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Types of products that contain MSG
MSG can be used (and hidden) in processed foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and the food that is given to pets and other animals. It can be used in waxes applied to fresh fruits and vegetables. It can be used as ingredients in pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers -- remaining in the edible portion of the plant or on the edible portion of the plant when its leaves, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds, and other edible parts are brought to market.
There are over 40 food ingredients besides "monosodium glutamate" that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Each, according to the FDA, must be called by its own, unique, "common or usual name." "Autolyzed yeast," "maltodextrin," “hydrolyzed pea protein”, and "sodium caseinate" are the common or usual names of some ingredients that contain MSG. Unlike the ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," they give the consumer no clue that there is MSG in the ingredient.
In addition to ingredients that contain MSG, some acids and enzymes when combined with a food that contains protein will produce MSG. The words “enzyme” and “protease” (which is a type of enzyme) signal the presence of enzymes capable of causing the production of MSG.
- Low fat and no fat milk products often contain milk solids that contain MSG. Other dairy products often contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum. Low fat and no fat versions of ice cream and cheese may not be as obvious as yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc., but they are not exceptions.
- Protein powders and protein drinks contain glutamic acid, and the glutamic acid in the protein powders and drinks will always be processed (manufactured) free glutamic acid (MSG). Individual amino acids are not always listed on labels of protein powders and drinks.
- At present, there is an FDA requirement to give the name of the protein source when listing hydrolyzed protein products on labels of processed foods. Examples are hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed pea protein, hydrolyzed whey protein, hydrolyzed, corn protein. If a tomato, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a tomato. Naming an ingredient “tomato protein” indicates that the tomato has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is present.
- At present, the FDA requires the disclosure of ingredients labeled “monosodium glutamate” and “hydrolyzed…protein” when, as ingredients, they are used in a “flavor” or “flavoring” (whether or not the “flavor” or “flavoring” is preceded by the words “natural” or “artificial”). However, “flavors” and “flavorings” can contain MSG in ingredients other than “monosodium glutamate” and “hydrolyzed…Protein” without the MSG being disclosed.
- Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are relatively expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive processed free glutamic acid (MSG). We believe that they would only be used if there was MSG in a product.
- MSG will be found in some soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, where MSG is hidden in ingredients with names that include the words "hydrolyzed," "amino acids," and/or "protein."
- Binders and fillers for prescription and non-prescription medications, nutrients, and supplements, may contain MSG.
- Enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals, may contain MSG.
- According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin, both of which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). It would appear that most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain some ingredient(s) that contains MSG.
- There are a number of ingredients identified as organic that, organic or not, will contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, textured soy protein, and anything hydrolyzed are examples of ingredients that may be made from organic produce, but will never-the-less contain MSG.
- Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG. They may also contain aspartame, neotame, of AminoSweet (the new name for aspartame). We mention aspartame, neotame, and AminoSweet here because they, like MSG, contain a neurotoxic amino acid, and can cause the same reactions that MSG causes.
- Aspartame will be found in some medications, including children's medications.
- Anything that breaks down the protein in a product can produce MSG as it breaks down that protein. There have been reports of people reacting to meat wrapped in Cryovac. Cryovac is a registered trademark for a thick plastic in which meat is sealed with the air removed by a vacuum pump. The word Cryovac is also used for the thermoplastic resin wrapping film which can be heat-shrunk onto foods.
- Some waxes used on fruits and vegetables contain MSG.
- Produce may have been produced using fertilizer or pesticide products that contain MSG. Some of these fertilizers may be organic. It is impossible to know from looking at produce whether or not it has been treated with an MSG-containing fertilizer or pesticide product that leaves residue in or on the produce.
- Some non-organic waxes used on some fruits and vegetables contain MSG.
- Additional sources of MSG include infant formula, kosher food, enteral feeding products (tube feeding products), dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, protein drinks often recommended for seniors, protein bars and protein powders, vaccines, personal care products, protein powders sold in health food stores, food that is labeled “organic”, wine, food with labels that say "No Added MSG," "No MSG Added," or "No MSG" , food that is falsely advertised as containing no MSG, and in food whose manufacturers claim, in response to questions, that their products contain no MSG.
- MSG can be hidden by restaurateurs who claim that the food they serve contains no MSG
About “organic” products…
Where MSG is concerned, "organic" doesn't mean "safe". Ingredients like organic autolyzed yeast and organic natural flavoring have just as much processed (manufactured) free glutamic acid (MSG) in them as those not called "organic." Following are products labeled "organic" that have come to our attention as containing processed free glutamic acid (MSG). There are others.
Ingredients include: Yeast extract; Maltodextrin
Product: macaroni & cheese dinner
By: Simply Organic
Ingredients include: Natural flavors; Autolyzed yeast extract
Also listed as organic are fertilizer products that contain hydrolyzed fish protein and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. All hydrolyzed ingredients contain MSG.
About “Health Food” stores…
Health food stores are mine fields for MSG. Protein powders are generally nothing more or less than hydrolyzed proteins –and will contain all three manufactured neurotoxic amino acids: glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and L-cysteine. Food labeled “organic” cannot legitimately contain monosodium glutamate, but can contain other ingredients that contain MSG. Dietary supplements will often contain individual amino acids (because they can be absorbed by the body more quickly than amino acids found in protein which have to be digested before they can be absorbed); and if dietary supplements contain individual amino acids, those amino acids may be neurotoxic glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and/or L-cysteine, all manufactured in food and/or chemical plants.
These are the names of some of the MSG-containing ingredients often found in Health Food stores:
acids (They almost invariably contain glutamic acid.)
whey protein concentrate
There are also chelates. Minerals found individually and in some multi-vitamins, are usually joined to amino acids for better absorption, i.e., the minerals or multi-vitamins are chelated. The following are names used for chelates that will contain MSG and/or aspartic acid and phenylalanine which are two of the main ingredients in MSG’s toxic cousin aspartame:
chelate (chelated with
potassium (or any other mineral ) citrate
potassium (or any other mineral) aspartate
potassium (or any other mineral) glutamate
chelated with hydrolyzed protein,
chelated with protein
chelated with amino acids
Some supplement manufacturers place asterisks after the names of minerals. Below the list of ingredients, the asterisk is often followed by a note that explains that the mineral is "chelated with hydrolyzed protein," "chelated with protein," or "chelated with amino acids."
Protein powders are all the rage for body builders and older
people. The main ingredient is typically a hydrolyzed protein -- and
hydrolyzed proteins contain MSG, excitotoxic aspartic acid (found also in
aspartame), and excitotoxic L-cysteine (found in some dough
conditioners). We have concern for anyone who ingests any form of MSG in
his or her diet. We have extreme concern for athletes who ingest MSG just
prior to, just following, or in the course of vigorous exercise, because there
is evidence that the adverse effects of MSG may be intensified by vigorous
exercise. Heart irregularities have been know to be caused by ingestion of MSG and/or
aspartame. Heart irregularities can
result in cardiac arrest.
About hospitals, nursing homes, and extended care facilities…
The most common sources of MSG in hospitals, nursing homes, and extended care facilities will be:
Soups – even if the institution purchases soups and/or soup bases that claim to be MSG-free
Protein drinks such as Boost and Ensure
Enteral care products – used when tube feeding
Intravenous solutions. Reactions have been reported to saline solution and solutions containing dextrose. Ringers solution appears to be MSG-free.
Anything no fat or low fat
Anything made with a sugar substitute likely contains neurotoxic aspartame, Equal, or AminoSweet.
People with extreme intolerance to MSG have difficulty with pharmaceuticals that contain MSG in the binders and/or fillers. They may also react to the starch on powdered gloves and/or the contacts that are glued to a patient’s chest for heart monitoring. The contact points that touch the body may contain guar gum which, after serveral days’ exposure, may cause adverse reactions.
About pet food…
It’s not only humans that have problems with MSG. The first evidence of MSG toxicity came from animal studies, some of which demonstrated that animals suffered brain lesions and endocrine disorders when fed monosodium glutamate. The possibility that your animal is sensitive to MSG is certainly worth considering. We have received the following from consumers:
Subj: Pet Food & MSG
Date: 8/17/2004 1.48:20 AM Central Standard Time
Dear Folks, would you consider adding an article on MSG in our Pet Food. Just about all the grocery store dog food and most of the canned cat food has various products with an msg base. What can we do about this??? Our pets are much smaller than we are and surely this is extremely bad for their small frame. God help us all. Also, how about my favorite ice cream which is Haagen Daz. I eat the simple flavors, Vanilla, Chocolate, Butter Pecan. I eat it because the original flavors are cream, skim milk, vanilla, chocolate. Anyways, thank you for being here. God Bless your work. M.D.
Sent: 1/24/2009 2:07:06 P.M. Central Standard Time
dog (6 yrs) ate some sweet & sour pork (left over from Chinese take out). Almost immediately he began to exhibit hyperness, running & jumping, and almost seemed to be
"high" on something. He seemed disoriented and didn't settle
down for almost six hours. The vet said he had never seen a dog show
these symptoms from eating food. Could he be extremely sensitive to MSG
or have you ever heard of this in an animal? Obviously
no more people food for Buster. Thanks
People who are sensitive to processed free glutamic acid (MSG), or those who simply would choose to avoid ingestion of toxic amino acids, need to know that there are two other neurotoxic amino acids commonly used in food: aspartic acid and L-cysteine. Aspartic acid is found in the sugar substitutes called "neotame", "aspartame", “AminoSweet”, "NutraSweet" and "Equal." L-cysteine is identified as L-cysteine and is most often found in dough conditioners.