in tea, cocoa, and berries

  • Resveratrol in red and white wine, grapes, peanuts, and berries

  • Coumaric acid in spices and berries

  • Anthocyanins in blueberries and strawberries



Of course, this was NOT written by a U.S. group.

Important paragraph:

3.2.4. Induction of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

Many of the most widely used pesticides worldwide exert their neurotoxic effects through oxidative stress mechanisms. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of ROS and the antioxidant capacity of the system responsible for detoxifying these reactive products. Consequently, oxidative damage of essential biomolecules, such as proteins, lipids, and DNA, occurs. The nervous system is particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage, mainly due to its low level of antioxidant activity, high oxygen requirement, and high lipid composition [108,109].

Glyphosate has been shown to induce oxidative stress immediately after administration, evidenced by an increase in LPO, which is induced by free radical action [37]. Oxidative stress induced by glyphosate exposure was also evidenced by alterations in protein and non-protein thiol concentrations [69,77]. Thiols are powerful antioxidants with the capacity to protect the organism from oxidative attack, and changes in their levels are used as indicators of the antioxidant status of organisms [110,111].

The enzymatic antioxidant defense system of living cells constitutes an adaptive mechanism in which the activities of the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) stand out [108,112]. Studies have shown that glyphosate can alter the activity of these enzyme systems in the nervous system of intoxicated animals. Decreases in SOD, CAT, and peroxidase activity [3,63,69], as well as increases in GPx activity and SOD expression [76] have been observed. In this regard, it is important to note that any change in the expression or activity of antioxidant enzymes, whether increased or decreased, is indicative of oxidative stress [113].

The oxidative damage induced by glyphosate was also confirmed by the inhibition of the enzymatic activity of gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), which are involved in the synthesis and reduction of glutathione (GSH), respectively [3,37]. GSH is one of the most efficient intrinsic antioxidants in the brain, and its decreased availability markedly promotes the production of free radicals that enhance oxidative damage [114,115].

The ability of GBH to decrease GSH content after acute exposure has been documented, although the change was not sustained over time [3,37]. This inhibitory effect was also observed for glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), which are involved in catalyzing the conjugation of GSH to various hydrophobic and electrophilic substrates, with the aim of protecting cells from oxidative attack [116]. Therefore, it is possible that after the initial depletion of GSH, the organism undergoes various adaptive modifications to restore the levels of this antioxidant to normal concentrations in order to mitigate the neurotoxic consequences of exposition to glyphosate.

On the other hand, the main source of ROS inside cells is the mitochondria, organelles whose function is also severely altered under oxidative stress conditions. In this regard, Da Silva et al. [77] showed that in vitro exposure to GBH in astrogliomas inhibited the activity of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes and creatine kinase (CK), an enzyme related to energy metabolism in nervous tissue. The effect of glyphosate on mitochondrial functioning and cell survival was previously demonstrated in a study by Astiz et al. [117].

These authors demonstrated that glyphosate alone or in combination with other pesticides induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and reduced concentrations of cardiolipin, a phospholipid involved in the electron transport chain that is highly vulnerable to oxidative stress due to its richness in fatty acids, leading to increased LPO and neuronal death in the substantia nigra. Taken together, these results suggest that glyphosate and GBH can severely alter the functioning of mitochondria and consequently cause their elimination by mitophagy, as evidenced by the loss of mitochondrial mass observed by Da Silva et al. [77]. It would be interesting for future research to clarify whether mitochondrial dysfunction is a cause or a consequence of oxidative stress caused by glyphosate.

Neuroinflammation appears to be another process contributing to neurotoxicity induced by glyphosate. The inflammatory reaction plays a healthy role in helping the immune system cope with certain pathological conditions, but when this reaction becomes unbalanced or prolonged over time, it can damage the CNS [118]. During the inflammatory process, activation of microglia and astrocytes occurs, which release a variety of molecular signals, such as TNF-α, that contribute to the inflammatory state of the CNS [119,120]. Furthermore, during the process, activated glial cells expressing the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) can generate excessive amounts of NO, a molecule that leads to the formation of reactive nitrogen species that promote oxidative damage in the brain [121].

In this regard, the data analyzed in the present review show that exposure to glyphosate or GBH produces some proinflammatory effects measured as increases in the number and activation of microglia and astrocytes and increased expression of TNF-α in the CNS of mice [64,69], as well as increased concentrations of NO in murine PNS [78,79].


Previous blog on how endocrine disruptors work.

Dr. Mercola published an article on endocrine disruptors.

As a student at WPI, I studied enzyme models and published a couple of papers.

The term "kinetics" is all about rate. You see, enzymes drive reactions swiftly, specifically, and efficiently. That is why our core body temperature is ~98F and not extraordinarily high like an internal combustion engine.

Enzymes drive chemical (and biological) reactions. Reactions occur by forming or breaking chemical bonds. When a bond forms, electrons are transferred and either become shared or separated in the case of ionic substances. This is referred to as REDOX - oxidation and reduction.

All reactions involve the transfer of electrons. In human physiology, the sharing of electrons forms new bonds and is the key healing mechanism. Whereas removing an electron (oxidation) usually destroys bonds. In human physiology, cell structures are ripped apart. This is an extremely important action of our immune system. The immune system recognizes the "self" and only destroys foreigners (antigens). Our white blood cells and antibodies produce peroxides that grab electrons from the antigens (pathogens) and kill them.

Dr. Thomas Levy astutely states:

  • All healing is the donation of electrons (anti-oxidation aka reduction), while

  • Immunity as the grabbing of electrons (oxidation)

At MIT, I studied photoelectric chemistry. In this process, we used semiconductors to drive reactions. We usually ascribe photoelectric processes as those that use a semiconductor to produce electricity. We endeavored to make this rather inefficient process more effective by "grabbing" the electron produced by the interaction of light on the semiconductor and using it quickly and efficiently to build new chemical substances. We were, in effect, working to do the same thing the chlorophyll molecule does in plants. Chlorophyll absorbs the energy from sunlight (E = hv) to convert carbon dioxide to carbohydrates (plant structures).

Paraquat was one of the molecules we used. It readily "transfers" electrons. The paraquat molecule is a REDOX substance that can accept or donate electrons. The problem with semiconductors is that the oxidizing side of the process of absorbing light creates an oxidizing agent that slowly destroys the semiconductor. Our efforts were to use the semiconductor that we "derivatized" to use the light energy that is converted into electrons - but swiftly move the "current" away from the surface of the semiconductor to protect it from "self-destruction."

Despite our best efforts, we could never even come close to the efficiency of chlorophyll photosynthesis.

We picked paraquat as a redox agent because of its known properties as a herbicide. Herbicides often work the same way our white blood cells work (sort of) by having strong REDOX potential to destroy specific bonds in weeds, for example. However, paraquat has similar deleterious effects in the human body - that is, oxidizing tissue - but paraquat does NOT recognize "SELF," and thus can harm tissue.

This article talks about how paraquat is problematic in agriculture.

What is not discussed is how paraquat, as an herbicide, gets into the food supply, thus us, and creates oxidative stress and damage.

As you read the Mercola article and summary, I thought you might like to know how it causes the myriad of health problems he discusses.


  • Routinely disinfecting your body and surroundings may actually cause more harm than good in the long run. Not only do they promote the development of drug-resistant bacteria, antibacterial compounds such as triclosan and quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs or “quats”) have also been linked to a number of harmful health effects

  • Research has shown triclosan is a potent endocrine disruptor that interferes with thyroid function. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can promote a variety of health problems, including obesity, breast, ovarian, prostate and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls and undescended testicles in boys

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned triclosan from soap products in 2016 due to suspected health risks, but it’s still found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and hand sanitizers. Triclosan also makes its way into our food supply; it’s routinely found in lakes, rivers, streams, wastewater, irrigation water and biosolids applied to fields as fertilizer

  • QACs are found in cleaning products, hand sanitizers, personal care products, many kinds of wipes (surface, baby, hand and disinfecting wipes) and certain pesticides

  • Adverse health effects of QACs include allergic contact dermatitis, asthma and COPD, suppressed immune function, reduced fertility, impaired embryo development and developmental disorder, mitochondrial dysfunction and an increased risk of antimicrobial-resistant infections


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