Support labeling of genetically modified foods in Maine

Posted April 18, 2013, at 5:40 a.m.
Dr. Michael Noonan
Courtesy photo
Dr. Michael Noonan

A bill before the Legislature would require labeling of genetically modified foods in Maine. I encourage readers of this column to contact your local state representative and senator and ask them to support this bill, L.D. 718, An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food and Seed Stock.

As a chiropractic doctor, chiropractic acupuncturist and nutritionist, I feel genetically modified organisms are a real threat to our health. I have a compelling reason to believe this: sleep apnea.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea several years ago and when all my attempts at natural healing failed, I got a “breathing machine” called a CPAP. The improvement was immediate and dramatic, but unfortunately temporary. I then went to have my nasal passages and the back of my throat widened surgically with great but short-term results.

I did not get any lasting relief until I attended one of my nutritional classes and the instructor tested me for food sensitivities. He told me I was sensitive to gluten, a group of proteins in wheat and some other grains that causes allergic problems. He recommended I stop eating wheat in all its forms including, unfortunately, whoopie pies.

This time the results took longer, but they were permanent. I no longer woke several times a night, choking for air. I was able to drive more than 30 minutes without having to pull over for a nap. As a side benefit, I lost 20 pounds without even trying, and have regained most of my sense of smell. I have since recommended many of my patients give up wheat, with all kinds of amazing results like depression and anxiety improving, digestion normalizing, chronic joint and muscle pains disappearing and a variety of other benefits.

Why do I bring this up? The reason wheat is such a problem for so many of us is because it is genetically modified. In the 1940s, the government of Mexico hired several crop experts to increase the yield of their crops so they could be self-sufficient rather than relying on outside help to feed themselves. The scientists were wildly successful. Through cross-breeding they produced a wheat crop that yielded over five times more than the older, native strains. However, the new breed of wheat was never tested for safety in humans.

I have experimented on myself with one of the older strains of wheat, and found it is not a problem for me. I had no sleep problems after eating bread made from einkorn, a strain of wheat that has not been genetically modified.

For more information on the effects of genetically modified wheat on humans, I recommend the book “Wheat Belly” by cardiologist Dr. William Davis. His experience was similar to mine, both personally and professionally. He was mystified as to why patients would recover from all kinds of illnesses when they stopped eating wheat (which he recommended they do only to control their blood sugar.) When he stopped eating it himself, he noted his “brain fog” lifted, he lost weight and his mood stabilized. His conclusion was that the “new wheat” developed in the 1940s contains proteins that our bodies have never been exposed to before.

Also, the type of genetic modification used to make the “new wheat” was crossbreeding, not direct gene implantation that is used to make the newer genetically modified organisms. Inserting genes from one species to another is a much more aggressive form of genetic modification, with a greater potential for causing problems. According to food industry experts, genetically modified organisms are safe, but that has been seriously challenged. If enough money is at stake, just like with the drug and cigarette companies, research can be generated that supports their claims.

I know I am sensitive to genetically modified foods, as are many of my patients. For our benefit, I absolutely want to know which of my foods are genetically modified. Please ask your legislator to support this important bill. For more information on the genetically modified organisms labeling bill, contact the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Their website is mofga.org.

Dr. Michael Noonan practices chiropractic, acupuncture and other wellness therapies in Old Town.

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