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How Safe are GMO’s: Unraveling the Truth

In recent years, the debate surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has intensified, with questions and concerns about their safety taking center stage. GMOs are organisms whose genetic material has been altered in ways that do not occur naturally through traditional breeding methods. Proponents argue that GMOs can help address global food shortages and improve crop yields, while critics express concerns about potential health and environmental risks and ask how safe are GMO’s.

As consumers, it is essential to be informed and understand the science behind GMOs to make well-informed decisions about their safety and impact on our health. This article delves into the topic of GMO safety, exploring the latest research and shedding light on the complexities of this controversial issue.

The term “Genetically Modified Organisms” (GMOs) has become increasingly mainstream, discussed in daily conversations, scientific research, forums, and even marketing advertisements. The question of whether GMOs are safe will become more relevant as time goes on. Genetic engineering is a relatively new field, existing for about 32 years, with commercialization beginning in 1976.

GMOs intersect with numerous life sciences fields, including biology, medical research, pharmaceutical production, and agriculture. While GMOs have been extensively studied, their relatively recent development means ongoing research is necessary to obtain thorough and convincing conclusions about their safety and implications.

How Safe Are GMO’s?

Our focus is to continue getting healthy and staying healthy, but time will tell if GMO products can help or hinder our health. In deciding courses of action that should be taken towards treating GMOs and GMO products, however, one must be extremely careful and sensible as there are numerous myths circulating around the world wide web regarding GMOs, of which are essentially untrue. Some of the myths and facts with regards to GMOs and its products are as follows:

Are GMO products are safe?

How Safe are GMO's: Unraveling the Truth

It would be imprudent to conclude that GMO products are always safe enough to eat. Researches have shown that genetically modified food products may be allergenic, nutritionally changed, and even be toxic to some extent. This may be caused by the difference in composition between genetically modified crops if compared to their fellow non-genetically modified peer, despite the fact that the two crops are planted at the same time, in the same place and given the same treatment.

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Change in Nutritional Value of GMO Foods

Changed nutritional content of a genetically modified food product may be dangerous in several ways. The first plausible danger caused by changed nutritional content of a genetically modified food would be the direct effect to human health who consumes the food through nourishing a condition of excess of shortage of certain nutrients in the body instead of replenishing it.

The second danger would be through the changed biochemical processes within the crop itself. This may result in unexpected or even unidentified changes which may impact human’s health, which may be closely linked to altered allergenicity or toxicity.

What is the risk of the genetically modified genes spreading to non-genetically modified and organic counterparts

GMO industries used to express that modified genes contamination of non-genetically modified crops would not occur, whereas this means that the farmers’ and consumers’ preference would be kept pure and preserved. However, scientific researches have shown that genetically modified products contamination is inevitable when the genetically modified crops are planted within a region, coexisting with non-genetically modified and organic crops.

How Safe are GMO's: Unraveling the Truth

GMO Seeds

The seed of a genetically modified herbicide tolerant plants can stay and remain living in soil for years, whereas genetically modified herbicide resistant volunteer plants that were not planted on purpose but were shed from the previous genetically modified crops grown in the field, were found growing years and years even after the time when the aforesaid genetically modified crops were planted. This causes genetically modified genes to be present in up to 80 percent of the wild plants found.

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This genetic modification contamination may cause severe economic impact, such as for example endangering the livelihoods and prosperity of organic plant farmers who receive payment for their organic and non-genetically modified crops. Stretched out further, it may impede export markets to countries which apply strict GMO regulations.

Does genetic modification of crops brings bring higher profits for farmers

Economic benefits of genetically modified crops on farmers cannot be analyzed by only using a single variable, where a complex and thorough research must be conducted in order to obtain a reliable conclusion. A conclusion that genetic modification of crops alone will bring in more money for farmers can never be reliable, as there are also other factors which affect economic benefits of farmers.

How Safe are GMO's: Unraveling the Truth

The first factor which affects farmers’ economic benefits would be crop suitability for local conditions, which of course is true because the more suitable and adaptable the crop is to local condition the higher chance it will have of producing better crops in a larger quantity. The second factor which is closely related to the first would be the farmer’s access to irrigation. Even though some plants thrive and grow better in a drier climate, however it is of common perception that the more irrigated the farm is, the better and the higher quantity will the products be at the harvesting season. This being said, better access to irrigation may cause farmers to gain higher economical benefits.

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What are the Benefits of GMO Products?

Aside from the two aforementioned factors which is considered to be a more internal element as it involves the farmer and his/her planting process, there are also external factors to be considered, such as availability of markets for the crops and governmental or corporation subsidies or incentives.

Even though the crops are harvested in a large quantity and of superior quality, if the market feasibility or availability does not support the selling process, at the end it will automatically mean that the farmer will not get a large profit as expected. Having the right markets and target consumers is also essential for the farmers to obtain a large profit from the crops.

Last but not least, economical benefits of farmers may be affected by available subsidies or incentives from either the government or corporations. More subsidies or incentives received by farmers will very likely be beneficial, as farmers receive assistance and financial support to ensure better or more crops at the harvesting season.

Health Risks of GMO’s

According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), animal studies have raised significant concerns about the potential health risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for humans. These studies suggest a range of serious health issues that may be linked to the consumption of GMOs:

  1. Infertility: Research indicates that exposure to GMOs could impact reproductive health. Animal studies have shown that GMOs may lead to reduced fertility rates, alterations in reproductive organs, and changes in hormonal balance, which could ultimately affect the ability to conceive and carry pregnancies to term.
  2. Immune Problems: The introduction of GMOs into the diet has been associated with immune system dysregulation. Animal studies have reported increased immune responses, such as allergies and inflammation, suggesting that GMOs may trigger adverse reactions and weaken the immune system’s ability to combat infections and diseases. A Strong Immune System Naturally
  3. Accelerated Aging: Some studies have found that animals fed GMOs exhibited signs of premature aging. These signs include oxidative stress and damage at the cellular level, which can contribute to faster aging processes and the development of age-related health issues.
  4. Faulty Insulin Regulations: There is evidence that GMOs may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate insulin. Animal studies have shown that GMO consumption can lead to abnormal glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, increasing the risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
  5. Changes to Major Organs and the Gastrointestinal System: Animal research has documented various changes in major organs, including the liver, kidneys, and heart, in response to GMO diets. Additionally, GMOs have been linked to alterations in the gastrointestinal system, such as changes in gut flora composition, inflammation, and damage to the intestinal lining, which could impair digestion and nutrient absorption.

These findings underscore the need for further research to fully understand the implications of GMOs on human health. It is crucial for regulatory bodies to consider these potential risks and for consumers to stay informed about the ongoing research in this field. While animal studies provide important insights, more human studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions about the safety and long-term effects of GMOs.

How Safe are GMO’s: Unraveling the Truth

We need to keep asking ourselves if GMO’s are safe for us?

Especially when faced with illness, the road to getting healthier is through nutrition and eating a diet with as many natural and organic products as possible is primary. People nowadays are aware of the adverse effects of eating genetically modified products so much that they may prefer organic plants for their daily consumption.

Updated July 2024

Dr. Patrick Quillin

Dr. Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS is an internationally recognized expert in the area of nutrition and health. He has 30 years experience as a clinical nutritionist, of which 10 years were spent as the Vice President for a leading cancer hospital system where he worked with thousands of cancer patients in a hospital setting. He is a Best Selling Author with 18 books which have sold over 2,000,000 copies and also a Keynote Speaker.

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