MSG – Monosodium glutamate is a chemical flavor enhancer that has been related to a myriad of health issues such asmetabolic syndrome, fibromyalgia, fatty liver,obesity, high insulin and blood sugar, neurological and brain damage.
This flavor enhancer is added to Chinese food, however it appears that MSG is included to thousands of the foods that most of us eat on regular basis. For instance, it is used in canned soups, salad dressings, crackers, meats, even baby food, infant formula, and in your children’s school lunch.
Do not mistaken MSG with a simple seasoning like salt or pepper, this additive enhances flavors, so that processed meats and frozen dinners do not reveal their real characteristics. Thanks to its use this chemical makes all processed foods to taste fresher, salad dressing are more savory, foods smell better and canned foods less tinny.
Its wide use is understandable, especially for the big food corporation as it is really a lucrative business, but MSG is causing great damage to the overall health.
Most people believe that MSG is a flavor or a meat tenderizer. As a matter of fact, MSG works by tricking the senses into thinking that the food we consume contains more protein and it is delicious. There is the fifth taste known asumami. Umami detects the savory flavor of glutamate that is present in bacon, and of course synthetically found in MSG. In fact, MSG tricks your brain into thinking that you are eating something tasty as bacon.
The world’s largest manufacturer of MSG is the company known as Ajinomoto which is a drug producer as well. The first appearance of MSG in U.S. was after World War II, when the U.S. military found out that Japanese rations were more delicious that the U.S. versions.
Therefore in 1959, the U.S. FDA proclaimed MSG as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS). MSG has managed to stay listed as GRAS like many other FDA approved ingredients which are forbidden in other countries as a result of the present health risks. Interestingly enough, just after10 years of use of this additive a condition known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” became common in medical literature. This term referred to various adverse effects caused by the existence of this ingredient in American food starting from numbness to heart palpitations, which people experienced after eating MSG.
Nowadays this term is more adequately renamed, “MSG Symptom Complex,” which FDA recognizes as a “short-term reaction” to MSG. However, FDA still “generally recognizes it as safe.”
The author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills”, Dr. Russell Blaylock who is a board-certified neurosurgeon maintains that MSG causes brain damage to varying degrees. Likewise, it can trigger or even worsen Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, learning disabilities, and many more.
In addition to this, MSG is about 78% free glutamic acid, which is the same neurotransmitter used by the nervous system, brain, eyes, pancreas and more, to initiate processes in the body. FDA also admits this fact:
“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.”
Dr. Blaylock emphasizes that numerous glutamate receptors are present within the heart’s electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself. This actually provides an explanation for the sudden deaths present among young athletes and should be a great warning to anyone who consumes MSG.
Further on, Dr Baylock maintains:
“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.”
FDA lists the following side effects of MSG use, although they still declare MSG as safe.
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chest pain or troubles breathing
- Facial pressure or tightness
- Burning sensation
Food producers are well aware of the fact that people are starting to avoid the use of MSG, but these producers are far from stupid, they have not removed MSG from their products, in fact some of them have already tried to hide it by using names that you will not detect or link with MSG.
Nevertheless, the FDA requires that all food manufacturers list the ingredient “monosodium glutamate” on food labels; however the manufacturers are not obliged to label ingredients that contain free glutamic acid, although it is a key component of MSG. You need to know that there are over 40 labeled ingredients that contain glutamic acid, but it would never occur to you from their names alone.
Hidden MSG Names:
- Autolyzed Yeast
- Anything hydrolyzed
- Any hydrolyzed protein
- Anything protein
- Anything enzyme modified
- Anything containing enzymes
- Any flavors or flavoring
- Anything ultra-pasteurized
- Anything protein fortified
- Bouillon and broth
- Barley malt
- Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
- Calcium Caseinate
- Carrageenan (E 407)
- Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
- Glutamate (E 620)
- Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
- Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
- Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
- Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
- Malt extract
- Natrium Glutamate
- Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid
- Pectin (E 440)
- Sodium Caseinate
- Soy Protein Isolate
- Soy sauce
- Soy sauce extract
- Seasonings Whey Protein Isolate
- Yeast Extract
- Yeast Food
- Yeast Nutrient
The best option would be to purchase your ingredients locally and prepare your wholesome meals at home. If you cannot buy locally because you live far away from the farmer’s market, you can plant products into your own garden, and enjoy them free of any harmful substances. Save the seed for the next year and reuse it again for growing fruits and vegetables.
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