Glyphosate? What is that and does it cause changes in our moods.

Dr. Laura Tanzini

I have spent years studying nutrition.  We all would like to think that we are eating healthy foods, but do we know what is healthy.  However, until I really dove into the literature, what I thought was healthy was not! I could literally go on for hours on this subject for many reasons, but for now, I am going to talk about how glyphosate plays a role in depression.

Glyphosate, is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. There is a long history of Roundup that I won’t go into here, but I will give some information on how Roundup came to be the most popular herbicide worldwide.

1961:Glyphosate was patented as a descaling and chelating agent and was used to clean or descale commercial boilers and pipes. Glyphosate binds to and removes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc that are vital to our health.

1970:Glyphosate was discovered to be an herbicide (weedkiller) by Monsanto and was then patented as such.

1974: Monsanto brought glyphosate to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup.

1982: Monsanto was already working on creating Roundup Ready genetically modified crops.

1985: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified glyphosate as a Class C Carcinogen.

1985:Monsanto tried to persuade the U.S. EPA that glyphosate was not a possible human carcinogen.

1985: In the summer of 1985, Monsanto successfully created genetically modified petunia plants tolerant of small amounts of Roundup, however not at the levels spayed on weeds.

1989:Monsanto created Roundup Ready genetically modified crops for the commercial market.

1991: EPA changed classification of glyphosate from Class C “Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential” to Class E which suggests “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.”

1992: Pioneer payed Monsanto for use of Roundup resistance gene.

1996: Introduction of Roundup Ready Soybeans.

2007: Glyphosate usage is more than double that of the next most heavily sprayed pesticide – Atrazine.

2010: Glyphosate was patented in the U.S. by Monsanto as an antibiotic.

This patent has led to major concerns about possible harm being caused by glyphosate including the killing of beneficial gut bacteria which causes immune system damage.

2012: Professor Seralini’s study shows harm being caused by low doses of glyphosate-based herbicides and GM crops.

2014: Glyphosate usage booms even more in the U.S.

2015: The World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A).

2016: University of California San Francisco (UCSF) discovers glyphosate in 93% of urine samples collected across U.S.

2016: Alarming levels of glyphosate contamination found in popular American foods

The testing project found alarming levels of glyphosate in General Mills’ Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran and Frosted Flakes and PepsiCo’s Doritos Cool Ranch, Ritz Crackers and Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips, as well as many more famous products.

2017: Groundbreaking study shows Roundup causes liver disease at low doses.

2017:Internal Monsanto and EPA communications, released during a growing number of Roundup cancer court cases, reveal the reality of the 30+ year glyphosate cover-up.

Let’s talk about tryptophan.  Tryptophan is an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins.  Tryptophan is an essential amino acid in humans, meaning that the body cannot synthesize it: it must be obtained from the diet through plant and animal sources that include grains, nuts, oats, wheat, and eggs (list not exhaustive). Tryptophan is also a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hormone melatonin.  Tryptophan deficiency can lead to lower serotonin levels. This can result in mood disorders, such as depression.

Serotonin also impacts every part of your body, from your emotions to your motor skills. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer. It’s the neurotransmitter that helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting.

Glyphosate works in plants by disrupting the plants shikimate pathway.  The shikimate pathway is involved with the synthesis of the essential amino acids, phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan.  When we consume Roundup treated plants, we do not get the needed amino acids like tryptophan necessary for the synthesis of serotonin.

Another interesting point about glyphosate is that because of its chelating (binding and removing) abilities, it also reduces calcium and magnesium levels.

I had a difficult time finding statistical trends for depression but what I did discover is that depression rates in the United States are increasing. Research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that major depression rates for American adults increased from 3.33 percent to 7.06 percent from 1991 through 2002.

Why is there an increase in the rate of depression in the United States?  Depressive disorders are among the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in the United States.

Depressive disorders are characterized by a sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, not finding joy in otherwise joyful experiences, sleep pattern changes, and eating pattern changes to the level of interference will daily life.

Major Depressive Disorder is thought to have many possible causes, which include genetic, biological, and environmental factors. I’m linking the attached ncbi study that does link higher depression rates to glyphosate plus many other diseases if you would like more information.

The following graph is of the usage of glyphosate by crop over the years.  Pretty amazing that the usage of glyphosate has increase more than 250% from 1992 to 2015!  And the depression rate has gone up 112% since 1991.

barplotpesticide use map

This is why at Kinder in the Keys we provide organic foods whenever possible.  In addition, we do not use Roundup to kill the weeds on the property.  Instead we use our hands and energy and pulling weeds can be meditative.

Dr. Laura Tanzini


Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.