Is Roundup the Cause of 'Gluten Intolerance'?

A compelling new peer-reviewed report from two U.S. scientists argues that increased use of Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide (trade name Roundup) could be the cause of the epidemic of symptoms labeled as “gluten intolerance.”

| Feb. 25, 2014

Incidence in Thousands of Glyphosate

This chart shows the increased rate of hospital discharge diagnosis of celiac disease in correlation to the increased application of glyphosate to wheat.

Courtesy of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology

Increased use of Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide (trade name Roundup) could be the cause of the epidemic of  “gluten intolerance”, according to a compelling new peer-reviewed report from two U.S. scientists. Farmers are now using glyphosate not only to control weeds but also to dry down wheat, rice, sugarcane and other crops just before harvest, resulting in higher residues in the foods we eat. The abstract from the paper "Glyphosate, Pathways to Modern Diseases II: Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance" is below.  You can read the full report here and view graphs in the Slideshow connecting increased use of glyphosate with growing rates of celiac incidence, deaths from intestinal infections, acute kidney disease and deaths due to Parkinson’s.    

Celiac disease, and more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5 percent of the population now suffers from it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, macrocytic anemia and depression. It is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer. Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup, is the most important causal factor of this epidemic. Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances of gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria. Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut. Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong ability to chelate these elements. Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine, and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate’s known depletion of these amino acids. Celiac disease patients have an increased risk to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has been implicated in glyphosate exposure. Glyphosate residues in wheat and other crops are likely increasing recently due to the growing practice of crop desiccation just prior to harvest. We argue that the practice of “ripening” sugar cane with glyphosate may explain the recent surge in kidney failure among agricultural workers in Central America. We conclude with a plea to governments to reconsider policies regarding the safety of glyphosate residues in foods. Click here to read the whole article

8/15/2017 8:39:39 AM One of the scientists you quote is a computer scientist, not someone with a biology or chemistry background. Also, the rise in celiac and gluten intolerance is more like the rise in autism, linked more to better understanding and diagnoses, than to any one factor in the environment.

9/19/2015 5:10:13 PM

"Forty years ago Monsanto carried out detailed studies of glyphosate and Roundup toxicity, write Richard Gale & Gary Null. But they have remained buried in filing cabinets ever since. Now a determined scientist has breached the wall of secrecy - and all the evidence is that Monsanto knew just how toxic its products were all along, while claiming they were 'safe as lemonade'." See

9/14/2015 10:58:02 PM

Snopes so-called debunking is laughable. Read what Monsanto has to say about applying Roundup to wheat and other grains before harvest - - "Apply when the crop has 30% or less moisture content – the hard doughstage. At this stage, a thumbnail impression will remain on the kernel. This stage would be 3 to 5 days before you would normally swath. Application closer to the 30% moisture content stage will result in greater harvest management benefits, such as more uniform maturity and earlier harvest." In light of this, why would a chemical farmer not spray before harvest????? As a cash crop farmer growing corn and soy, he's already using Roundup so why would he have a problem using it on grains. And it's pretty easy to tell whether a grain field has been sprayed with Roundup. When the grain is mostly golden brown in colour, you will see tractor tire tracks flattening down the grain. They are spaced wide enough for the extended arms of a sprayer. One wonders whether Snopes will alter its article to include the World Health Organization's classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

9/14/2015 8:58:02 AM

This has all been debunked people.

12/10/2014 7:57:46 AM

As someone who has Crohn's and a gluten sensitivity, I've noticed a difference in where the wheat comes from and it's quality. I only buy pasta from Italy. If I eat pasta made in the US, I have problems - no problems with the Euro pasta. Also, I notice that bread made without additives etc is much easier on my system. BTW, if I go down the packaged bread aisle in the supermarket, all I can smell is chemicals I actually avoid that aisle when shopping, since the smells makes me nauseous I also use King Arthur flour when baking at home, seems to be a better type of wheat, the other flours sold in markets give me problems. I think we are slowly poisoning our systems with herbicides, pesticides, additives etc. Food should not be a science project, but that is what's sold today. One of our local farmers went organic after he was spraying his fields one day and a bird flew in the area of the spray and dropped dead. He realized if that could kill wildlife so quickly that he should be doing things differently. He's now very successful with growing organic produce.

12/8/2014 9:53:46 AM

@PeterOlinsPhD, I am sorry if you are upset by publicly available information. I was interested in your response and so I googled "PeterOlinsPhD". You clearly are knowledgeable in your field. You also have a presence on an industry site. I have no idea what your relationship is with that site other than what you say it is so I will accept your words at face value. If people are interested, they will poke around the site and draw their own conclusions. It's a very interesting site. At, I was pleased to read that they "Respect[ing] farmers’ rights to choose the seeds that are best for their farms, businesses and communities and providing seed choices that include non-GM seeds based on market demands." and that they "Respect[ing] people around the world and their right to choose healthy food products that are best for themselves and their families." My name is DG Green and I am retired so there are no affiliations. DG Green Retired

12/7/2014 6:09:03 PM

@PeterOlinsPhD, I am sorry if you are upset by publicly available information. I was interested in your response and so I googled "PeterOlinsPhD". You clearly are knowledgeable in your field. You also have a presence on an industry site. I have no idea what your relationship is with that site other than what you say it is so I will accept your words at face value. If people are interested, they will poke around the site and draw their own conclusions. It's a very interesting site. At, I was pleased to read that they "Respect[ing] farmers’ rights to choose the seeds that are best for their farms, businesses and communities and providing seed choices that include non-GM seeds based on market demands." and that they "Respect[ing] people around the world and their right to choose healthy food products that are best for themselves and their families." My name is DG Green and I am retired so there are no affiliations. DG Green Retired

12/7/2014 1:13:58 PM

Thanks to “DGGreen” for highlighting the website. I visit it occasionally, and find that the articles provide well-sourced, authoritative information about modern plant biotechnology. I would recommend it as a good starting point for someone who is researching some of the hot-button topics in this field. Material on the gmoanswers site is written partly by staff members of different plant biotech companies (with a clear byline), and partly by “Independent Experts” who have no direct connection with these companies. After I wrote my article debunking the glyphosate-celiac connection last February ( ), gmoanswers asked if they could re-publish it, and I agreed. @DGGreen—you appear to be trying to insinuate that I lack integrity. I strongly urge you not to waste your time doing this, but instead READ about the actual science. Then, if there is something unclear, or there is something that you disagree with, please add something useful to the discussion threads. (Given your obvious interest in transparency, it might also help to use your real name and disclose any organizations that you are associated with). Peter Olins, PhD

12/6/2014 6:27:45 AM

PeterOlinsPhD - GMO Answers is funded by the members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta.

12/5/2014 6:52:55 PM

Having family members with celiac and Chron's diseases, and having been raised on a wheat farm, these studies interest me. And as a scientist, I'm aware that correlation and causation are not the same. But these statistics are pretty compelling. And I also know people who exhibit classic symptoms of gluten intolerance when they eat wheat products bought from grocery stores, but do not have problems with wheat flour products made from organic, untreated wheat. That tells me that it is NOT gluten that causes their problems, but some other substance that has been applied to the grain. Glycophosphates may well be that substance.

11/16/2014 7:12:09 AM

8/10/2014 7:46:04 PM

Mosanto are the armed wing of the Satanists who want to rule the world and enlave all of humanity. The scientists who work for them have sold their souls to the Devil for money and power. Fortunately the American people are starting to wake up from their sleep and are beginning to take action against these manipulative liars. the whole world should help them throw off the shackles that these mammon worshippers are bininding them.

5/15/2014 12:46:12 PM

I found this article and the characteristics of Celiac Disease you listed above very interesting. As someone who has the disease I have yet to hear these imbalances being connected to Celiac disease from my doctors and the top specialists, apart from the gut imbalance. Yet, these are exactly the problems I had or still have. I've been eating gluten free for almost 9 years now. My gut balance was horribly off for years and I got to a point where I could no longer digest anything. Vitamin D3 took me 7 years to get it back up to a healthy level. My vitamin A is still very low. I still have trouble digesting my food, making my own enzymes and bile and often need to supplement. My sulfur levels are still extremely low. I was deficient in iron up until last year and my copper, molybdenum and amino acid levels are still low. I also have a sluggish lymph system that gets backed up by just about anything, causing swollen lymph nodes. I do specific exercises & body brushing every day to help it along. Yeah, it's great being me. Anyway, this is the first time I've seen all of these imbalances connected to Celiac disease so thank you! It is such a new problem, I often feel like I know more than many of the doctors, because I live with it and because I had to - back 10 years ago no one really understood it. I now do my best to eat only organic and non gmo. I think there are many reasons and many toxins that contributed to me becoming sick, including being predisposed to a faulty gene. I am not a scientist, nor a fan of Monsanto. I am aware that wheat is NOT a gmo approved crop but I've unknowingly consumed quite a bit of gmo's and pesticides in my lifetime. I don't believe in the playing of nature. You tamper with the food supply and the human race becomes one big science project. We unfortunately won't know the outcome till many years down the road, but by then the damage is already done.

3/12/2014 8:47:34 AM

Mary Boulet - Your friend makes the error of assuming that such small amounts of glyphosate would be harmless, but that is entirely wrong. Glyphosate has been shown to cause birth defects in frogs in even smaller concentrations. It's incredibly toxic stuff.

randy perry
3/10/2014 12:52:53 PM

Interesting Reading

3/4/2014 11:26:00 PM

Understandably, the comments that criticize the use (or existence)of genetically modified crops(GM,GMO) apparently don't realize this supposition doesn't involve GM crops. Roundup in these cases is being applied to non GM crops. Roundup applied to tolerant crops wouldn't exhibit the desired dry down effect to facilitate harvest. Hardly a reason to eliminate all use of Roundup or GM crops.

3/4/2014 10:28:06 AM

We also thought asbestos was perfectly safe. Lots of research said so…until people started getting sick and it was linked back to asbestos…and then lots of research said it wasn't safe afterall. Just because current thought is to consider these chemicals "safe", based on the types of testing conducted thus far (often funded by the companies that make these chemicals themselves), doesn't mean they're actually safe. Logan put it quite eloquently. To simply disregard this possibility because it doesn't sit well with your ideologies is akin to refusing to believe the world is actually round.

3/4/2014 8:48:33 AM

I'm really happy to see that there is some credible research shedding light on the effects of our conventional agricultural practices. I have suspected for a while that our agricultural practices, and hence the resulting food we consume, are strongly linked to the emergence of allergies, intolerance and related diseases that we are seeing today. I'm curious to know how GM foods, which produce incomplete/modified/novel proteins (in order to inhibit the action of the original protein which mediates some undesirable outcome in the food product), play a role in allergies (which are sensitive to proteins). It seems only logical that if our once perfectly tolerated foods are now creating weird proteins, that a subset of the population will react to these, and thus this is what we are seeing today. I hope the skeptics out there realize that when there's a buck to be made (or a couple of billion for that matter), companies like Monsanto can publish all kinds of biased research to claim the safety of their products. I think we should all use a little common sense and ask ourselves, what is the trade off? Because there's always a trade off.

3/4/2014 1:11:45 AM

They can jump up and down and shout that it is junk science hoping to turn off readers from considering it but because Mother Earth News is not dependent on big pharma and big agriculture They cant get it withdrawn. They might make death threats tough.

mary boulet
3/3/2014 8:45:34 PM

I asked a friend with a PhD in ag. research to review the article. These are her comments: "I did some more background reading on the Glyphosate and gluten intolerance article that was recently published in Interdiciplinary Toxicology... I am not pro- or Anti-GMO or organic, big farming or anything, just if you are going to freak out about something, make sure the science is good. In this case it may be a bit of a reach. The article in question is a good review of celiac symptoms and metabolic complications, but their main argument hinges on two or three studies that, when you analyze them, are studyies analyzing acute-toxicity exposure to herbicides. There is a huge difference between the levels they were administering to lab animals vs EPA "allowable limits" in foods. Also, making the link bewteen agricultural workers (who are exposed to potentially high levels of herbicides) and average citizens is another stretch. By their logic, everyone in rural areas should have huge increases in celiac disease and those following a strict organic diet should be non-syptomatic regarless of gluten in their diet. I am not up on Celiac demographics but I don't think this is the case. Digging further there is a huge gap in the scientific literature (peer reviewed information) out there regarging the effects of long term (years, generations, etc) effects of exposure to herbicide residues at very low levels, like you might find in a box of Cheerios. Likewise, there were no studies out there quantifying what levels of herbicides or their components were in everyday commercial food products. There was one, it was a method paper, sponsored by the Ashai Group Holding (they make beer in Japan). Part of the problem of detecting these chemicals in food is their small, water soluble, bipolar nature and limits of detection. In a small paragraph at the end, they did say they tested 18 comercial grain-based beverages and found glyphosate residues in only 4 products but a levels less than 10 ug/kg or less than 10 ppm (parts per million). In this instance, I am the "right" kind of doctor to offer advice. I'm not defending Monsanto, or trying to disuade anyone from organics or anything, just be sure that the reason you're doing something is a personal choice not fearmongering and bad science."

3/3/2014 2:53:25 PM

As a rebuttal to those who think this article is "bad science", this research work is credible, written by a highly respected scientific team. Here are Dr. Seneff's credentials (taken directly from the MIT website): "Stephanie Seneff is a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She received the B.S. degree in Biophysics in 1968, the M.S. and E.E. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1980, and the Ph.D degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1985, all from MIT. For over three decades, her research interests have always been at the intersection of biology and computation “ developing a computational model for the human auditory system, understanding human language so as to develop algorithms and systems for human computer interactions, as well as applying natural language processing (NLP) techniques to gene predictions. She has published over 170 refereed articles on these subjects, and has been invited to give keynote speeches at several international conferences. She has also supervised numerous Master's and PhD theses at MIT. In 2012, Dr. Seneff was elected Fellow of the International Speech and Communication Association (ISCA). In recent years, Dr. Seneff has focused her research interests back towards biology. She is concentrating mainly on the relationship between nutrition and health. Since 2011, she has written 10 papers (7 as first author) in various medical and health-related journals on topics such as modern day diseases (e.g., Alzheimer, autism, cardiovascular diseases), analysis and search of databases of drug side effects using NLP techniques, and the impact of nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health."

3/3/2014 2:34:10 PM

Exactly, Logansprings! So, I don't know what these fearmongers are talking about. I did find the article just fine. And I, personally, believe Monsanto is the one purporting bad science. Just for a few bucks, they're willing to kill all the life in the soil.....

3/3/2014 8:48:55 AM

Research and consideration begins with the gathering of information and drawing of conclusions. Scientific method demands that all possibilities be considered and either accepted or rejected based on research. The comments here seem to suggest that unless a theory is a fact, we should discard it. Simply put, that is bad science. If there is even the most remote chance that glyphosate use can cause celiac disease, cancer, or any other disease, should we be allowing it to be used...ever? Would you rather be safe and alive, or sorry and dead?

deondrea bell
3/3/2014 8:14:35 AM

why are we as consumers buying foods we know they use deadly chemicals on ? stop buying the stuff and they will stop using it it's that simple ...

2/27/2014 2:09:14 PM

I agree with PeterOlinsPhD. This article is really bad science. I was able to find the journal online and find articles through Sep 2013, but there should have been a Dec. 2013 issue that I could not find. The format of this article appears similar to the older articles, so I believe it is a real article, but the science behind it is still bad. It is unlikely that a reputable peer reviewed journal would accept it. I believe that roundup is harmful to the environment and I have many problems with Monsanto's business practices, but that is no excuse for bad science.

brian urbancic
2/27/2014 7:17:52 AM

Gee. What are the odds that the name of the journal and the scientists aren't even given in this article? Samsel and Seneff strike again. I like to get all of my toxicology information from a computer scientist whose "peer reviewed" studies appear in a journal with an impact factor of 0.00.

2/26/2014 1:01:10 PM

Something else that may be a factor - part of this .... Last year a medical study determined that Vitamin D3 deficiency plays a roll (via the trigger mechanism)- in every one of the 160 plus autoimmune diseases. The trajectory would almost certainly mimic that of the chart above as VD3 deficiency is considered by experts to be the most common condition world wide and to be at epidemic proportions. Lifestyle changes alone make this obvious and would also follow the chart. So - while poisons are of great concern and may play a a role - this cannot be overlooked. And a number of medical studies have connected Celiac's Disease to VD3 deficiency on their own as well. These can be found with a search of autoimmune conditions on the non-profit Vitamin D Council's medical study archive.

2/26/2014 11:12:36 AM

Does Glyphosate Cause Celiac Disease? Actually, No! It's time to debunk corrosive nonsense like this. Did you actually read the article? I didn't find the article in the least "compelling". BTW the latest article available on this open-access "journal" website was last June, so we don't have evidence that this article is even real.

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