Gut Health

Featured on Healing Quest: Probiotics & Glyphosate (PODCAST)

We’re so thankful for the recent interview Just Thrive microbiologist, Kiran Krishnan, did with our friends Judy and Roy for their Healing Quest podcast. This particular topic is one we’re passionate about, since it’s having a monumental impact on gut health, the human microbiome and – inevitably – whole body health.

SUMMARY: PROBIOTICS AND GLYPHOSATE >> Can probiotics protect us against the potential threat to our digestive tract posed by glyphosate the active ingredient in the worlds most frequently used weed killer? Click here to listen as Kiran Krishnan talks about this important-to-YOUR-health topic…and read the interview transcript below.


Roy Walkenhorst:  Hi, and welcome back to Healing Quest. I’m Roy Walkenhorst.

Judy Brooks:  And I’m Judy Brooks. And if you’re just joining us, our focus is holistic wellness and that means the latest in natural ways to keep us all healthy.

Judy Brooks:  Last Monday in San Francisco, a trial began that’s attracting national attention, especially in the natural health community. It’s a suit against the Monsanto company involving the world’s most popular weed killer, and that would be Roundup.

Roy Walkenhorst: The plaintiff is a Benicia man who worked for two years as a groundskeeper in Benicia schools and used Monsanto’s Roundup product as a weed killer. He says the cancer that’s now about to kill him was caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

Judy Brooks: Three years ago, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said glyphosate is, “Probably carcinogenic to humans” and that glyphosate also can cause cancer in lab animals. Well, Monsanto says that the WHO report is incorrect and overshadowed by 800 other studies showing that glyphosate is safe. The trial is attracting wide attention because hundreds of other lawsuits against Monsanto are pending.

Roy Walkenhorst: But aside from the legal issues, the trial raises another big question. If glyphosate does indeed cause cancer, what can we do to protect ourselves, since the use of Roundup and glyphosate is so widespread?

Roy Walkenhorst: To see what our options there might be, we’ve invited microbiologist Kiran Krishnan to join us on today’s show. Kiran’s an expert on the immune system, and he’s the developer of the Just Thrive probiotic which clinical trials are showing is very effective in supporting our immune system. Kiran, thanks for joining us on Healing Quest.

Kiran Krishnan: My pleasure. Thank you for having me again.

Roy Walkenhorst: As a microbiologist, what’s your view of the threat posed by glyphosate?

Kiran Krishnan: To me, it’s one of the most dangerous chemicals that we’re exposed to. It acts as an antimicrobial, so it’s an antibiotic, essentially, and that’s confirmed by Monsanto’s own patent that they filed in the 1970’s, that claims that glyphosate, as a compound, is a very potent antimicrobial and antibiotic. The problem with it as an antibiotic is it has a very finicky character. It specifically kills good bacteria and allows bad bacteria to flourish. Now, there’s very few … Right? Can you imagine … Most antibiotics that we would use, that doctors would give you a prescription for, they basically kill all bacteria, good and bad. And that’s part of where their problem comes from. But this is something that we’re exposed to a low levels every single day, that slowly selects for some of the worst bacteria within your gut, and kills off the good bacteria.

Kiran Krishnan: It selects for things like Clostridia. It selects for things like Salmonella, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, all of these kind of harmful toxin-producing pathogenic bacteria, and we’re consuming it on a daily basis.

Roy Walkenhorst: Why was it designed that way?

Kiran Krishnan: It’s really interesting, as a compound. It was designed to go after a certain biochemical pathway called the shikimate pathway. What that shikimate pathway does, is it produces something called aromatic amino acids. Aromatic amino acids are essential to life for humans, for insects, for plants or bacteria.

Kiran Krishnan: Now, the human cell does not utilize this shikimate pathway biochemical reaction, so that’s how they proposed that it was safe. Because as they said, that this is an interesting chemical that interferes with that pathway, but the human cell doesn’t utilize that pathway. But weeds utilize that pathway, and lower order plants utilize that pathway, so it can kill weeds and it can kill insects, but it can’t kill the human cell.

Kiran Krishnan: The problem is, it also kills bacteria because bacteria use that same pathway. And as it turns out, certain groups of pathogenic bacteria have developed a way to become resistant to Roundup over the course of time.

Judy Brooks: Do you think a probiotic like Just Thrive can help protect us against a threat like glyphosate?

Kiran Krishnan: That’s exactly what we’re looking at, and we believe so, yes. We just completed a study which we’re going to be submitting for publication this year, where we were looking at the impact of something like a Just Thrive, the probiotic Just Thrive, and can it actually reverse the type of disruption to the gut ecology that something like glyphosate would cause? We did not use glyphosate in this particular study, be we looked at similar types of disruptions in the microbiome.

Kiran Krishnan: Now, as a second phase to that, we are starting a study this year where we’re taking a healthy microbiome and we’re introducing glyphosate to it over a period of time, watching how glyphosate disrupts that ecology and then looking at Just Thrive, to see if we can rescue that and fix the change. Because the problem is, we can’t get away from it.

Kiran Krishnan: A recent study showed that even organic foods, which is what people would typically chose to avoid their exposure to glyphosate, even organic foods have high levels of glyphosate in it.

Judy Brooks: That’s very scary. Well, if you’re just joining us, I’m Judy Brooks.

Roy Walkenhorst: And I’m Roy Walkenhorst. And we’re talking with microbiologist Kiran Krishnan about protecting our immune system from potential threats like glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, which is the world’s most frequent weed killer.

Judy Brooks: What you were just saying, do you think that this study that you’re going to be doing … Say you’ve been exposed to glyphosate for a period of time, and does it have a cumulative effect, like a lot of toxins do? And if so … This is a two-part question … can a spore-based probiotic like Just Thrive help with breaking down a buildup in your system?

Kiran Krishnan: There are certain types of people that will accumulate glyphosate in their body. There’s a gene called the PON1 gene. P-O-N and the number 1. If you have a dysfunction in that gene, you will tend to accumulate glyphosate in your body in places like your glands. For example, moms who are breast feeding can accumulate them in their mammary glands and it can end up in breast milk. But if you don’t have that PON1 gene, your body does a pretty decent job of clearing glyphosate out, however, your microbiome is still going to be disrupted by it.

Kiran Krishnan: I think they estimated somewhere around 20, 21% of people that have that PON1 gene, so those people would have bio-accumulation of glyphosate over time. The rest of the people, it’ll just destroy your microbiome on the way out, so we’re all kind of screwed in a way.

Judy Brooks: Okay. That’s a good news/bad news story.

Kiran Krishnan: Exactly. And for the people that do bio-accumulate glyphosate, the only way to really know is if you go and get one of those genetic tests done to see if you have that PON1 gene snip. But, for the most part, what we can do is try to avoid it, of course, by choosing organic, even though organic still has glyphosate in it. What it will do is, the more companies go towards utilizing organic, the less impactful glyphosate will be on our environment in general. Right?

Kiran Krishnan: Let’s say 50% of farming in the US becomes organic, then that gives us a shot of getting rid of glyphosate from our environment. It’s still important to chose organic. The other thing is utilizing the spore-based probiotic like Just Thrive to help fix some of the damage that it’s doing to the microbiome.

Roy Walkenhorst: It feels to me almost like insurance. Monsanto obviously says the studies that link glyphosate to cancer are wrong, and even one of the big clearing houses said, “Well, we got conflicting science on it.” But the fact is, it seems like there’s a pretty good possibility that glyphosate could be really dangerous, so why wouldn’t you protect yourself?

Kiran Krishnan: Absolutely. And this is reminiscent of many things that have happened in industry. Remember the time when tobacco companies were saying that all the science is wrong showing that cigarettes cause cancer?

Roy Walkenhorst: I was just thinking about those commercials with doctors in white coats on TV.

Kiran Krishnan: Exactly. Yeah. You know, they kept that up for a couple of decades, until the data became overwhelming enough. There’s a reason why so many countries around the world have banned the use of glyphosate. It’s not for political/economic reasons, it’s because the science shows that it is a problematic compound. Maybe it’s not so clear that it causes cancer, but we do know that it’s highly disruptive to the body, so why expose yourself to it? Right?

Kiran Krishnan: And if you are getting exposure, which most people in the western world are, we have to do things to try to fix and undo what damage that exposure’s causing.

Judy Brooks: Well, thank you for what you’re doing to help people fix and undo the damage that this is causing. And once again, thanks for being on Healing Quest. We always love talking to you. You’ve got great for our listeners, and will hopefully have you back on here again really soon.

Roy Walkenhorst: We’ve been talking with Kiran Krishnan about the issue of glyphosate and whether or not it is the huge danger that many people say it is, and whether or not it’s possible to protect ourselves against it, especially keep our immune system healthy with using the right probiotics. We’ll be following this story very closely in the weeks and years ahead.

Judy Brooks: But up next, forgiveness is coming soon, and what you can learn from it, and how that could change your life. And don’t forget, a podcast of this and other Healing Quest shows are available at or on the iHeart Radio app, or at I’m Judy Brooks.

Roy Walkenhorst: And I’m Roy Walkenhorst. And you’re listening to Healing Quest on KFPK and iHeart Radio.


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