August 15, 2017

Weeding Out Vaccine Toxins: MMR, Glyphosate, and the Health of a Generation

By Dr. Stephanie Seneff

Glyphosate, often sold under the brand name “Roundup,” is the most widely used weed killer in the U.S. Glyphosate is a “non-selective herbicide,” which means it kills many plants, not just weeds. It kills them by interfering with the production of critical proteins necessary for growth.

In commercial agriculture, Roundup is used on “Roundup Ready” crops—crops that have been genetically modified to resist the powerful toxic effects of glyphosate. The list of Roundup Ready crops includes soy, corn, canola and sugar beets. It is important to remember that, while these plants have been modified to resist the harmful effects of glyphosate, the people and animals that eat them have not.

It is important to remember that, while these plants have been modified to resist the harmful effects of glyphosate, the people and animals that eat them have not.

In a series of articles, my colleague Anthony Samsel and I have been exploring the connection between glyphosate and a number of diseases, including multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. In our most recent article, “Glyphosate Pathways to Modern Diseases VI: Prions, Amyloidoses and Autoimmune Neurological Diseases,” we present evidence that glyphosate has made its way into several widely used vaccines. We describe how the glyphosate residue contained in vaccines might induce the kind of autoimmune responses typically observed in autism.

Interestingly, of all the vaccines we tested, MMR stood out as consistently having the highest level of glyphosate contamination. This fact may help explain why the MMR vaccine, which contains neither mercury nor aluminum, has been implicated so often in vaccine injury and autism.

How Might Glyphosate Make Its Way into Vaccines?

Vaccines can become contaminated in many ways. One potential source of contamination is the animal tissue (chicken embryo, fetal bovine serum, monkey kidney, etc.) that is used as a culture medium to grow the viruses contained in vaccines. The measles virus for the MMR is grown on gelatin made from the bones and ligaments of commercially raised cows and pigs, animals that have been fed a steady diet of Roundup Ready corn and soy feed. Gelatin is also used as a stabilizer in vaccines, creating another possible route of contamination.

As Roundup producer Monsanto itself has reported, the residue from glyphosate tends to accumulate in the bones, marrow, and collagen-rich ligaments of animals. Anthony Samsel confirmed this finding in his own study of the bones, marrow, and other parts of pigs and cows, as well as the derived bovine gelatin.

To provide additional evidence that gelatin is the source of glyphosate contamination in vaccines, Samsel looked at a number of gelatin-based products, including Jell-O, gummi vitamins, and protein powders. He also looked at digestive enzymes such as trypsin and lipase. He found significant glyphosate residue in all of them. It should come as no surprise, then, that all of the vaccines that list gelatin and bovine serum as ingredients tested positive for glyphosate, while those that contained neither of these ingredients tested negative.

Glyphosate may be contributing to another source of vaccine contamination. In a recent study published in the International Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination, researchers were shocked to discover a variety of toxic metals in a number of common vaccines. Platinum, silver, bismuth, iron, and chromium all showed up in the MMR vaccine. The source of these contaminants is considered to be a mystery. It is interesting to note in this context that glyphosate was first patented as a pipe cleaner due to its remarkable ability to chelate metals. It may be the case that glyphosate is playing a role in extracting metals from containers during the manufacture of vaccines.

My research leads me to believe that synergistic toxicity between glyphosate and vaccines, particularly MMR, is a major factor in the growing autism epidemic. The severity of MMR-related adverse events, as reflected in the FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, has increased steadily in recent years—along with the use of glyphosate on corn and soy crops in the U.S. Some of the reactions that have become significantly more common after 2002 compared to before 2002 are seizures, anaphylactic shock, asthma, autism, eczema, irregular heart rate, and ear infection. Of course, correlation does not prove causation; it is important to understand how glyphosate residues might disrupt the body’s immune system.

How Might the Glyphosate in Vaccines Cause Autism?

In our recent article, Samsel and I describe how the measles virus in the MMR, which is grown on nutrients contaminated with glyphosate, could incorporate this glyphosate into its own proteins, as a coding error, in place of the amino acid glycine. Glyphosate is a glycine molecule with an additional methyl phosphonyl group attached to the nitrogen atom, and we have argued that a key mechanism of its insidious cumulative toxicity is its ability to substitute for glycine by mistake during protein synthesis.

Haemagglutinin is the main antigen produced by the measles virus that is responsible for inducing an antibody response to the vaccine. A glyphosate-contaminated haemagglutinin molecule from a measles virus will be much more allergenic than one that is free of glyphosate. When the measles virus from the vaccine gains access to the brain, the brain’s immune system acquires antibodies to this abnormal haemagglutinin molecule, and then, through molecular mimicry, these antibodies become autoantibodies to myelin basic protein, a basic component of the myelin sheath. This autoimmune attack on the nerve fibers in the brain disrupts neuronal communication channels, causing the symptoms of autism.

Vijendra K. Singh and his colleagues at Utah State University have published multiple papers, dating back to the 1990s, proposing that an autoimmune attack on the myelin sheath due to a viral infection may be a causative factor in autism. In their 2002 paper, “Abnormal Measles-Mumps-Rubella Antibodies and CNS Autoimmunity in Children with Autism,” they concluded that “an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.” A paper published by Dr. William Shaw in 2017 discussed a set of triplets—two boys with autism and a girl with a seizure disorder—all of whom had high levels of glyphosate in their urine and a disrupted gut microbiome, which he proposed was a causative factor.

Gut Dysbiosis: a Primary Factor

Not all children will respond to a glyphosate-contaminated vaccine in the same way. A key factor that increases susceptibility of the brain to damage is an unhealthy gut microbiome, which leads to a leaky gut barrier and subsequently a leaky brain barrier, via a tight communication channel between the gut microbes and the brain. Prior chronic exposure to high levels of dietary glyphosate can set a child up for a severe adverse reaction to a vaccine. Dr. Andrew Wakefield, together with many colleagues, published a seminal article in the Lancet in 1998 on a case study of twelve children, all of whom had a gut disorder and all of whom suffered onset of gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms following MMR vaccine, with regression into an autism-like syndrome.” Parents of eight of the children cited MMR as the trigger for their child’s decline. Wakefield was among the first scientists to recognize the important role of a disrupted gut microbiome in the etiology of autism. Unfortunately, the Lancet paper was later retracted and other researchers were very slow to follow up on this important lead, although finally today an unhealthy gut is recognized as a key feature linked to autism.

Dr. Wakefield recognized that the children in his study suffered from a leaky gut barrier, as a consequence of damage to the lining of the small intestine. This lining is covered with millions of small projections called villi, creating a huge surface area for the absorption of nutrients. The cells that form these villi, called enterocytes, begin life as an undifferentiated stem cell in the “crypt” area of the intestines. From there, they proliferate and mature as they migrate up the walls of the crypt, and then settle in on the surface of the villi, where they absorb nutrients before dying and getting replaced by new arrivals in a constant renewal process, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Glyphosate, as an amino acid, is actively imported into cells along L-type amino acid transporters. Cells that proliferate, like enterocytes, express high levels of these transporters, and therefore preferentially take up glyphosate. In Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), the enterocytes are destroyed more quickly due to exposure to glyphosate and other toxic chemicals. This damage causes the cells to proliferate more quickly, in order to replace destroyed cells. Increased proliferation causes an increase in the uptake of glyphosate, creating a downward spiral.

Thus, glyphosate residue in food sets a child up to fail following an MMR vaccine. Wheat, barley, oats, chick peas, lentils, and sugar cane are not glyphosate resistant, but glyphosate is frequently used as a desiccant or ripening agent for them right before harvest, and it is actively taken up by the seed. Some of the highest levels of glyphosate have been found as a contaminant in these non-GMO foods, so eating “non-GMO” is not adequate for glyphosate avoidance. Glyphosate is not allowed in organic agriculture, so buying USDA certified organic foods is the best option. Children with autism often suffer from gluten intolerance, and I believe glyphosate is a major causative factor in both conditions.

Figure 1: Schematic of the enterocytes in the villi lining the walls of the small intestine, which migrate upward from the crypt to the villus as they mature into functioning enterocytes from initial stem cells. These cells are especially vulnerable to glyphosate toxicity, leading to a leaky gut syndrome.

A Lost Generation

We have been misled for far too long by the claim that vaccines are “safe and effective.” It is not at all clear that inducing specific antibodies to a small set of infective agents, such as the measles virus, while weakening the immune system’s ability to fight off all the other infective agents in the environment, is the best way to deal with infectious disease. As we have seen, antibodies can become autoantibodies and attack the body’s own tissues, leading to chronic diseases that are often worse than the infectious diseases they protect from. Vaccinated children suffer from many debilitating neurological and autoimmune diseases in far greater numbers than unvaccinated children. The manufacture of vaccines is a tricky process, and along with the acknowledged toxic ingredients like mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde, they also have been found to contain contaminants like glyphosate and toxic metals that may well be the biggest contributors to severe adverse reactions.

As we have seen, antibodies can become autoantibodies and attack the body’s own tissues, leading to chronic diseases that are often worse than the infectious diseases they protect from.

Children today may already be a lost generation, but several policy changes need to take place in the immediate future to save subsequent generations from a similar fate. We need to repeal the 1986 legislation that protects pharmaceutical companies from liability when a child’s life is ruined by a vaccine. This will surely pressure them to try harder to keep impurities out of vaccines. We need to eliminate laws such as California’s SB277 that prevents unvaccinated children from enrolling in public or private schools, and be vigilant to ensure other states don’t follow suit. Then parents will be empowered to make decisions about the best path towards building a strong immune system in their child. Part of that program needs to be a switch to a 100 percent USDA certified organic diet, in order to protect children from the dangers posed by toxic herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Finally, we need to insist that our elected representatives pass laws that protect consumers from products like glyphosate, which are designed to disrupt processes that support life.

PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER: Exposure to glyphosate may play an important role in the development of autism.

Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Glyphosate Exposure

1. Glyphosate is a “Probable” Carcinogen
In March of 2015, scientists at the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen. The IARC report linked glyphosate to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in humans and to cancer in laboratory animals, and indicated it can cause “DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells.”

2. Glyphosate is a Patented Antimicrobial Agent
Glyphosate disrupts the gut microbiome leading to the overgrowth of pathogens and inflammatory bowel disease.

3. Glyphosate Negatively Impacts the Brain
According to the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University (NPIC), glyphosate exposure has been linked to developmental effects when administered to pregnant rats in high doses.

4. Glyphosate May Disrupt the Reproductive System

The Western world faces an epidemic in declining sperm quality.  The NPIC links high dose exposure in rats to negative reproductive effects.

5. Glyphosate May Be a Critical Factor the Autism Epidemic

Much evidence supports this, including disruption of the gut microbiome, chelation of important minerals like manganese and zinc, and extremely high correlations between time trends in autism and in the use of glyphosate on core crops.


Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a Senior Research Scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She has a BS degree from MIT in biology and MS, EE and PhD degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science.  She has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals and conference proceedings. Her recent interests have focused on the role of toxic chemicals and micronutrient deficiencies in health and disease, with a special emphasis on the pervasive herbicide, Roundup, and the mineral, sulfur.  She has authored over thirty peer-reviewed journal papers over the past few years on these topics, and has delivered numerous slide presentations around the world.

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