GMOs and safety issues: what are the health risks?
The FDA has concluded that there is no evidence that bioengineered food or plant ingredients are less safe than those produced through conventional methods. However, eating GMO foods has been known to disrupt the healthy bacteria in our intestines. In many cases, children with severe allergies stopped showing any signs of allergies after they stopped consuming GMO foods. In addition, animal studies report other possible side effects: organ damage, immune reactions, allergies, sterility, birth defects, skin conditions (including acne and eczema), increased cancer risks, accelerated aging and other symptoms. It is difficult to study long-term effects from GMOs, since they have not been on the market for a very long time; they were first introduced in 1996. However, there are more and more health issues appearing that are possibly linked to GMOs.
GMOs and skin: the case of Morgellons disease
Morgellons is a disease in which unusual thread-like fibers appear under the skin. The person feels like something is crawling, biting or stinging all over. So far, there are no answers as to the source of the disease.
Many in the medical community question whether Morgellons is an infectious disease or a psychiatric disorder in which a person thinks parasites have infected their skin. But now there is physical evidence that Morgellons is not just psychological. According to Dr. Joe Cummins, Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, the link between morgellons disease and GMO foods is possibly connected. Professor Cummins noted that Morgellons sufferers tested for Agrobacterium tumefaciens (AT) infestation. According to biochemist Vitaly Citosky, who carried out research on agrobacterium, "Agrobacterium is capable of genetically transforming not only plants, but also other eukaryotic species, including human cells, and is used in the production of some genetically modified organisms." Little information has been revealed concerning the long-term health effects of GMO crops on humans or animals, and even less information can be found regarding research correlating Morgellons with GMO foods. But there is more and more evidence that this disease may not only be "delusional" and could be related to genetically modified foods.
GMO in skincare products: how to avoid them?
Unless skincare products are certified non-GMO or come from a company that is working on the certification process, there is a good chance that they contain GMOs. For example, canola has been modified to produce high levels of lauric acid, a key ingredient in soaps and detergents (this allows for reduced cost). Plant-derived ingredients were among the very first cosmetics, and large percentages of many agricultural commodities have been genetically modified. Indeed, genetically modified organisms have been developed to assist in the production of cosmetic ingredients. Other examples include soybean oil, corn oil, corn flour, proteins from yeast and lecithin.
Better safe than sorry... The best way to avoid GMOs getting under your skin is to choose organic and natural products that do not use them. Unfortunately, organic crops in the US often test positive for GMO cross-contamination from neighboring farms that use GMOs. GMO seed may mix in with organic seed. Therefore, it is best to choose skincare products that are labeled "GMO free." There is a non-profit organization called "non-GMO project" that offers North American third-party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products, including body care products.
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About the author:
Originally from France, Josephine Beck has qualification in digestive care and nutritional product advising and holds a master degree in communication and information. She now lives in BC, Canada. Josephine is the founder of the website Optiderma.com, through which she helps people find natural solutions for various skin problems. She believes that most skin disorders can be healed as long as the underlying cause is found. OptiDerma is online portal where everyone can share healthy and natural skin tips.