Genetically Modified Food and Autism – Is There A Connection?

30 May

A diagnosis of Autism can be one of the most devastating diagnoses a parent can hear.  At best, children with high functioning autism are able to lead, with limited social skills, somewhat normal lives.  At worst, children diagnosed with Autism will never be able to function in society.  The toll placed on the families and society is staggering.  Statistics in the United States report that 1 in 110 children have Autism today and this rate is expected to rise.

There are several factors researchers have looked at in attempting to uncover the cause of Autism, such as genetics and infections.  Many researchers believe that the cause of Autism stems from environmental factors such as vaccines and mercury.  One environmental factor that does not get a lot of attention is the ingestion of genetically modified (GM) crops.   Jeffrey Smith’s recent article entitled Dangerous Toxins from Genetically Modified Plants found in Women and Fetuses brings to light the idea that a possible cause of Autism is the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) toxin found in patented, transgenic corn and cottonseed crops.  Smith, Director of The Institute for Responsible Technology and bestselling author, connects the dots between the evidence of toxicity of Bt and the severe immune, neurological, digestive, dermatological, and cognitive problems found to be associated with it.

Bt plants are created through the manipulation of corn or cottonseed DNA by adding a gene from the micro-organism Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).  A research study in 2009 concluded that Bt had a deleterious effect on the kidney, liver, detoxifying organs, heart, adrenal glands, and spleen in rats who were fed GM corn.  The authors also suggested that other unintended consequences of the genetic modification cannot be ruled out.1 The recent study done in Canada, which Smith has brought to the forefront, found Bt toxin in the blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and fetuses.2  He explains that Bt plants continuously produce a pesticide which causes death to insects by breaking open their stomachs.   The only human study ever conducted found the undigested DNA from GM Roundup herbicide resistant soy inside the intestines of study participants.   Smith speculates that the DNA of Bt toxin found in the bloodstream of women and fetuses may indicate that it may also remain in our guts upon consumption.  This in turn may be producing a “human pesticide factory” in our guts leading to leaky gut syndrome.  He suggests that leaky gut syndrome from the Bt toxin and the lack of a blood/brain barrier in fetuses may be causing deleterious cognitive and immune dysfunction in our young.  In other words, this toxin might be causing the increase in Autism.

What are some of the other clues that GM food might be causing the increase in Autism?  For one thing, the increase in Autism began only after the introduction of GM organisms into our food supply. Autism rates increased dramatically in the mid to late 1990’s.3  Thus, increased Autism rates coincide perfectly with the introduction of GM food.  There are also other disorders which have been on the rise since the introduction of GM food that may be induced from a “leaky gut syndrome” including a huge increase and severity in allergic reactions to food substances, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, and debilitating syndromes such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.   The rate of chronic health conditions among children in the United States increased from 12.8% in 1994 to 26.6% in 2006, particularly for asthma, obesity, and behavior and learning problems, according to results of a study published in the 2010 paper in Journal of the American Medical Association.4  An increase in pet allergies has also been noted since the introduction of GM foods into their food supply.

Another clue might come from comparing Autism rates in countries that do not consume, ban or label GM food and those that consume them freely.  Finding statistics on the prevalence of Autism in other countries is difficult.  But, it’s no secret that the United States has the highest rate of Autism in the world and is also the leading producer and consumer of GM crops.   It is also one of the only industrialized countries that does not label the GM ingredients in food so that consumers unsuspectingly eat them.  Ronnie Cummin’s from the Organic Consumer Association wrote “there are almost no GMOs in Europe, because under EU law, as demanded by consumers, all foods containing GMOs or GMO ingredients must be labeled. Consumers have the freedom to choose or not to consume GMOs, while farmers, food processors, and retailers have (at least legally) the right to lace foods with GMOs, as long as they are labeled.”5  A 2009 comparison of the prevalence of Autism in other countries showed Autism in France was 4 times lower than the US, Iceland rates were found to be 7 times lower, and Denmark, another country with mandatory labeling requirements, had 14 times lower Autism rates than the US.6  Overall, it appears that the countries that label, limit or ban GMO’s have lower rates of Autism.

Whether the ingestion of Bt toxin creates the potential for a child to acquire Autism or whether this toxin, combined with the adjuvants from vaccines or other environmental factors, push an infants cognitive functioning beyond it’s capacity should be researched further.

How much longer must we sit idly by while our food supply is poisoned?  How many more children will end up having Autism before we say we’ve had enough?  Get involved!  For more information contact The Institute for Responsible Technology and join the Tipping Point Action Network .  The Organic Consumer association / Millions Against Monsanto and their Truth in Labeling Campaign is also a great way to get involved.  If you live in California join the effort to label GMOs by getting an initiative on the 2012 ballot at  If you live in Southern California get involved in our activism group GMO Free Southern California on Facebook.

The future of our world is at stake.



3. Wing L, Potter D. The epidemiology of autistic spectrum disorders: is the prevalence rising? Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2002;8(3):151–61. doi:10.1002/mrdd.10029. PMID 12216059.

4.  Van Cleave J, Gortmaker SL, Perrin JM Dynamics of obesity and chronic health conditions among children and youth. JAMA. 2010;303:623-30.




20 Responses to “Genetically Modified Food and Autism – Is There A Connection?”

  1. sassyprimal June 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I just think this is soooo interesting. I am a speech pathologist and I work with MANY children with autism. I have been feeling that GMO’s/processed foods are more to blame than we would like to think. We hope that by living in the US we are able to provide our families and our bodies with healthy foods…obviously this is not the case. How incredibly scary.

  2. dividingcricker March 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    evil persists when good men do nothing….how could a government allow all this in your face activity to go unchecked…read a book seeds of destruction….another call seeds of deception….the studies that are going on in other countries….when this government stated that the eu would pay if they did not use gmo seeds what did they mean..i see that monsanto pulled out of germany and france states like california vermont and hawai are putting this gmo to a vote…the increase in many diseases in animals and humans has reached to epidemic states..the health of a nation..does this mean that the federal government is going to bankrupt california?wow are they going to put a no travel order on europe….is there a news blackout on monsanto gmo etc….whats going on!!!!

  3. lisa longoria March 9, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    This is outrageous to me.My son Cody has been diagnosed with aspergers a high functioning form of autisim.He has not had immunization shots.Many people believe that immunization shots are linked to autisim.I dont doubt that they are,however in my sons case immunization shots are clearly not the problem.It is interesting that for the first thirteen years of his life we lived near farms that were continually sprayed with pesticiedes.Also Cody was born in 1998 not to long after geneticaly modified food was invented.I have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.I wonder if all of this is a result of these foods and pesticdies.

    • GMO Free SoCal May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      I am certain that one day we will find out that the Bt toxin from genetically engineered food being found in pregnant women and fetuses, as well as the high levels of glyphosate (weedkiller) being found in our urine and all of the GMO crop consumption will be implicated in the cause of the increase in Autism we are witnessing. The writing is on the wall – we just aren’t allowed to look at it. The number of children and families whose lives will be ruined before it becomes known is such a tragedy.

  4. ~~~S Wave~~~ May 2, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    I also am a speech-language pathologist and have been recently looking into Jeffrey Smith’s ideas about this. Thank you for this helpful synopsis. Since reading omnivore’s dilemma I have suspicious of the connection between industrialized food processing and autism. Do you know if there are any studies in countries where GMO’s are labeled that look at differences in autism rates between populations that consume GMO and those that don’t? Thanks!

    • GMO Free SoCal May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      I am not aware of any studies on the comparison of levels of autism and countries that label compared to those that don’t. I’m sure you’d find that they have lower levels as indicated in this blog. One day we will know the truth.

  5. Rebecca July 5, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Each day I look at my son and wonder how in the world did autism reach my son? I went back in my head over & over again; my diet, my activities while pregnant and lastly his birth! Everything normal. No history of this in either families so I’m left baffled why my son was amongst the rise in children affected with this! My only conclusion is the food I ate! There should be more studies and or regulations for gmo’s. My budget doesn’t allow it but I shop at Whole Foods where I know what I’m getting! Shame on our government for allowing this to continue with the high rise of autism reaching these limits! Instead there seems to be a blind eye to this obvious answer.

    • GMO Free SoCal July 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Rebecca, one day the truth will come out. It’s only a matter of time. It’s a tragedy that more kids will be effected by it until that day comes. Please spread the idea to your friends and family. Are you in California? Help us pass the GMO labeling proposition. If you live in another state get involved in the Institute for Responsible Technology’s Tipping Point Network – The faster we wake people up to this problem, the quicker we will get the truth out and possibly save our children.

    • Andrea January 25, 2013 at 4:03 am #

      Don’t rely on Whole Foods!!! Research them, they have plenty of GMO products in their store. Even in there 365 brand. Unless its 100% organic it probably has GMO’s. Whole Foods is interested in profit and is using the green movement to do it. They are the definition of false advertising. Do your research!!!

      • Rebecca March 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

        I’m quite shocked that Whole Foods would even allow GMO’s. When I heard that, I was floored!!! I felt manipulated. Doesn’t that go against what Whole Foods is all about? Unless I have the wool pulled over my eyes, (which I believe I did) are they saying that yes we have GMO’s but we don’t use pesticides or other “unnatural ingredients.” So my question is, since when is GMO’s Natural?????? Anyone know about Trader Joe’s as they have the same concept??? Where the heck is our choice here?

    • March 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Whole Foods will start labeling their products that are genetically modified in 2018, I saw that today 3/26/2013 on the Dr. Oz show.

  6. iain carstairs September 24, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Hi, I just was looknig through some charts this morning and noticed the increase in GM hectares matches exactly the rise in autism, so, thinking nobody else had spotted it, I published it on my blog. I see you have reached the same conclusion! Good luck to you, and I hope my own, completely seperately arrived at conclusion, will encourage you. This is definitely the right track.

    • GMO Free SoCal September 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Thank you Iain. This graphic is fantastic. I hope you don’t mind if I post it on the website. For me, this ruined generation of kids is the most tragic and evil part about this entire experiment. Have you been awakened to the Chem trails yet? Watch – What in the world are they spraying. It’s time everyone woke up to the fact that our food, air (geoengineering) and water (with fluoride) are being manipulated.

  7. Shari March 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    You’re so interesting! I do not think I have read a single thing like this before. So wonderful to discover somebody with original thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

  8. Bobbie March 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Has there been any investigation into how “cleansing” could reduce the Autism symptoms? Is it possible to completely rid your body of these toxins?

  9. Hi there my friend! I have to state that this particular blog post is wonderful, nice published and come with somewhere around virtually all sizeable infos. I would like to see much more blogposts in this way .


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