TAG | c. diff
There’s a new superbug in town, a superbug of a different kind. And Monsanto, the biotechnology giant, is the company behind it. It seems that one of Monsanto’s biggest money-makers—Bt corn, is creating superbugs. The majority of non-organic corn planted in the U.S. is genetically modified to produce a toxic compound against western corn rootworms—a major corn pest. This corn is well-known as Bt corn, because it contains a gene from the soil microorganisms Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces an insecticide against the corn rootworm.
Genetically modified Bt corn worked so well against the corn rootworm that some farmers began planting it every year, instead of the usual rotation of growing corn one year and soybeans the next—a method that helps reduce pest populations. If there is one thing that farmers should know, it’s that planting the same thing every year is a recipe for disaster (even if it doesn’t seem that way at first).
It turns out the corn rootworms, much like the superbug bacteria infecting humans, are developing a resistance to the Bt toxin that usually destroys the pest. A few farms in Iowa are reporting that the Bt corn no longer kills the corn rootworm, meaning the bugs—now superbugs—have developed resistance to the Bt toxin. First superbugs in our guts, now superbugs on corn, soon superbugs everywhere.
It’s estimated that about one-third of all the corn grown in the U.S. is Monsanto’s Bt corn. Try to buy products using organic corn, or at least non-GM corn, to avoid being part of the human experiment that is the consumption of GM foods in this country. We just don’t know if they’re safe yet, and many studies suggest they’re not.
In 2008 a gastroenterologist in Minnesota discovered that he was able to cure one of his patients of a destructive Clostridium difficile infection by transplanting healthy bacteria from her husband’s gut into hers. Clostridium difficile, more commonly known as C. diff, is a bacterial infection that can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the colon, but within hours after the beneficial bacteria was transplanted into her colon, the woman’s C. diff infection disappeared—along with her symptoms.
No, it’s not science fiction, just an emerging field of real science that continues to amaze doctors, scientists, and just about everyone in the health care community. And at the heart of it all is something that can’t even be seen with the naked eye—the trillions of microscopic bacteria that have been living in your gut since the day you were born.
The human digestive tract is where more than 70 percent of the body’s natural immune defenses are found. That means it plays a vital role in preserving overall health, and study after study has shown that the good bacteria (called probiotics) can help prevent everything from digestive problems such as irritable bowel and constipation to inflammation-related conditions such as asthma and allergies. Not only that, but the variations between one person’s gut environment and the next can make a big difference when it comes to whether or not they are more prone to certain diseases or conditions throughout life.
While this comes as no surprise to natural health experts—who have been touting the benefits of probiotics and a balanced gut for years—their hope is that it will increase awareness about the benefits of taking a daily probiotic supplement at every age in order to promote lifelong health.