GMOsHealth & Disease

Can Genetically Engineered Foods Trigger Gluten Sensitivity?

A report was released today proposing a link between genetically modified foods and gluten-related disorders.

Do you or a loved one suffer from gluten sensitivity? You may be wondering why you react to gluten now even though you never did in the past. You may be wondering why a gluten-free diet has helped, but has not completely resolved your symptoms. If you are on a quest to find all of the pieces to the gluten puzzle, this information is for you. In today’s report, released by the Institute for Responsible Technology, a team of experts proposes a possible link between genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and gluten-related disorders. The analysis is based on Dept. of Agriculture data, Environmental Protection Act records, medical journal reviews, and international research.

Wheat is not a genetically modified organism (GMO). But evidence suggests that genetically modified foods, such as soy and corn, may help explain the recent explosion of gluten-related disorders, which now affect up to 18 million Americans.

View the 25-minute captivating and informative interview below!

Experts agree that the recent increase in gluten-related disorders cannot be explained by genetics alone and that there must be some environmental trigger. In this video, Jeffrey Smith, internationally recognized expert on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and Tom Malterre, expert in clinical nutrition and a gluten-free lifestyle, simplify and clarify the potential connection between GMOs and gluten sensitivity.

The best way to avoid GMOs is to consult the or download the free iPhone app ShopNoGMO. Look for products with either the “Non-GMO Project Verified” or the “Certified Organic” seal. Avoid ingredients derived from the foods most likely to be genetically modified. These include soy, corn, cottonseed, canola, sugar, papaya from Hawaii or China, zucchini, and yellow squash.

If you have seen improvement in a gluten-related condition after eliminating GMOs from your diet, please email [email protected] to share your story.


By Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director, Institute for Responsible Technology.

Research support by Sayer Ji, author and founder of, the most widely referenced natural medicine database | Dr. Tom O’ Bryan: | Tom Malterre, MS CN, author, and physician educator: | Stephanie Seneff, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, MIT:


  1. As a sufferer of gluten intolerance I find any grains will generally make me feel somewhat unwell if eaten to excess, including (presumably non-GM) rice. I even grow my own heritage corn and cook it as nixtamalised grits and find that has much the same effect on my health as store bought probably GM corn.

    The shift to very short fermentation times for bread and increase in non-fermented wheat products after WWII probably represented the biggest increase in gluten exposure to the population- are there any data sets of incidence changes through that time period for comparison?

    As a PhD in peptide science the mechanism for Bt crops causing gut irritation is very plausible. The possible gene uptake by intestinal bacteria is not implausible but needs more evidence. That said the article should separate discussion of different forms of modification. Advising people to avoid GM papaya for example when all the evidence is on different types of genetic modifications isn’t supported by the research to date.

    Most traditional crops produce a wide range of different toxins that different people respond to very differently and this needs to be taken into account when preparing them and balancing them in the diet. In my opinion the whole GM issue just brings a new set of unknowns into the situation, potentially a problem but a manageable one if you keep your ears and eyes open.

  2. I really DISLIKED the above video from Smith and Malterre—even though I am opposed to GMO foods.

    Like many permaculturists I believe that GMO foods are a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist because humanity can produce ample food without having to resort either to GMO foods, or, more generally, to green revolution methods of industrialised farming.

    I take Shazz’s point that even organically grown heritage crops can give some people health problems in some circumstances; which means that the study of diet/health interactions requires serious thinking and open minds. But in spite of these occasional problems, most traditional food crops offer us a reassurance born of thousands of years of trial and error adaptation between the crop and the human populations that have been sustained by them. GMO foods, by comparison, are a complete stab in the dark: as Shazz says they “just bring a new set of unknowns into the situation”: so why risk it when there is nothing to gain?

    Even though I share many of Smith & Malterre’s areas of concern about GMO foods, I find the sensationalist, adamant, advocacy in their video to be as lacking in scientific rigor as the scientific reports of Monsanto’s captive-bred scientists.

    Smith & Malterre spin a web of worry from alarming, but mostly speculative, factoids that could mean anything. I seriously doubt they are “internationally recognised experts” in anything much and I think their main point is that they have books and videos to sell.

    Science needs to be more sceptical about GMO foods, and it needs to re-examine a host of other health threats from pesticides, general pollution, some vaccines used in some circumstances (e.g., MMR), drugs, etc. Science also needs to challenge the business and bureaucratic elites that want to suppress investigation and discussion of any issue that threatens their interests. These things can only be achieved through rigorous science that reports its results in the form of persuasive, measured arguments, delivered without fear or favour. Smith and Malterre’s alarming, adamant sales pitch won’t help–even though they list some disturbing factoids that probably require serious investigation.

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