Elle Magazine Covers Allergies
to Genetically Modified Corn

by Melissa Diane Smith

(Opinion) – It’s rare for a mainstream magazine to run a feature article even mentioning genetically modified (GM) foods, much less covering an in-depth look at a specific type of health risk – allergies – from one type of GM food, corn. But that’s exactly what Elle magazine, a large fashion magazine with a paid circulation of more than one million people in the United States, did in a story in its August 2013 issue.

What’s especially interesting to me about the article, “The Bad Seed: The Health Risks of Genetically Modified Corn,” is that the author’s experience recovering her health by staying away from GM corn mirrors one of my client’s experiences recovering her health by avoiding GM foods. Plus, both of them had high levels of a type of white blood cell called eosinophils, levels that normalized after cutting the GM food or foods from their diet – a result that seems to be quite significant.

The Article Writer’s Experience

In the Elle article, the author Caitlin Shetterly describes the baffling, wide-ranging symptoms she experienced for a few years: tight, achy, radiating pain throughout her body; burning rashes across her cheeks and around her mouth; exhaustion; headaches; very stiff hands; a constant head cold; nausea; and severe insomnia. She also explains how she saw numerous doctors and tried countless therapies, none of which helped, until she saw an allergist named Paris Mansmann, M.D., who believed she might have developed a reaction to genetically modified corn.

Mansmann believes allergies to corn are occurring because the changes in the DNA of genetically modified corn act as allergenic proteins that provoke the overproduction of eosinophils. In excess, eosinophils “can leave the bloodstream and may infiltrate and damage the GI tract, esophagus, mucous membranes, lungs, the fascial system (the layer of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, blood vessels, and nerves), and the skin”— leading to a multitude of symptoms and a multisystemic disorder, the article explains.

To test his theory out, Mansmann recommended that Shetterly avoid all corn in her diet, including organic corn (because GM corn is so prevalent and spreads like wildfire, it’s unlikely there is any corn left in the United States that is not contaminated with GMOs, says Mansmann.) Avoiding all corn was not at all easy for Shetterly, but bingo, it turned out to be the answer to turn around her health.

My Client Marcia’s Experience

Now consider what happened with my client Marcia whom I have written on this blog before. She began working closely with me almost three years ago because she had many different health complaints, including excess weight, several heart disease risk factors, numerous allergies, and asthma. She also had earlier been diagnosed with Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome (EMS), an immune system condition marked by low white blood cell count and high eosinophils and extreme fatigue and pain throughout her body. Her doctor thought the EMS she had was brought on because of an L-tryptophan supplement she had taken. I knew that the outbreak of Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome that occurred in the early 1990s was tied to only one brand of L-tryptophan in which a genetically modified bacteria was used to speed up its production. For that reason, I recommended that Marcia avoid all GM foods. She did – and many symptoms went away entirely and everything about her condition improved. You can read more about Marcia’s impressive health recovery in A Client’s Dramatic Health Improvement, Say “NO” to GMOs in the Gluten-Free Diet, and One of My Clients Saved Thousands of Dollars in Medical Costs Last Year.

Marcia and I both used to think that avoiding GMOs helped her body heal from the EMS caused by the L-tryptophan. That may partially be true, but after reading the article in Elle, Marcia wrote me this:

I had many of those symptoms (that the writer had) but until recently didn’t attribute them to EMS. I thought I had allergies or what I was feeling was normal. I now know that many of those symptoms can be caused by EMS.

Looking at my experience it seems that the genetically modified organisms do lead to high eosinophil count. Because even though I stopped the L-tryptophan in the early 90s, my eosinophil rate was very high for two decades (except when I was on steroids) until I cut out the GMOs.

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I really feel that there is a connection between GMOs and EMS. I am not an expert by any means, but logically if I stopped using the item that was causing the reaction, the symptoms should have gone away. Since they didn’t, it would seem that I was still reacting to something. With the prevalence of GMOs in our food supply, that would seem to be the culprit.

Some Final Thoughts

Allergies to corn used be considered uncommon, but a number of reports and many recently created corn-allergy websites point to reactions to corn being on the rise, and GM corn accounts for just under 90 percent of the corn grown in the United States today.

As I have repeatedly written on this blog in recent years, I recommend avoiding GM foods, including GM corn, to protect health in many different ways. If you haven’t yet been doing that, take notice: Wide-ranging adverse symptoms and a high eosinophil count on a standard blood test may be red flags that your body is allergically reacting to GM corn (and perhaps other GM foods) and signs that you can no longer ignore – as Shetterly and my client Marcia couldn’t – if you want to turn your health around.

One last note: I read that Shetterly did two and a half years of research and more than 100 interviews for the article. Bravo! Given the lack of straight information from government agencies about the many hidden dangers in our food, we need more writers like Shetterly being true journalists, doing hard-core research, and revealing information that has been kept from us but that we all need to know to make educated decisions to safeguard our health.

Copyright © 2013 Melissa Diane Smith

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