Cattani D, Pierozan P, Zamoner A, Brittebo E, Karlsson O. Long-Term Effects of Perinatal Exposure to a Glyphosate-Based Herbicide on Melatonin Levels and Oxidative Brain Damage in Adult Male Rats. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023;12(10):1825. Published 2023 Oct 3. doi:10.3390/antiox12101825
This animal study aimed to investigate the effects of long-term perinatal glyphosate exposure on melatonin production and oxidative brain damage. Overall, the results showed that early life exposure to glyphosate can cause neurological deficits and negatively impact brain health by reducing melatonin production.
SNHI Advisory Council’s comments/takeaway from the article
Environmental toxins are beyond the scope of this article and website; however, consumers, clinicians, and media outlets are becoming increasingly aware of the growing health concerns for people and the planet due to exposure to environmental toxins, such as herbicides.
Melatonin is well-established as a potent antioxidant and, as a result, can impact many areas of health, including neurological health and supporting the glymphatic system to aid in clearing toxins from the brain. Clinically, this study serves as a reminder to inquire about exposure to herbicides (and other environmental toxins), as this may impact melatonin production and suggest an increased need for this ubiquitous molecule. When considering supplementation, plant melatonin was found to be a more potent scavenger of free radicals compared to synthetic melatonin.
This animal study used pregnant Wistar rats and exposed them to the glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) (commercially known as Roundup®).
Perinatal exposure to GBH reduced serum melatonin levels by 43% (p<0.05).
Increased lipid peroxidation (45%; p<0.05) and DNA/RNA oxidation (39%; p<0.001) were observed in the striatum of the GBH group.
An analysis of melatonin revealed a dose-dependent decrease
10 μM GBH reduced melatonin secretion by 20%
50 μM GBH reduced melatonin secretion by 52%
100 μM GBH reduced melatonin secretion by 67%
500 μM GBH reduced melatonin secretion by 69%
GBH increased the number of dopaminergic neurons in the brain
The authors concluded, “Considering that melatonin is an important neuroprotector in the brain and decreased melatonin levels have been associated with neurodegenerative disorders, this illustrates the need to start to consider the melatonin hormone system as a primary target for glyphosate and other environmental contaminants.”
Limitations Noted by Authors
It remains unclear if the results are from glyphosate alone or other substances present in Roundup®.
Article review completed by Kim Ross, DCN
Content reviewed by Deanna Minich, PhD
November 20, 2023