One of the best overviews of the very real dangers of MSG comes from Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.” In it he explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees -- and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
Part of the problem also is that free glutamic acid is the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body. Even the FDA states:
“Studies have shown that the body uses glutamate, an amino acid, as a nerve impulse transmitter in the brain and that there are glutamate-responsive tissues in other parts of the body, as well.
Abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.”
Although the FDA continues to claim that consuming MSG in food does not cause these ill effects, many other experts say otherwise.
According to Dr. Blaylock, numerous glutamate receptors have been found both within your heart's electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself. This can be damaging to your heart, and may even explain the sudden deaths sometimes seen among young athletes.
“When an excess of food-borne excitotoxins, such as MSG, hydrolyzed protein soy protein isolate and concentrate, natural flavoring, sodium caseinate and aspartate from aspartame, are consumed, these glutamate receptors are over-stimulated, producing cardiac arrhythmias.
When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death.”
Many other adverse effects have also been linked to regular consumption of MSG, including:
Fatigue and disorientation
Further, even the FDA admits that “short-term reactions” known as MSG Symptom Complex can occur in certain groups of people, namely those who have eaten “large doses” of MSG or those who have asthma.
According to the FDA, MSG Symptom Complex can involve symptoms such as:
Facial pressure or tightness
Chest pain or difficulty breathing
No one knows for sure just how many people may be “sensitive” to MSG, but studies from the 1970s suggested that 25 percent to 30 percent of the U.S. population was intolerant of MSG -- at levels then found in food. Since the use of MSG has expanded dramatically since that time, it’s been estimated that up to 40 percent of the population may be impacted.
How to Determine if MSG is in Your Food
Food manufacturers are not stupid, and they’ve caught on to the fact that people like you want to avoid eating this nasty food additive. As a result, do you think they responded by removing MSG from their products? Well, a few may have, but most of them just tried to “clean” their labels. In other words, they tried to hide the fact that MSG is an ingredient.
How do they do this? By using names that you would never associate with MSG.
You see, it’s required by the FDA that food manufacturers list the ingredient “monosodium glutamate” on food labels, but they do not have to label ingredients that contain free glutamic acid, even though it’s the main component of MSG.
There are over 40 labeled ingredients that contain glutamic acid, but you’d never know it just from their names alone. Further, in some foods glutamic acid is formed during processing and, again, food labels give you no way of knowing for sure.
Tips for Keeping MSG Out of Your Diet
In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG (or one of its pseudo-ingredients). So if you stick to a whole, fresh foods diet, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll avoid this toxin.
The other place where you’ll need to watch out for MSG is in restaurants. You can ask your server which menu items are MSG-free, and request that no MSG be added to your meal, but of course the only place where you can be entirely sure of what’s added to your food is in your own kitchen.
To be on the safe side, you should also know what ingredients to watch out for on packaged foods. Here is a list of ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG:
These ingredients OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing:
Flavors and Flavorings Seasonings Natural Flavors and Flavorings Natural Pork Flavoring Natural Beef Flavoring
Natural Chicken Flavoring Soy Sauce Soy Protein Isolate Soy Protein Bouillon
Stock Broth Malt Extract Malt Flavoring Barley Malt
Whey Protein Carrageenan Maltodextrin Pectin Enzymes
Protease Corn Starch Citric Acid Powdered Milk Anything Protein Fortified
Anything Enzyme Modified Anything Ultra-Pasteurized
So if you do eat processed foods, please remember to be on the lookout for these many hidden names for MSG.
Wow......I always label read for MSG, but now it brings on a whole new meaning to label reading.....maybe I need to bring a label information book!! These companies are sooooo sneaky about slipping it in!!
Thank you for this Laura, I have often wondered if MSG affected me I am going to print it out, like lots of folks I do like the seasoniongs, curry pastes, Soy sauce seasoned salt and pepper in fact most on the list, I didnt realise you could get all those symptoms on the list!! quite an eye opener. My thats a lot of things that I like to cut out though even chicken broth ..I may have to starve
Try to go organic with the broths, etc. Most grocery stores will carry the organic brands now. I have learned to read even the spices which are the biggest culprits.
No you won't have to starve...lol....I promise...lol Once I learned to label read and make better choices, it got easier to shop. Now I know when I go to grab for something which is good and which isn't. It gets easier over time. :)
PS- Grab chicken legs with thighs and boil them and make an easy chicken broth. Just slow simmer with herbs, garlic, and seasonings, and you will have a perfect chicken broth that can be frozen too! Using the legs with thighs makes it easy to boil and remove meat and you are using larger bone that way for your stock.
Only one quibble -- all complete proteins contain glutamic acid, after all it's an amino acid. Any protein product listing all the amino acids contained within it will therefore list glutamic acid. In fact, many people take it as a supplement for many conditions, including intentionally affecting the glutamate receptors, which are now believed to be implicated in most mental illness.
Margy, check your seasonings. If you buy real curry, for example, there shouldn't be any msg in it, there should only be the seasonings that make up curry. If there is, you're not buying pure seasonings.
I think you are both right I am inclined to be lazy about it and need to take control bteter ie looking at labels, I east quite a bit of chicken its true I could cook them and make a broth,I did go and look at the broths on my larder and yes I shouldnt be using them, it seems that it is a project/habit one has to get into Paxiled. I buy or get sent from England the Vindaloo curry paste by Patak , have always used them I will check out the label I hope they are safe.....and I do also buy the pure seasonings to make up my own..Thanks guys good info here.
can anyone tell me aprox.how long would it take to detox off msg and can any damage that may have been done be reversed? oyeah, and i would like to know where i may obtain a complete list of msg foods and its covert names for msg,as well as any byproducts of msg.......HEEELP!! IM AN ADDICT...LOL
Thanks for the info! And the list of sneaky names for MSG. I am highly allergic to it, with in 30 mins to 1 hour after eating even a trace of MSG I get slammed with a blinding, debilitating migraine headache, violent, profuse vomiting.. and a trip to the nearest emergency room for a shot in the butt of narcotics! and hopefully that will stop the pain. I try real hard to avoid it, but those sneaky corporate bastards have hidden it behind many names. I swear I have permanent nerve and brain damage from it all over the years. I am disabled due to Fibromylagia . Thank you again for the info I will post it on my fridge and take a copy when shopping! Your Info may have saved my life!!
Sadly, we may not be able to even rely on labels. It is no secret that they keep trying to hide the free glutamic acids by reformulating and renaming constantly. If they are willing to try and trick the consumer this way what makes us think they are opposed to presenting flat out lies on their labels. A big part of me is feeling hugely assaulted by these companies and wants to retaliate in kind, but there must be a better way. Its really too bad that the powers that be don't hold these big food companies responsible for the diseases they are causing through the blatant use of these Neurotoxins on myself and my children. Seriously think about it, people are really sick and some die from this stuff, and if they are aware of the toxicity this is murder. Alright, I am done, sorry about the rant. I guess I just have to make everything from scratch and nothing from a package, not even seasonings, what a change this is going to be, I am just tired of gut issues and brain fog and depression when I eat MSG.
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