Do brain damage, neurodegenerative disease, atrial fibrillation, seizures, and stroke come wrapped in flavorful packages?

For those of you who think “Chinese restaurant syndrome” or “migraine headache” when you think of MSG, it’s time to think again.

Instead, think brain damage, neurodegenerative disease, atrial fibrillation, seizures, and stroke, and put down that so-called “food” loaded with chemicals and flavor enhancers.

Then consider attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), muscle pain and autism, and don’t allow your children or grandchildren to consume snacks, protein drinks, or processed foods loaded with MSG.

The database at the National Library of Medicine (at pubmed.gov) testifies to the fact that there are abnormalities, disease and disability, with which MSG is associated. As of November 8, 2019, 3,049 citations were returned when “monosodium glutamate-induced” was searched. From that source we know that at minimum, diabetes, muscle pain, atrial fibrillation, ischemia, trauma, seizures, stroke, headaches, asthma, 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 are conditions with which glutamate circulating within the body has been found to be associated.

Pressure from agents of the glutamate industry to keep any suggestion of MSG toxicity out of the media and out of the medical literature has been remarkably successful. Not since 1991, when 60 Minutes ran a story about MSG , has there been mention in any major media in the U.S. dealing with MSG that was not approved by the glutamate industry. (In contrast, the same has not been true of India and Pakistan where use of MSG in food is banned.)

And while there are studies related to the toxicity of glutamate, with the exception of John Olney’s work there has been little consideration that the ingestion of MSG might play a role in the creation of abnormalities, except in studies done outside of the U.S. By and large, it has only been MSG research that proclaims the safety of MSG that has been published in medical journals.

If you’re reading the medical literature and are one of the rare people who might read through an entire study, you’ll sometimes find warnings of the toxic effects of MSG. A few studies that include warnings are listed below:

Does high glutamate intake cause obesity? Germany

Obesity, voracity, and short stature: the impact of glutamate on the regulation of appetite. Germany

Glutamate-containing parenteral nutrition doubles plasma glutamate: a risk factor in neurosurgical patients with blood-brain barrier damage? Germany

Neuroendocrine, metabolic, and immune functions during the acute phase response of inflammatory stress in monosodium L-glutamate-damaged, hyperadipose male rat. Argentina

Potential target sites in peripheral tissues for excitatory neurotransmission and excitotoxicity. Canada

Chinese restaurant syndrome: a review. USA

How much glutamate is toxic in paediatric parenteral nutrition? Germany

Monosodium glutamate (MSG): a villain and promoter of liver inflammation and dysplasia. Japan

Association of monosodium glutamate intake with overweight in Chinese adults: the INTERMAP Study. USA

Extensive use of monosodium glutamate: A threat to public health? Italy

Excitotoxins in foods. USA

Monosodium glutamate suppresses the female reproductive function by impairing the functions of ovary and uterus in rat. India

Excitotoxic food additives–relevance of animal studies to human safety. USA

Evidence of alterations in brain structure and antioxidant status following ‘low-dose’ monosodium glutamate ingestion. Nigeria

To study the effect of monosodium glutamate on histomorphometry of cortex of kidney in adult albino rats. India

Toxicity of flavor enhancers to the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae). China

The toxic effects of glutamate and related compounds in the retina and the brain. USA

Excitotoxic food additives–relevance of animal studies to human safety. USA

Excitatory neurotoxins as food additives: an evaluation of risk. USA

The effect of monosodium glutamate on the cerebellar cortex of male albino rats and the protective role of vitamin C (histological and immunohistochemical study). Saudi Arabia

Monosodium glutamate induced testicular lesions in rats (histological study) Nigeria

Now think about this: If MSG wasn’t harmful, it wouldn’t be hidden.

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.

The road to deception

The road to deception is paved with blocks of badly flawed research and propaganda designed to sell man-made excitotoxic glutamate to an unsuspecting public.

It was built by money-hungry industrialists, maintained by journalists and public servants who put personal profit before integrity, and traveled by consumers who have been deceived every step of the way.

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.

The Real Food Recipe-less Cookbook is back by popular request!

The Real Food Recipe-less Cookbook is back! More than a cookbook, it’s a treasure of information for people who realize that their bodies rebel against the ingestion of excitotoxins.  And it’s an unparalleled resource for those who simply want to avoid excitotoxins – amino acids that run amuck when ingested in quantity, killing brain cells and causing endocrine disorders which include obesity and infertility.

Find it at the Truth in Labeling website here.

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.

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)

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.

 

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.