Exposure to controversial and commonly used herbicide glyphosate has been linked to the development of liver disease in humans, a new study has revealed. The ingredient was previously linked to liver disease in animals by past studies, and now the most recent research has found the same correlation with non-alcoholic cases of liver disease in humans. The findings arrive amid an uptick in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the US.
The study comes out of the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, where researchers analyzed urine samples from two patient groups for glyphosate excretion. One patient group was composed of individuals who had a type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, while the other group did not have liver disease.
With other potential factors accounted for, the study found that patients who had non-alcoholic steatohepatitis also had ‘significantly higher’ glyphosate residue in their urine samples. The findings join past research that found links between glyphosate exposure in animals and the development of liver problems.
The results raise new concerns over the use of glyphosate in the commercial food supply and its potential impact on human health. This ingredient’s use has increased over the past 25 years, the researchers point out, and the health care industry has noted an increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the United States over the past 20 years.
The study involved a total of 93 patients who has previously been recruited in a larger UC San Diego NAFLD Research Center study. Looking forward, the researchers plan to study participants who are placed on an entirely organic diet for several months and monitored for liver disease biomarker changes that may be associated with reduced glyphosate exposure.