Autism and Monsanto

Category: Autism updates, Blog

Here are highlights from an article by author Janet Phelan from New Eastern Outlook

A senior scientist at MIT has declared that we are facing an epidemic of autism that may result in one half of all children being affected by autism in ten years.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, who made these remarks during a panel presentation in Groton, MA last week (1-18-2015), specifically cites the Monsanto herbicide, Roundup, as the culprit for the escalating incidence of autism and other neurological disorders. Roundup, which was introduced in the 1970’s, contains the chemical glyphosate, which is the focal point for Seneff’s concerns. Roundup was originally restricted to use on weeds, as glyphosate kills plants. However, Roundup is now in regular use with crops. With the coming of GMO’s, plants such as soy and corn were bioengineered to tolerate glyphosate, and its use dramatically increased. From 2001 to 2007, glyphosate use doubled, reaching 180 to 185 million pounds in the U.S. alone in 2007.

If  you don’t consume corn- on- the -cob or toasted soybeans, however, you are hardly exempt from the potential affects of consuming glyphosate. Wheat is now sprayed with Roundup right before it is harvested, making any consumption of non- organic wheat bread a sure source for the chemical. In addition, any products containing corn syrup, such as soft drinks, are also carrying a payload of glyphosate. Entire article :MIT States That Half of All Children May be Autistic by 2025 due to Monsanto


At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, our goal is to help maximize a child’s potential by setting up an individualized program aimed at diagnosing and treating often hidden problems that may be impeding his or her development. We support the use of behavioral counseling and speech, physical and occupational therapies that are often recommended as part of the overall treatment regimen.

In regards to diet, we analyze each patient individually – because, each person is biochemically different and, even among those on the autism spectrum, not every treatment works for every person.

We administer safe, nontoxic dietary supplements, antifungal agents, and dietary modifications. We also place great emphasis on the detoxification and evaluation and treatment of toxic metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum. Treatment may also include improving digestion and assimilation and asking a child to avoid certain foods which could be harmful to his or her well being.

Increasing evidence suggests that children with ASD have altered gut bacteria.


In the Monsanto article cited above, part of teh problem is the altered gut ecology. In recent research, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have significantly different concentrations of certain bacterial-produced chemicals, called metabolites, in their feces compared to children without ASD. This research, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, provides further evidence that bacteria in the gut may be linked to autism.

“Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete dangerous metabolites or disturb a balance in metabolites that can affect the gut and the rest of the body, including the brain,” says Dae-Wook Kang of the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University, an author on the research study.1

Increasing evidence suggests that children with ASD have altered gut bacteria.


The role of diet in autism has been hotly debated. Not because researchers question the role of diet, but because of the complexity of the problem. One thing most agree on is that “A greater attention to the education of parents and children in a healthy dietary pattern, omitting items shown to predispose to ADHD, is perhaps the most promising and practical complementary or alternative treatment of ADHD.” 2

Much has been made of Gluten-free, casein-free diet because in many patients this type of dietray changes have shown significant improvement: “Overall, gluten-free, casein-free diet among children whose parents reported the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms, food allergy diagnoses, and suspected food sensitivities included greater improvement in autism spectrum disorders behaviors, physiological symptoms, and social behaviors compared with children whose parents reported none of these symptoms, diagnoses, or sensitivities.”3

Further, the use of food additives, especially food coloring has been inmplicated. While artificial food colors (AFCs) have not yet been established in the medical literature as the main cause of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),accumulated evidence suggests that some patients show significant symptom improvement when consuming an artificial food colors-free diet. Of children with suspected sensitivities, 65% to 89% reacted when challenged with at least 100 mg of artificial food colors. Oligoantigenic diet studies suggested that some children in addition to being sensitive to AFCs are also sensitive to common nonsalicylate foods (milk, chocolate, soy, eggs, wheat, corn, legumes) as well as salicylate-containing grapes, tomatoes, and orange. Some studies found “cosensitivity” to be more the rule than the exception. Recently, 2 large studies demonstrated behavioral sensitivity to AFCs and benzoate in children both with and without ADHD. A trial elimination diet is appropriate for children who have not responded satisfactorily to conventional treatment or whose parents wish to pursue a dietary investigation.4

Most recently, researchers from the University of California at Davis released a study consistent with our findings.  Many of the kids we see with autism have significant GI problems including yeast overgrowth, bloating, excessive gas, pain, and food allergies.  This is why, in part, autism needs to be addressed as a metabolic, biochemical and physical problem (as well as the behavioral aspects).

From the University of California at Davis Medical Center:
Children with autism experience gastrointestinal (GI) upsets such as constipation, diarrhea and sensitivity to foods six-to-eight times more often than do children who are developing typically, and those symptoms are related to behavioral problems, including social withdrawal, irritability and repetitive behaviors, a new study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute has found.

The researchers said that understanding the impact of GI problems in children with autism could provide new insight into more effective and appropriate autism treatments that could decrease their GI difficulties and that may have the potential to decrease their problem behaviors as well.

The investigation is the largest and the most ethnically diverse study comparing GI problems in children with autism, developmental delay and typical development, and among the first to examine the relationship between GI symptoms and problem behaviors in children with autism, the researchers said.

“Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism, Developmental Delays or Typical Development” is published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

“Parents of children with autism have long said that their kids endure more GI problems, but little has been known about the true prevalence of these complications or their underlying causes,” said Virginia Chaidez, the lead study author who was a postdoctoral student in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences at the time of the study.

“The GI problems they experience may be bidirectional,” Chaidez said. “GI problems may create behavior problems, and those behavior problems may create or exacerbate GI problems. One way to try to tease this out would be to begin investigating the effects of various treatments and their effects on both GI symptoms and problem behaviors.”

The study was conducted in nearly 1,000 children enrolled in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study in Northern California between April 2003 and May 2011. The children were between 24 and 60 months at the time when they were enrolled in the study. Their diagnoses were confirmed through assessments at the MIND Institute. Roughly half of the study population was white and one-third was Hispanic. The remaining participants were of other ethnic and racial backgrounds.

The study was conducted by asking the children’s parents to complete two self-administered questionnaires, the CHARGE Gastrointestinal History Questionnaire (GIH) and the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC). The GIH measures such disorders as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and difficulty swallowing. The ABC measures challenging behaviors including irritability, lethargy/social withdrawal, repetitive behaviors (stereotypies), hyperactivity and inappropriate speech.

The researchers found that the parents of children with autism were six-to-eight times more likely to report frequent gaseousness/bloating, constipation, diarrhea and sensitivity to foods than were the parents of typically developing children. Similarly, parents of children with developmental delay were five times more likely to report constipation and far more likely to report difficulty swallowing.

Children with Autism, Developmental Delay and GI Problems


“After years of parents raising concerns about such symptoms, the huge differences we see between parental reports on children with autism spectrum disorder versus those on children with typical development puts to rest the idea that gastrointestinal problems among children with autism spectrum disorder are just an accumulation of case reports,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, principal investigator for the CHARGE Study and a researcher affiliated with the MIND Institute. “Our data clearly show that gastrointestinal problems are very common in children with autism.”

Among parents of children with autism, those who reported their child had abdominal pain, gaseousness/bloating, constipation and diarrhea also significantly more frequently noted irritability, social withdrawal, repetitive behavior and hyperactivity than did those without GI symptoms. The only behavior problem that was associated with a GI problem in children with developmental delay was hyperactivity and only among those children with diarrhea. Press Release information from UCD Health Systems

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have significantly different concentrations of certain bacterial-produced chemicals, called metabolites, in their feces compared to children without ASD.  This research, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, provides further evidence that bacteria in the gut may be linked to autism.

“Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete dangerous metabolites or disturb a balance in metabolites that can affect the gut and the rest of the body, including the brain,” says Dae-Wook Kang of the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University, an author on the study.

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have significantly different concentrations of certain bacterial-produced chemicals, called metabolites, in their feces compared to children without ASD.  This research, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, provides further evidence that bacteria in the gut may be linked to autism.

“Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete dangerous metabolites or disturb a balance in metabolites that can affect the gut and the rest of the body, including the brain,” says Dae-Wook Kang of the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University, an author on the study.

While the cause of autism is still not clear, nobody can say definitively as this point that doing one thing or another will completely prevent the disorder. However, looking at the data and reviewing the common denominators in these children, what is clear is that there is an undeniable link between the chemicals found in our environment and autism. The best we can do – to help reduce the numbers and/ or the severity of cases – is to eliminate these chemicals from our lives as much as we can by eating a healthy diet of natural, unprocessed foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, rounding out our diets with nutritional supplements as advised by a healthcare professional and reducing our exposure to phthalates (like those in nail polish), organophosphates (often found in pesticides), PCBs, (found in plastic products including most baby bottles), solvents (found in furniture and new carpets) and heavy metals such as lead and mercury. These measures should, if possible, begin with the mom in the pre- or peri-conception time, at the latest, and continue with the birth of the child.


1. http://gm.asm.org/index.php/meeting/newsroom/44-2013/newsroom/537-can-chemicals-produced-by-gut-microbiota-affect-children-with-autism

2. Millichap JG, Yee MM. The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2012 Feb;129(2):330-7. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

3. Pennesi CM, Klein LC. Effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder: based on parental report. Nutr Neurosci. 2012 Mar;15(2):85-91.

4. Stevens LJ, Kuczek T, Burgess JR, Hurt E, Arnold LE. Dietary sensitivities and ADHD symptoms: thirty-five years of research. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2011 Apr;50(4):279-93. Epub 2010 Dec 2.