Is glyphosate secretly sabotaging your skin's collagen production?


At Agent Nateur, we are incredibly passionate about the sourcing and quality of any products that we incorporate into our daily routine. Today’s spotlight is on glyphosate - one of the most prevalent chemicals in today’s society but one that is often overlooked and misunderstood in terms of the impact it can have not on both our wider health states but also on our body’s ageing and anti-aging processes.

This article goes deeper into what glyphosate is, where you may be coming into contact with it and how it may be sabotaging your anti-aging efforts. We also touch upon daily decisions that you can take to reduce the potentially damaging impacts of glyphosate.

OK - what exactly is glyphosate?

Glyphosate was launched in 1974 when Monsanto introduced it as a pesticide to help their farming efforts. It was later launched into the consumer market as ‘Roundup’ - a well known herbicide for killing garden weeds. By 2001, Glyphosate was the number one pesticide in the USA and today, the sheer volume of the spraying cannot be underestimated.

94% of all cotton, 93% of soy, 90% of sugar and 88% of all corn grown in the United States is sprayed with glyphosate as a part of the growing process.

Despite an increasing number of studies on the toxicity & damage that glyphosate can do to your health, US regulatory agencies do little to monitor the chemical residue. This means that there are often dangerously high levels of glyphosate in the vast majority of our food and water supplies across the USA.

 Where am I coming into contact with it?

Due to the extensive use of glyphosate in the US farming processes, it is almost impossible to avoid and the average consumer will come into contact with glyphosate frequently.

It can be absorbed through the skin, through contaminated food sources (foods grown and sprayed with glyphosate), through contaminated drinking water (think runoff and contamination from farming processes) as well as from any cotton-based products (i.e. cotton clothing, tampons, etc) and even products that you might never expect, like toothpaste!

At Agent Nateur, we choose not to be afraid of the presence of glyphosate in today’s society, but instead firmly believe that knowledge is power and understanding more about substances such as glyphosate can help us make informed decisions that will benefit our health and happiness.

OK, so what damage can it do to the body?

The potential side effects of glyphosate are extensive.

In May 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and a study using human liver cells showed that even in low doses, glyphosate is toxic to human cells - causing genetic mutations and disrupting endocrine function.

A longer term study examined the effects of glyphosate on rats that were fed glyphosate sprayed foods. This study saw an increased risk of mammary tumors in females, kidney and liver damage in the males, and a shortened lifespan in both females and males.

Glyphosate is also understood to be a microbiome disruptor, a key player in promoting increased levels of oxidative stress and has been closely connected to the proliferation of cancer cells. In fact, a 2013 study showed that glyphosate exposure caused breast cancer cells to proliferate in vitro [3].

The list of potential health challenges go on (think skin tumors, autism, PCOS, learning disabilities, mitochondrial damage, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and more) but something we were most interested to learn was regarding the impact that glyphosate can have on the aging process.

  1. Interesting. I’m big into ageless skin - so tell me more?

 Collagen is an essential scaffold protein for the human body and it is the protein that gives our skin it’s smoothness and elasticity. You may already know that the body’s production of collagen declines with age, but it doesn’t stop there.

Glyphosate can actually interact with collagen within the body in a manner that actually promotes the alteration in structure, and decline, of the collagen supply within the body. 

How does glyphosate interact with the aging process?

Collagen is loaded with glycine - an amino acid that makes up 25% of collagen.

Glycine is, however, threatened by the presence of glyphosate and this is because glyphosate has the ability to mimic glycine.

When glyphosate mimics glycine it means that glyphosate is actually able to opportunistically insert itself into the triple helix of the collagen structure in the exact place where the glycine would have entered.

This replacement of glycine with glyphosate in the triple helix disturbs the entire collagen structure - causing the collagen structure to become deformed and damaged.

What does deformed collagen mean for my skin?

Deformed collagen is unable to act as it is meant to, and the presence of glyphosate in the collagen structure actually leads to a reduction in elasticity and strength of the collagen source, as well as a reduced ability for the collagen to hold onto water. Cue, increasingly dehydrated skin and bad news for anyone who is after plump, collagen-rich skin.

OK - but how do I stop the impact of glyphosate on my collagen supplies?

Understanding the impact of glyphosate on the body’s aging process can help us to make daily decisions to offset the damage that it can do.

Supplementing with a high-quality, well-sourced collagen supplement - as well as a glycine supplement - is a good place to start to ensure that you are supporting the functioning of your collagen to the best of its ability. Be mindful of the source of your collagen and/or glycine, however. Naturally, these should be organic and GMO free - but it’s important to go one step further and even consider the cap that the supplement is housed in. Gel caps, for example, made from cellulose, a plant-derived polysaccharide are also highly likely to be contaminated with glyphosate as a result of the growing process.

If you haven’t already, check out our Agent Nateur holi (mane) and holi (youth) for flourishing hair, radiant skin and resilient nails. Both holi (mane) and holi (youth) combines marine collagen with pearl powder - providing you with a quick and easy way to combat declining collagen levels - no glyphosate included. Our ageless face serum holi (oil) and c duo powder holi (c) are both formulated with sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable vitamin C derivative, which promotes collagen formation, protecting cells against damage caused by free radicals,

And if you’re after a glycine supplement? An Agent Nateur favorite that we like is Pure Encapsulations Glycine.

Anything else?

Yes! It’s also good to remember that good health and anti-aging decisions are not just about the products, treatments and therapies that we purchase - it's also about our diet and nutrition decisions that we make every day. Where possible, always strive for an organic, GMO-free diet.

You can also think about incorporating collagen-rich foods, such as bone broth, into your diet too. Bone broth is a highly nutritious food - but, again, focus on sourcing your bone broth from organically fed, non-GMO raised, grass-fed beef cows, rather than those sourced from traditional agriculture operations.

OK, so, what are my key takeaways?

For now, and until we turn a corner on the pollution that is generated from conventional agriculture, there is no way to avoid this chemical altogether. 

However, knowledge is power and at Agent Nateur, we truly believe that understanding the impact of glyphosate is the first step in allowing us to make daily decisions that can help us steer clear of this potentially damaging toxin.

Smart, well-sourced supplementation and good dietary decisions are a simple starting point in the battle against glyphosate. For those who want to take additional and more active steps to ensure that their bodies are detoxing glyphosate efficiently, head over to our blog post here for more information.

By Louise Rumball