MSG: a double whammy to your liver

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.


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

A truly grand scheme for deceiving the public

It’s not an allergen as defined by the FDA, so it won’t be singled out on ingredient labels of processed foods as something vulnerable consumers have to watch out for. It’s also not identified as an artificial flavor by the FDA. Rather, when referred to as a flavor enhancer it’s called “natural” or “naturally occurring.”

But all that has nothing to do with the product’s safety and everything to do with the wealth, power and political connections of the people who manufacture and market the excitotoxic – brain damaging – amino acid that the glutamate industry declares is just a harmless ingredient used in a multitude of food additives.

You know it best as monosodium glutamate (MSG), but the world is slowly catching on to the fact that autolyzed yeast, calcium and sodium caseinates, maltodextrin, and the hydrolyzed protein products, for example, contain excitotoxic glutamate just as MSG does. And it’s the manufactured free glutamate (MfG) in MSG and in these other ingredients that causes brain damage, gross obesity and infertility, and plays a role in triggering asthma, fibromyalgia, migraine headache, skin rash and seizures as well.

MSG is a man-made product composed of L-glutamic acid (L-glutamate), sodium, moisture, D-glutamic acid (D-glutamate), pyroglutamic acid, and other impurities (unwanted and unavoidable by-products of the manufacture of L-glutamate). MSG is manufactured in plants throughout the world. In the United States, MSG is produced in Ajinomoto’s factory in Eddyville, Iowa. Its principal ingredient is its excitotoxic – brain damaging — glutamate.

L-glutamate is the L enantiomer of glutamic acid (glutamate), an amino acid which when present in protein or released from protein in a regulated fashion (through routine digestion) is vital for normal body function. It is the principal 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 — an amount now readily available in a diet of processed foods — 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.

It’s truly a grand scheme for deceiving the public. There’s a toxic substance used in scores of processed foods, and because it’s a constituent of an ingredient (like arsenic in rice would be), poisonous or not, it won’t be disclosed on food labels.

FDA/industry cooperation goes back to 1958, when “monosodium glutamate” was first deemed “safe” by the FDA. Deemed to be safe because prior to the institution of the GRAS classification in 1958, there had been no record of adverse reactions to “monosodium glutamate,” which had not been tested for safety. Looking back, with hindsight as our guide, we now understand what took place. In 1957, the method for producing monosodium glutamate had been changed from the slow and costly method of extracting glutamate from protein (for which there were no reports of adverse reactions) to a method of bacterial fermentation which not only created a different product, but allowed for virtually unlimited production of glutamate and MSG.

The first record of FDA/industry cooperation/collusion that we have in our files is from September of 1969, when then FDA Commissioner Ley testified before the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Health, presenting evidence from four studies that, he alleged, demonstrated that MSG was safe. It was later disclosed that two of the studies Commissioner Ley cited were incomplete and two did not even exist.

Before 1969, there had been no need for FDA/industry cooperation/collusion. It was not until 1968 that the first report of adverse reactions to monosodium glutamate was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, and not until 1969 that the first evidence that monosodium glutamate caused brain lesions and endocrine disorders in experimental animals was published in Science.

The FDA has built and then reinforced its case for the “safety” of MSG on misleading and deceptive studies sponsored by the glutamate industry. FDA regulations require that those who manufacture food additives must provide evidence demonstrating that they are “safe.” The glutamate industry has, indeed, presented evidence, but they have falsified data — not by changing test scores or research results, but by rigging the procedures used in conducting their studies so that only after careful scrutiny would one discern that their studies were flawed to the point of being fraudulent.* Glutamate industry studies are generally methodologically inadequate, statistically unsound, and/or irrelevant to the safety/toxicity of MSG. Researchers have gone so far as to use aspartame and/or MSG in placebos to cause subjects to respond to placebos just as they would respond to monosodium glutamate test material. In addition, industry’s researchers have been known to draw conclusions that did not follow from the results of their studies.

Over the course of the last 46 years, the FDA has summarily dismissed much of the research that clearly demonstrates that MSG places humans at risk. They don’t counter it. They simply ignore it. Reports of adverse reactions to MSG collected by its own Adverse Reactions Monitoring System have been dismissed because “they could have been caused by something else.”

The FDA has suppressed results of studies that might suggest that use of MSG places humans at risk. The FDA suppressed results of its own study that suggested that use of free glutamic acid in supplements is unsafe. In a July 1992, report to the FDA, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) had concluded, in part, that: “…it is prudent to avoid the use of dietary supplements of L-glutamic acid by pregnant women, infants, and children…. and…by women of childbearing age and individuals with affective disorders.” (MSG is called L-glutamic acid when used in supplements.) Mention has not been made of those recommendations – not to the medical community or anywhere else.

Yes, a truly a grand scheme for deceiving the public.

*The term ‘fraud’ is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. [Fraud may also include an omission or intentional failure to state material facts, knowledge of which would be necessary to make other statements not misleading.] Accessed on 11/4/2010 at the ‘Lectric Law Library’s Lexicon.


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

Resources
Samuels A. (2020) Dose dependent toxicity of glutamic acid: a review, International Journal of Food Properties, 23:1, 412-419, DOI: 10.1080/10942912.2020.1733016
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10942912.2020.1733016

Excitotoxicity and cell damage https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/excitotoxicity.htm

Ischemia-Triggered Glutamate Excitotoxicity From the Perspective of Glial Cells https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2020.00051/full

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 often 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.

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

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)

Snake in the GRAS

When you hear that the FDA considers monosodium glutamate GRAS – or, generally recognized as safe – what does that mean? It’s certainly one of the “selling points” that industry likes to toss around a lot as evidence that monosodium glutamate is harmless.

But that GRAS designation is inherently deceiving.

Sixty-two years ago, following passage of the Food Additives Amendment of 1958, the FDA grandfathered monosodium glutamate into a category of additives called GRAS. There was no testing done or even reviewed by the FDA to determine if monosodium glutamate was indeed safe. The GRAS classification was solely based on monosodium glutamate having been in use without objection prior to 1958. The actual safety of pre-1958 monosodium glutamate was not then, and never has been, established.

But to make using a GRAS label for monosodium glutamate even more farfetched, is the fact that the monosodium glutamate in use in the U.S. today is not even the same as the monosodium glutamate that was grandfathered as GRAS in 1958. From 1920 until 1956, the process underlying production of glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate in Japan had been one of extraction, a slow and costly method (1). Then, around 1956, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. succeeded in producing glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate using genetically modified bacteria to secrete the glutamic acid used in monosodium glutamate through their cell walls, and cost saving, large-scale production of glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate through fermentation began (2,3).

Approximately ten years later, the first published report of an adverse reaction to monosodium glutamate appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (4), and a study demonstrating that monosodium glutamate was excitotoxic, causing brain damage, endocrine disorders and behavior disorders, was published in the journal Science in 1969 (5). Of interest to note is the fact that by the time ten years had gone by, grocery shelves were overflowing with processed foods loaded with monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed protein products, autolyzed yeasts and lots of other ingredients that contained the same toxic free glutamic acid found in monosodium glutamate.

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

REFERENCES

  1. Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia. 6th ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983:1211-2.
  2. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 3rd ed. Vol 2. New York: Wiley, 1978:410-21.
  3. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 4th ed. New York: Wiley, 1992:571-9.
  4. Kwok RHM. The Chinese restaurant syndrome. Letter to the editor. N Engl J Med. 1968;278(14):796.
  5. Olney JW. Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Science. 1969;164:719-721.

The hoax behind the ‘clean label’ on Impossible Burger

There aren’t many places you can find excitotoxic (brain-damaging) amino acids in greater quantity, packaged so nicely, and promoted with such vigor. And this fake meat product sports what industry calls a “clean label,” meaning you won’t find any monosodium glutamate listed.

What you will find in the Impossible Burger, however, are five main ingredients — what Impossible Foods calls the “details,” and a total of 6 ingredients with excitotoxic – brain damaging — amino acids.

They are:

  • Water
  • soy-protein concentrate
  • coconut oil
  • sunflower oil
  • natural flavors

Impossible “meat” also contains 2% or less of:

  • Potato protein
  • Methylcellulose
  • Yeast extract
  • Cultured dextrose
  • Food starch, modified
  • Soy leghemoglobin
  • Salt
  • Soy-protein isolate
  • Mixed tocopherols (vitamin E)
  • Zinc gluconate
  • Thiamine hydrochloride (Vitamin B1)
  • Sodium ascorbate (vitamin C)
  • Niacin
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Vitamin B12

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

Without MSG, processed food wouldn’t sell — and there would be no obesity epidemic.

Have you ever stopped to consider that before there was ultra-processed food there was no obesity epidemic? And without MSG there wouldn’t be many, if any, ultra-processed foods on the market.

Flavor-enhancing ingredients aren’t highly visible in processed food, but they’re absolutely essential. Flavor enhancers mask off-flavors, make chemicals taste like food and bring what industry calls an “umami taste” to otherwise bland and unappetizing products.

Those who reap huge profits from the sale of processed foods wouldn’t have a foot in the door without flavor enhancers and won’t be giving them up any time soon. That’s despite the fact that each and every one of them contains excitotoxic (brain damaging) glutamic acid – a.k.a. glutamate.

There are three prerequisites for producing brain damage that will lead to obesity.

First is a brain that is vulnerable to damage due to injury or the immaturity of a fetus or newborn.

Second is sufficient free glutamate — or other potentially excitotoxic material to produce the excesses needed to become excitotoxic. More than enough free glutamate is present in processed foods to accomplish that.

Third, there needs to be a way to deliver this excitotoxic material to a vulnerable brain.

The fetus and newborn have brains that are vulnerable to damage by excitotoxins

In the 1970s it was demonstrated that the brains of newborn animals are vulnerable to glutamate insult. Brain damage, followed by obesity was produced in newborn mice (whose brains, like those of humans, are not fully developed). A student in Dr. John Olney’s lab had observed that mice being used in studies of glutamate-induced retinal dysfunction had become grotesquely obese. A series of studies by Olney and others followed. Many were studies of MSG fed to animals.

Today, there is more than sufficient excitotoxic glutamic acid in ultra-processed food, “fake” food, protein substitutes, and dietary supplements to cause excitotoxicity

When present in amounts needed for normal body function, the neurotransmitter glutamic acid is essential. But when accumulated in amounts greater than the body requires, glutamic acid becomes an excitotoxic neurotransmitter, firing repeatedly and damaging the cells that host targeted glutamate-receptors and/or causing death by over-exciting those glutamate receptors until their host cells die.

Additional confirmation of the brain-damaging effects of excitotoxic free glutamic acid comes from research focused on identifying and understanding human diseases and abnormalities associated with glutamate, often for the purpose of finding drugs that would mitigate glutamate’s adverse effects. By 1980, glutamate-associated disorders such as headaches, asthma, diabetes, muscle pain, atrial fibrillation, ischemia, trauma, seizures, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), epilepsy, addiction, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), frontotemporal dementia and autism were on the rise, and evidence of the brain-damaging effects of glutamate were generally accepted by the scientific community.

To become excitotoxic, glutamic acid must be accumulated in considerable quantity. There have always been excitotoxins, although not in food in excessive amounts. But that changed in 1957 when extraction of glutamate from a protein source (which had been a slow and costly method) was replaced by carefully selected genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamate through their cell walls. That transformation allowed, and still allows, for virtually unlimited production of manufactured free glutamate and MSG.

It wasn’t long before food manufacturers found that profits could be increased by using manufactured free glutamate to produce their own flavor-enhancing additives, and dozens of excitotoxic ingredients were added to the food supply.

Over the next two decades foods containing manufactured/processed free glutamate in ingredients such as hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extracts, maltodextrin, soy protein isolate and MSG flooded the marketplace. And the large amounts of manufactured free glutamate needed to cause excitotoxicity became readily available to anyone consuming multiple processed food products during the course of a day.

Excitotoxins are delivered to the vulnerable brains of fetuses and newborns by their pregnant mothers

Delivery of excitotoxins to the fetus and newborn is easy to understand. Nourishment (and not so nourishing material) is delivered to the fetus in the form of material ingested by a pregnant woman and passed to the fetus through the placenta. A newborn is nourished through its mothers’ milk.

Data from Frieder and Grimm and others confirm that free glutamate can be passed in excessive quantities to neonates and fetuses by expectant mothers who ingest excessive amounts. Glutamate 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 (unique areas of the brain that lie outside the BBB) which are leaky at best at any stage of life. Moreover, the BBB is easily damaged by fever, stroke, trauma to the head, seizures, ingestion of MSG, and the normal process of aging. Similar to drugs and alcohol, free glutamate can also be passed to infants through mothers’ milk.

The obesity epidemic was set in motion as the amount of manufactured free glutamate in processed food, “fake” food, protein substitutes, and dietary supplements became sufficient to wipe out brain cells in the area of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus that would have controlled satiety, appetite, and food intake had they not been obliterated by flavor-enhancers like MSG.


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

MSG is great for masking rancid flavors in forgotten food

If you’re not opposed to a little brain damage caused by excitotoxins like MSG, hydrolyzed protein products and autolyzed yeast extract, and you don’t suffer any of the side effects of manufactured free glutamate (MfG) like migraine headache, irritable bowel, atrial fibrillation, and seizures, you might be tempted to use MSG or one of its analogs to mask the rancid flavors of food you’ve left in the fridge too long.

While historically the Chinese have sprinkled a little MSG on their fresh-picked grains and vegetables to give them an exaggerated taste, today MSG is being used in the United States primarily to give flavor to food of inferior quality and poor nutritive value, and to provide flavor to the chemicals that are used liberally in ultra-processed foods.  MSG is also used to mask rancidity.

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

It’s the MfG in MSG that’s the culprit

Strictly speaking, MSG has gotten a bad rap.

No, not because it’s safe to eat. When ingested in quantity (and there’s plenty of it around to create that quantity), it causes brain damage, obesity, infertility, a-fib, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, seizures, asthma and more.

MSG has a bad rap because it’s actually the manufactured free glutamate (MfG) in MSG that causes all those terrible reactions — and there are 40+ food ingredients besides MSG that contain MfG, which are just as toxic as MSG. But no one except the Truth in Labeling Campaign is talking about those excitotoxic ingredients being brain damaging, endocrine disrupting, reaction-causing food additives. It’s just MSG that’s being publicly exposed for being toxic.

Guilty as MSG is for causing disease and disability, there are numerous other ingredients that should be sharing MSG’s negative notoriety. Those are the MfG-containing ingredients you’ll find in most processed foods claiming “No MSG Added” or “No added MSG.”

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

14 myths about MSG

The myth that MSG is a harmless food additive that can trigger a limited number of insignificant reactions was launched in 1968 when the New England Journal of Medicine carried a letter from Dr. Ho Man Kwok that the journal titled Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. Glutamate industry agents hyped the fact that Kwok reported minor reactions to food eaten in a Northern-Chinese restaurant. And the myth was propelled forward along an unmuddied path as the myriad of scientific studies done in the 1970s showing MSG-induced brain damage, obesity, and infertility were suppressed, and all reactions other than those mentioned in Kwok’s letter were denied.

Myth: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a harmless food additive. Scientific research has shown that MSG is a harmless food additive because study after study have failed to show that MSG causes adverse reactions.

Fact 1: The studies cited by the Glutes as evidence of MSG safety are studies in which MSG was fed to volunteers who were given test material containing MSG at one time, and at another time given a placebo that contained (without disclosure) an excitotoxic amino acid — one that would trigger the exact same reactions as those caused by MSG. When subjects reacted to both test material and placebo, which they did, researchers claimed to have again failed to demonstrate MSG toxicity. More on this subject can be found at https://www.truthinlabeling.org/flawed.html.

Fact 2: Studies showing MSG-induced brain damage were challenged by the Glutes in the 1970s, but the challenges were refuted. Now, MSG-induced brain damage is never mentioned by industry.

Myth: The FDA has investigated some of the claims of reactions to MSG and has never been able to confirm that the additive caused the reported effects.

Fact: By law, the FDA is required to investigate claims of serious reactions to the products they regulate, but they rarely do so. The reports of at least two FDA investigators who examined reports of serious reactions following ingestion of MSG did not reflect the data that had been given them by the persons reacting to MSG or by their physicians. More on this subject can be found at https://www.truthinlabeling.org/assets/it_wasnt_az.pdf.

Myth: The FDA commissioned a group of independent scientists from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) to examine the safety of MSG in the 1990s, and FASEB determined that MSG is safe.

Fact: At least 3 of the alleged “independent” scientists had clear-cut conflicts of interest.

Myth: The extensive body of research which exists about glutamate has been reviewed by independent scientists and regulatory authorities around the world — all have found MSG to be safe.

Fact: The scientific authorities from around the world often cited by the Glutes, (which included the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the United Nations World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), the European Communities’ (EC) Scientific Committee for Food, and the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association) considered only those documents submitted to them by Ajinomoto’s International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC) or their agents, or their glutamate-industry friends at the FDA.

Myth: MSG is made from corn starch, sugar cane, sugar beets or molasses by a natural method that has been used for centuries. This is known as the fermentation process. It is similar to how wine, beer, vinegar and yogurt are made.

Fact: In 1956, the Japanese succeeded in producing glutamic acid by means of bacterial fermentation, and after considerable research to identify suitable strains of microorganisms for starting the requisite cultures, large-scale production of glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate through fermentation began. In this fermentation process, genetically modified bacteria are grown aerobically in a liquid nutrient medium. These bacteria have the ability to synthesize glutamic acid outside of their cell membranes and excrete it into the medium to accumulate there.

This is a new process, not one used over centuries. And certainly not how wine, beer, vinegar and yogurt are made.

Myth: The glutamate in unprocessed/ unadulterated/ unfermented protein is the same as the glutamate in MSG. The glutamate that naturally occurs in many foods and the glutamate added in monosodium glutamate (MSG) are exactly the same.

Fact 1: The glutamate found in unprocessed/unadulterated/unfermented protein is L-glutamate only. Whereas MSG used in cosmetics, drugs, vaccines, dietary supplements, and processed food is manufactured, and always contains L-glutamate plus D-glutamate (an unwanted byproduct of L-glutamate production) plus other unwanted by-products of production that industry calls impurities. And since industry has not found a way to remove the unwanted impurities from processed free L-glutamate, the glutamate in MSG always comes with impurities.

Fact 2: It is glutamic acid that has been manufactured that causes brain damage and adverse reactions. Glutamic acid found in unadulterated protein causes neither brain damage nor adverse reactions.

Myth: There is no difference between the toxicity of food that is high in glutamate, and processed food that contains MSG.

Fact: Food that is unprocessed, unadulterated and unfermented, no matter how much glutamate it contains will not cause adverse reactions in MSG-sensitive people. Food that contains MSG will cause MSG-reactions in MSG-sensitive people if the amounts ingested exceed individual tolerances for MSG.

Myth: Monosodium glutamate has been in use for over 2,000 years.

Fact: Monosodium glutamate was invented in 1908 and reformulated in 1957.

Myth: The reactions to monosodium glutamate are mild and transitory.

Fact: Asthma, migraine headache, depression, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, and seizures are just a few of the abnormalities known to be triggered by MSG.

Myth: The glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate is identical to the glutamic acid in unadulterated protein.

Fact: Glutamic acid found naturally in protein is L-glutamic acid, only. Glutamic acid in MSG, i.e., processed/manufactured glutamic acid, is always made up of both L-glutamic acid and D-glutamic acid, and is always accompanied by impurities in addition to the D-glutamic acid that is invariably produced when attempts are made to produce L-glutamic acid.

Myth: No one reacts to less than 3 grams of MSG.

Fact: Published studies by Scopp and Allen and hundreds of comments by MSG-sensitive people affirm that less than 3 grams of MSG may cause reactions.

Myth: Reactions to MSG occur within 10 minutes of ingesting MSG and last for less than 2 hours.

Fact: Reactions to MSG have been known to occur as long as 48 hours after ingestion and last for days.

Myth: MSG is naturally occurring.

Fact 1: By FDA definition, arsenic and hydrochloric acid would be “naturally occurring” along with MSG. Industry gets mileage from talking about MSG being “naturally occurring.” And the FDA cooperates by refusing to define the term.

Fact 2: In the United States, MSG is manufactured in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa. MSG is a product of manufacture. It doesn’t occur naturally anywhere or in anything.

Myth: The blood brain barrier protects the brain from excesses of monosodium glutamate.

Fact: The blood brain barrier, once thought to prevent glutamate from sources outside of the body from entering the brain, is not fully developed until puberty, is easily damaged by such conditions as high fever, a blow to the head, and the normal course of aging. In the area of the circumventricular organs (which includes the area of brain damaged by MSG), it is leaky at best during any stage of life.

The brains of the young are most at risk from ingestion of MSG. More on this subject can be found at https://www.truthinlabeling.org/young.html.

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

If the ‘dose makes the poison’ there’s more than enough MSG and MSG-aliases in processed food to cause brain damage as well as serious observable reactions

There’s more than enough excitotoxic glutamic acid (a.k.a. free glutamate) in processed foods to create the excesses needed to cause brain damage, obesity, reproductive dysfunction, migraine headache, heart irregularities, irritable bowel, nausea and vomiting, asthma, seizures and more. In fact, excitotoxic glutamate has been known to trigger all the reactions listed as side effects of prescription drugs.

It hasn’t always been that way.

Prior to 1957, free glutamate available to people in the U.S. came largely from use of a product called Accent, which is pure MSG marketed as a flavor enhancer. In 1957, however, Ajinomoto’s method of glutamate production changed from extraction from a protein source (a slow and costly method), to a technique of bacterial fermentation wherein carefully selected genetically modified bacteria secreted glutamate through their cell walls — which enabled virtually unlimited production of MSG, allowing Ajinomoto to market its product aggressively.

It wasn’t long before Big Food discovered that increased profits could be generated by liberally using flavor enhancers (which all contain free glutamate) in every processed food product imaginable. And over the next two decades, the marketplace became flooded with manufactured/processed free-glutamate added to processed foods in ingredients such as hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extracts, maltodextrin, soy protein isolate, and MSG.

Today, more free glutamate than ever before will be found in ingredients used in processed and ultra-processed foods, snacks, and protein-fortified foods, protein drinks and shakes, and protein bars. And hydrolyzed proteins such as pea protein powder and mung bean protein isolate contain all three excitotoxic (brain-damaging) amino acids: aspartic acid (as in aspartame) and L-cysteine (used in dough conditioners), as well as glutamic acid. On top of that, excitotoxins marketed as “protein” sources have become increasingly available and extremely popular.

Recently we have seen excitotoxic amino acids in products such as Real Egg (mung bean protein isolate, the enzyme transglutaminase, and natural flavors), the Impossible Burger (textured wheat protein, potato protein, natural flavors, yeast extract, and soy protein isolate), Beyond Meat Beast Burger (pea protein isolate, natural flavoring, yeast extract, and maltodextrin), and the Lightlife Burger (water, pea protein, expeller pressed canola oil, modified corn starch, modified cellulose, yeast extract, virgin coconut oil, sea salt, natural flavor, beet powder (color), ascorbic acid (to promote color retention), onion extract, onion powder garlic powder) as well as excitotoxins added to an increasing array of ultra-processed foods. Most ultra-processed foods are made exclusively of chemicals and poor-quality ingredients to which glutamate-containing flavor enhancers have been added.

Prior to the time that Ajinomoto reformulated its method of MSG production (now over 60 years ago), accumulating excesses of glutamate through food sufficient to turn it excitotoxic would have been nearly impossible. But in the decades that followed Ajinomoto’s reformulation of MSG, obesity and infertility escalated to epidemic proportions.

The names of ingredients that contain manufactured free glutamate (MfG) can be found at this link.

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