Excitotoxins, a name by any other name…
What is MSG?
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a processed food additive. It is an extremely dangerous neurotoxin (excitotoxin) that shrivels and kills brain cells in the hypothalamus and has been linked to migraines, seizures, ADD/ADHD, heart palpitations, tremors, and MANY other symptoms that can even be fatal. I know it was partly responsible for my constant daily headaches (for about 20 years) and the two years of migraines every day that led to a hospitalization, more drugs that did nothing but cause side effects and years of misery.
What is the hypothalamus?
The hypothalamus is a portion of the brain, located just above the brain stem, roughly the size of an almond. Though small, it’s incredibly important as it is responsible for certain metabolic processes and other activities of the autonomic nervous system. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles.
What is an excitotoxin?
An excitotoxin is a chemical that causes a brain cell to become overexcited and fire uncontrollably, leading to cell death. MSG (and other excitotoxins like asparatame) has the potential for inflicting permanent damage to the brain and nervous system. These chemicals also cross the placental barrier, harming the brains of unborn children.
Ok, so I should just avoid MSG and aspartame, right?
Absolutely. However, you need to know that there are over 40 hidden names for MSG on food labels. FORTY?!? Yes. 40! 4-0.
So, foods labeled NO-MSG or MSG-Free (think Chinese restaurants) may not have actual MSG added to it, but if they contain any of these ingredients, there is STILL MSG IN THE FOOD!
Here is more information from truthinlabeling.org
Names of ingredients that ALWAYS contain processed free glutamic acid:
Glutamic acid (E 620)
Glutamate (E 620)
Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
Calcium glutamate (E 623)
Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
Any “hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
Soy protein, soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
Whey protein, whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
*Glutamic acid found in unadulterated protein does not cause adverse reactions. To cause adverse reactions, the glutamic acid must have been processed/manufactured or come from protein that has been fermented.
Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid:
Carrageenan (E 407)
Bouillon and broth
Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
Pectin (E 440)
Anything “enzyme modified”
Anything containing “enzymes”
Soy sauce (a reader has informed us that Russell Blaylock, MD states in his book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, that soy sauce ALWAYS contains MSG)
Soy sauce extract
Anything “protein fortified”
The following are ingredients suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed free glutamic acid to serve as MSG-reaction triggers in HIGHLY SENSITIVE people:
Modified food starch
Lipolyzed butter fat
Brown rice syrup
Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)
Most things low fat or no fat
Anything Vitamin enriched
* E numbers are use in Europe in place of food additive names.
The following work synergistically with MSG to enhance flavor. If they are present for flavoring, so is MSG.
Disodium 5′-guanylate (E 627)
Disodium 5′-inosinate (E-631)
Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides (E 635)
Low fat and no fat milk products often contain milk solids that contain MSG and many dairy products contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum. Low fat and no fat versions of ice cream and cheese may not be as obvious as yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc., but they are not exceptions.
Protein powders contain glutamic acid, which, invariably, will be processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Individual amino acids are not always listed on labels of protein powders.
At present there is an FDA requirement to include the protein source when listing hydrolyzed protein products on labels of processed foods. Examples are hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed pea protein, hydrolyzed whey protein, hydrolyzed corn protein. If a tomato, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a tomato. Calling an ingredient tomato protein indicates that the tomato has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is present.
Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are relatively expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive MSG. Their use suggests that the product has MSG in it. They would probably not be used as food additives if there were no MSG present.
MSG reactions have been reported from soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, where MSG is hidden in ingredients with names that include the words “hydrolyzed,” “amino acids,” and/or “protein.” Most sun block creams and insect repellents also contain MSG.
Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG and/or aspartame, neotame, and AminoSweet (the new name for aspartame). Aspartic acid, found in neotame, aspartame (NutraSweet), and AminoSweet, ordinarily causes MSG type reactions in MSG sensitive people. (It would appear that calling aspartame “AminoSweet” is industry’s method of choice for hiding aspartame.) We have not seen Neotame used widely in the United States.
Aspartame will be found in some medications, including children’s medications. For questions about the ingredients in pharmaceuticals, check with your pharmacist and/or read the product inserts for the names of “other” or “inert” ingredients.
Binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals, may contain MSG.
According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin, both of which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) which causes brain lesions in young laboratory animals, and causes endocrine disturbances like OBESITY and REPRODUCTIVE disorders later in life. It would appear that most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain some ingredient(s) that contains MSG.
Reactions to MSG are dose related, i.e., some people react to even very small amounts. MSG-induced reactions may occur immediately after ingestion or after as much as 48 hours. The time lapse between ingestion and reaction is typically the same each time for a particular individual who ingests an amount of MSG that exceeds his or her individual tolerance level.
Here’s what Sally Fallon has to say about the health effects of MSG, in her fantastic piece, “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry”:
While the industry was adding MSG to food in larger and larger amounts, in 1957 scientists found that mice became blind and obese when MSG was administered by feeding tube. In 1969, MSG-induced lesions were found in the hypothalamus region of the mouse brain. Subsequent studies pointed in the same direction. MSG is a neurotoxic substance that causes a wide range of reactions in humans, from temporary headaches to permanent brain damage. It is also associated with violent behavior. We have had a huge increase in Alzheimer’s, brain cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis and diseases of the nervous system, and one of the chief culprits is the flavorings in our food.
Ninety-five percent of processed foods contain MSG, and, in the late 1950s, it was even added to baby food. Manufacturers say they have voluntarily taken it out of the baby food, but they didn’t really remove it; they just called it “hydrolyzed protein” instead.
An excellent book, Excitotoxins, by Russell Blaylock, describes how nerve cells either disintegrate or shrivel up in the presence of free glutamic acid if it gets past the blood-brain barrier. The glutamates in MSG are absorbed directly from the mouth to the brain. Some investigators believe that the great increase in violence in this country starting in 1960 is due to the increased use of MSG beginning in the late 1950s, particularly as it was added to baby foods.”
Remember: By food industry definition, all MSG is “naturally occurring.” “Natural” doesn’t mean “safe.” “Natural” only means that the ingredient started out in nature, like arsenic and hydrochloric acid.
When you eat real, whole foods, you automatically avoid MSG, asparatme and other excitotoxins. No need to memorize the whole list of different food additives and E numbers, simply skip the processed junk and EAT REAL FOOD!
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