Back in April of 2012, when my blog was really new and I hadn't posted much, I did make one post about MSG. So in a way, I have covered this. But the world is still consuming this neurotoxin so I feel I would be remiss if I didn't post again. It probably won't be the last.
Last week, I shared with you Our Food Story. When we made the discoveries about what artificial additives and preservatives were doing to our own health, not to mention the rest of the nation and world, we realized what a large integral part MSG played into it. MSG, Monosodium Glutamate, is a salt of the amino acid - Glutamic Acid (glutamate). A salt is the chemical name for a molecule held together by opposite charges. Basically, one (mono) sodium atom is 'stuck' to the amino acid glutamate.
Now before I go on, I will again say, I do not claim to be a scientist nor am I a doctor of any kind. What I am is a self-educated individual and a mother seeking to understand what was making her family display mental illnesses and other health ailments in order to become and stay healthy which we have most certainly done for quite some time now. What I am sharing here is what I have learned through hours upon hours of research and the use of many scientifically backed resources as well as our own experience. All of this information, other than our own personal experience, can be found in other legitimate sources. I will, today, and on other occasions, list the sources or even give links to places you can make your way to in order to verify and further your own research.
Okay.... back to MSG (yuck!). MSG is a neurotoxin. A neurotoxin is a substance that inhibits proper function of neurons. Sometimes the damage to the neurons actually inhibits the neuron from functioning at all. Other times, the toxin attacks the signalling capability of neurons and sometimes tells the neurons to send false signals. Neurotoxins are also capable of destroying the neurons completely; in other words, killing them.
"According to some MSG opponents the glutamate added to foods is "bad" and the natural glutamate in our bodies is "good". MSG sellers argue that MSG is exactly like the glutamate in the human body, therefore it must always be
"good". It is not so simple. There are contaminants in processed MSG. An analogy that can be used is that there are right-handed amino acids and left-handed ones. They are like mirror images of each other. Processed MSG contains not only the kind of amino acids the body is used to handling, but
mirror image ones too. This may cause problems because it is like putting the wrong glove on your hand. It's not quite the same. We don't exactly know what problems this may cause. On the other hand (so to speak) the fact that
glutamate the body is used to handling is also in MSG may present a problem because an excess of naturally occurring glutamate is well known by neuroscientists to be a problem in many disease states. Natural glutamate can
cause problems we already know about. The reason food processors "free" glutamate from its bound form, is that it acts as a neurotransmitter in its free
form. The food industry's claim that free glutamate is as harmless as bound glutamate is disingenuous at
best. If it was exactly the same, they wouldn't need to hydrolyse vegetable protein (split the amino acids apart). " ~ MSGTruth.Org
Have you heard about 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?' This term is associated with the high incidence of people experiencing headaches or a collection of other symptoms after just consuming Chinese food. Chinese food is not the only source of this neurotoxin, of course, but this term was made popular in the late 1960's and was coined after Robert Ho Man Kwok wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine reporting to them the strange syndrome he repeatedly experienced within 20 minutes to an hour of eating at Chinese restaurants. While I've heard that some high quality Chinese restaurants may refrain from using MSG, the majority still use this 'flavor enhancer' in the majority of their dishes. While this term is popular, it is this writer's opinion that the term should now be 'American Restaurant Syndrome' since a vast majority of restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, in America use MSG or an excitotoxin of equal damaging results (i.e. aspartame). Or perhaps it could be called "Processed Food Syndrome" since, yes, a lot of the processed foods in a box or can sitting on your pantry shelf or in your freezer probably contain these ingredients.
Wait! Don't check your pantry and freezer yet! Because MSG and aspartame are not the only things to look for! MSG actually comes by many many names. Even those soup cans that claim to have no MSG in them can actually contain glutamates! There are several websites that list the hidden ingredient names of MSG and offer tons of information. Here are a few:
Our household members carry a list of the ingredients we absolutely MUST avoid at all times. We carry this into restaurants with us (not that there are many we can go to) and have the waiter present it to the chef. Most restaurants that have a chef who cooks from scratch can come up with some sort of dish that will not contain those ingredients. The ingredients on our list that are specific to MSG are the following:
- MSG (also known as Monosodium Glutamate, Monopotassium Glutamate, Glutamate, Calcium Glutamate, Monoammonim Glutamate, Natrium Glutamate)
- artificial flavors
- yeast extract (this is extract, not simply yeast)
- bouillon and/or boullion cubes
- broth (from a premade mix or box or can)
- spices (if the label just lists 'spices' as a generic term and does not specifically list the name of an herb, it is most likely MSG. )
- Seasonings( again, listed as a generic term, this indicates a high potential of being MSG or a mixture that contains MSG)
- Anything 'hydrolyzed'
- Calcium casinate
- Sodium casinate
- Textured Protein
- Whey Protein
- Soy Protein
- Anything labled ____ protein... if it's not the substance alone (peas, not pea protein) than the processing has created free glutamates, thus MSG
- Disodium 5 guanylate
- Disodium 5 inosinate
- Disodium 5 rib nucleotides
- Soy Sauce (the only soy sauce we can safely have is raw namo shoyu -- btw, it's delicious!)
There are other possibilities as well such as natural flavors and gelatin and anything ultra pasteurized to name a few. PLEASE, check out the sites I listed and learn more about this terrible ingredient in food products!
MSG causes a lot of problems! A LOT. Some of the problems people have and THINK it's just normal to have such conditions include: headaches (including migraines!), bloating, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, frequent urination, flushed skin, swelling and a whole host of others! And these are just the mild symptoms! More serious effects include (but are not limited to) depression, mood swings, rage reactions, panic attacks, anxiety, attention deficit disorders,tremors, seizures, chest pain, extreme rises and drops in blood pressure, insomnia, and asthma. And obviously, in our own family, we discovered it to be the root cause of bipolar disorder(in combination with other neurotoxins and artificial ingredients). MSG is NOT something to mess with and yet millions of people ingest this toxin within food products they consume at restaurants and in their homes each and every day, often several times a day!
My family never knowingly consumes this toxin. We carry our list everywhere and most family and friends are aware of our needs so we seldom have an issue. In the rare case we do accidentally ingest MSG, we know it! Usually within an hour, sometimes longer (allergens can actually take up to 3 days or more for some individuals to notice a visible sign) we suffer from some sort of allergic type reaction. We each have various reactions including itching, hive-like swelling, intense anxiety, red skin, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, mood reactions, etc. These immediate severe reactions are because now our bodies are healthy enough to recognize the toxins for what they were. Our bodies are no longer conditioned to accept the toxins.
I hope that someone out there will benefit from reading this. I hope you will take it upon yourself to do more research and experiment. I challenge you to go just two weeks without ingesting ANY of the above ingredients. Then, try it. See what happens. Have several things containing the above ingredients within just a few hours. Note any changes you see. For some of you, it won't take much. Others react but not as strongly. Some people may need to avoid it for longer period of time to truly see the results, but I wager most will not.
I hope that sharing what I've learned in my research and experience will guide you all into learning the real truth about MSG. God Bless!
Other sources you may wish to use:
- Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock, M.D.
- The CrazyMakers- How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children by Carol Simontacchi
- Battling the MSG Myth by Debby Anglessey