Excitotoxins in processed food: The best guarded secret of the food and drug industries

Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which nerve cells are damaged or killed by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters such as glutamic acid (glutamate).

In 1969 when researcher Dr. John Olney of Washington University in St. Louis observed that process in his laboratory, it should have resulted in sweeping changes in how food additives are regulated. 

He noted that glutamate fed as monosodium glutamate (MSG) to laboratory animals killed brain cells and subsequently caused gross obesity, reproductive dysfunction, and behavior abnormalities.

Before that, the world knew nothing of what Dr. Olney had dubbed “excitotoxins.” And after Olney’s discovery, the existence of free excitotoxic amino acids present in food became the best-guarded secret of the food and drug industries.

Today, excitotoxins present in food remain largely ignored or unknown, mostly because the rich and powerful food and pharmaceutical industries want it that way. A great deal of food industry profit depends on using excitotoxins to “enhance” the taste of cheaply made food. And a great deal of pharmaceutical industry profit depends on selling drugs to “cure” the diseases and disabilities caused by the excitotoxins in the food supply.

What are excitotoxins?

Excitotoxins are always amino acids, but not all amino acids are excitotoxins. The amino acid with the greatest excitotoxic footprint is glutamate. When present in protein or released from protein in a regulated fashion (through routine digestion), glutamate is vital to normal body function. It is the major neurotransmitter in humans, carrying nerve impulses from glutamate stimuli to glutamate receptors throughout the body. Yet, when present outside of protein in amounts that exceed what the healthy human body was designed to accommodate (which can vary widely from person to person), glutamate becomes an excitotoxic neurotransmitter, firing repeatedly, damaging targeted glutamate-receptors and/or causing neuronal and non-neuronal death by over exciting those glutamate receptors until their host cells die.

Technically speaking, neurotransmitters that over-stimulate their receptors to the point of killing the cells that host them are called excitotoxic neurotransmitters, and the resulting condition is referred to as excitotoxicity. Glutamate excitotoxicity is the process that underlies the damage done by MSG and the other ingredients that contain processed free glutamic acid (MfG). 

Glutamate is called a non-essential amino acid because if the body does not have sufficient quantities to function normally, any needed glutamate can be produced from other amino acids. So, there is no need to add glutamate to the human diet. The excitotoxins in MSG and other ingredients that contain MfG are not needed for nutritional purposes. MSG and many other ingredients have been designed to enhance the taste of cheaply made food for the sole purpose of lining the pockets of those who manufacture and sell them.

Glutamate neurotransmitters trigger glutamate receptors both in the central nervous system and in peripheral tissue (heart, lungs, and intestines, for example). After stimulating glutamate receptors, glutamate neurotransmitters may do no damage and simply fade away, so to speak, or they may damage the cells that their receptors cling to, or overexcite their receptors until the cells that host them die.

There’s another possibility. There are a great many glutamate receptors in the brain, so it’s possible that if a few are damaged or wiped out following ingestion of MfG, their loss may not be noticed because there are so many undamaged ones remaining. It is also possible that individuals differ in the numbers of glutamate receptors that they have. If so, people with more glutamate receptors to begin with are less likely to feel the effects of brain damage following ingestion of MfG because even after some cells are killed or damaged, there will still be sufficient numbers of undamaged cells to carry out normal body functions.

That might account for the fact that some people are more sensitive to MfG than others.

Less is known about glutamate receptors outside the brain – in the heart, stomach, and lungs, for example. It would make sense (although that doesn’t make it true) that cells serving a particular function would be grouped together. It would also seem logical that in each location there would be fewer glutamate receptors siting on host cells than found in the brain, and for some individuals there might be so few cells with glutamate receptors to begin with, that ingestion of even small amounts of MfG might trigger asthma, atrial fibrillation, or irritable bowel disease; while persons with more cells hosting glutamate receptors would not notice damage or loss.

Short-term effects of excitotoxic glutamate (such as asthma and migraine headache) have long been obvious to those not influenced by the rhetoric of the glutamate industry and their friends at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hopefully, researchers will soon begin to correlate the adverse effects of glutamate ingestion with endocrine disturbances such as reproductive disorders and gross obesity. It is well known that glutamate plays an important role in some mental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, but the fact that ingestion of excitotoxic glutamate might contribute to existing pools of free glutamate that could become excitotoxic, still needs to be considered. Finally, a few have begun to realize the importance of glutamate’s access to the human body through the mouth, nose and skin.

There are three excitotoxic amino acids used in quantity in food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, protein drinks and powders, and dietary supplements:

1) Glutamic acid — found in flavor enhancers, infant formula, enteral care products for invalids, protein powders, processed foods, anything that is hydrolyzed, and some pesticides/fertilizers.

2) Aspartic acid — found in low-calorie sweeteners, aspartame and its aliases, infant formula, protein powders, anything that is hydrolyzed, and

3) L-cysteine — found in dough conditioners.

According to Dr. Edward Group, the six most dangerous excitotoxins are: MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartate, domoic acid, L-BOAA, cysteine, and casein.

Resources

Dr. Edward Group The 6 Most Dangerous Excitotoxins. Global Healing Center.  (accessed 8/20/2016)

Blaylock RL. Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Health Press; 1994.

Olney JW. Brain Lesions, Obesity, and Other Disturbances in Mice Treated with Monosodium Glutamate; Science. 1969;164:719-21.  

Olney JW, Ho OL. Brain damage in infant mice following oral intake of glutamate, aspartate or cystine. Nature. 1970;227:609-611.

Olney, J.W. Excitatory neurotoxins as food additives: an evaluation of risk. Neurotoxicology 2: 163-192, 1980.

Olney JW. Excitotoxins in foods. Neurotoxicology. 1994 Fall;15(3):535-44.

Gudiño-Cabrera G, Ureña-Guerrero ME, Rivera-Cervantes MC, Feria-Velasco AI, Beas-Zárate C. Excitotoxicity triggered by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment and blood-brain barrier function. Arch Med Res. 2014 Nov;45(8):653-9.

Verywellhealth.com.  An Overview of Cell Receptors and How They Work https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-a-receptor-on-a-cell-562554   (Accessed 5/5/2019)

Why you and not me? Why me and not you?

“Everyone’s different.” How many times have you heard that when investigating the cause of your MSG-sensitivity?  Perhaps it has to do with genetics. But others in your family aren’t affected. Why you?

Vulnerability

Everyone is sensitive to monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the manufactured free glutamic acid (MfG) in MSG if they get enough of it. To be toxic, it must either target glutamate receptors that have become weakened or vulnerable to its attack, or be in such strong concentrations that no glutamate receptor can resist it. 

Vulnerability may be caused by:

  • Brain cells that are unprotected by a blood-brain barrier (BBB)
  • Preexisting brain damage or damage to the BBB, possibly from a stroke, a blow to the head, or previously consuming a large quantity of MfG at one sitting
  • Preexisting damage done to cells that host glutamate receptors – making them vulnerable. In asthmatics, for example, certain cells in the lungs may have previously become vulnerable.
  • Eating enough MfG at one sitting to trigger glutamate receptors on vulnerable cells; or eating enough to trigger glutamate receptors on cells that had not previously been damaged
  • Accumulating stores of glutamate In the body

When you react to glutamate, you’re reacting to excess free glutamate. Of course, what is an excess for you will not necessarily be excess for me. While excess might be defined as “more than is needed for normal body function,” that doesn’t seem to be the case with glutamate-sensitivity. Rather, excess seems to be related to any amount of glutamate that will damage or kill your vulnerable glutamate receptors. (And as a side note, glutamate is classified as a non-essential amino acid, meaning that there is no need for a human to ingest glutamate as the body will produce what it needs from other available amino acids).

Understanding glutamate receptors

Glutamate receptors receive the glutamate sent to them by glutamate neurotransmitters. Although glutamic acid (glutamate) is essential to normal body function, when present in excess outside of intact protein it becomes excitotoxic, firing repeatedly and causing cell death and/or damage to targeted cells.

If cells are protected from excess glutamate, as the brain may be protected at least in part by a robust BBB, a little excess glutamate sent their way may not harm them. But if the BBB can’t do its job, targeted cells die. Outside of the brain and central nervous system, glutamate-receptors may have no protective shield from excitotoxins at all.

Relatively recently, researchers discovered glutamate-receptors outside the brain and central nervous system.  These include, but are not limited to peripheral receptors in the stomach, heart, lungs, kidney, liver, immune system, spleen, and testis. And cells associated with each may be damaged or killed if glutamate sent from glutamate neurotransmitters reaches them. It’s possible that these peripheral receptors may have some type of protection system, but if so, scientists have not yet identified it.

Years ago we had thought it remarkable that glutamate-toxicity worked through the brain – since glutamate could produce an immediate migraine headache. Glutamate eaten – brain triggered – headache happened within seconds. Today we know that glutamate can move directly to peripheral receptors without traveling through the brain.

It appears that cells that host glutamate receptors can be damaged if exposed to a little glutamate, but not enough to kill them outright. There might be times when one ingests enough MfG to damage a cell, but not enough to kill it, or damage some of the cells in a group that control a particular function but not enough to knock out all of them. Ingest more glutamate on a second occasion, however, and those cells may die. Some MfG-sensitive people report that they can knowingly ingest MfG in a favorite food on one occasion without noticing a reaction, but react when that same food is consumed several days in a row.

What would make your glutamate-receptors more vulnerable?

One reason, of course, is damage to the BBB. We know that lack of blood-brain barrier development in the fetus and infant make them extremely vulnerable to exposure to MfG passed through their mothers’ diets.

Damage done to the BBBs of mature humans through use of drugs, from seizures, stroke, head trauma, hypoglycemia, hypertension, extreme physical stress, high fever, and the normal process of aging, can render them more vulnerable than others.

Individual sensitivity may also be related to the integrity of cells or groups of cells that control a particular function. A person who has experienced heart problems might very well be predisposed to having glutamate receptors in the heart vulnerable to insult by glutamate. A person with asthma, is likely predisposed to having an asthma attack after consuming glutamate.

Reports from consumers tell us that intensity or severity of reactions appear to be affected by alcohol ingestion and/or exercise just prior to, or immediately following MSG ingestion, and some women report variations in their reactions at different times in their menstrual cycles. 

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.  And if you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, we’ll put them up on Facebook.  You can also reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling

PROPAGANDA 101: The 8 ingredients in cutting edge propaganda

Monosodium glutamate contains manufactured free glutamic acid (glutamate), a free amino acid that can kill brain cells, disrupt the endocrine system, and cause adverse reactions such as migraine headache, asthma, a-fib, tachycardia, and seizures.

The first data pertaining to toxicity of manufactured/processed free glutamate (MfG) can be found in studies going back to the 1940s, with the first ones related to glutamate-induced retinal degeneration dating from the 1950s. The first research to rock the boat for Ajinomoto, Inc. (the world’s largest producer of MSG), came from John Olney’s study “Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate,” shown to Ajinomoto in 1968, and published in 1969 in Science.

The 1969 report of brain damage was followed by five decades of research where it was demonstrated repeatedly that ingestion of MfG will cause brain damage, endocrine disorders, and observable adverse reactions; that free glutamate accumulated in inter-cellular spaces in the brain will cause brain damage; and that accumulations of free glutamate are associated with abnormalities such as addiction, stroke, epilepsy, degenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease, for example), brain trauma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression, jointly referred to as the “glutamate cascade.”

Data that confirm that free glutamate, monosodium glutamate, and hydrolyzed proteins cause brain damage and neuroendocrine disorders can be accessed at the Truth in Labeling website.

Discussion of flawed glutamate-industry studies can also be found at the TLC site. The story of glutamate-industry suppression of data, “The toxicity/safety of processed free glutamic acid (MSG): A study in suppression of information,” published in 1999 in Accountability in Research, can be read online by clicking here.

Since 1968, the glutamate industry has vigorously denied monosodium glutamate toxicity. Their use of scientists-for-hire, rigged research, infiltration of government agencies, control of major media, and a propaganda campaign second to none, has paid off for them as witnessed by the fact that so many are buying into the fiction that the toxicity of monosodium glutamate, and the toxicity of its glutamic acid are controversial.

On January 28, 2019, the SciShow on YouTube, hosted by Stefan Chin, gave us one of the finest examples of glutamate-industry propaganda seen to date, designed to convince its audience that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive. Chin’s recipe for deception is classic. 

Ingredient 1.  Talk fast.  Say positive things about monosodium glutamate. Some of those good things may contradict one another, but it doesn’t matter because the audience will hear a series of confident statements and won’t have time to notice the inconsistencies.  

Ingredient 2.  Acknowledge that research on monosodium glutamate’s “safety” has been found questionable by some.  Don’t make an issue of it, just acknowledge the criticism so no one can say that you ignored critical studies.  Then simply say that science disagrees.  No need to offer evidence.  Just plant the seed that science says monosodium glutamate is safe.

Ingredient 3.  Paint a glowing picture of monosodium glutamate.  Use affirmative words and phrases in your discussion.  Whether they are relevant or not makes no difference.  Whether they make sense or are random phrases does not matter.  Make no mention of any negatives.  Your audience should have positive thoughts and take away positive images of monosodium glutamate.

Some of the phrases, statements, and images that Chin associates with monosodium glutamate include:

“Purified MSG”
“Glutamate-rich”
“MSG is umami in its purest form”
“For love of MSG”
“Savory taste”
“The savory taste that’s taking over the culinary scene”
“A building block of protein”
“Culinary gold”
“Ubiquitous in kitchens”
“Gone global”
“A staple”
“Universal love for MSG”
“Team umami”
“You’ve been team umami from the get-go”
“Love of MSG comes from biology”
“In vertebrates”

While mentioning the positive roles that glutamate plays when not present in amounts needed to produce excitotoxicity, its role as an excitatory neurotransmitter is subtlety mentioned and goosed over.  There is no mention of the fact that this excitatory neurotransmitter kills brain cells, disrupts the endocrine system, causes adverse reactions like migraine headache, seizures, a-fib, tachycardia, asthma and more, and is known to play a role in neurodegenerative diseases including ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, and all the other abnormalities considered to be part of the glutamate cascade.

Ingredient 4. Once the picture has been drawn and the scene has been set, begin to twist the truth in a fashion that isn’t obvious.  Chin starts by pairing the terms monosodium glutamate and umami, glutamate and umami, and glutamate and monosodium glutamate.  Psychologists call this process “conditioning.”  Others might call it “brain washing.”

“Umami” is a word used for centuries by the Japanese to denote a really good taste of something – a taste or flavor that exemplifies the flavor of a food.  Umami is a descriptive term.  It’s an adjective.  It’s not a “thing,” it describes a thing.  Chin builds the case for using the word “umami” as a synonym for “monosodium glutamate.” He also uses “umami” as a synonym for “glutamate,” calling “glutamate receptors” “umami receptors.”  Throughout the balance of his presentation, Chin uses “glutamate,” “monosodium glutamate,” and “umami” almost interchangeably.

From twisting the truth, Chin moves to misrepresentations, half-truth, and blatant lies. 

Ingredient 5. Misrepresentations

To make a “misrepresentation” simply means to state as a fact something which is false or untrue.  To be considered fraudulent, a misrepresentation must be false, and it must be material in the sense that it relates to a matter of some importance or significance rather than a minor or trivial detail.

Ingredient 6. Half-truths.

The legal definition of a “half-truth” is to omit or withhold a statement of fact, knowledge of which is necessary to make other statements not misleading. It would be a material omission if it relates to a matter of some importance or significance rather than a minor or trivial detail.  A material omission is one of the components of fraud.

Ingredient 7.  Blatant lies.   

The following are examples of misrepresentations, half-truths, and lies, taken from Chin’s “The truth about MSG and your health” propaganda piece.  These are common to glutamate-industry propaganda.

“Glutamate is an important building block for protein.  And it also helps nerve cells send signals to other cells in the body.  It’s the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in vertebrates.  Since it’s so important for our bodies…”

OMITTED: Since 1957, and particularly since 1968, there have been growing numbers of studies documenting brain damage, endocrine disorders, and adverse reactions following ingestion of MSG. The glutamate cascade has been implicated in such disease conditions as addiction, stroke, epilepsy, degenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease), brain trauma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.

“Purified MSG wasn’t a thing until 1908” when a Japanese chemist realized that the base made from kombu seaweed in his soup imparted a delicious flavor ….”

MISREPRESENTATION: What is “purified MSG?”  The flavor enhancing component of monosodium glutamate is the L-glutamic acid that was once extracted from protein-rich foods and is now produced in large part by genetically modified bacteria which excrete glutamic acid through their cell walls.  When L-glutamic acid is produced/manufactured by either method, unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities) inevitably accompany the sought-after L-glutamic acid. Two of those impurities are D-glutamic acid and pyroglutamic acid.  Other impurities depend on the source material used in producing the L-glutamic acid and the method of production.  Moreover, to date, efforts to remove the impurities accompanying L-glutamic acid have been unsuccessful.  Which begs the question, what exactly is “purified MSG?”

“Studies have shown that umami functions as a flavor enhancer, creating a harmony between various flavors ….”  “A 2007 study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience….wherein the brain activity map lit up more from the combo of drinks….”

OMITTED: Studies demonstrating that monosodium glutamate and other products that contain processed free glutamic acid cause brain lesions, endocrine disorders, and observable adverse reactions.

“It’s an amino acid that the human body can synthesize glutamate, but that we also get from our food.”

OMITTED: There is no need for humans to ingest glutamate should the body be deficient, because glutamate can be synthesized from other amino acids. 

“While you’ve might have been told that it’s bad for you, or causes the so called Chinese restaurant syndrome, Science disagrees.”

FACT: Independent scientists have either read the scientific literature and concluded that monosodium glutamate kills brain cells, is an endocrine disruptor, and causes adverse reactions, or have no opinion on the subject.  It is only those scientists who are employed by the glutamate industry who maintain that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive.

“MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, the sodium salt of glutamate”

FACT:  Monosodium glutamate is a manufactured ingredient/product.  Glutamate is the sodium salt of glutamic acid.  Monosodium glutamate contains glutamate, the sodium salt of glutamic acid.

“Since it’s so important for our bodies, it’s not surprising we’ve evolved a taste for it.”

MISREPRESENTATION: “evolved a taste for it” as in “evolution?”

FACT:  Certain glutamate receptors on the tongue have been called “umami receptors by Ajinomoto.  As marketing professionals would say, they’ve been given a name and been branded.

“We have umami-specific receptors on or tongues and in our stomachs”

FACT:  There are glutamate receptors throughout the human body.  In 2009, Chaudhari, Pereira, and Roper stated that “Over the past 15 years, several receptors have been proposed to underlie umami detection in taste buds.”

“And these drive our love for foods that contain glutamates”

FACT:  This is so irrelevant it isn’t even a misrepresentation.

“And umami-rich foods have been staples in human diets forever.”

FACT:  Glutamate-rich foods (which would necessarily be protein-rich foods) have been staples in human diets for centuries.  Umami is an adjective that means flavorful or delicious.

“It all started with a 1968 letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.”

FACT: In 1968, the same year that Dr. Ho Man Kwok published his letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine, John Olney, M.D., determined that monosodium glutamate administered to mice caused brain damage and endocrine disruption. Olney reached out to Ajinomoto U.S.A., Inc. to discuss his findings.  In response, Ajinomoto established a nonprofit corporation, recruited scientists and others to defend the safety of its product, and unleashed a powerful public relations campaign.  Ajinomoto’s researchers claimed to be replicating the animal work of Olney and others who found monosodium glutamate-induced toxicity, but their researchers did not actually replicate. Although it had been established that brain lesions could not be identified if examination was not done within 24 hours after insult, glutamate-industry researchers routinely examined the brains of test animals after 24 hours had elapsed. They also used inappropriate methods and materials for staining the material they were examining.

In the 1980s, human double-blind studies were undertaken, from which glutamate-industry researchers would claim they found no adverse effects from ingestion of monosodium glutamate.  For these studies, glutamate-industry researchers used of a variety of techniques virtually guaranteeing negative results — lacing placebos with aspartame being their fail-safe.

“The idea took hold, spurring years of biased science based on the flawed assumption that CRS was a real thing, and that MSG caused it.”

FACT: The idea that monosodium glutamate causes adverse reactions such a migraine headache followed the fact that a great number of people suffered migraines and other abnormalities after eating something containing monosodium glutamate.

FACT: “biased science,” “flawed assumption,” and “flawed assumption that CRS was a real thing” are some of the undefined negative phrases used in glutamate-industry propaganda to paint a negative image of those who challenge the safety of monosodium glutamate.

“Double-blinded placebo controlled studies…have failed to find a reproducible response to ingesting foods with MSG.”

FACT: Glutamate-industry studies have been rigged to “fail to find” responses to ingesting foods with MSG.  For further details look here.

Following recitation of misrepresentations, half-truths, and blatant lies, Chin moved to degrading those who have observed that monosodium glutamate and other ingredients that contain excitotoxic glutamic acid have toxic potential.  The following paragraph was taken from the video.  Emphasis has been added to point to negative references.

“While our love of MSG comes from biology, a lot of people’s aversion to it seems to have roots in something else entirely. Racism.  It all started with a 1968 letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine…. The idea took hold, spurring years of biased science based on the flawed assumption that CRS was a real thing, and that MSG caused it.  Subsequent animal studies seemingly confirmed the idea, but these often consisted of injecting super concentrated doses of MSG directly into creature’s abdomen, which isn’t exactly a scientific approach to determining the effects of MSG sprinkled into saucepans.  More recently research on MSG aversion has taken into account the xenophobia and racism that fueled it.  And over the last 3 decades, a number of double-blinded placebo-controlled studies, including studies of subjects with reported sensitivity to MSG, have failed to find a reproducible response to ingesting foods with MSG.”

Chin’s last sentence is priceless.  Those double-blind placebo-controlled studies were certainly “placebo controlled.”  The placebos used invariably contained excitotoxic aspartame (in aspartame) or another excitotoxic amino acid, making it inevitable that there would be as many reactions to the placebo as there were to the monosodium glutamate test material.  As early as 1978, Ajinomoto’s placebos were being laced with aspartame.

And those “subjects with reported sensitivity to MSG”?  They were college students and/or medical school students who were paid generously to participate in the studies provided that they said they were sensitive to MSG. No one verified that they were actually sensitive to MSG.

Ingredient 8.  Conclude with discussion of some positive thing that the glutamate industry is doing.  Chin tells the audience that “Investigation into the potential health benefits of MSG is ongoing…”

The only ingredient that Chin seems to have failed to include in his recipe for deception was The Whopper — the lie that we aren’t exposed to enough MfG in processed foods to cause us any harm.

The Whopper: the ultimate MSG propaganda

At the Truth in Labeling Campaign website there’s a page called “Six Big Fat Lies.”  That’s where we revealed what we thought were the favorite propaganda tactics of the glutamate-industry. But we failed to tell you about The Whopper, arguably the biggest, most often repeated and most damaging lie of all.

Unwrapping The Whopper

On April 8, I spoke to Dr. Nancy Turner, Professor and Chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University. I had called to ask her how the damage done by Robin Tucker’s statements in MSU’s Serving Up Science: “Umami: The Most Complex Taste” podcast was going to be redressed.

It was following that conversation that the light finally dawned on me. Turner was telling me that humans couldn’t eat enough Manufactured free Glutamic acid (MfG) to cause the brain damage, endocrine disorders, and assorted reactions that the laboratory animals had experienced. That MfG in that quantity wasn’t available. It was then I finally got it. That was the lie that now permeates glutamate-industry propaganda. That was the lie they were using to sell the American public on the notion that MfG is a harmless food additive – and to make money from selling monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeast, maltodextrin, etc.

There will always be Six Big Fat Lies. But all six together can’t hold a candle to the brilliance and the selling power of The Whopper: The lie that we aren’t exposed to enough MfG in processed foods to cause us any harm.

Here’s a little test you can do. Take along a list of the names of ingredients that contain MfG to any store (health-food stores included) and simply read the ingredients listed on the labels of processed foods. I challenge you to find 10 products that don’t contain at least one of the ingredients on that list. And every one of them contains MfG. Think about it. In the course of a day consider how many of those MfG-containing products are in the meals and snacks you enjoy. Include restaurant foods in your tally.

For those who want to get into the science of MfG toxicity consider the following:

An individual’s reaction to MfG depends on both the vulnerability and sensitivity of his or her glutamate receptors. Lack of blood-brain barrier(BBB) development in the unborn (fetus) and the infant make them extremely vulnerable to exposure to MfG passed through their mothers’ diets. Damage done to the BBBs of mature humans through use of drugs, seizures, stroke, trauma to the head, hypoglycemia, hypertension, extreme physical stress, high fever, and the normal process of aging render them more vulnerable than others.

Individual sensitivity may also be related to the integrity of cells or groups of cells that control a particular function. There might well be times when one ingests enough MfG to damage a cell, but not enough to kill it, or damage some of the cells in a group that control a particular function but not enough to knock out all of them. Some MfG-sensitive people report that they can knowingly ingest MfG in a favorite food on one occasion without noticing a reaction, but notice a reaction when that same food is consumed several days in a row.

Reports from consumers tell us that intensity or severity of reactions appear to be affected by alcohol ingestion and/or exercise just prior to, or immediately following MSG ingestion; and some women report variations in their reactions at different times in their menstrual cycles.

The bottom line is that Dr. Turner has no idea whatsoever how much MfG an individual is taking in on a daily basis, nor how sensitive he or she might be at any given time to MfG’s effects. Turner bought into the glutamate-industry line that there isn’t enough MfG available in processed food to cause brain damage and adverse reactions. She’s helping spread The Whopper. And shamefully, she didn’t do the very thing that a Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University must certainly teach her students: “Check it out.”

Be aware. Be informed. Check it out. Don’t buy into The Whopper.

Adrienne

Why is Michigan State University feeding a propaganda campaign that claims monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive?

“Propaganda” was the first thought that entered my mind. Propaganda touting the safety of monosodium glutamate. But from Michigan State University?

“People associated it with some unpleasant symptoms….But scientists really haven’t really been able to reproduce those symptoms reliably.”

Those are words straight from the playbook of the glutamate industry coming as a sound bite from MSU’s public radio station WKAR (and NPR) on its “Serving Up Science” program in a segment titled: “Umami: The Most Complex Taste.”

It’s not unusual for the glutamate industry to place stories with struggling freelance writers or others who need work that can be cited – people who are pleased to take articles or story lines that are handed to them (with or without remuneration), and run with them without checking out their sources or their facts.

It’s not unusual for the glutamate industry to have food scientists who have produced studies allegedly demonstrating the safety of monosodium glutamate write or speak on the safety of their product. But Michigan State Assistant Professor Robin Tucker, quoted above, doesn’t fit the bill. She presents a most impressive bibliography, but there’s nothing that I saw there that even shows an interest in glutamate, monosodium glutamate, or excitotoxins. So where did she get the idea that “people really don’t have much to worry about when it comes to MSG”?

Perhaps I understand how Tucker got involved. She’s on the faculty of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, where, with close to 40 faculty members, she must know many who are Food Technologists, professionals dedicated to creating and improving food products. And of those, no doubt many will belong to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), some of whose members profit from promoting the fiction that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive.

Dr. Tucker may even know Andrew G. Ebert, Ph.D., a highly respected pharmacologist and toxicologist who once served as chairman of Ajinomoto’s International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC). It was Ebert (an IFT Fellow since 1996) who provided aspartame-laced placebos to researchers conducting studies he designed to be used as evidence that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive.

Another IFT member, who might have indirectly influenced Tucker, is Steve Taylor. Taylor is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, and Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska. Taylor became an IFT Fellow in 1986. Although having worked for Ajinomoto for many years, Taylor does not publicly acknowledge their relationship.

What I don’t understand is how NPR could carry the message that “people really don’t have much to worry about when it comes to MSG,” delivered by a person with no expertise in glutamate toxicity.

This past Monday I called Dr. Nancy Turner, Professor and Chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, and left a message asking how the damage done by Robin Tucker’s statements in this broadcast were going to be redressed.

On Wednesday Turner returned my call. I spoke of the data that demonstrate that the free glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate is excitotoxic – that in the unborn and the newborn it kills brain cells, destroys that part of the endocrine system responsible for weight control and human reproduction, and causes adverse reactions such as migraine headache, a-fib, and seizures in older humans.

I spoke of the flawed research of the glutamate industry wherein excitotoxic aspartic acid (in aspartame) was used in the placebos of industry-sponsored double-blind studies. I went so far as to use the word “fraud” in describing the research that claimed to have demonstrated that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive – to which Dr. Turner responded saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and that I was expressing my interpretation of the data.

She further informed me that placebos had to be balanced with test material, and since test material in the studies being discussed contained amino acids, amino acids would appropriately be used in placebos. My statement that the amino acid used in the placebos used in industry-sponsored studies of the safety of monosodium glutamate caused the same reactions as those caused by monosodium glutamate was ignored.

Since I had written to the show’s authors, Sheri Kirshenbaum and Karel Vega, as well as Dr. Tucker when it first appeared and received no response, I tried to communicate with NPR. There I found that the best I could do was put my letter in a box called “submit a correction.”

And so this blog.

There seems to be no shortage of people who don’t read the medical literature and don’t realize that there is an abundance of research that demonstrates that free l-glutamic acid (the manufactured free glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate) is toxic – that it causes brain damage, endocrine disorders (obesity and infertility), a-fib, migraine headache, asthma, seizures and more.

But I shouldn’t have to tell that to the “Serving Up Science” team. Just a few weeks before the umami piece appeared, they published “The Importance of Reputable Sources,” which explained that while it’s easy to get information online, “finding the correct information is a bit harder.”

Perhaps that’s something to keep in mind when using NPR as an authoritative source.

Adrienne

Putting a pothole in the Glutes road to deception

Glutamate-industry people (the Glutes) rack up mileage on the road to deception by ignoring the fact that MSG-sensitive people refer to all of the ingredients that cause brain damage, obesity, infertility, a-fib, seizures, migraine headache and other reactions as “MSG.” 

With the glutes using “MSG” to stand for “monosodium glutamate,” confusion – or worse – is generated.  Take some of their double-blind human studies of the safety of monosodium glutamate.  “MSG” is said to be the test material, with “clean” ingredients used as placebos. However, those placebos may contain hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeasts, maltodextrin, and/or citric acid, all things that cause reactions in MSG-sensitive people. The only thing these placebos won’t contain is monosodium glutamate — the Glutes “MSG.”

The Glutes have done this in the past. And we seem to be the only ones to read their studies closely enough to have noticed. One would think that the FDA would know exactly what they’re doing since the Glutes routinely took the protocols of their studies to the FDA for approval.  One might even be so naïve as to think that the FDA might care.

We thought it would be fun to put some potholes in the Glutes road to deception by creating a new term for consumers to use when talking about the stuff in monosodium glutamate that causes our pain and suffering. We propose to use MSG just as the Glutes do, to stand for monosodium glutamate. But the amino acid that causes all the adverse reactions is Manufactured free Glutamate, what we’re now going to abbreviate and refer to as MfG.

Are you feeding your infant brain-damaging additives?

In 1969 the moms and dads of America were promised by the top three baby-food manufacturers that monosodium glutamate would be taken out of their products.

Sure, the baby food executives whined and complained and told how the public had been “unnecessarily alarmed and confused,” but they had hit a brick wall. Dr. John Olney, a top researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, had recently published data showing that when newborn mice were exposed to the additive, they suffered extensive brain damage and endocrine disorders, and he coined the term “excitotoxin” to describe monosodium glutamate. As the late Dr. Jean Mayer, a highly respected nutritionist who taught at Harvard for 25 years (and went on to be named president of Tufts University), said at the time: “I would take the damn stuff out of baby food.”

But half a century later, that “damn stuff” is still being fed to babies – only now added to infant formula.

A formula for disaster

Asked to report on the use of toxic manufactured free glutamate (MfG) in infant formula, we were appalled by the many articles available online that talked of the pros and cons of using various brands, but never once mentioned the presence of excitotoxins.

While monosodium glutamate may have been removed from those little jars of baby food, the same excitotoxic glutamic acid found in monosodium glutamate, now in ingredients such as whey protein concentrate and soy protein isolate, began appearing in infant formula. One product made by Enfamil shockingly lists among its ingredients monosodium glutamate, advising caregivers that it can be continued on as a “milk substitute in the diet of children.”

There are a variety of ways MfG harms the body. When Olney testified in 1972 before the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, he was attesting to the brain damage and subsequent endocrine disorders caused by the MfG in monosodium glutamate when fed to the very young.

Now, people realize that monosodium glutamate also causes adverse reactions such as asthma, migraine headache, irritable bowel, skin rash, seizures, and heart irregularities.

But along the way to this enlightenment, the link between MfG and brain damage seems to have been forgotten. Perhaps that’s because you can’t see brain damage with the naked eye. There’s no pain, no upset stomach, no itching or wheezing.

And stealthily, the glutamate industry has invested millions of dollars in propaganda intended to reassure the public that monosodium glutamate is merely a harmless food additive.

It’s not that health authorities don’t seem to care what’s in infant formulas. The public has been alerted to various toxic ingredients that have been found in these products over the years, including melamine (a compound used to make plastics) and perchlorate (a chemical found in rocket fuel). In fact, the plastic additive BPA has been banned from baby bottles.

But there’s no warning about excitotoxins.

That’s why if you’re thinking of using – or currently use — infant formula, it’s essential that you read the ingredients. Think carefully about the chemicals that are commonly used in these products and beware of hidden excitotoxins.

In March, 2019, we found the following 10 brands of infant formula listed at Amazon.com and searched out their ingredients. These included:

  • Enfamil,
  • Similac,
  • Earth’s Best,
  • Kirkland Signature
  • Good Start
  • Happy Baby
  • Good Sense
  • Member’s Mark
  • Plum Organics
  • Parent’s Choice

In the following ingredient lists, excitotoxic ingredients are highlighted. Only ones that make up more than 1 or 2 percent of the product are included.

Note: The excitotoxin content of milk depends on whether or not whole milk is used in the milk product. If whole milk is used, the excitotoxin content of the milk depends on the pasteurization process (higher heat for longer time frees more glutamic acid and aspartic acid from the original milk protein). If low fat or non-fat milks are used, there will be excitotoxin in the low fat and non-fat milk because those milks are made from milk powder which contains free glutamic acid and free aspartic acid as unavoidable consequences of manufacture.

Enfamil PREMIUM Infant Formula, Powder

NONFAT MILK, LACTOSE, VEGETABLE OIL (PALM OLEIN, COCONUT, SOY, AND HIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER OILS), WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE

Similac Advance

Nonfat Milk, Lactose, Whey Protein Concentrate, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Soy Oil, Coconut Oil, Galactooligosaccharides…

Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Formula with Iron

Organic Lactose, Organic Nonfat Milk, Organic Oils (Organic Palm or Palm Olein, Organic Soy, Organic Coconut, Organic High Oleic Safflower or Sunflower Oil), Organic Whey Protein Concentrate

Kirkland Signature Infant Formula

Nonfat milk, lactose, whey protein concentrate, high oleic safflower oil, soy oil, coconut oil, galacto-oligosaccharides…

Gerber Good Start non-GMO powder Infant Formula

WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (FROM COW\’S MILK, ENZYMATICALLY HYDROLYZED, REDUCED IN MINERALS), vegetable oils (, PALM OLEIN, SOY, COCONUT, AND , HIGH-OLEIC SAFFLOWER, OR , HIGH-OLEIC SUNFLOWER) , LACTOSE, CORN MALTODEXTRIN

Happy Baby Organic Stage 1 Infant Formula Milk Based Powder with Iron

Organic non-fat milk, organic whey protein concentrate

Good Sense

Corn syrup, non-fat milk, whey protein hydrolysate

Member’s Mark

NONFAT MILK, LACTOSE, VEGETABLE OILS (PALM OLEIN, COCONUT, SOY, HIGH OLEIC [SAFFLOWER OR SUNFLOWER] OIL), WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, GALACTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES‡…

Plum Organics

Organic Nonfat Milk….Organic Whey Protein Concentrate

Parent’s Choice Non-GMO Premium Infant Formula with Iron

Nonfat Milk, Lactose, Vegetable Oils (Palm Olein, Coconut, Soy, High Oleic (Safflower Or Sunflower] Oil), Whey Protein Concentrate, Galactooligosaccharides…

However, infant formula isn’t the only way a baby can be exposed to MfG.

The bizarre connection between Big Food and breast milk

Research done in the 1980s and 1990s confirmed that monosodium glutamate and other ingredients that contain MfG are passed by pregnant women to their fetuses, and by lactating mothers to their newborns. Studies found that MfG can cross the placenta during pregnancy, can cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) in an unregulated manner during development, and can pass through the five circumventricular organs that lie outside the BBB.

In the 1960s and 1970s Olney described the brain damage done by monosodium glutamate, which was found to destroy brain cells when fed in large quantity to animals whose brains were not protected by blood brain barriers. Olney observed that the BBBs of fetuses and newborns seen in the laboratory left certain areas of their developing brains unprotected, and he cautioned that human fetuses and newborns were similarly at risk. The unprotected areas included the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that, when undamaged, regulates reproduction and weight (telling us when to stop eating).

Every woman who breast feeds her baby will want to make sure that her diet does not contain excitotoxins – or contains as few as possible. That list includes aspartic acid (found in aspartame, e.g., Nutrasweet, Equal, Amino Sweet, and other aspartame-based sugar substitutes); L-cysteine, found in dough conditioners, and the many ingredients that contain MfG.

Certainly, every parent wants a healthy baby, but there are industry giants out there who only care about their bottom lines. Consumer beware.

 

Dear Trader Joes,

We love your stores, the products you offer, and your splendid staff. But you’re not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about an excitotoxin found in your products.

When we come in and ask about foods without MSG, we’re looking for products that do not contain manufactured free glutamate. That’s the name of the toxin in monosodium glutamate that causes our adverse reactions. Maybe you knew that and maybe you didn’t. But now you do. So please help us avoid these additives that make us ill.

Here’s a list of the ingredient names in which MSG is hidden.

Names of ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid:
Glutamic acid (E 620)
Glutamate (E 620)
Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
Calcium glutamate (E 623)
Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
Natrium glutamate
Anything “hydrolyzed”
Any “hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate
Yeast extract, Torula yeast
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
Autolyzed yeast
Gelatin
Textured protein
Whey protein
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Soy protein
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
Anything “protein”
Anything “protein fortified”
Soy sauce
Soy sauce extract
Protease
Anything “enzyme modified”
Anything containing “enzymes”
Anything “fermented”
Vetsin
Ajinomoto
Umami

Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid during processing:
Carrageenan (E 407)
Bouillon and broth
Stock
Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
Natural flavor
Maltodextrin
Oligodextrin
Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
Barley malt
Malted barley
Brewer’s yeast
Pectin (E 440)
Malt extract
Seasonings
The following work synergistically with MSG to enhance flavor. If they are present for flavoring, so is MSG:
Disodium 5’-guanylate (E 627) / Disodium 5’-inosinate (E-631) / Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides (E 635)

If you lose this list, you can replace it at our website here. And take a look around while you’re there. You just might be able to help a friend avoid asthma, a-fib, seizures or migraine headache.

Thanks for the help. Thanks for caring.

Adrienne

Protein powders: healthy additions or brain-damaging toxin?

Adding a scoop of a protein powder to a shake or smoothie sure sounds like a good idea. After all, proteins are essential nutrients for the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as fuel sources.

But there’s a very important distinction to be made between the protein in meat, fish, poultry (and other whole-food sources) and the powder that comes out of that box, bag, or jar. Read this post carefully before you touch another protein-fortified drink, snack bar or supplement. Your brain will thank you!

Amino acids

Proteins are polymer chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. During human digestion, proteins are broken down in the stomach to smaller polypeptide chains via hydrochloric acid and protease enzyme actions.   

When protein is ingested and then broken into individual amino acids, those individual amino acids proceed slowly through the human digestion processes. Unless one is allergic or sensitive to the food that contains the protein, its amino acids continue along to be digested without adverse effect.

But if protein is broken into individual amino acids before it is ingested, those free amino acids take on a toxic potential that they would never have ingested as part of a whole protein.

Take glutamic acid (glutamate).  When released from protein during digestion, glutamate is vital to normal body function. Often referred to as “a building block of protein,” it is the major neurotransmitter in the human body, carrying nerve impulses from glutamate stimuli to glutamate receptors throughout the body.

Yet, when freed from its protein source (be it from milk, peas, soy, etc.) and then consumed in amounts that exceed what the healthy human body was designed to accommodate, glutamate takes on “excitotoxic” properties. What was a normally functioning neurotransmitter turns hostile, firing repeatedly and damaging receptor cells in the brain and elsewhere until they die.

Excitotoxins 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes a labeling distinction between whole protein foods and potentially excitotoxic processed protein products that are made up of individual amino acids.

FDA rules say that an unadulterated tomato is to be called a “tomato.” A “pea” is required to be called a “pea” and whey is called “whey.” Those are their common or usual names. No reference is made to the fact that these protein-containing foods contain protein.  

In contrast, when amino acids are freed from proteins such as peas, the resulting ingredients will be called “pea protein,” or “isolated pea protein,” “pea protein concentrate,” or “hydrolyzed pea protein.” And you’ll find these ingredients in all kinds of food products, including a popular dairy-free drink called Ripple.

Other food ingredients that have the same excitotoxic properties have names that include the words “hydrolyzed,” “autolyzed,” “amino acid,” “L-glutamate,” “glutamic acid,” and “L-glutamic acid.”

So, why haven’t you come across this information before? Why are products containing these brain-damaging excitotoxins even allowed on the market?   

The answers lie in the dark history of an unregulated industry – “policed” by an FDA that chooses to look the other way. That history can be read in The Toxicity/Safety of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG): A study in Suppression of Information. Accountability in Research. 1999(6):259-310; by A. Samuels.

To learn more about how the FDA cooperates with Ajinomoto, the world’s largest producer of monosodium glutamate, check out this page at our website.  

Recipe for deception

Monosodium glutamate is produced in the United States by the Ajinomoto, Co., Inc., which happens to be the world’s largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate.

You may not appreciate the product that they sell, but you really should appreciate the ingenuity of their marketing — their sure-fire recipe for deception. This rich and powerful corporation twists the truth, misrepresents what is true and tells half-truths so very cleverly that its deceptions go largely unnoticed. Monsanto, the corn refiners (the high fructose corn syrup people), and the companies that made the artificial sweetener aspartame before Ajinomoto took it over, haven’t been nearly as clever as Ajinomoto in keeping their products from being the subjects of negative publicity.

As an example, here are nine “game plans,” tactics that have proven to be pure genius in the way they’ve managed to hoodwink consumers into believing MSG is a safe and natural product:

# 1:  MSG is a poison that those in the flavor-enhancer industry maintain is perfectly safe. And here’s one way they skirt an out-and-out lie to do it — they never say that research shows that their product is safe, but rather claim that “Another study has failed to find that monosodium glutamate is harmful.”  What they don’t tell you is that they’ve rigged all their studies to produce favorable results (failing to find…), going so far as to lace their placebos with aspartic acid, an excitotoxin found in aspartame.  And if those studies don’t come out as planned, they are simply not published.

# 2: Research presented as evidence that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive has often been characterized as the “gold standard” — that is, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.  But if you review those studies, you’ll find that the subjects were not drawn randomly from a defined population (a necessary condition given the statistical tests used), and that, in fact, the only random factor in those studies might have been the order in which subjects who were administered both test and placebo materials were given those materials.

It is a known fact that since 1978, if not before, placebos used in Ajinomoto’s double-blind studies had been laced with aspartic acid (in aspartame), an additive that kills brain cells and causes virtually the same adverse reactions as the glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate.  One could, therefore, say with certainty, that the outcomes of the studies were skillfully manipulated — “controlled” — through the use of such placebos.

# 3: Chinese Restaurant Syndrome was the name given by editors to a 1968 article in the New England Journal of Medicine. In that article, Dr. Ho Man Kwok noted that after eating in a restaurant serving Northern Chinese food, he suffered three adverse reactions: numbness, tingling, and tightness of the chest that lasted for approximately two hours. Ajinomoto seized on this one man’s report of adverse reactions, and proceeded to act as though these were the only reactions caused by monosodium glutamate.  For example, when subjects in certain double-blind studies did not react to monosodium glutamate treatment with numbness, tingling, or tightness of the chest, researchers would claim that once again it had been showed that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive. Other adverse reactions known to follow monosodium glutamate ingestion, rapid heartbeat, brain fog, and seizures, for example, would not have been considered.

# 4: A number of glutamate-industry studies used “well subjects” in their experiments, without defining “well subjects.’’  Only careful reading of a number of those studies will reveal that “well subjects” are people who have never experienced any of the reactions known to be caused by ingestion of MSG.  These aren’t just healthy subjects — these are people who don’t react to monosodium glutamate (at least at the levels given to them).  These people will be given monosodium glutamate and, as expected, won’t react.  And glutamate-industry researchers running the study will claim that “Another study has failed to find that monosodium glutamate is harmful.” 

# 5: A number of glutamate-industry studies were alleged to have been done using subjects who were sensitive to monosodium glutamate. In truth, subjects in these studies were volunteers, often university or medical school students, paid handsomely to participate — but only if they claimed to be sensitive to monosodium glutamate. 

# 6: While companies like Monsanto represent themselves in defending the value of their products, until relatively recently Ajinomoto, a Japanese company, had Americans acting on their behalf, without mentioning Ajinomoto by name. Subtle though it may be, it’s not easy to criticize, or even think about something that doesn’t have a name.

# 7: It is said that authoritative bodies around the world have agreed that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive – and that’s true — sort of.  Not revealed is the fact that those authoritative bodies did no research of their own. Instead, with rare exception, they were given material that had been produced and approved by the glutamate industry, and delivered by the glutamate industry’s International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC), or its agents. That includes material provided by the FDA, an agency with close ties to the glutamate industry.

# 8: Glutamate-industry agents take every opportunity to make legitimate research look bad.  They will refer to studies wherein glutamate was administered to laboratory animals with phrases such as “…animal studies … often consisted of injecting super concentrated doses of MSG directly into creature’s abdomen…,” ignoring the fact that there are many studies that demonstrate that when monosodium glutamate is fed to laboratory animals, it causes brain damage and endocrine disorders such as obesity and infertility.

# 9: As of this writing, it is quite prevalent for MSG propaganda to say that “It all started with a 1968 letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine” (the letter from Dr. Ho Man Kwok mentioned above).  In actuality, Ajinomoto’s defense of monosodium glutamate did begin in 1968, but it wasn’t about anything as benign-sounding as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” It was in response to research done by John Olney, M.D. of Washington University in St. Louis, which demonstrated that monosodium glutamate causes brain damage and endocrine disorders in unborn and newborn mice. 

Although Olney’s findings were not published until 1969, he had shared them with Ajinomoto prior to publication.