Excerpts from Glyphosate pathways to modern diseases VI: Prions, amyloidoses and autoimmune
neurological diseases


Gelatin is commonly used as an excipient stabilizer in vaccines, particularly the live virus vaccines. Gelatin is derived from animal skin and bone, especially of pigs and cattle; they may be fed glyphosate-contaminated forages, including GM Roundup-Ready corn and soy feed, which are sometimes supplemented with GM Roundup-Ready beet pulp. Gelatin is mainly derived by partial hydrolysis from the collagen in skin and bone. 26% of the amino acids in collagen are glycine; proline and hydroxyproline together make up 18% [88]; and glutamate constitutes 6%. All three of these components are problematic. The proline could be substituted by Aze from the sugar beet, the glycine could be substituted by residual glyphosate in the feed, and glutamate is a neurotransmitter but known to be neurotoxic at high concentrations; it works together with glycine to excite NMDA receptors in the brain. The vaccine virus may incorporate some of the noncoding amino acids into its own proteins to produce versions of them that resist proteolysis and induce autoimmunity through molecular mimicry.

One of us (Samsel) analysed a number of animal protein products for glyphosate. These included the bones of pigs, cows, horses’ hooves, bees and bee products, collagen and gelatin products, vitamins, protein powders, enzymes and vaccines. Results are shown in Tables 2 and 3.


Since Monsanto found bioaccumulation of glyphosate in all animal tissues, with the highest levels in the bones and marrow [35, 36], one would expect that all tissues derived from animals fed a diet containing glyphosate residues and used for food by people around the globe would be contaminated. Knowing that the bioaccumulation of glyphosate would be evident in the vast majority of animals raised for market and fed a contaminated diet, as well as their products; and suspecting the possibility of contamination of even the digestive enzymes derived from these animals, one of us (Samsel) decided to analyse random samples.

Results from various gelatin-based products, along with the results for several different vaccines (discussed later) were reported to the FDA by Samsel Environmental & Public Health Services in August 2016. Table 2 shows results for glyphosate residues found in these gelatin-based products. The highest level found in a gelatin sample was almost 15 ppb.1

Having found glyphosate in animal gelatins, analysing the collagen at the source was a logical next step. Tissues from pork and cattle obtained from a local supermarket, commercially available collagen sourced from industrially-raised swine and oxen, as well as the purified digestive enzymes pepsin, lipase and trypsin, derived from pigs, were selected for evaluation. Three methods of laboratory analysis were used to determine if ...

Additional evidence of glyphosate accumulation was found by Samsel in 2015 in the bodies of dead bees, bee bread and honey from bee hives suspected of colony collapse disorder (CCD), and these are also shown in the table. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is an ever increasing problem threatening pollination of crops globally. It may share a similar aetiology to that of Alzheimer’s disease with regard to learning and memory within the bee’s brain. Integration of glyphosate with the structural proteins and enzymes of the bee may affect protein folding and function. Additionally, glyphosate may also affect the digestive enzymes and bacterial homeostasis within the digestive system, which in turn may affect the quality of the honey produced. Glyphosate in bees may become part of their chitin, which has a structural function, in their bodies, analogous to glyphosate becoming part of the collagens of humans and other animals.

The results in Table 3 show ubiquitous contamination of the bee and bee products. Honey is derived from nectar and is the source of carbohydrates in the bee diet, whereas pollen turned into bee bread supplies the fats and proteins. Royal jelly, made from the secretions of the glands found in the hypopharynx of the worker bees, is fed to the queen and developing larvae [96].

Results for nineteen different vaccines, from five manufacturers, are shown in Table 4. Some vaccines do not contain live viruses and do not involve gelatin in their preparation, but many involve the use of eggs, bovine calf serum, fetal bovine serum or bovine proteins [95]. Engerix Hepatitis B vaccine is manufactured through a novel procedure, which involves culturing genetically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells that carry the surface antigen gene of the hepatitis B virus. The procedures result in a product that can contain up to 5% yeast proteins, which could be a source of glyphosate if the yeast is grown on broths or media that utilize glyphosate-contaminated nutrient sources such as animal or plant proteins.

Vaccines that tested negative for glyphosate included Merck’s Hep-B vaccine, most of the pneumococcal vaccines and the sterile diluent included as a control. Gelatin is not listed as an ingredient in any of these vaccines, nor is bovine serum. In contrast, all of the vaccines that listed gelatin as an excipient tested positive for glyphosate, and nearly all of them also included bovine serum (including Varicella, MMR-II, MMRV and Zoster).

It is significant that MMR-II consistently contained the highest levels of glyphosate, significantly more than any of the other vaccines. This vaccine uses up to 12% hydrolysed gelatin as an excipient–stabilizer; as well as foetal bovine serum albumin, human serum albumin and residual chick embryo; all of which are contaminated by glyphosate during animal production.


Post-vaccination allergic reactions to MMR and varicella vaccines have been linked to the gelatin excipient, and confirmed through observation of induced gelatin specific IgE antibodies [97–100]. 24 out of 26 children with allergic reactions to vaccines (e.g., anaphylactic shock) had anti-gelatin IgE ranging from 1.2 to 250 μg/mL. Seven were allergic to gelatin-containing foods. A pool of 26 control children all tested negative for anti-gelatin IgE[99]. A study from 2009 that looked at gelatin sensitivity in children who were sensitive to cows’ milk, beef and/or pork as determined by IgE antibody levels [101] found that 16% of beef-sensitized children and 38% of porksensitized children had IgE antibodies to beef- or porkderived gelatins that were cross-reactive with each other.

In a published case study, a 2-month-old baby developed Kawasaki disease one day after receiving its first dose of Infanrix (DTaP-IPV-Hib) and Prevenar, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine [102]. Kawasaki disease is an acute, multisystemic vasculitis whose occurrence very early in life is extremely rare. Extensive tests for the presence of infection with multiple bacteria and viruses were all negative. We suggest that glyphosate contamination in one or both of the vaccines may have contributed to the vasculitis through glyphosate uptake into common proteins such as collagen in the vasculature to induce the autoimmune reaction.

Kelso (1993) reported the case of a 17-year-old girl who experienced anaphylaxis within minutes of receiving an MMR vaccine [98]. The girl described the event as “kind of like what happens when I eat Jell-O2”. Further testing found gelatin to be the component of the vaccine to which the girl was allergic. The connexion may be to misfolded proteins, which include the collagens and associated partially hydrolysed gelatins. Indeed, both Jell-O and vaccines have been contaminated by glyphosate, as we reported in the previous section.

Puppies immunized with the rabies vaccine and a multivalent canine vaccine were compared to unvaccinated control puppies [103]. The vaccinated puppies, but not the unvaccinated ones, developed autoantibodies to their own collagen. A follow-up study where either just the rabies vaccine or just the multivalent vaccine was administered produced a similar result. The authors suggested that this could explain issues of joint pain that are currently common among dogs, particularly as they age.


In this section, we make a case for a direct link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, via autoantibody induction through molecular mimicry. In a paper provocatively titled, “Peptide crossreactivity: the original sin of vaccines”, Kanduc makes the point that massive cross-reactivity between antigens in vaccines and similar sequences in human proteins makes it almost inevitable that vaccines lead to autoimmune disease through molecular mimicry [149]. Reported post-vaccination autoimmune diseases include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory myopathies, multiple sclerosis, Guillain–Barré syndrome and vasculitis [150].

It is becoming increasingly acknowledged that autism may be an autoimmune disease. Family members of autistic children have a significant increased risk to other known autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism, rheumatic fever and multiple sclerosis [151]. Several studies on both humans and monkeys have revealed a potential link between maternal antibodies directed against specific foetal brain proteins and a future autism diagnosis in the foetus [152–155]. Furthermore, it has already been demonstrated that vaccines are capable of inducing autoimmune antibodies against proteins in the brain. The narcolepsy epidemic in Europe following an aggressive immunization campaign against the H1N1 ’flu virus was eventually conclusively resolved as being attributed to autoimmune reactions to the hypocretin receptor through molecular mimicry from a peptide in the surface-exposed region of the influenza nucleoprotein A that was present in the H1N1 vaccine [156] (hypocretin is an important regulator of sleep).

Much controversy surrounds the concept that the MMR vaccine may be contributing to the autism epidemic in the USA and elsewhere. In an immune-compromised child, the live measles virus from the vaccine is capable of infecting the brain and sustaining a chronic measles infection, resulting in loss of neurons, eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions and gliosis, a condition termed “subacute measles encephalitis”. This can result in a seizure disorder and developmental delay in language and motor skills (as was clearly observed in a case study involving an HIV-positive 2-year-old boy [157]).

Singh et al. have published a series of papers over the past two decades [14, 158–160] proposing that there is a subpopulation among the autism community who can be characterized as suffering from “autoimmune autistic disorder” [14]. The 1998 study by Singh et al. found that 90% of measles-IgG-positive autistic sera were also positive for anti-MBP antibodies, supporting the hypothesis that a virus-induced autoimmune response may be causal in autism [158]. A follow-on serologic study of antibodies to viruses associated with autism published in 2003 revealed a statistically significantly elevated level of measles antibody in children with autism compared to their siblings (P = 0.0001) or to unrelated children (P = 0.003), but not with antibodies to mumps or rubella [159]. In a later study, 60% of 125 autistic children had significantly elevated levels of antibodies to measles haemagglutinin unique to the MMR strain of the virus, compared to the 92 control children [160]. Over 90% of the children who had elevated antibody levels also tested positive for MBP autoantibodies. It was suggested that this could be linked to virus-induced autoimmunity through mimicry.

In fact, there is a sequence homology of 78% between a peptide sequence from MBP (EISFKLGQEGRDSRSGTP) and one found in a measles virus protein, MP3 (EISDNLGQEGRASTSGTP) [161, Table 2, p. 7]. Three of the matches between these two sequences are glycines. Measles virus-neutralizing antibodies are mainly directed to haemagglutinin, implying that it is essential for acquired immunity from the vaccine [162]; yet over-production, particularly if the virus penetrates the blood–brain barrier, runs the risk of inducing an autoimmune response to the myelin sheath. In fact, high measles antibody titres have been previously linked to MS [163].

Gonzalez-Granow et al. found high titres of autoantibodies in both the IgG and IgA classes specific to MBP in the serum of patients with autism [15]. The IgA antibodies in particular were shown to act as serine proteinases to degrade MBP in vitro. They also induced a decrease in long-term potentiation in perfused rat hippocampi. Reduced long-term potentiation in the hippocampus is a feature of autism, as has been clearly demonstrated in studies using mouse models of autism [164].

Dr Andrew Wakefield was the first to reveal a possible connexion between MMR and autism. His controversial Lancet paper, published in 1998 and then later retracted, proposed that this vaccine caused an acute reaction in children with gut dysbiosis (abdominal pain, diarrhoea, food intolerances, bloating etc.) [9]. The paper reported on a group of 12 children who had experienced developmental delay following an MMR vaccine and who were diagnosed with autism. These children suffered from rash, fever, delirium and seizures following the vaccination with MMR. He and several colleagues later published additional papers elaborating the hypothesis that dysbiosis in the gut, combined with impaired protein hydrolysis, leads to autoimmune lesions in the duodenum that are associated with extensive colonic lymphoid hyperplasia. The release of undigested peptides into the vasculature across a leaky gut barrier and, ultimately, from the vasculature across a leaky blood–brain barrier, could induce encephalopathy [165–167].

In an epidemiological study from 1998, encephalopathy was clearly demonstrated as an acute reaction to measles vaccine, where 48 cases were found following vaccination, with no cases identified after administration of either monovalent mumps or rubella [168]. Among these 48 children, eight died, and the remainder experienced mental regression, chronic seizures, movement disorders and sensory deficits in the subsequent months.

The FDA’s vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) database is a valuable tool for uncovering trends in vaccine adverse reactions. Our earlier studies on VAERS comparing MMR with an age-matched, equalsized distribution of all other vaccines showed a significant association of MMR with autism (P < 0.007) [169]. This was puzzling, because MMR has never contained either aluminium or mercury, the two prime candidates for the kind of neurological damage that might lead to autism [170–174]. Strong associations also appeared with fever and rash. In that paper, we proposed that the adverse reaction might be caused by the acetaminophen administered to the child to try to curb the seizures.

Since glyphosate usage on crops has gone up dramatically since the GM Roundup Ready crops were first introduced in 1996, we decided it would be worthwhile to compare the early data on MMR in VAERS with the later data. We defined a cutoff date on 1 January 2003, such that the events where MMR was included as an administered vaccine could be separated into “early” and “late”, based on whether they were before or after that date. Each dataset represented a 13-year interval. We found 10 639 events in the early set and 19 447 events in the late set; thus, the raw number of events nearly doubled in the later years.

We also tabulated the frequency of different adverse reactions in the two sets, and used a standard statistical analysis to compute the significance of any differences observed: we randomly down-sampled both sets as needed such that there was an identical total count and an identical distribution over age in the two datasets. Results were surprising: many symptoms associated with atopy or with an allergic reaction were significantly higher in the later set, and “hospitalization” was highly significantly overrepresented in the later set [Table 6]. Other overrepresented symptoms included seizures, dyspnea, hyperventilation, asthma, eczema, autism, hives, anaphylatic [shock], and irregular heart rate. Interestingly, the early set had more frequent occurrences of joint pain and arthritis, suggesting that the toxic elements in the vaccine impacted the joints rather than the brain.

To our knowledge, there have been no significant changes to the formulation of MMR since its introduction. The explanation for the significant changes in adverse reactions must, therefore, lie in external factors, one of which is likely to be glyphosate. We suggest that both chronic exposure to glyphosate from food, water and air and direct exposure to glyphosate residues in the vaccine are relevant factors. A child with a disrupted gut microbiome due to chronic glyphosate exposure will also suffer from a leaky blood–brain barrier, and this will lead to a much greater possibility of measles antigenic proteins entering the brain and causing anaphylaxis and seizures.

The measles virus is a member of the family of paramyxoviruses, which have two highly-conserved glycine residues at positions 3 and 7 in the hydrophobic fusion peptide (FP) region of the viral fusion-mediating glycoproteins [175]. This FP region is the most highly conserved region of the glycoproteins, and it plays a critical rôle in destabilizing the membrane of the host cell to gain entry. Substitutions of other amino acids for either the G3A or G7A glycines caused increases in both cell–cell fusion and the reactivity of the protein to antibodies, leading to both a higher infection rate and increased chances for an autoimmune reaction. Glyphosate substitution is likely to do the same, as well as leading to a form of the protein that would resist proteolysis.

The FPs of both the influenza virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gp41 contain numerous glycine residues at regular intervals, with glycine overall making up 29 and 26%, respectively, of the total peptide sequence [175]. Optic neuritis, an immune-mediated demyelinating injury of the optic nerve, has been recognized as a side effect of the influenza vaccine that can lead to blindness [176].


In this paper, we have shown that widespread misincorporation of glyphosate for glycine during protein synthesis could explain the aetiology of multiple autoimmune diseases that are currently increasing in incidence in the USA. Misincorporation is plausible by analogy with multiple known toxins produced by organisms in defence against pathogens, including Aze, BMAA, L-canavanine and glufosinate, which work in a similar manner. We have shown that proteins from foods such as milk, wheat and sugar beet, as well as peptides derived from microbes resident in the gut or nasal tract or introduced iatrogenically through vaccination, are all potential causes of autoimmune disease induced through molecular mimicry. It is highly significant that two microbes linked to MS through molecular mimicry are among the very few microbes that can fully metabolize glyphosate. Using the VAERS database, we have shown that severe adverse reactions to the MMR vaccine have increased significantly over the past decade in step with the increased use of glyphosate. Glyphosate in MMR may originate from growth of the live virus on culture materials derived from glyphosate-exposed animals and/ or from gelatin used as an excipient stabilizer. We have confirmed the presence of glyphosate contamination in MMR and in many other vaccines where the live virus is cultured in eggs, bovine protein or gelatin, or where animal products are used as an excipient component. Notably, some vaccines prepared without live culture on gelatin were free of glyphosate contamination. Substitution of glyphosate for glycine during protein synthesis could yield a peptide that resists proteolysis, making it more likely to induce an immune response. Furthermore, enzymes involved in proteolysis are likely to be disrupted due to their confirmed contamination with glyphosate. A non-exhaustive list of possible diseases that can be attributed to this mechanism include autism, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and neuromyelitis optica.

Arty turns 10 this summer.