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Truth in Labeling Campaign> Risk> Seizures

MSG & Seizures

Years before the concept of excitotoxicity was recognized, psychologists and psychiatrists had commented on the role of monosodium glutamate in seizures (40,41,42,43).

MSG-induced seizures in animals were noted by Olney and others in the 1970s (114,115,116,117,118,119,120,121).

Reif-Lehrer wrote that children react to monosodium glutamate ingestion, and described symptoms similar to adults with almost the same degree of prevalence. She presented three cases and discussed the relation between shudder in children, epileptic "seizures," "MSG shivers," and the fact that monosodium glutamate has been reported to cause convulsive disorders in animals (200). Subsequently, Andermann et al., commented on a possible relationship between monosodium glutamate and essential tremor (201).

The relationship between MSG and convulsions has been investigated in animal models (122,123,124,125,126), but is otherwise ignored. The Truth in Labeling Campaign regularly receives reports of seizure activity in children precipitated by ingestion of MSG, but the medical community refuses to consider that MSG might be a seizure trigger. Any suggestion that MSG might play a role in human seizure activity is routinely ignored by both researchers and the medical community.

This is what consumers tell us:
Dear Mr. Samuels,

My small son used to have about 3 cans [of enteral formula] per day, and usually had about 5 grand mal seizures a day.... I stopped giving my son these cans and within a day or so he stopped having so many seizures. His new record is 8 straight days seizure free. On the can he had never gone more than half a day without a seizure.

I now make my son's enteral formula in a blender. It takes about 3 minutes to make a one day supply.

I told our neurologist and he said that to date there have been no good studies. Well of course not. Who would pay for one besides the makers. I need no study. My son is proof enough. That so many brain damaged children are subjected to the vicious cycles of MSG poisoning through enteral formulas followed by massive doses of antiepiletics makes me sick and angry. Thank you sir. You have helped a child regain his life. (Source: SeizureLetter_12.13.07)

Subj: Wow! I just discovered your website

Hey, I just discovered your website, and first, I want to say thank you.

I have been treated by 3 different neurologists for seizures, and I am currently taking three medications but still having problems. Many prayers have been prayed for an answer, and finally it seems that there may be one- MSG could be the cause of all this! So I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you for the work you do on this website! You are truly a God-send!

Since I want to get started on cutting out any food or drinks that contain MSG, I've been taking notes from your website. However, thinking about all the foods that contain this poison, I'm wondering if you could possibly make a sample meal plan for a week? If so, it would be greatly appreciated.

I would also like to know if there are going to be any organized efforts to campaign to government, or what individuals can do on their own to make change in their communities.

Your website is well-organized, scholarly, and helpful- keep up the good work!


Subj: MSG

My 17 year old son suffers from Type I Diabetes. For the past year or so, he has been suffering from petit mal seizures. We thought it had something to do with his Diabetes. This past Memorial Day weekend, as usual, we had stocked up on Diet Sodas. Then, to unknowingly make matters worse, we ate at a Chinese Restaurant on Memorial Day. Our son's seizures increased drastically! We had to drive him home from school on Tuesday, inasmuch as we did not trust that he would be able to drive without having a seizure.

The doctor was stymied. All Matt's bloodwork and MRI came back normal. We had an appt. w/a neurologist, until I discovered your website. We have eliminated, as much as possible, the MSG, and absolutely have eliminated all aspartame from his diet. What concerns me now is the 'hidden' names for MSG. My son is obviously acutely sensitive to it and I really need to eliminate it from our lives completely! He no longer is having seizures, but he still is getting pretty intense headaches each day, which tells me we are somehow still serving him MSG-laced food. Will you please be able to send me an up-to-date list of alternative names for MSG/and products that are blatantly using it. I'm in the mood for a good letter writing campaign!!

Your website was a God-send...I have spread the word like wildfire and will continue doing so.

Subj: write a book please

I wish you would write a book about your experience with msg. I discovered your website at the beginning of this month and by October 4th , I stopped taking all the weird supplements and ordered Dr. Blaylock's book. I went from having a seizure every day, to one every other day and felt much better, no headaches or nothing. Saturday i went to Walmart and bought the magnesium. Now it's been 3 days and no seizure, last night applied for a job ... online and once I get my new bridge ( Sept. had a grand mal seizure and fell on my face so I broke my bridge) and have my pretty smile again, my job search will expand. I will be sending you a copy of my first check and will make a contribution to your cause as soon as I start working. God bless you.

40. Goodman LS, Swinyard EA, Toman JEP. Effects of L-glutamic acid and other agents on experimental seizures. Arch Neurol & Psychiat 56: 20-29, 1946.

41. Waelsch H, Price JC. Biochemical aspects of glutamic acid therapy for epilepsy. Arch Neurol Psychiat 51: 393, 1944.

42. Price JC, Waelsch H, Putnam TJ. DL-glutamic acid hydrochloride in treatment of petit mal and psychomotor seizure. J Am Med Assoc 122: 1153-1156, 1943.

43. Pond EA, Pond MH. Glutamic acid and its salts in petit mal epilepsy. J Mental Sci 97: 663, 1951.

114. Bhagavan HN, Coursin DB, Stewart CN. Monosodium glutamate induces convulsive disorders in rats. Nature(London) 232: 275-276, 1971.

115. Johnston GAR. Convulsions induced in 10-day-old rats by intraperitoneal injection of monosodium glutamate and related excitant amino acids. Biochem Pharmacol 22: 137-140, 1973.

116. Mushahwar IK, Koeppe RE. The toxicity of monosodium glutamate in young rats. Biochem Biophys Acta 244: 318-321, 1971.

117. Nemeroff CB, Crisley FD. Lack of protection by pyridoxine or hydrazine pretreatment against monosodium glutamate induced seizures. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 3: 927-929, 1975.

118. Nemeroff CB, Crisley FD. Monosodium L-glutamate induced convulsions: temporary alteration in blood-brain barrier permeability to plasma proteins. Environ Physiol Biochem 5: 389-395, 1975.

119. Wiechert P, Gollinitz G. Metabolic investigations of epileptic seizures: the activity of the glutamate decarboxylase prior to and during experimentally produced convulsions. J Neurochem 15: 1265-1270, 1968. (Abstract)

120. Wiechert P, Herbst A. Provocation of cerebral seizures by derangement of the natural balance between glutamic acid and y-aminobutyric acid. J Neurochem 13: 59-64, 1966.

121. Wiechert P, Gollnitz G. Metabolic investigations of epileptic seizures: investigations of glutamate metabolism in regions of the dog brain in preconvulsive states. J Neurochem 17: 137-147, 1970. (Abstract)

122. López-Pérez SJ,Ureña-Guerrero ME, Morales-Villagrán A. Monosodium glutamate neonatal treatment as a seizure and excitotoxic model. Brain Res. 2010 Mar 4;1317:246-56. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

123. Pierce LM, Van Twyver H. Effects of monosodium glutamate. Psychol Rep. 1978 Oct;43(2):462.

124. Seress L. Divergent effects of acute and chronic monosodium L-glutamate treatment on the anterior and posterior parts of the arcuate nucleus. Neuroscience. 1982;7(9):2207-16.

125. Arauz-Contreras J, Feria-Velasco A. Monosodium-L-glutamate-induced convulsions--I. Differences in seizure pattern and duration of effect as a function of age in rats. Gen Pharmacol. 984;15(5):391-5.

Convulsive activity in 3, 10, 60 and 180-day old Sprague-Dawley rats was studied following the i.p. administration of 4 mg g-1 of commercial MSG. The latency period increased with the age of the animals while the duration of the convulsive period was longer in younger animals and shorter in 60-day old rats. Convulsions were predominantly tonic in 3 and 10-day old rats, tonic-clonic in 60-day old rats, and predominantly clonic in 180-day old animals. The severity of the convulsions and death incidence increased progressively with age. Animals injected either with sodium chloride equimolar to MSG or physiological saline solution showed no convulsive activity. The effects of MSG without trace metals were no different from those produced by commercial MSG.
126. Beas-Zárate C, Schliebs R, Morales-Villagran A, Feria-Velasco A. Monosodium L-glutamate-induced convulsions: changes in uptake and release of catecholamines in cerebral cortex and caudate nucleus of adult rats. Epilepsy Res. 1989 Jul-Aug;4(1):20-7.
Adult rats (60 days old) were injected intraperitoneally with 5 mg/g monosodium L-glutamate (MSG). During the convulsive period (1 h after injection), uptake and release of [3H]norepinephrine (3H-NE) and [14C]dopamine (14C-DA) were measured in a crude synaptosomal fraction and in slices of cerebral cortex and caudate nucleus, respectively. A significant reduction of 3H-NE uptake was detected in cortical slices (by 42%) and in synaptosomal fraction (by 33%) of rats treated with MSG, whereas K+- stimulated 3H-NE release was decreased by 32% and 39% in brain slices and in a synaptosomal fraction of cerebral cortex, respectively, in comparison with animals injected with 0.9% NaCl aqueous solution (PSS). In the caudate nucleus, 14C-DA uptake was increased by 100% in brain slices and by 36% in the synaptosomal fraction following MSG administration, whereas K+- stimulated 14C-DA release was enhanced by 80% in slices and by 25% in synaptosomes as compared to PSS-injected rats. Data suggest that catecholaminergic neurotransmission may play an important role in the etiopathology of convulsions in the experimental model using MSG.
200. Reif-Lehrer L, Stemmermann MB. Correspondence: Monosodium glutamate intolerance in children. N Engl J Med 293: 1204-1205, 1975.

201. Andermann F, Vanasse M, Wolfe LS. Correspondence: Shuddering attacks in children: essential tremor and monosodium glutamate. N Engl J Med 295: 174, 1975.


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