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Can genetically modified crops (GMOs) be engineered to provide added health benefits?

"With high levels of potentially carcinogenic substances in your body, there is increasing concern on whether GMO foods promote the development of cancer" - John K.

Can genetically modified crops (GMOs) be engineered to provide added health benefits?

Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

Genetically modified organisms have various health benefits, such as reduced drug and food costs, enhanced food quality, and nutrient composition. It is also used in medicine for the world’s growing population to produce lifesaving insulin, vaccines, and treatments for various diseases. Genetic engineering can be achieved by moving desired genes from one animal or plant to another and vice versa.

Genetic engineering helps to fasten the growth of animals and plants, like drought- and disease-resistant plants that require few resources such as fertilizers, testier food, and resilience. With high levels of potentially carcinogenic substances in your body, there is a lot of concern on whether GMO foods promote the development of cancer, but studies suggest that the intake of GMO foods is safe, and there is no evidence that links GMO foods with an increase or decrease in the risk of cancer. Here are some health benefits of GMOs.


GMOs Promote Nutritional Content in the Body

A genetically modified organism has sufficient amounts of vital proteins, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that help boost your immune system. GMO foods such as golden rice and other fruits and vegetables provide high levels of beta-carotene, which the body converts into retinol, vitamin A. Beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes unstable free radicals, which may lead to tissue and cellular damage called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress promotes certain chronic diseases, and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, which is produced efficiently by GMO foods, help prevent oxidative stress in the body.

Consuming GMO food rich in nutrients and various antioxidants such as beta-carotene may promote better cognitive function, eye health, good skin health, and protection against various conditions including heart diseases, certain cancers, and cognitive disorders. Genetically modified crops such as canola and soybeans can be engineered to provide high levels of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which help to support optimal cholesterol levels, enhance liver health, promote blood sugar, and foster good sleep.

Healthy fats also facilitate your body's functions in various ways, such as organ protection, energy, nutrient absorption, hormone production, and insulation from the cold. Genetically modified crops have nutrients that may have a positive impact on your health, such as prevention of diseases, enhanced immune response, energy, and overall well-being.


GMOs Reduce the Contamination of Mycotoxin

Genetically modified foods can be engineered crops to reduce their susceptibility to mycotoxin, which has a harmful effect on humans when eaten. Mycotoxins have various health risks such as respiratory problems, neurological effects, liver damage, kidney diseases, and carcinogenic effects that may facilitate the development of certain types of cancer. Mycotoxins also cause immune suppression, which makes you prone to various illnesses and infections.

The consumption of mycotoxins may cause gastrointestinal issues including vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, diarrhea, and nausea. GMOs reduce the amount of mycotoxins as they have resistance to certain fungal pathogens, which helps minimize the presence of fungal contamination while limiting the level of mycotoxins in food, thus reducing the potential risk associated with mycotoxins intake. GMOs can also be engineered to have less reliance on pesticides, which can promote fungal growth, therefore contributing to low levels of mycotoxins in crops.

Can genetically modified crops (GMOs) be engineered to provide added health benefits?

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Reduce Allergic Reactions

Genetically modified crops can be engineered to lower or remove certain allergenic proteins that may potentially cause allergic reactions in your body. It also facilitates food security, which in turn helps to reduce or prevent allergic reactions. Genetically modified crops are generally designed to resist pests, harsh environmental conditions, and diseases, thus preventing food from being contaminated by allergens like mold, which can potentially trigger allergic reactions.

Ultimately, high nutritional content facilitates your overall health and promotes immune function, which can indirectly make you less susceptible to allergic reactions. GMOs can also be engineered to make an allergenic protein, which allows researchers to accurately diagnose certain immunotherapies like vaccine treatments to combat allergies.


READ ALSO: The pros and cons of GMOs: Benefits and potential risks for human health


You should note that the regulation and development of genetically modified foods involve vigorous safety measures to ensure optimal health benefits from GMOs. Therefore, if you have an allergic reaction, it is recommended to always read the food labels, seek advice from your healthcare provider.

Facilitate Nutrients Absorption in the Body

GMOs have a high level of bioactive compounds and sufficient amounts of certain nutrients like antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that aid in improved bioavailability. GMOs also can be engineered to remove natural toxins like protein allergens and cyanogen from certain crops such as soybeans, maize, and cassava thus enhancing the bioavailability of vital nutrients in the body which in turn promotes good health.


Reduce Environmental Pollution or Contamination

GMOs are often engineered to resist herbicides, diseases, and pests by introducing natural herbicides genes which make them less chemically reliant. By the reduction in the use of pesticides and other chemicals, GMOs help to reduce the risk factors associated with farm chemicals such as:

  • Chronic health problems

Pesticides have been linked with long-term health effects such as cancer, neurological disorder, and growth and development issues in children, reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, and hormone disruption. GMOs reduce the use of these chemicals that may have a negative effect on your health. You should note that the risks factors of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide used, level of exposure, duration, and susceptibility among other factors.


READ ALSO: Understanding the science behind GMOs: Separating facts from fiction

  • May contribute to respiratory issues

Pesticides can lead to respiratory problems including chronic bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory impairment, and may lead to long-term lung damage.

  • Neurological disorder

Pesticides such as organochlorines are linked with a high risk of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disorder, cognitive impairment, and nerves dysfunction. GMOs assist in mitigating the potential health risks of pesticides and other farm chemicals that may have a long-term negative effect on your body. Note that genetically modified crops should be properly evaluated to make sure that they are safe for human consumption.


The health impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is controversial and complex as there are various opinions concerning GMOs. It is therefore crucial to follow the scientific research on the health benefits of GMOs. Studies conclude that GMOs are safe to consume and have various health benefits. However, it is imperative to be aware of the supposedly potential risks linked with GMOs as we delve in further research on them.

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