Controversy, Lies and Health Risks
By Dr. Michael Wald (Recycled from December 2013, Edition 2)
Illustrated by Annie Dwyer Internicola
Do genetically modified foods, otherwise known as GMFs or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pose health risks that overwhelm their potential economic and ecological benefits? Has it been established that GMOs are safe in the short and long term for human consumption? Have political and financial motivations corrupted organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration, manufacturers of GMOs, the White House and other influential parties from objectively acknowledging human health risks? Are these very same organizations that we are supposed to trust to police industries for health and safety violations themselves guilty, either directly or indirectly, for slowly poisoning both current and future generations of Americans?
Frankenfoods—Controversy, Lies & Your Health is a compilation of articles wherein I explore the GMO issue. Hopefully providing this information will help you make an educated and informed decision regarding GMOs and whether you will allow your family to consume them and allow our environment to be exposed to GMO farming practices.
I have helped my patients through many health problems stemming from various environmental exposures, including issues related to chemicals sprayed on our foods and heavy-metal contamination, gluten intolerance, food allergies and other environmental triggers of health problems. But I believe these health threats pale in comparison to that of the current GMO threat.
If we are what we eat, then all of us may have been unwittingly exposed to the most pervasive negative influence upon our health that has ever existed—namely, GMOs. But all is not lost. Arm yourself with information and you will develop the intellectual resources essential to reverse the dangerous situation that we are all being forced to contend with now. GMOs and their health risks will only persist within agriculture if you, the consumer, continue to purchase and consume them.
What are Genetically Modified Organisms?
The term “genetically modified organism” refers to an organism whose genetic material has been manipulated through genetic engineering techniques. GM technologies are generally used to alter the makeup of organisms such as animals, plants or bacteria. GMOs are the source of many modified foods and are used widely in scientific research to produce other goods as well.
Within the next decade, researchers expect to see a drastic increase in the use of GMOs and GM technologies in industrialized nations. Proponents of GMOs frequently claim that current methods used to genetically modify foods are identical, or not substantially different, from natural selection—the method naturally occurring in the environment without human intervention.
But I would venture to say that you will never find corn naturally farmed or grown in the wild that has the ability to produce a toxic pesticide. And there are many other concerns regarding genetic modification.
One of the most common ways to insert genes into a target food’s (i.e., corn, soy, etc.) genetic material or DNA is the biolistic method. This involves the use of a particle gun that shoots into the target’s DNA source a gene or two that carry the desired trait.
However, unexpected results from this method may occur, including, but not limited to, disrupting the entire genetic sequence of the target, up-regulating genes, down-regulating genes, causing genes to be silent and other unpredictable or undesired effects. These effects are referred to by geneticists themselves as “default effects.”
Those concerned with transgenic modification of foods are concerned that new toxins could be produced by the target food, making them unhealthy or outright toxic to humans. Additional concerns include potentially adverse nutritional changes and antibiotic resistance.
A myriad of health problems are possible and have occurred in test animals and humans, including negative effects upon the reproductive systems of men and women; immune, blood cell, kidney, liver and intestinal problems; and cancer.
Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Nature knows what it needs to thrive. Natural selection of foods over the course of human evolution has resulted in a thriving culture. In the case of GMO consumption, I fear that we are no longer “what we eat,” but that our health will be a consequence of what we consume.