An interesting tidbit. When we last visited, restaurants in Washington DC that cater to legislators used little, if any, MSG. We know because Jack never ate anywhere without asking.
When Dr. Russell Blaylock came out with his eye-opening book in 1994, “Excitotoxins: the Taste that Kills,” he forecast an ongoing obesity epidemic based on the sheer amount of MSG and other excitotoxins dumped into processed foods and beverages.
Now, almost three decades later he says, “Unfortunately, my prediction has come true. Obesity is now a national epidemic – not just among adults, but also among children, even the very young.”
But the damage caused by our national obesity epidemic didn’t stop with extreme weight gain. It has helped to foster another widespread condition (even called a “pandemic” by some doctors and researchers), known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. This chronic liver condition was a rare occurrence only a few decades ago. Now it’s not only rampant among adults but being diagnosed more and more in kids, some just toddlers.
As the name implies, NAFLD is a buildup of fat in the liver, something that can progress to a life-threatening condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
MSG has the distinction of contributing to NAFLD and NASH is two ways. As Blaylock revealed in Excitotoxins, it had been decisively shown in research that baby mice fed MSG became “grossly obese,” and that their “obesity was very difficult to reverse.” (Today, researchers turn to MSG as a tool to fatten up their lab animals for obesity studies.)
The other way MSG is helping to create this pandemic of liver disease was found in a study showing how low doses of MSG (extremely easy to consume if you eat any kind of processed food), combined with the ever-popular sweetener high fructose corn syrup, “greatly increased the risk” of both liver conditions, Blaylock recently reported.
HFCS, a cheap genetically modified sugar substitute, is extremely toxic to the liver. Study after study has found a significant connection between ingesting all forms of processed fructose and liver damage.
As for MSG and the manufactured free glutamate (MfG) it contains, it not only is a major cause of obesity that leads to NAFLD, but has been linked to numerous other conditions including many incapacitating neurological disorders.
Ironically, many processed foods labeled as “low-cal,” which are pitched to those hoping to lose weight, contain the worst additives when it comes to weight loss, as well as liver health. For example, HFCS-90, with a whopping 90 percent fructose, is often added to diet dishes, as only a small amount is needed for sweetening. And since lower-calorie processed foods are typically made from cheap, tasteless ingredients, MSG and other forms of MfG are added liberally.
While Dr. Blaylock has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the toxic nature of MSG and other excitotoxins — warning for decades about the dangers of consuming them – unfortunately, you still don’t have to look very hard to find them in our food supply.
But perhaps as even more children sadly fall victim to suffering the consequences of the widespread use of such additives, more people will join those already demanding change in how processed foods are made and regulated.
Although yeast ingredients are popularly used to replace the flavor enhancer called monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast does not contain any MSG. But don’t stop reading yet!
Yeast DOES contain the same toxic amino acid that’s found in MSG — excitotoxic glutamic acid. That’s why Big Food loves yeast so much. They can add as much of this noxious flavor enhancer as they want and not be required to mention MSG on the label despite what these two additives have in common.
A recent yeast industry (yes, there’s a yeast industry) market report tells some of the secrets of why it’s so popular.
“By product type, the global yeast ingredients market can be categorized into yeast extract, yeast autolysates, dry yeast, yeast flavor, and ‘others’. The yeast extracts market is high, as yeast extracts act as a replacement for monosodium glutamate, and consumers highly inclined towards natural ingredients and health concerns. Yeast extracts also offer a unique aromatic taste, which is important in low-salt-content foodstuffs…” Zenit News: “Yeast and yeast ingredients market 2020 research reports, industry size, in-depth qualitative insights, explosive growth opportunity, regional analysis by 360 market updates”
To understand the toxicity of yeast extract, you have first to understand the basics of toxic glutamate found in food.
Glutamate must be free to be harmful, meaning it can’t exist as part of a protein. And toxic free glutamate found in food will always have been manufactured.
You can make/produce free glutamate (glutamate outside of protein) using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria. Feed the bacteria on some starchy stuff like sugar, and they secrete glutamate through their cell walls. That’s pretty much how the glutamate in MSG is made in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa.
You can also free glutamate from protein. Begin with something that contains protein — almost any meat, grain, diary product, fruit or vegetable will contain at least some small amount of glutamate. Then, choose your method: 1) extract glutamate from protein, 2) use hydrolysis, autolysis, enzymes, acids or fermentation to break protein into individual amino acids (which would include glutamate), or apply high heat to protein.
All glutamate made/produced by man plus that which has been fermented contains D-glutamate, pyroglutamate and other unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities which industry has been unable to remove) as well as the desired L-glutamate. In contrast, the glutamate in unadulterated fruits, grains, vegetables, and in the human body, which wouldn’t be manufactured, is L-glutamate only.
To be toxic, free glutamate has to 1) be present in excess – more than the healthy body needs for normal body function, or 2) act as a neurotransmitter, overstimulating and damaging glutamate receptors for some weak area in an individual’s body, the heart, lungs, or stomach for example.
Yeast extract contains toxic free glutamate
Yeast extract contributes to accumulation of toxic free glutamate in two ways. First, yeast extract itself will contain toxic free glutamate. Moreover, yeast and yeast extract can also interact with other ingredients, causing the protein in those other ingredients to break down and release glutamate.
The way that the yeast extract is produced will vary from one manufacturer to another, but all break the protein found in yeast into free amino acids – one of which will be glutamate. Following are various descriptions of how that’s done:
1: Food Navigator-asia.com: https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/09/25/Clean-label-less-sodium-and-vegan-Yeast-extract-specialist-company-Angel-Yeast-names-three-mega-trends-driving-the-industry#
“Angel Yeast’s yeast extract products are obtained from molasses-cultured yeast, which are autolyzed to obtain the extract and made into pastes or powders.”
2: European Association for Specialty Yeast Products:
“Yeast extract is … made from natural bakers’ or brewers’ yeast. First sugar is added so that the yeast can multiply. Then enzymes in the yeast break down the proteins present in the yeast into smaller components and make the cell walls permeable. Finally the components present in the yeast cell – the yeast extract – are separated from the surrounding wall and dried.”
3: Biospringer: https://biospringer.com/en/explore-yeast-extract/yeast-extract/production-process/
“Yeast is a microscopic unicellular fungus that has been living on Earth for millions of years. Like any other cell, yeast is made of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals gathered within the cell walls.”
“Yeast extract is simply the yeast content without the cell wall, making it a natural origin ingredient. Its production consists of 3 main steps:
Breaking of the yeast cell (also known as autolysis)
4: By Elea Carey for Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-yeast-extract-bad-for-me#1
“There are two kinds of yeast extract, autolyzed and hydrolyzed. In both, the cell walls are discarded and the contents of the cell are combined. In autolyzed yeast, the enzymes found in the yeast itself are used to break down the proteins. In hydrolyzed yeast, these enzymes are added to the yeast.”
Does yeast extract contain enough free glutamate to cause brain damage or adverse reactions?
If yeast extract was the only source of free glutamate ingested, toxicity would depend on the amount of free glutamate in the particular product ingested, and the sensitivity of the person ingesting it. There are glutamate-sensitive people who react to yeast extract.
But in real life one helping of yeast extract isn’t going to be ingested in isolation. Combined with other sources of glutamate in the diet, yeast extract increases the likelihood of brain damage and adverse reactions.
It’s obvious that your PR campaign is working really well when you can influence the Merriam-Webster dictionary to modify the definition of a long-used word.
Such is the case with “savory,” a respectable word meaning pleasant or having high moral standards. In a food sense, savory can be two types of aromatic mints as well as a tasty food that is “spicy or salty but not sweet.” And that’s how savory was defined for a very long time, its first known use being in the 13th century.
But at some point in 2019, as confirmed by the Internet archive way-back machine, Merriam-Webster added additional meanings that include none other than the all-time favorite word of the glutamate industry – umami – now defining savory as the “…taste sensation of umami” and the “taste sensation that is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides (such as glutamate and aspartate)…” (For more on “umami” check out our blog “Umami: the con of the decade?” here).
Savory is also utilized in what’s called the “savory market,” not surprisingly consisting of ingredients that all contain excitotoxic, brain damaging, free glutamic acid, such as: yeast extracts, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, hydrolyzed animal proteins, monosodium glutamate, and nucleotides.
And that “savory market,” according to a new research report is booming. Of interest, included in that report are references to not just people food, but pet food as well. That makes careful label reading an important part of buying food for all members of your family.
Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s new book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment, dissects the truth about glyphosate, a toxic chemical incorporated into hundreds of weed-killing formulations – the most widely known being Roundup.
Seneff, a senior research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, documents the case against glyphosate, that she describes as a chemical that can deliver the “slow kill” as it gradually accumulates in your tissues and over time becomes the catalyst for some “horrible diseases.”
Seneff connects use of the herbicide with a long list of illnesses and conditions including kidney and liver disease, diabetes, multiple types of cancers, urinary tract infections, antibiotic resistance, mineral deficiencies, and the destruction of our beneficial gut bacteria leading to immune-system malfunctions.
If you follow the Truth in Labeling Campaign blogs or have visited our website, you know that we have lots of information on glutamate: How protein (meat, chicken, fish, milk, etc.) contains bound glutamate along with other amino acids that, when normally digested, are vital for normal body function. How manufactured “free” glutamate (MfG) which is found in monosodium glutamate (MSG) and dozens of other food additives, differs from the glutamate found in nature. And how, when glutamate is present in the body in excess, it causes brain damage.
Seneff, however, describes a new dimension of danger.
She links glyphosate exposure to glutamate neurotoxicity, noting that the weedkiller interferes with the mechanisms that prevent excess – brain damaging — glutamate from accumulating. As told in Toxic Legacy, “Roundup increased the amount of glutamate released into the synapse (the point of communication) by neurons. It also interfered with the ability of brain cells to clear glutamate from the synapses by converting glutamate to glutamine.”
Seneff describes the normal cycle of glutamate production and clearance, an amazingly complex system that depends on the trace mineral manganese to prevent the accumulation of excess – brain damaging — glutamate. And manganese “can be chelated by glyphosate, making it unavailable.”
As Seneff says, “There is no question that glyphosate disrupts glutamate.”
Seneff also makes it clear that excess glutamate “is a known factor in several neurological disorders, including depression. Abnormally high levels of glutamate lead to excessive oxidative stress in the brain, causing neuronal damage, particularly in the hippocampus.”
But avoiding glyphosate, like avoiding MfG, is a challenge.
Glyphosate-based herbicides, which are totally unregulated and available just about anywhere, are sprayed in back yards, driveways and parks. They are also doused on hundreds of millions of acres of genetically modified crops, such as corn, cotton and soy, and are sprayed on non-organic wheat, barley and oats to speed up drying. Despite the fact that glyphosate is considered a “probable” human carcinogen by the World Health Organization and currently the subject of thousands of lawsuits over its role in causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers, it sells like water in the desert.
MfG found in MSG, yeast extract, hydrolyzed proteins and dozens of other flavor enhancers as well as protein substitutes, shows up in processed foods from soup to nuts. In addition, the latest big sellers, plant-based protein foods, are typically loaded with MfG. The Impossible Burger, for example, contains six potentially brain-damaging ingredients that include soy-protein concentrate, natural flavors and yeast extract.
Despite the pervasive nature of both glyphosate and free glutamate, there are still some steps you can take to avoid these toxins as much as possible.
- If you can’t implement a totally organic lifestyle, always shop organic for the Big Five GMO foods: Corn, canola, sugar beets, soy and cotton (cottonseed oil is used in conventional nuts and chips, while canola is used in just about everything, as is corn and soy);
- Buy organic dairy as well, since genetically modified alfalfa is extensively fed to dairy cows;
- Whenever possible, buy organic versions of any products containing oats, wheat and beans, which don’t have to be genetically modified to be sprayed with glyphosate as a drying agent shortly before harvest.
- When outside, steer clear of areas that have had pesticides applied, sometimes indicated by a white flag.
Manufactured free glutamate (MfG):
- Make it a habit to avoid processed foods, especially ones that say “No MSG added” on the label;
- Download our brochure listing the names of ingredients containing MfG;
- Avoid mock meat, fake fish or other faux foods.
Even without the helping hand of glyphosate, MfG is associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, MS, stroke, ALS, autism, schizophrenia, depression and many other neurological conditions. Remember, the brain you save may be your own.
The Truth about Gelatin originally appeared in Earth Clinic a top-rated alternative health website that features in-depth information and videos about holistic treatments (for both people and pets), home remedies and effective health-boosting uses for numerous everyday products ranging from coconut oil to hydrogen peroxide.
By Adrienne Samuels
You’re likely to run into gelatin in some surprising places. While it’s commonly found in foods such as gelatin desserts (think Jell-O), aspic, marshmallows, gummy candies, vitamins, and other supplements (including pill capsules), it can also turn up used as a binder in yogurt, ice cream, cream cheese and anywhere a food manufacturer wants to create a good “mouthfeel” for their product.
But like sausages, nobody wants to see how gelatin is made.
Most of the gelatin found in food and supplements comes from heat-degraded collagen derived from pigs and cows. It’s an ugly process that completes the cruel loop of factory farming by taking bone, stripped skin, and connective tissue from slaughterhouses and processing them (through acid, heat, and grinding) into an innocuous-looking, tasteless powder.
There’s nothing in that bouncy gelatin dessert or a smiling gummy bear that will give a hint of the cruelty involved in its creation. But ethical concerns aside, there’s much more not to like about gelatin.
The Gelatin – MSG Connection
Although it might seem that a marshmallow Peep has nothing in common with a shaker of the MSG flavor-enhancer Accent, they are actually related as both contain manufactured free glutamate.
Just as drugs have side effects, manufactured free glutamate has side effects such as irritable bowel, headache, heart irregularities, and skin rash. In addition, manufactured free glutamate is an excitotoxin: a neurologically active compound that in high concentrations has detrimental excitatory effects on the central nervous system and may cause injury to nerve cells.
Manufactured free glutamate is created in food ingredients when protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids. One of those amino acids will always be free glutamate. It is also mass-produced using genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamate through their cell walls.
In the case of gelatin, the Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology states that glutamic acid (a.k.a. glutamate) which makes up around 10 percent of gelatin, isn’t the only neurotoxic component released during the manufacturing process. Aspartic acid, another brain-damaging amino acid is also present at a level of around 6 percent. Both sources will cause the same adverse reactions in people, and according to experts like Dr. John Olney, both glutamic and aspartic acid will combine to produce a toxic double-whammy.
Might you have a noticeable reaction to a gelatin product? That would depend on your individual sensitivity as well as the amount of manufactured free glutamate you consume in foods along with the gelatin. And your sensitivity is something that can change with age, illness, if you suffer a head injury, or consume a large amount of manufactured free glutamate.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Look at any gelatin-containing product in the store and you won’t see any mention whatsoever of glutamic acid, aspartic acid (or pigskin and tendons being bathed in acid for that matter). But beyond packaging, which fails to disclose important information about the possible toxic effects of gelatin, are the lies circulated by Big Food to convince you to buy their products.
You’ll hear that manufactured free glutamate is “naturally occurring,” has been extensively studied and found to be “safe,” and the biggest whopper of all — that the glutamate in the human body is exactly the same as what you’ll find in foods such as gelatin. The real story is that all manufactured free glutamate contains impurities that are unavoidable by-products of the manufacturing process.
But what about “kosher” or even “vegetarian” gelatin, are those better choices?
A Fishy Proposition
Kosher gelatin can be derived from either fish or cows certified as kosher and killed in a specific manner. Since kosher rules prohibit the combining of meat and dairy, if you notice kosher gelatin in a dairy product, it’s probably fish-derived.
Fish byproducts such as skin, scales and bones contain high amounts of collagen, and the processing will release neurotoxic free glutamate just as with gelatin from cows or pigs. Published research out of Indonesia has found free glutamic acid amounts in fishbone gelatin ranging from a low of over seven percent to a high of over 10 percent, with aspartic acid going from a low of close to five percent to a high of 6.5 percent, depending on the type of fish.
As far as veggie gelatin goes, it too has issues.
Produced from processed algae and seaweed (a marine algae), vegetarian gelatins are derived from rich sources of certain amino acids that will also contain significant amounts of free glutamate and aspartic acid after processing.
If gelatin is something you’ve decided to avoid, it pays to read the ingredient labels of all processed foods and supplements thoroughly, as well as pharmaceuticals (including OTC drugs). And while you won’t be able to determine if the gelatin came from pigs, cows, or fish, the name gelatin is required to be listed on the packaging.
The Free Dictionary: https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/excitotoxin (accessed 5/4/21)
Amino acid and proximate composition of fish bone gelatin from different warm-water species: A comparative study.
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/58/1/012008 (accessed 5/4/21)