How safe is Glyphosate, really? How can it effect our horses? Let’s take a look at science.

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Monsanto’s Glyphosate was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz  in 1970. Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup. By 2016 there was a 100-fold increase from the late 1970s in the frequency of applications and volumes of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied, partly in response to the unprecedented global emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in herbicide formulations containing it. However, in addition to glyphosate salts, commercial formulations of glyphosate contain additives such as surfactants which vary in nature and concentration. The surfactants are added to enable the glyphosate to penetrate the cuticle of the plants. Toxicologists have studied glyphosate alone and formulations.

Let’s look at science.

“A recent study on glyphosate exposure in carnivorous fish revealed remarkable adverse effects throughout the digestive system (Senapati et al.,2009). The activity of protease, lipase, and amylase were all decreased in the esophagus, stomach, and intestine of these fish following exposure to glyphosate. The authors also observed “disruption of mucosal folds and disarray of microvilli structure” in the intestinal wall, along with an exaggerated secretion of mucin throughout the alimentary tract.”

In horses this would mean that there would be a decrease of digestive enzymes. Protease for the digestion of proteins, lipase for the digestion of fats, and amylase for the digestion of starches. The disarray of microvilli, would inhibit the absorption of any nutrients, and the mucin may be released in response to inflammation.

“Evidence of disruption of gut bacteria by glyphosate is available for poultry (Shehata et al., 2013), cattle (Krüger et al., 2013), and swine (Carman et al., 2013). Glyphosate disrupts the balance of gut bacteria in poultry (Shehata et al.,2013), increasing the ratio of pathogenic bacteria to other commensal microbes. Salmonella and Clostridium are highly resistant to glyphosate, whereas Enterococcus, Bifidobacteria, and Lactobacillus are especially susceptible. Glyphosate was proposed as a possible factor in the increased risk to Clostridium botulinum infection in cattle in Germany over the past ten to fifteen years (Krüger et al.,2013). Pigs fed GMO corn and soy developed widespread intestinal inflammation that may have been due in part to glyphosate exposure (Carman et al., 2013). Glyphosate, patented as an antimicrobial (Monsanto Technology LLC, 2010), has been shown to disrupt gut bacteria in animals, preferentially killing beneficial forms and causing an overgrowth of pathogens.”

For horses this would mean a decrease in beneficial gut bacteria and an increase in disease causing bacteria, as well as the possibility of intestinal inflammation.

“In studies conducted on Sertoli cells in prepubertal rat testis, exposure to Roundup induced oxidative stress leading to cell death (de Liz Oliveira Cavalliet al., 2013). Roundup induced the opening of L-type voltage dependent calcium channels as well as ryanodine receptors, initiating ER stress and leading to calcium overload and subsequent necrosis. Glutathione was depleted due to upregulation of several glutathione-metabolizing enzymes. This suggests that Roundup would interfere with spermatogenesis, which would impair male fertility.”

This would have a negative effect on fertility in breeding stallions.

“Glyphosate disrupts the synthesis of tryptophan and tyrosine in plants and in gut bacteria, due to its interference with the shikimate pathway (Lu et al.2013; María et al., 1996), which is its main source of toxicity to plants. Glyphosate also depletes methionine in plants and microbes.”

Tryptophan is the amino acid precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter implicated in sedation, inhibition of aggression, fear and stress in horses and other mammals. The role of methionine in hoof formation is in producing cysteine, as the horse has the ability to convert dietary methionine into cysteine. Horses would be more nervous and excitable and have a decrease in healthy hoof growth.

“Glyphosate is highly corrosive to the esophageal epidermal lining, with upper GI tract injury observed in 94% of patients following glyphosate ingestion (Chang et al., 1999). In (Zouaoui et al.,2013), the most common symptoms in an acute response from glyphosate poisoning were oropharyngeal ulceration, nausea and vomiting.”

Could we be seeing an increase in gastric ulcers from horse feeds containing Glyphosate?

“In a study of the effect of Glyphosate exposed Chrysoperla externa (a predator insect), researchers observed that fecundity and fertility were deeply reduced, as well, being fertility greater affected. A high important reduction was registered in all population parameters. Most eggs from glyphosate-treated cohort looked abnormal, smaller than control, dehydrated and became black 2d after oviposition. In addition, adults developed tumours in the abdomen region at 20d after emergence, being the effect more drastic in females than males. (Calle 2 No. 584, La Plata, Bs. As, Argentina)”

If horses were effected in a similar matter, this would mean decreased fertility in broodmares.

In a recent interview by Equinium Sports Marketing, Alliance Bloodstock owner Ralph Kinder, breeder and co-owner of KY Oaks contender Jordan’s Henny, stated the following: “I decided to swap to Crypto Aero, which is a major decision for an operation of our size, after realizing that the principles of reducing processed grains and other unnatural ingredients in a human’s diet should apply to an equine’s as well,” said Kinder. “Our stats are really what has driven home the importance of nutrition. We immediately see improvement in overall condition, in their hooves, and in their attitude; they seem calmer and more focused on Crypto Aero. But obviously this improved nutrition and vitality at a young age is positively impacting their overall soundness and health as they age and begin their careers, as evidenced by our stats, and it is about the same or slightly cheaper to feed Crypto Aero.”  Kinder stated that he has not had a single incidence of insulin resistance or cushings syndrome on his farm since transitioning to Crypto Aero, and that Alliance’s fertility rate has been on the rise since Crypto Aero began appearing regularly in its mare’s feed buckets.

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