Can pesticides disrupt your gut microbes?

In the modern world, pesticides play a crucial role in agriculture, safeguarding crops from pests and ensuring a bountiful harvest. However, while these chemicals protect our food supply, they may also pose risks to our health. One such area of concern is the potential impact of pesticide exposure on our gut microbes. These tiny organisms residing in our gastrointestinal tract play a vital role in maintaining our overall health and well-being.


Pesticides: The Unseen Peril

While pesticides have undoubtedly helped increase agricultural productivity, their widespread use has raised concerns about potential adverse effects on human health.

The three primary categories of pesticides—herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides—are extensively utilized in agricultural and domestic settings, resulting in the highest levels of human and environmental exposure.

Pesticides can enter our bodies through various routes, including residues on food, contaminated water, and occupational exposure. Once ingested, these chemicals can inadvertently impact our gut microbiota, as your gut is almost the first point of contact for pesticides to enter your body. 


Impacts of environmental pesticides on the microbiota-gut-brain axis

Recent studies have shown that pesticides can disrupt the delicate balance of our gut microbiota. These chemicals may selectively promote the growth of harmful bacteria while reducing beneficial ones. They would alter the physical and biochemical characteristics of the gut environment. Pesticide in the environment has a direct effect on microbial metabolism via inhibition of microbially-produced compounds, gut membrane integrity disruption & inhibition of membrane synthesis. It can also indirectly alternate intestinal motility, gut microbe blood-brain barrier interference, and even disruption of endocrine function with disruption of receptors in the gut. 


Health Impact of Pesticides

In animal studies, pesticide exposure has been linked to anxiety, depression-like behavior, disruption in memory ( spatial & short term), and social behavior. Taking a specific type of pesticide; chlorpyrifos has been shown to promote obesity and insulin resistance in rodents. 

Emerging evidence suggests that gut microbes influence brain health, and pesticide-induced changes could potentially be associated with neurological disorders. Several environmental toxins have been identified to be involved with the onset of Parkinson’s disease & increase the risk of the disease. Pesticides are the primary class of environmental factors associated with Parkinson’s disease that contain herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides.

Environmental factors can disrupt the composition of the gut microbiome, leading to the dysregulation of the enteric nervous system. Consequently, the function of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis (MGBA) is disturbed, giving rise to progressive neurodegenerative diseases. 


To alleviate the symptoms of such conditions, probiotics have been proven to have some benefits, as they harbor beneficial microbes like Lactobacillus, Blautia, Roseburia, Lachnospiraceae, Prevotellaceae, and Akkermansia. These microbes contribute to maintaining a healthy gut environment and potentially aid in combating neurodegeneration.


A Ray of Hope: Mitigation and Prevention

Despite these concerning findings, there is hope. Adopting certain practices can help mitigate the impact of pesticide exposure on our gut microbes:

-Organic Foods: Choose organic produce to reduce pesticide exposure and support a healthier gut.

-Choose Non-GMO foods:

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms whose genetic material has been altered in a way that doesn't occur naturally through mating or natural recombination. While GMOs are generally considered safe for human consumption, some people may prefer to choose non-GMO foods to minimize potential risks. Some GMO crops are engineered to tolerate specific herbicides. This has the potential to result in an elevated utilization of herbicides.

-Probiotics and Fermented Foods: Incorporate probiotics and fermented foods into your diet to promote a healthy gut environment.

-Safe Pesticide Use: In agriculture and home gardening, prioritize the use of safer, eco-friendly pesticides and follow recommended application guidelines.


R’s KOSO is one of a few superfood supplements on the market that provides balanced nutrition, combining probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics. Our product is made out of 100+ natural ingredients produced in Japan, it is not 100% organic, but some of the ingredients are organic. We check agrochemical residues occasionally and we do not find any in our product. It’s non-GMO and Japan made. Including R's KOSO to your diet is a great way to reset your digestive system and restore microbiome health.


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1. Yuan, X., Pan, Z., Jin, C., Ni, Y., Fu, Z., & Jin, Y. (2019). Gut microbiota: An underestimated and unintended recipient for pesticide-induced toxicity. Chemosphere, 227, 425–434. 

2. Kanwar Rajawat, N., Bhardwaj, K., & Mathur, N. (2022). Risk of Parkinson disease associated with pesticide exposure and protection by Probiotics. Materials Today: Proceedings, 69. 

3. Matsuzaki, R., Gunnigle, E., Geissen, V., Clarke, G., Nagpal, J., & Cryan, J. F. (2023). Pesticide exposure and the microbiota-gut-brain axis. The ISME Journal17(8), 1153–1166. 

4. Siddiqui, J. A., Khan, M. M., Bamisile, B. S., Hafeez, M., Qasim, M., Rasheed, M. T., Rasheed, M. A., Ahmad, S., Shahid, M. I., & Xu, Y. (2022). Role of insect gut microbiota in pesticide degradation: A Review. Frontiers in Microbiology13. 

5. Hotchkiss, M. Z., Poulain, A. J., & Forrest, J. R. (2022). Pesticide-induced disturbances of Bee Gut Microbiotas. FEMS Microbiology Reviews46(2).

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