Monosodium Glutamate is put in thousands of processed foods that you may be eating. Read on to find out the dangers of this highly addictive food additive.
Monosodium glutamate is a widely used food additive. It is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. MSG is a form of glutamate, a carefully regulated neurotransmitter. This food additive is produced by fermenting sugar beet molasses, and the overly processed form is a fine white crystal that resembles salt or sugar.
MSG doesn’t really have a taste of it’s own but is used to enhance the flavor of other ingredients. It is put in nearly every canned, packaged, or otherwise processed food out on the market. MSG fools the brain into thinking that something tastes better than it actually does, so it may be used in place of quality ingredients.
Even though the Food and Drug Administration has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG over the years, they still classify MSG as an ingredient that is “generally recognized as safe”. Some common symptoms include headaches, sweating, flushing, weakness, nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, facial tightness and tingling and burning of the face or neck.
MSG is an excitotoxin which means that it reacts with certain specialized receptors in the brain in such a way as to lead to destruction of certain types of brain cells. With above normal levels the neurons begin to fire abnormally. At higher concentrations, the cells undergo a specialized process of cell death. There is a special gate-keeper that protects the brain from most harmful substances in the blood, called the blood-brain barrier. With high consumption of MSG, the free glutamate in the blood can gradually seep into the brain and wreak havoc.
Studies have shown that antioxidants are powerful protectors against excitotoxicity. People who consume a diet high in antioxidants or take supplements are much less likely to suffer the severe effects of excitotoxins than those who don’t consume antioxidants. Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, magnesium and melatonin have been shown to offer protection.
Russell Blaylock, author of the book Health and Nutrition Secrets that can Save Your Life, discusses how many mothers will give their children MSG-laced snacks such as chips or cookies not knowing that these foods are the reason the kids end up screaming and throwing temper-tantrums shortly after. MSG intensely stimulates the child’s brain, which is four times more sensitive to the food additive than an adult’s brain.
Studies have confirmed that MSG causes gross obesity in animals. In these studies, the subjects were mice, because mice react most like humans to MSG. “One study showed that animals fed MSG soon after birth, preferred foods high in carbohydrates and low in nutritional values. They also ate less, but ate rapidly. In other words, they were eating like teenagers”, states Blaylock. Could it be that the reason our country suffers from so much obesity is because of the wide use of MSG additives in our foods?
MSG is addictive. The reason it is in so many food products like Campbell’s soups, Hostess treats, Doritos, Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Swanson frozen prepared meals and Kraft salad dressings is because they want you to become addicted to their products.
It is also important to note that Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate. Don’t be fooled, these additives all contain MSG in them as well: Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein (Including TVP), Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour and Corn Oil.
MSG has also been linked to diabetes, autism, cancer, ADHD and Alzheimer’s. It’s so important to read food labels people! This is your health and your family’s health we’re talking about.
Blaylock, Russell L. (2006) Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life. Health Press: Albuquerque, NM
mayoclinic.com, “Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): Is It Harmful?” (accessed October 12, 2010).