David Klepper, in a recent Associated Press article, wrote about how individual states are deciding how to handle GMOs. What is a GMO? The letters stand for “genetically modified organism.”

The proponents say that GMOs are helping grow more food, are better able to resist pests, and so forth. The opponents say these substances can be a concern for the body. Klepper’s article focused on states requiring manufacturers to use labels if GMOs are in the food. Seventy percent of processed foods contain at least one ingredient derived from a GMO. According to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, GMOs have been on the market for two decades. Member states of the European Union have GMO labelling laws. Shouldn’t we know what we are putting into our bodies? Does it matter from a health perspective? Is this asking too much?

shutterstock_60223wOur bodies encounter many stressors that can lead to changes in the body. These stressors come from what we put into our bodies via the mouth, as well as what we put into the brain. What we put into our mouth ends up in the gut. The gut is involved in many processes including moving nutrients and water into the body. The gut has trillions of bacteria that are needed in the proper amount and kind. These bacteria help the regulation of what is absorbed into the body. When the gut is damaged by a toxin or stressor, the regulation of this process is compromised.  

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, colitis, and certain autoimmune diseases are common problems, accounting for 200 million doctor visits and billions of dollars spent. The gut bacteria also help in the regulation of the immune system. When this system is “messed up” by a toxin, the immune system, i.e., inflammation, is activated. The inflammation can be local as well as diffuse. The bad gut bugs create byproducts that cause inflammation in the body, lipopolysaccarides. These can also promote insulin resistance and weight gain. I cannot tell you how many patients have improved as they removed gut toxins. Joint pains diminish, bowels are regulated, less bloating, and more energy from enhanced nutrient absorption result. Inflammation from a revved up immune system is no friend to the cardiovascular system. Inflammation in the brain is obviously not a good thing either. Needless to say, a normal functioning gut is vital.

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Remember: we were not designed for all the “stuff” we are now ingesting, both the known and unknown substances. The gut needs rest, fiber, water, avoidance of toxins, and proper nutrients. Anti-inflammatories, acid blockers, and antibiotics can change the gut ecosystem. Probiotics, which we are just learning about, can help restore the flora of a damaged gut. 

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The trillions of gut bacteria have 100 times more DNA and genes than the entire body.  The bacterial DNA regulates the intestinal function, protects against infection, and helps vitamins and nutrients get to the right cells. Likewise, the bad bacteria can release toxins that are associated with many conditions, including inflammation previously mentioned.

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We are just now beginning to learn of the complexities of the gut. Now specialized testing is available to assess the functioning of the gut. If you have a chronic illness or digestive symptoms, ask yourself, Could my gut be the problem?

Should we have the right to know what is going into our guts? Absolutely!