Health basics: What is MSG?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by: S. D. Wells
Tags: MSG, monosodium glutamate, health news

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(NaturalNews) Monosodium Glutamate, better known as MSG, is a form of concentrated salt added to foods to enhance the flavor. This salt version of glutamic acid is an amino acid the body can produce on its own, but the MSG we find on store shelves is processed and comes from fermented sugar beets. Because this kind of MSG is processed, it can cause many adverse reactions, including skin rashes, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, asthma, heart irregularities, depression and even seizures (

Since MSG acquired its infamous reputation for causing migraines, the food industry has given it new names and new forms, including autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, mono-potassium glutamate, and textured protein. Consumers who are watching out for monosodium glutamate in long ingredients lists usually don't know the aliases, but should.

Because MSG is so cheap, the food industry can use much lower quality foods and simply add MSG as a flavor enhancer. Currently, there is a huge investment by the food giants in MSG medical research to convince consumers of its safety. Monsanto, the giant biotech company that creates genetically modified corn, soy and canola, also controls more than 90% of the sugar beet industry; therefore, MSG contains the gene of the pesticide Roundup. Consumers who don't filter MSG out of their diet are catching a double dose of toxicity.

Foods which contain the largest doses of MSG are spicy corn chips, many soups, certain Chinese foods, ranch dressing, sausages, hot dogs, barbecued meats, smoked meats, processed deli meats, and sauces. Also included are most powdered packets like chili, gravy, taco seasoning, French onion dip and dried dip mixes.

Ibuprofen is the polar opposite of MSG. This widely used painkiller is specifically designed to relieve symptoms from MSG headaches, but only temporarily. Unfortunately, most research on MSG is done by its manufacturers in independent labs. The FDA itself consists of food industry reps and lobbyists who help keep MSG approved, so most doctors (except naturopath doctors) will not point their finger at MSG as the cause of headaches, inflammation, weight gain, muscle pain, or nerve disorders.

MSG affects nearly everyone

Consuming products loaded with MSG on an empty stomach or without water can be especially dangerous. MSG affects nearly everyone because it causes a spike in glutamic acid, which is used throughout the body as a neurotransmitter, so many migraines are accompanied by photo-sensitivity (sensitivity to light) and phono-sensitivity (sensitivity to sound). This explains why many people need to relax in a dark, quiet room to recover.

MSG compromises the way the liver and gall bladder use bile to break up fats for digestion, so many people experience diarrhea and even gall bladder attacks. Others will vomit or stir up their Irritable Bowel Syndrome (

Also, the hair cells of the ear use glutamate as a neurotransmitter, so over stimulation of these cells can result in ringing in the ears (also tinnitus or vertigo). MSG is known to cross the blood brain barrier to damage brain cells, especially in infants. Research has also shown that MSG can cause sterility in female animals (

Since there are no regulations on the potency of MSG, consumers have no way of knowing how much or how little they are getting(

The sooner MSG appears in an ingredients list, the more there is in that product. Consuming MSG at any time is a risk many consumers are not willing to take.

Your best bet is to avoid MSG in general and just add your own natural spices to foods. Sea salt and fresh garlic or organic minced garlic can give a dish the same taste and flavor enhancement. Simply Tasteful's "Garlic Garlic" or "Onion Onion" and Trader Joe's "21 Seasoning Salute" are great natural seasonings that take food flavor up a notch and don't cause headaches, nausea or nerve damage.

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