One of the best overviews of the very real dangers of MSG comes from Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of "Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills." In it he explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees -- and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease and more.
Part of the problem also is that free glutamic acid is the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body. Even the FDA states:
"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."
Although the FDA continues to claim that consuming MSG in food does not cause these ill effects, many other experts say otherwise.
According to Dr. Blaylock, numerous glutamate receptors have been found both within your heart's electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself. This can be damaging to your heart, and may even explain the sudden deaths sometimes seen among young athletes.
"When an excess of food-borne excitotoxins, such as MSG, hydrolyzed protein soy protein isolate and concentrate, natural flavoring, sodium caseinate and aspartate from aspartame, are consumed, these glutamate receptors are over-stimulated, producing cardiac arrhythmias.
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."
Fatigue and disorientation
Further, even the FDA admits that "short-term reactions" known as MSG Symptom Complex can occur in certain groups of people, namely those who have eaten "large doses" of MSG or those who have asthma.
Facial pressure or tightness
Chest pain or difficulty breathing
No one knows for sure just how many people may be "sensitive" to MSG, but studies from the 1970s suggested that 25 percent to 30 percent of the U.S. population was intolerant of MSG -- at levels then found in food. Since the use of MSG has expanded dramatically since that time, it's been estimated that up to 40 percent of the population may be impacted
As discussed previously, the glutamate (MSG) manufacturers and the processed food industries are always on a quest to disguise the MSG added to food. Below is a partial list of the most common names for disguised MSG. Remember also that the powerful excitotoxins, aspartate and L-cystine, are frequently added to foods and according to FDA rules require NO LABELING AT ALL.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Plant Protein Extract
Textured Protein (Including TVP)
Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
Natural Beef Or Chicken Flavoring
Soy Protein Concentrate
Soy Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Concentrate
Also: Protease Enzymes of various sources can release excitotoxin amino acids from food proteins.
Aspartame is a sweetener made from two amino acids, phenylalanine and the excitotoxin aspartate. It should be avoided at all costs. Aspartame complaints accounts for approximately 70% of ALL complaints to the FDA. It is implicated in everything from blindness to headaches to convulsions. Sold under dozens of brand names such as NutraSweet and Equal, aspartame breaks down within 20 minutes at room temperature into several primary toxic and dangerous ingredients:
1. DKP (diketopiperazine) (When ingested, converts to a near duplicate of a powerful brain tumor causing agent)
2. Formic Acid (ant venom)
3. Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
4. Methanol (causes blindness...extremely dangerous substance)
Diet soft drinks, sugar free gums, sugar free Kool Aid, Crystal Light, childrens' medications, and thousands of other products claiming to be 'low calorie', 'diet', or 'sugar free'.
Dr. Blaylock recounted a meeting with a senior executive in the food additive industry who told him point blank that these excitotoxins are going to be in our food no matter how many name changes are necessary...
(Last updated May, 2013)