Saturday, April 2, 2011

MSG... Excitotoxicity, yeah its as bad as it sounds.

MSG without a doubt, leaves me feeling like crap.

MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate is a salt of the amino acid - Glutamic Acid (glutamate).  A salt is the chemical name for a molecule held together by opposite charges.   Basically one (mono) sodium atom is "stuck" to the amino acid glutamate.

This reaction varies from person to person, and I suspect has something to do with Blood Brain Barrier Health as well as a Hormesis response.

Glutamate is an Amino Acid Neurotransmitter. It tells nerves to activate. It stimulates the Nervous System. Other Amino acids like Taurine and GABA balance that to tell the nerves to calm.

So the issue presents itself in the balancing of these Amino Acids. Keeping them in line with what is found in nature...

Heres the Problem. Theres a short list of Items readily available to Americans that doesnt match that Balance...

A significant quantity of Processed Foods are intentionally modified to free glutamic acid to achieve the same taste structure as MSG. Obviously I have strong opinions against Soy and Grains regardless(if you've read past posts)

  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Corn
  • Meat(one of the  reasons processed Red meat is bad, yet Whole Grassfed Beef is still great!)
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Soy Sauce
  • Wheat Gluten (hah!)
  • Cheese
Anything with Hydrolyzed Protein, Seasonings and Stocks etc.
Allegro Crop Spray - yes even your vegetables might be contaminated.
Many Vaccines use it as a preservative.
Cigarettes! (Ammonia converts internally)
Aspartame has the same effects! (Don't even drink DIET soda!!!)

How does it affect me?

Pancreas – glutamate stimulates the pancreas and may cause Type II diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance.  In individuals with Type 1 diabetes, it may cause an excess of glutamate since 85% of those with Type 1 diabetes have antibodies which attack GAD - the enzyme responsible for converting glutamate into GABA.
By directly stimulating the pancreas to release insulin, which drops the blood sugar, MSG can be considered an "anti-appetite suppressant".  In other words, eating MSG makes you hungrier than you would have been, sooner than you would have been.

Brain – during periods of hypoglycemia where low blood glucose levels leave the brain with low defenses, or allergy response where the blood vessels become "leaky", MSG may cross the blood brain barrier and damage brain cells by excitatory neurotoxicity. By affecting the pancreas and creating a situation of hypoglycemia, MSG may bring down the brain’s barriers, carrying it’s own key, in a sense, to get to the brain.

Blood Pressure - may create taurine deficiency – calcium channels stay open – causing high blood pressure and counteracting calcium channel blocking medication.

Inflammation - The  immune response allows the blood vessels to become "leaky" so that the white blood cells can get to the site of the injury.  This flood of fluid leaving the blood vessels and entering the tissue is what we recognize as swelling. 

Leptin- leptin did not work on test animals that were obese due to MSG-induced obesity.  This suggests that perhaps the damage to the hypothalamus caused by MSG, caused the hypothalamus to  become resistant to the effect of leptin. *(go back and read my post on Leptin if you need to!)

Hidden Names!

MSGGelatinCalcium Caseinate
Monosodium glutamateHydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)Textured Protein
Monopotassium glutamateHydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)Yeast Extract
GlutamateAutolyzed Plant ProteinYeast food or nutrient
Glutamic AcidSodium CaseinateAutolyzed Yeast
Vegetable Protein ExtractSenomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)

What can I do to counter MSG?
Id personally avoid them like the plague. Eating Whole Natural Foods will ensure that you're getting Glutamate in Balance with Cystene, Taurine, GABA, etc comparable to what is found in nature.
 Barring that, accidental or intentional ingestion, MSG Truth has a nice list:

Further Reading

Dr Russell Blaylock is considered one of the foremost experts on Aspartame/MSG Excitotoxicity.

He wrote an excellent book: Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills
Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills

Be sure to visit and as well.


Stephen (Aegis) said...

and yes, I intentionally waited to post this so that no one would confuse it with an April Fool's Joke.

Carey said...

Hi, I came over here from Paleohacks to look around. =)

Um, I'm wondering how "gelatin" got on the list of "other names for MSG" (which should properly be called "other names for glutamates", since not all of them have the sodium bond)?

Gelatin =/= MSG at all.

Stephen (Aegis) said...

the danger is in Hydrolyzed Gelatin which converts the Glutamate. Which doesn't need to be labeled that its Hydrolyzed and therefore used to "hide" the MSG.

Diana said...

Very glad to see that you're bringing attention to this topic in the paleo community! The effects of MSG (in its many forms) are so often overlooked, minimized, or misunderstood.

Lauren said...

I've been using NOW's beef gelatin powder

as a thickener for awhile. Does this have MSG in it?

cheryl said...

Hope you are keeping your site going. I am glad I found it. I am trying to eliminate MSG/ glutamate from my diet and having a rough time. It's important to find others so we don't feel like David battling the giant all by ourselves. Hope this finds any of you reading this well

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