Glyphosate: even in small doses it can affect the intestinal microbiota. I study

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Even small traces of glyphosate can affect the intestinal microbiota with harmful effects yet to be investigated

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As is well known, glyphosate is a herbicide which has revealed various harmful effects on health over the years but which, despite this, is still commonly used. Now a new research conducted in Finland has discovered the umpteenth harmful effect of this substance which would be able, even in small doses, to interfere by unbalancing the intestinal microbiota.

Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland have succeeded in developing a new bioinformatics tool that can predict whether a microbe, such as a human intestinal bacterium, is sensitive to glyphosate or not.

On the basis of the analyzes carried out by them, using precisely the innovative bioinformatics tool, it emerged that the 54% of human intestinal bacterial species are potentially sensitive to glyphosate even if this is in small doses (think for example of the traces that can be found in different foods and drinks we consume).

“Glyphosate targets an enzyme called EPSPS in the shikimate pathway (metabolic pathway found in bacteria, plants, fungi, parasites ed). This enzyme is essential for synthesizing three essential amino acids. Based on the structure of the EPSPS enzyme, we are able to classify 80-90% of microbial species as sensitive or resistant to glyphosate ”said Pere Puigbò, developer of the new bioinformatics tool.

Glyphosate is believed to be safe to use because the shikimate pathway is found only in plants, fungi and bacteria. However, the study showed that glyphosate could also have a strong impact on the bacterial species that make up the human microbiome.

What consequences can this effect of glyphosate have on the human intestine? It is not yet clear and further studies will certainly have to investigate the matter but one thing is certain: unbalancing the intestinal flora leading to dysbiosis is never a good thing and, in the long run, can contribute to the appearance of various diseases.

We remind you that the intestine is increasingly considered a "second brain", not only because there is a dense network of neurons constantly in contact with the central nervous system but also for the precious richness of the bacterial flora present in this organ. .

In recent years, scientific research has repeatedly stressed that the role of the intestinal microbiota is of fundamental importance for our health as it regulates the digestion of food, the absorption of fundamental nutrients, defends against pathogens, produces hormones and much more.

But returning to glyphosate, its presence can also affect microbial communities in soil, plant surfaces and animal entrails. Indeed, it is possible that even a low glyphosate residue can indirectly exert a decisive action on the presence of parasites and pathogens in these communities.

“This groundbreaking study provides tools for further studies to determine the actual impact of glyphosate on human and animal gut microbiota and thus on their health. In addition to bioinformatics, we need experimental research to study the effects of glyphosate on microbial communities in varying environments, ”said Marjo Helander, one of the authors of the study.

It seems we are still a long way from finding out how much damage glyphosate is doing to our health, that of animals and the earth. When it is permanently banned, it will never be too late.

Fonti: Science Daily

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