Phosphate FertilizerAccording to a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, glyphosate may carry heavy metals and minerals, whether naturally-occurring or originating from agricultural chemicals, into your kidneys, courtesy of its chelating properties.

A unique feature of this kidney disease (chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology/CKDu) is that none of the commonly known risk factors apply, such as diabetes or hypertension, but there’s a strong association between this mysterious kidney disease and consumption of hard water, i.e. water that contains higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron.

Ninety-six percent of patients with chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology had consumed hard or very hard water for at least five years. Meanwhile, the disease is not found among those who get their drinking water straight from natural springs. Kidney toxicity is not known to be associated with hard water consumption, and this surprising finding added to the initial mystery. Furthermore, the disease seemed to have cropped out of nowhere. There were no reported cases of this kind of kidney disease in Sri Lanka prior to the 1990s.

The researchers note that the original use of glyphosate was as a de-scaling agent, used to clean out calcium and other mineral deposits in hot water systems. De-scaling agents attach to minerals such as calcium and magnesium, rendering them water soluble. According to the authors:

“[T]he totality of scientific evidence gathered so far has highlighted the fact that an unknown factor (Compound X) originating from agrochemicals, when combined with hardness/Ca/Mg can cause significant kidney damage; thus explaining many current observations including the unique geographical distribution of the disease.

If we assume that the ‘Compound X’ is derived from the agrochemicals and is easily bound to Ca/Mg/Sr/Fe to ultimately cause damage to the kidneys, then this hypothesis can explain the geographical distribution of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) as well as the occurrence of the disease only after the 1990s…

Although glyphosate alone does not cause an epidemic of chronic kidney disease, it seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers when it forms complexes with a localized geo-environmental factor (hardness) and nephrotoxic metals.”

By Kathryn Doyle
pesticideRelated Stories

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a new study from California, children with an autism spectrum disorder were more likely to have mothers who lived close to fields treated with certain pesticides during pregnancy.

Proximity to agricultural pesticides in pregnancy was also linked to other types of developmental delay among children.

“Ours is the third study to specifically link autism spectrum disorders to pesticide exposure, whereas more papers have demonstrated links with developmental delay,” said lead author Janie F. Shelton, from the University of California, Davis.

There needs to be more research before scientists can say that pesticides cause autism, she told Reuters Health in an email. But pesticides all affect signaling between cells in the nervous system, she added, so a direct link is plausible.

California is one of only a few states in the U.S. where agricultural pesticide use is rigorously reported and mapped. For the new study, the researchers used those maps to track exposures during pregnancy for the mothers of 970 children.

The children included 486 with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 168 with a developmental delay and 316 with typical development.

Developmental delay, in which children take extra time to reach communication, social or motor skills milestones, affects about four percent of U.S. kids, the authors write. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 68 children has an ASD, also marked by deficits in social interaction and language.

In the new study, about a third of mothers had lived within a mile of fields treated with pesticides, most commonly organophosphates.

Children of mothers exposed to organophosphates were 60 percent more likely to have an ASD than children of non-exposed mothers, the authors report in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Autism risk was also increased with exposure to so-called pyrethroid insecticides, as was the risk for developmental delay. Carbamate pesticides were linked to developmental delay but not ASDs.

For some pesticides, exposure seemed to be most important just before conception and in the third trimester, but for others it didn’t seem to matter when during pregnancy women were exposed.

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan speculated that the pesticides probably drifted from crops through the air, and that’s how pregnant women were exposed. The new study did not measure airborne pesticide levels, however.

Landrigan directs the Children's Environmental Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and was not involved in the new study.

“We already knew from animal studies as well as from epidemiologic studies of women and children that prenatal exposure (to pesticides) is associated with lower IQ,” Landrigan told Reuters Health. “This study builds on that, uses the population of a whole state, looks at multiple different pesticides and finds a pattern of wide association between pesticide exposure and developmental disability.”

What’s more, this study almost certainly underestimates the true strength of the association between pesticides and neurological problems, he said, since it did not precisely measure each individual woman’s exposure.

Pesticide registries like the one in California and another in New York are rare, but are critical to public health efforts in this area, Landrigan said. Concerned parents could advocate for registries like them in their own states, he added.

“One lesson or message for parents is to minimize or eliminate use of pesticides in their own homes,” Landrigan said.

In the months before and during pregnancy, it would make sense to avoid using pesticides in the home or on the lawn, he said.

For city-dwelling families, instead of spraying for cockroaches every month, integrated pest management is a better choice. That approach makes chemical pesticides the last resort - first steps are to seal up cracks and crevices in the home, clean up food residue and try relatively non-toxic options, like roach motels.

“If there’s one thing that parents can control it’s what comes into their home,” he said.

“It would be a great first step to stop using organophosphates and pyrethroids inside the home,” Shelton agreed.

750721As essential as lady bugs are to biodiversity of our food supply, new research shows that Cry1Ab toxins (B. thuringiensis—BT toxin), Monsanto’s best selling herbicide ‘Roundup’ and crops that are resistant to Glyphosate are toxic to lady bugs and butterflies:

In fact, GE crops resistant to BT toxin or glyphosate are making Monarch and bee colonies to go extinct. Butterflies pollinate about 75% of our food supply. There used to be over 60 million butterflies migrating to US from Mexico, so their larvae could dine on milkweed. However, over the last few years, the number of butterflies has been enormously declining, causing 80% decline in the presence of milkweed in US: 

According to researchers, Bt toxin found in GE pollen goes into the gut of the caterpillar and it binds into specific areas like the butterflies’ gut wall. As a result, the gut wall of the butterfly changes from a protective layer to an open sieve and pathogens that are usually kept within the gut are now excreted and released into the insect's body.

This makes the caterpillar get sick quickly and die:

Are you ready to get into planting and gardening mode?

AvoWith Spring in the air, who isn’t?

Lots of us have probably already been planting seeds indoors and are eager to take them outside, or are excited about keeping life in that sunny enclosed porch (or window box) going strong. There are tons of foods to grow, but have you considered growing an avocado tree from a pit?

Not only are avocados creamy, tasty and good for us (check out our healthy avocado smoothie), but it’s a good feeling to grow our own foods. Rather than toss the avocado pit, we thought we’d try our hand at growing our own tree.

How to grow an avocado tree from a pitDefinitely take a few minutes to watch this helpful video from one man who shows us how to grow an avocado tree indoors. His step-by-step approach is easy to follow and he even provides tips on how to best ensure results. For example, he suggests starting with a few pits rather than just relying on one, since not all of them will take.

So here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 avocado pit
  • 1 cup
  • 3 toothpicks
  • Plenty of water and sunlight
  • Soil

The toothpicks serve to balance the pit so its bottom half rests in water while the upper portion stays above the waterline. Gently pierce the pit in three areas evenly around. Place the pit in the water so the rounded portion is submerged and the pointier part is not.

Keep it watered, only covering that bottom half.

Note: be patient. Apparently it may take a little over a month for roots to develop. Again, this is why it’s important to plant more than one pit. It ups the chances of success!

Once you see a root forming (it will be about an inch or so long at this point), gradually fill the cup with soil.

After another month, tah-dah! . . . A shoot should appear. You’re on your way to growing an avocado tree!

Benefits of eating avocado
Avocados are one of the healthy fats, loaded with nutrients that help with everything from brain health to blood pressure regulation. They are high in folate, which plays a role in optimal brain health and may even help stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, avocados are great for eye health. They protect the eyes from oxidative stress that can lead to conditions like macular degeneration.

The tasty food also boasts 30 percent more potassium than a banana making it a terrific way to manage blood pressure.

For more about the health benefits of avocados, check out this article.

If at any point during this you asked yourself if the avocado is a fruit or a vegetable (who hasn’t from time to time?) then check out our story on food categories.

Happy growing!

5858243Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide (known to the world under its trade name Roundup®). Among its many nefarious health effects, glyphosate disrupts the way the body manages sulfur.

In the process of examining all the known toxic chemicals in the environment and assessing which one(s) would be most likely to be causal for autism—given the specific comorbidities associated with autism

Both glyphosate and autism are associated with low melatonin, impaired sulfur metabolism (and low serum sulfate), low vitamin D, sleep disorders, disrupted gut bacteria, and more. Glyphosate—already a very dangerous chemical on its own—causes aluminum to be much more toxic. Glyphosate and aluminum can be viewed as "partners in crime," working synergistically with one another

Health Probelms

  1. First, glyphosate preferentially kills beneficial bacteria in the gut, which allows pathogens such as C. difficile to overgrow. Not only does this lead to leaky gut syndrome, but C. difficile produces something called p-Cresol, a phenolic compound that is toxic to other microbes via its ability to interfere with metabolism. (C. difficile is one of only a few bacteria able to ferment tyrosine into p-Cresol.) As it happens, p-Cresol also promotes aluminum uptake by cells. P-Cresol is a known biomarker for autism and is also an important factor in kidney failure,which leads to aluminum retention in tissues and eventually to dementia.
  2. Glyphosate also serves to increase aluminum toxicity by "caging" aluminum to promote its entry into the body. Glyphosate promotes calcium uptakeby voltage-activated channels, which allow aluminum to gain entry as a calcium mimetic. Aluminum then promotes calcium loss from bones, contributing to pineal gland calcification.
  3. Bringing melatonin back into the discussion, glyphosate interferes with what is known as the shikimate pathway. Although humans do not have the shikimate pathway, our gut flora do, and we depend on our gut flora to supply us with essential amino acids and many other things. Disruption of the shikimate pathway in our gut results in depletion of tryptophan, which is the sole precursor to melatonin. Besides needing melatonin to transport sulfate into the brain, we also need melatonin to reduce heavy metal toxicity. Where supplies of melatonin are adequate, melatonin will bind to aluminum, cadmium, copper, iron, and lead, and reduce their toxicity. Where melatonin is low, a lot of damage can result.

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