Originally published August 1 2011
MSG hidden in variety of foods and contributing to illness
by Christy Pooschke
(NaturalNews) Despite common perception, the toxic food additive MSG is everywhere - not just in Chinese food! This taste enhancer is actually hidden under dozens of ingredient names in all sorts of processed foods, restaurant foods, beverages, chewing gums, vitamins and supplements. It is added to foods in higher dosages than ever before, and more and more people are experiencing symptoms.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a health concern because it contains glutamate. Glutamate is the salt form of "Free Glutamic Acid" - a toxin that is associated with many health problems (http://www.msgmyth.com/symptoms.html). Due to insufficient labeling laws, food companies use many ingredients (http://www.msgmyth.com/hidden_names.html) to disguise Free Glutamic Acid in their products, so consumers must look for more than just "MSG" on food labels.
To understand why processed Free Glutamic Acid is associated with so many health problems, it is helpful to learn about natural Glutamic Acid - an amino acid (a building block of protein) that occurs naturally in the body as one of many excitatory neurotransmitters (chemicals that "excite" cells into action). Glutamic Acid occurs naturally in certain unprocessed, whole foods (e.g., tomatoes). In this natural form, it is bound (i.e., linked) together with other amino acids to form a protein. Once ingested, the protein is broken down slowly by the digestive system. The Glutamic Acid is released gradually into the blood stream and is non-toxic. If one ingests more than the body needs, the cells clear away the excess just as they were designed to do. The digestion of these natural, whole food sources releases such a small amount of Glutamic Acid that even people who react to processed MSG can usually tolerate them.
When food manufacturers break down a protein (usually from corn, soy or wheat) to make processed Free Glutamic Acid, they "free" the glutamic acid from the links that bind it to other amino acids in nature. When one ingests this already-broken-down, free form of Glutamic Acid, blood levels of glutamate can spike to more than 20 times the usual amount because the digestive system does not have to work to break down the links. The human nervous system is not equipped to handle such quickly-absorbed doses. The excess glutamate cannot be efficiently cleared away, so it accumulates around the cells throughout the body, over-exciting them to the point of damage or death.
This disruption at the cellular level leads to a range of physiological reactions that may be as minor as a runny nose or as life-threatening as a heart attack. According to experts like Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., Free Glutamic Acid is a toxin, not an allergen. Some people are more sensitive to lower dosages than others, but it affects everyone to some degree. There is often a delay between ingestion and onset of symptoms, preventing many people from realizing the connection. Most acute symptoms will display within 48 hours (many within 30 minutes) of ingestion, but some health effects (e.g., obesity, infertility) have been demonstrated in lab mice long after exposure.
Because glutamate receptors line various organs and tissues (brain, heart, lungs, reproductive organs, digestive tract, etc.) throughout the body, ingesting processed Free Glutamic Acid can disrupt just about any system and cause a wide variety of symptoms. Luckily, much of this damage is reversible, and many sufferers resolve their symptoms (often within 7-10 days) by completely eliminating Free Glutamic Acid from their diets. To prevent these effects and to avoid this hidden additive, one must prepare meals at home from basic, whole food ingredients; minimize reliance on processed foods; read every ingredient list; and avoid any mysterious or vague ingredients on product labels.
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Anglesey, D. Battling the MSG Myth: A Survival Guide and Cookbook. Kennewick: Front Porch Productions, 1997.
Blaylock, R.L. Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. Santa Fe: Health Press, 1997
Erb, J.E. and T.M. The Slow Poisoning of America. Virginia Beach: Paladins Press, 2003.
Schwartz, G.R. In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom Complex (revised). Santa Fe: Health Press, 1999.
About the authorAt GroceryGeek.com, Christy Pooschke teaches consumers how to reduce their reliance on processed food. Christy is also the author of an "Additive-Free" Cookbook & Grocery Shopping Guide, and she offers personalized consultations, as well! Check out her blog to learn how to shop for and prepare additive-free, natural foods. You'll love the free recipes, shopping tips and videos! Subscribe to "Grocery Geek" via email on the site's main page or follow Grocery Geek on Facebook!
Christy's passion for eating REAL food was sparked in 2007 when she eliminated her Fibromyalgia symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Until this time, she had been ingesting a Standard American Diet of boxed dinners, soda pop, candy and fast food; and she was very ill. Since regaining her health with an additive-free diet, Christy has been on a mission to educate others about the dangers lurking in their cabinets and to help them achieve maximum health by reducing their reliance on processed foods.
In her free time, Christy operates Completely Nourished, Inc., a non-profit organization she founded to educate folks about natural foods, natural health and natural living. Check out the resources, recipes and online community available at www.CompletelyNourished.org. It's free!
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