Histamine Intolerance GMO Foods and Roundup®

February 8, 2017  |  Blog, Histamine Intolerance

A new study shows a link between histamine intolerance, GMO foods, and Roundup® sprayed foods.

The study looked at non-genetically modified (GMO) maize, GMO maize not sprayed with any herbicide, and GMO maize sprayed with Roundup®.

Roundup® was applied only once, before the development of the maize cobs, so the study looked at the effects, even in the absence of herbicide residues.

The findings have significant implications for anyone suffering from histamine intolerance.

The GMO Controversy

Genetic modification of maize involves inserting bacteria that cause a pesticide to be produced in every cell of the plant. When pests attempt to eat the plant they are killed.

Simplistically, it makes growing crops more efficient.

Food safety rules require that genetically modified crops must have “substantial equivalence” to the original crop.

This is a vague term, usually interpreted as a similar amount of macronutrients (such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates).

Based on research conducted by the developer, GMO maize was considered as “substantially equivalent” to maize and was approved for animal and human consumption.

Some studies have shown that GMO maize has affects; gut, immune, liver, and kidney function in animal studies.

The Roundup® Controversy

Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup®) has been patented as an antibiotic and mineral chelator.

The developer of Roundup® argues, however, that it is safe for humans as it uses the shikimate pathway that is not used by humans.

Proponents argue that this pathway is used by the gut biome, and acts like an antibiotic, to disrupt the gut biome, and also chelates minerals.

They also argue that Roundup® is chemically similar to glycine (an essential amino acid particularly in the liver) such that it can interfere with glycine’s function.

Not Substantially Equivalent

The results of the current study were that the GMO maize and the Roundup® sprayed maize were not substantially equivalent to maize.

Specifically, the number of proteins and metabolites differed greatly between the three products: 91 proteins and 117 metabolites were altered as a result of the genetic modification, and one protein and 31 metabolites were altered as a result of spraying with Roundup®.


Unlike previous studies, the current study also looked at the micro-nutrients and found significant differences in a wide range of nutrients.

The most pronounced difference was in amines, including putrescine, and cadaverine.

Putrescine and cadaverine increase the effects of histamine, by competing with histamine for degradation.

They have also been implicated in the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines when consumed with nitrite in meat products.

These findings suggest that both GMO Maize and Roundup® sprayed maize will reduce the histamine threshold in individuals because of the higher amine content.


There are still no studies showing a clear link between GMO Maize, or Roundup® sprayed maize and long-term consumption.

This current study clearly shows that GMO maize and maize are not substantially equivalent, that they have higher levels of amines, and other nutritional differences.

If you are struggling with histamine intolerance then I believe that it is better to try and avoid genetically modified foods and Roundup® sprayed foods until there is more research.

Easy ways to do this are to buy certified organic products, look for non-GMO labeled products, and avoid “at risk” products including corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, papaya, sugar beets, and convenience foods. Many “gluten free” products contain corn.

Further Reading

Mesnage, Robin, et al. “An integrated multi-omics analysis of the NK603 Roundup-tolerant GM maize reveals metabolism disturbances caused by the transformation process.” Scientific Reports 6 (2016).

GMO Education

Glyphosate Education

Non-GMO Food List

Tony Mitra’s Analysis of Glyphosate Foods in USA/Canada

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