The art of hiding MfG

Artists don’t just paint, sing, play an instrument or act. Some of the best artists out there utilize their talents to deceive you.

At the Truth in Labeling Campaign we’ve run into many great artists working in public relations firms. They understand human nature and can paint word pictures to sell you almost anything.

We’ve met men and women who have elevated lying to an art form. And rarely do their targets know that they’re being deceived. Then there are the marketing people who often employ a variety of specialized artists to push their products.

Some who hide manufactured free glutamate (MfG), the toxic ingredient in MSG, do it cleverly but not creatively. They use distraction to draw your focus away from the dangers of their product, talking about the benefits of low salt, muscle building, or the umami flavor. And they’ll very likely use ingredients that you’re not going to recognize as containing MfG.

Ingredients called “glutamic acid” and “disodium inosinate” are prime examples. You’ll find them in flavor enhancers like Braggs Aminos and soups and bouillon like Minor’s soup bases.

Not to be overlooked are those who sell products containing MfG to bakeries and restaurants claiming that their products are free of MSG, and the bakeries and restaurants that use those products as though they contained no MfG. Those businesses don’t routinely display the names of ingredients used in their products, and some are proud to make the misleading claim that they don’t use MSG (the name that most consumers give to all ingredients that contain MfG). That’s not even artful lying. It’s just a subterfuge.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Why would a thinking person eat something that contains MSG – or one of its toxic substitutes?

Research has demonstrated:

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

“Increased glutamate transmission in the brain is associated with addictive-like behaviors.” (Temple University)

An early increase in glutamate is critical for the development of depression-like behavior in a chronic restraint stress (CRS) model. (Jing LiLongze Sha, Qi X. Brain Research Bulletin. 2020 June 4)

Ameliorative effect of α-tocopherol on monosodium glutamate-induced cardiac histological alterations and oxidative stress.
(Paul S, Mohanan A, Varghese MV, Alex M, Nair H. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Dec;92(15):3002-6)

Monosodium Glutamate-Induced Oxidative Kidney Damage and Possible Mechanisms: A Mini-Review.  (Sharma A. J Biomed Sci. 2015 Oct 22;22:93. )

Ginger and Propolis Exert Neuroprotective Effects against MonosodiumGlutamate-Induced Neurotoxicity in Rats.
(Hussein UK, Hassan NEY, Elhalwagy MEA, Zaki AR, Abubakr HO, Nagulapalli Venkata KC, Jang KY, Bishayee A. Molecules. 2017 Nov 8;22(11):1928. )

Resistance exercise reduces memory impairment induced by monosodiumglutamate in male and female rats.
(Araujo PCO, Quines CB, Jardim NS, Leite MR, Nogueira CW. Exp Physiol. 2017 Jul 1;102(7):845-853.)

So why on earth would a thinking person eat something like MSG, hydrolyzed mung beans, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast or maltodextrin in things like Just Egg, Impossible Burger, Emerge Plant-Based Patties, Beyond Meat, Bragg’s Aminos, or Campbell’s Classic Cream of Chicken Soup?

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Concerned about infertility?

In this study rats were given doses of MSG to lower testosterone levels and cause “toxicity in testicular tissue.” The group treated with zinc oxide nanoparticles/green tea were “significantly” protected against MSG damage to the testis.

Good to know, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid MSG ingestion in the first place than to search out an antidote?

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Cries of hate added to claims of racism fuel Ajinomoto’s latest campaign to push sales of MSG

Fresh out of its victory lap in “convincing” the Merriam-Webster online dictionary folks to change its definition of Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, Ajinomoto, the world’s largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate, has added a new dimension to their “swallow the MSG campaign,” hoping that people will swallow their propaganda and think nothing of consuming processed foods that contain MSG. This one is attempting to convince consumers that any choice to avoid Chinese restaurants is based on hate and racism – when it is more likely based on the good sense of decreasing exposure to toxic substances like MSG during a pandemic.

Led by one of its PR firms, Edelman Communications, the campaign dubbed #TakeOutHate, is flooding social media with a group of “influencers” telling consumers to order huge amounts of Chinese take-out and share a photo online. “Don’t let that hate get between you and these shrimp dumps,” we’re told.

Ajinomoto, it seems, has decided to play victim amid growing consumer awareness about the dangers of consuming MSG. In telling about its new #TakeoutHate blitz, Ajinomoto says on its website that “as the company that was founded on the discovery of MSG, we are no stranger to the impact of unfair stigma.”

But the stigma attached to a company that pumps excitotoxic (brain damaging) amino acids into processed foods is hardly unfair. What’s really unfair is how Ajinomoto can harness the power of the media with big bucks and a PR firm that has all the right contacts to lie to the public about the product it produces. Reporters of all stripes from media outlets of all sizes are more than happy to parrot numerous bold-faced falsehoods time and time again without giving it a second thought.

Truth be told, monosodium glutamate has been researched extensively by Ajinomoto-funded researchers who rigged their studies with things like excitotoxic ingredients in placebos and concluded that MSG is harmless. MSG is a manufactured additive, and the product called MSG can’t be produced without unwanted byproducts of production called impurities. The glutamate in the human body has none of those impurities. And since 1957, the glutamate in MSG has been manufactured using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamate through their cell walls – hardly the way that yogurt and wine are made.

But as more and more people, some through personal experience and others through research, learn about the toxic nature of MSG and the other 40+ ingredients that contain its toxic Manufactured free Glutamate, or MfG as we abbreviate it, they are choosing to avoid it wherever and however they can.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool the people who know they get sick from eating MSG.

And that’s not “hate,” and it’s certainly not racism.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

If you’re wondering what the umami flavor is, be confused no more

Umami is often described as that marvelous flavor experience you get when foods are at their peak, or served with a little something that gives the taste buds a boost to enhance that already delicious flavor.

Kikunae Ikeda discovered that little something early in the 20th century when he realized that pairing foods with a touch of seaweed could create a desirable taste sensation. It has also been observed by foodies that there is something about mushrooms and tomatoes that accomplishes the same thing. Start with good fresh food, pair it with seaweed, mushrooms, or tomatoes, and with those flavor-enhancers you can get heaven on a plate.

There are other ways to make food tasty. Garlic and onions have been recognized for centuries along with a multitude of other spices and seasonings. But they aren’t flavor enhancers. They don’t improve the flavor of foods, they simply add to it.

Ikeda, who was a chemist, did more than just notice the flavor-enhancing capacity of seaweed. That something else he found was chemically analyzed, put into a bottle, patented, and is now known as monosodium glutamate or MSG. Ikeda had discovered that it was glutamate, an amino acid found in considerable quantity in seaweed, that gave taste buds a boost, enhancing the flavor of foods seaweed was paired with.

The story of how that works differs depending on the source. Is it being told by those who profit from the sale of MSG, or by independent scientists? Ajinomoto has developed a PR narrative built around changing MSG’s identify from a pre-1969 flavor-enhancer to a post-2000 fifth taste. According to Ajinomoto, MSG has a taste of its own. According to Ajinomoto, there are MSG receptors just as there are receptors for sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

Independent scientists are more likely to point out that what Ajinomoto’s people refer to as MSG-receptors, are actually glutamate receptors. Glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter, stimulates glutamate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue causing the cells on which those receptors are located to swell, so to speak. And these larger, swollen surfaces triggered by MSG stimulation cause food consumed with MSG to be perceived as having a “bigger” taste than it would otherwise.

In 1969, John W. Olney, M.D., published the first of several papers that detailed the facts of MSG-induced toxicity. A year earlier, the New England Journal of Medicine had published a letter titled “Chinese-restaurant Syndrome.” Since that time Ajinomoto has worked vigorously to refute the findings of Olney and others or simply make sure they don’t have public exposure, downplay the reactions reported by individuals who are poisoned by MSG, or do whatever else is necessary to convince consumers that MSG is a harmless product. (That subject is dealt with in detail elsewhere.)

Possibly Ajinomoto’s most successful marketing tool has been to pair the acronym “MSG” with the word “umami.” Just as Pavlov’s dogs learned to anticipate food when a bell was sounded, so are humans being conditioned to associate the feel-good word “umami” with the food additive MSG.

Responding to the growing awareness that the ingredient called monosodium glutamate causes obesity and infertility, along with adverse reactions like tachycardia, migraine headache, asthma, and seizures, Ajinomoto has been striving to fool consumers by giving that ingredient a new name. Don’t reduce its toxicity (if indeed that could be done). Just covertly rebrand MSG.

The rebranding process has evolved slowly, and because Ajinomoto’s narrative changes from time to time depending on the PR firm employed and the marketing plan being executed, the details are not necessarily crystal clear. In hindsight it appears that the first step was to get people to believe that monosodium glutamate was more than the flavor enhancer previously described by Ajinomoto in food encyclopedias. That was before the game plan was changed to get people to believe that monosodium glutamate was a basic taste, and that there were specific taste receptors for MSG in the human body.

To facilitate that change, researchers were encouraged to conduct studies underwritten (directly or indirectly) by Ajinomoto for the purpose of finding something from which they could conclude the MSG had a taste of its own. Discussion of that research is beyond the scope of this paper, but it consists in large part of doing multiple studies, publishing only the one in a hundred that comes out as desired by industry and reporting none of the others. There are indeed numbers of published studies that Ajinomoto will point to as evidence that MSG is a fifth taste. (There are also published studies that Ajinomoto will point to as evidence that MSG is a harmless food additive – studies that included use of placebos containing excitotoxic aspartic acid which causes brain damage and adverse reactions identical to that caused by the excitotoxic glutamic acid component of MSG.) And there are no studies that would dispute the industry-sponsored ones because, at least in part, there would be no funding for such research.

With studies alleging that MSG has a taste of its own, different from salty, sweet, bitter, and sour, wordsmiths began spinning industry’s tale. Slowly, in story after story, MSG would be referred to as an ingredient – like sugar and salt are ingredients. Not a flavor enhancer. An ingredient with a taste of its own.

And then that ingredient, which had, and still has a bad name, would be rebranded. The new name would be “umami,” a word that has been in the Japanese vocabulary for over a century meaning “delicious taste.”

Today, the word “umami” means different things to different people. A chef concerned with use of wholesome ingredients may brag that his creations are flavorful — are the essence of umami.

But to those who manufacture and sell MSG, “umami” is a marketing tool used to sell their product. Clearly lots of people have bought into Ajinomoto’s story (or maybe it’s more correct to say that Ajinomoto has bought lots of people). But if you delve deeply into market reports, or have friends in the industry, you will find that their propaganda isn’t working the way they had anticipated, and Ajinomoto is losing money.

The rigged research, the deceptive and misleading statements, and the bold-faced lies haven’t stemmed the tide of reports of MSG-induced reactions. Not even Edelman’s multimillion-dollar campaign to clear MSG’s bad name seems to have made a difference. It will be interesting to see how quickly chefs and other celebrities who now talk about “umami” realize that they are being used by Ajinomoto to promote a toxic product.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

MSG doesn’t occur ‘naturally’ in anything

Whenever you see the words “MSG is a naturally occurring substance…” you can be sure that the Glutes have written what you’re reading.

MSG is a product. MSG is manufactured in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville, Iowa. MSG doesn’t occur “naturally” in anything.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

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Bless you Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych for speaking out

Animal studies tell us that the glutamic acid in MSG, autolyzed yeast, maltodextrin, glutamic acid and the 40+ other ingredients that contain manufactured free glutamic acid causes brain damage – kills brain cells. Those who manufacture and sell the products that contain excitotoxic glutamic acid tell us that those were just animal studies and they don’t matter.

Ajinomoto, world’s largest producer of MSG tells physicians, the FDA, the World Health Organization, the media and everyone else that there are hundreds of studies showing that MSG is harmless. I’ve read all of them and can tell you that their animal studies were rigged to look for the wrong thing in the wrong place, at the wrong time, making their report of “no brain damage” meaningless.

The ways in which human studies were rigged are too numerous to discuss here, but basic to most has been use of excitotoxic aspartic acid as a placebo in double-blind studies of excitotoxic glutamic acid. In those studies, both the excitotoxic monosodium glutamate test material and the placebo which contained excitotoxic aspartic acid, triggered the same reactions (as they always do). In other words, not only did subjects react to MSG, they reacted to a “placebo” that contained an excitotoxin known to cause the same reactions as those caused by MSG. It is on these studies (which actually describe reactions caused by MSG), that the Glutes base much of their claim that MSG does not trigger reactions.

Read what immunologist Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych tells us about vaccines. It appears those who profit from the sales of vaccines have the same teachers and/or use the same PR firms as those in the glutamate industry, Big Tobacco, the purveyors of toxic pesticides and fertilizers and the corporations that spew cancer-causing pollutants into the air. Individual welfare can’t hold a candle to the economic welfare of the rich and powerful.

Adrienne Samuels

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Some basic truths about MSG toxicity that the people at don’t seem to want you to know

A friend for whom I have the greatest respect is a big fan of Michael Greger M.D. FACLM. To hear her talk, you’d think he walked on water. Personally, I didn’t much care for his style of presentation, and he seemed somewhat shallow on matters I know a bit about. But with several best-selling books and posts with catchy headlines such as “Does Cholesterol Size Matter?” and “Eat More Calories in the Morning than the Evening,” he has a legion of followers.

The announcement that Dr. Greger was going to do a series of video posts on obesity, really caught my attention. I’ve been interested in obesity for over 50 years. That’s how long I’ve known that MSG causes obesity. And I was excited that Dr. Greger might be going to share facts about the toxic effects of MSG. How MSG causes a-fib, migraine headache, fibromyalgia, skin rash, seizures, infertility, brain damage and more, not just that it causes obesity.

My excitement, however, was short-lived. Seems that even suggesting that MSG might cause obesity isn’t on Dr. Greger’s agenda. How do I know? Because I went to great lengths to contact him and suggest that MSG-related obesity was something he should look into. And on May 5, 2020 Christine Kestner, MS, CNS, LDN (Health Support Volunteer) responded:

“Hi, Adrienne Samuels! You can find everything on this site related to MSG here: While it is true that this topic has not been updated in a while, a quick look at the lates research indicates that nothing has really changed in the last decade or so. We base our videos on the research, and not on industry influence. If you are aware of quality, peer-reviewed research that contradicts our positions, please share it with us.”

So, I did. I sent her pages of fully-referenced information. And then I waited. And waited. And then I sent a “You did get my letter, didn’t you?” note. And I’m still waiting.

Below is a copy of the material on MSG toxicity that Dr. Gregor ignored – or maybe Christine Kestner never showed it to him. Could be. Such is the power of the glutamate industry.

You’ll find the references for all this material at the end of the letter.

May 6, 2020

Thank you Christine,

The opportunity to provide accurate information about the toxicity of manufactured/processed free glutamate acid is much appreciated.

But first, two clarifications are in order. We generally speak of “MSG reactions,” but those reactions are actually caused by the Manufactured/processed free Glutamate (MfG) component of MSG. MfG is found in more than 40 food ingredients in addition to MSG. The animal studies listed below were done using MSG to inflict brain damage.

Second, glutamic acid will either be bound with other amino acids in protein or free. Bound glutamate does not cause brain damage or adverse reactions. Only glutamate in its free form causes brain damage and adverse reactions. This distinction is an important one, because failing to make it enables the fabrication of disinformation.

You said that a quick look at the latest research indicates that nothing has really changed in the last decade or so, but that is not entirely true.

I. MSG-induced brain damage. The seminal and definitive studies of MSG-inflicted brain damage were done in 1969 and the 1970s, and there is no need to replicate them.

In the late 60s, Olney became suspicious that obesity in mice, which was observed after neonatal mice were treated with L-glutamate for purposes of inducing and studying retinal pathology might be associated with hypothalamic lesions caused by L-glutamate treatment; and in 1969 he reported that L-glutamate treatment caused brain lesions, particularly acute neuronal necrosis in several regions of the developing brain of neonatal mice, and acute lesions in the brains of adult mice given 5 to 7 mg/g of glutamate subcutaneously (12). Research that followed confirmed that L-glutamate induces hypothalamic damage when given to immature animals after either subcutaneous (13-31) or oral (19,25-26,28,32-36) doses.

This work demonstrated that when there is a vulnerable target (a brain or portion of the brain that is unprotected or vulnerable to attack from toxins), and there is glutamic acid (glutamate) in quantity sufficient to cause it to become excitotoxic, glutamate fed in quantity to immature animals causes acute neuronal necrosis in several regions of the developing brain including the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, followed by behavior disturbances and endocrine disruption which includes obesity and infertility.

A recent review suggests that glutamate/MSG passed to fetuses and neonates by pregnant and/or lactating women causes brain damage, disrupting the endocrine system (99).

It will be argued by agents of the glutamate industry that these studies of brain damage were animal studies not human studies, and that is true. But studies wherein possible toxins are fed to pregnant women and brains of their offspring are examined would certainly be questionable at best on ethical and moral grounds. Researchers rely heavily on animal studies to suggest solutions to problems of human dysfunction.

II. Industry’s unfounded claims of MSG safety

From 1968 until approximately 1980, Ajinomoto mounted a vigorous attack to refute the studies that demonstrated MSG-induced brain damage. Beginning in 1968 and throughout the 1970s, glutamate-industry agents mounted alleged replications of independently done glutamate-induced brain damage studies, but their procedures were different enough to guarantee that toxic doses had not been administered, and/or that all evidence that neurons had died would be obscured. Industry-sponsored researchers claimed to be replicating studies, but did not do so (5).

When it could no longer be denied that animal studies showed that MSG caused brain damage in infant animals – when researchers were using models of MSG-induced obesity to study abnormalities associated with excess glutamate — industry interests decreed that studies done on animals did not reflect the human condition and were, therefore, meaningless.

Industry-sponsored human studies followed in the 1980s. None were studies of brain damage.

III. Availability of sufficient potentially excitotoxic manufactured/processed free glutamate (MfG) in food and elsewhere to cause MfG to become excitotoxic (to kill brain cells)

Evidence of MSG-induced neonatal brain damage has not changed in the last four decades, but availability of sufficient glutamate in the U.S. food supply to cause that glutamate to become excitotoxic has.

Prior to 1957, the date that Ajinomoto reformulated MSG, the amount of free glutamate in the average diet had been unremarkable. But in 1957 production of the free glutamate that makes up the excitotoxic ingredient in MSG changed from extraction of glutamate from a protein source, a slow and costly method, to a method of bacterial fermentation which enabled virtually unlimited production of free glutamate and MSG (7), and the large amounts of glutamate needed to cause excitotoxicity became widely available.

Shortly thereafter, food manufacturers found that profits could be increased by producing other flavor-enhancing additives that contained free glutamate. Over the next two decades, the marketplace became flooded with manufactured/processed free glutamate in ingredients such as hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extracts, maltodextrin, soy protein isolate, and MSG (8). And ingredients that contained free glutamate became readily accessible.

There are no data on the amount of excitotoxic material in food. Analyses from Olney’s lab and others provided some insight into amounts of MSG in processed foods in the 1980s and 1990s (half a gram of MSG in certain canned soups, for example); and according to anecdotal reports from MSG-sensitive people, that would be enough to trigger an asthma attack or a migraine headache in some MSG-sensitive people. Reports from MSG-sensitive consumers also suggest that the amount of MfG in a single serving of processed food might be similar to that found in various cans of soup. None of this, however, speaks to the amount of MfG needed to produce either brain damage or adverse reactions.

Important to remember is the fact that it is not the amount of MfG in any one product that is pertinent to determining if there is sufficient MfG available to cause neonatal brain damage or adverse reactions. To cause neonatal brain damage, it is the amount of MfG consumed by a pregnant or lactating subject and passed to fetus and/or neonate that is relevant to determination of excitotoxicity.

IV. MSG-induced adverse reactions

There are few published reports of MSG-induced human adverse reactions. Funding for studies of the safety of MSG comes primarily from the glutamate industry, and only those industry-sponsored studies with negative results have been published.

Some years ago, Samuels compiled a list of studies wherein adverse reactions to MSG were noted (1-4, 175, 179-236). The article can be accessed at .

No attempt has been made to identify all of the more recent studies. A PubMed search for “MSG-induced OR monosodium glutamate-induced AND toxicity” done on May 5, 2020 elicited 93 citations (

V. Warnings

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.

By and large, the glutamate in question was, and still is, glutamate from endogenous sources. The possible toxicity of glutamate from exogenous sources such as glutamate-containing flavor-enhancers has generally not being considered. But Olney and a few others have suggested that ingestion of free glutamate might play a role in producing the excess amounts of glutamate needed for endogenous glutamate to become excitotoxic (34-53).

VI. Suppression of information

The request to which I am responding was for quality peer-reviewed research that contradicts your positions. A list of those studies has been submitted with this letter.

Let me just mention that the videos you offered as the information on MSG safety came, directly or indirectly, from the glutamate-industry. The “update on MSG” is delivered by an unidentified person (as is “Is MSG Bad for You”) who speaks of scientific consensus and decades of research. The “scientific consensus” mentioned is the consensus of people brought together by Ajinomoto for the purpose of concluding that MSG is harmless. The “decades of research” were discussed earlier in this letter as negative studies that failed to demonstrate a clear and consistent relationship between MSG and adverse reactions. “Is MSG bad for you?” speaks only of consensus meetings. No sound scientific studies there. I would be happy to send you a link by email to my early notes on Williams and Woessner and on “the consensus meeting” should you have interest.

Equally important for you to appreciate are the studies that have been rigged by glutamate industry interests, and the tactics that have been used by glutamate-industry interests to promote sales of MSG. A 1999 published, peer-reviewed article speaks to that subject (101).

In addition, I have taken the liberty of enclosing the link to a file from my webpage titled “Designed for Deception.” Among other things, it details the tactics that Ajinomoto has used to rig its double-blind studies. (They stopped doing double-blind studies after we exposed the fact that they were lacing what they called “placebos” with aspartic acid, the excitotoxic amino acid used in aspartame. Aspartame and free aspartic acid cause the same brain damage and adverse reactions as those caused by MSG and free glutamic acid (32, 46, 102).

Additional reference

Neurobehav Toxicol. 1980 Summer;2(2):125-9.
Brain damage in mice from voluntary ingestion of glutamate and aspartate.
Olney JW, Labruyere J, de Gubareff T.

If there is anything else you would like me to provide to demonstrate that MSG kills brain cells and causes adverse reactions, please do not hesitate to contact me again.


Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.
Truth in Labeling Campaign
Chicago, IL USA

Reference used in this material

I. MSG-induced brain damage. The seminal and definitive studies of MSG-inflicted brain damage were done in 1969 and the 1970s, and there is no need to replicate them.


12. Olney JW. Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Science. 1969;164(880):719-721.

13. Olney JW, Ho OL, Rhee V. Cytotoxic effects of acidic and sulphur containing amino acids on the infant mouse central nervous system. Exp Brain Res. 1971;14(1):61-76.

14. Olney JW, Sharpe LG. Brain lesions in an infant rhesus monkey treated with monosodium glutamate. Science. 1969;166(903):386-388.

15. Snapir N, Robinzon B, Perek M. Brain damage in the male domestic fowl treated with monosodium glutamate. Poult Sci. 1971;50(5):1511-1514.

16. Perez VJ, Olney JW. Accumulation of glutamic acid in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus of the infant mouse following subcutaneous administration of monosodium glutamate. J Neurochem. 1972;19(7):1777-1782.

17. Arees EA, Mayer J. Monosodium glutamate-induced brain lesions: electron microscopic examination. Science. 1970;170(957):549-550.

18. Everly JL. Light microscopy examination of monosodium glutamate induced lesions in the brain of fetal and neonatal rats. Anat Rec. 1971;169(2):312.

19. Olney JW. Glutamate-induced neuronal necrosis in the infant mouse hypothalamus. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1971;30(1):75-90.

20. Lamperti A, Blaha G. The effects of neonatally-administered monosodium glutamate on the reproductive system of adult hamsters. Biol Reprod 1976;14(3):362-369.

21. Takasaki Y. Studies on brain lesion by administration of monosodium L-glutamate to mice. I. Brain lesions in infant mice caused by administration of monosodium L-glutamate. Toxicology. 1978;9(4):293-305

22. Holzwarth-McBride MA, Hurst EM, Knigge KM. Monosodium glutamate induced lesions of the arcuate nucleus. I. Endocrine deficiency and ultrastructure of the median eminence. Anat Rec. 1976;186(2):185-196.

23. Holzwarth-McBride MA, Sladek JR, Knigge KM. Monosodium glutamate induced lesions of the arcuate nucleus. II Fluorescence histochemistry of catecholamines. Anat Rec. 1976;186(2):197-205.

24. Paull WK, Lechan R. The median eminence of mice with a MSG induced arcuate lesion. Anat Rec. 1974;180(3):436.

25. Burde RM, Schainker B, Kayes J. Acute effect of oral and subcutaneous administration of monosodium glutamate on the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus in mice and rats. Nature. 1971;233(5314):58-60.

26. Olney JW, Sharpe LG, Feigin RD. Glutamate-induced brain damage in infant primates. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1972;31(3):464-488.

27. Abraham R, Doughtery W, Goldberg L, Coulston F. The response of the hypothalamus to high doses of monosodium glutamate in mice and monkeys: cytochemistry and ultrastructural study of lysosomal changes. Exp Mol Pathol.1971;15(1):43-60.

28. Burde RM, Schainker B, Kayes J. Monosodium glutamate: necrosis of hypothalamic neurons in infant rats and mice following either oral or subcutaneous administration. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1972;31(1):181.

29. Robinzon B, Snapir N, Perek M. Age dependent sensitivity to monosodium glutamate inducing brain damage in the chicken. Poult Sci. 1974;53(4):1539-1542.

30. Tafelski TJ. Effects of monosodium glutamate on the neuroendocrine axis of the hamster. Anat Rec. 1976;184(3):543-544.

31. Olney JW, Rhee V, DeGubareff T. Neurotoxic effects of glutamate on mouse area postrema. Brain Res. 1977;120(1):151-157.

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

33. Lemkey-Johnston N, Reynolds WA. Nature and extent of brain lesions in mice related to ingestion of monosodium glutamate: a light and electron microscope study. J Neuropath Exp Neurol. 1974;33(1):74-97.

34. Takasaki, Y. Protective effect of mono- and disaccharides on glutamate-induced brain damage in mice. Toxicol Lett. 1979;4(3): 205-210.

35. Takasaki, Y. Protective effect of arginine, leucine, and preinjection of insulin on glutamate neurotoxicity in mice. Toxicol Lett. 1980;5(1):39-44.

36. Lemkey-Johnston, N, Reynolds WA. Nature and extent of brain lesions in mice related to ingestion of monosodium glutamate: a light and electron microscope study. J Neuropath Exp Neurol. 1974;33(1):74-97.


99. Samuels A. (2020). Dose dependent toxicity of glutamic acid: A review. International Journal of Food Properties.

II. Industry’s unfounded claims of MSG safety


5. Samuels A. The toxicity/safety of processed free glutamic acid (MSG): a study in suppression of information. Accountability in Research.1999;6:259-310. Accessed 4/14/2020.

III. Availability of sufficient potentially excitotoxic manufactured/processed free glutamate (MfG) in food and elsewhere to cause MfG to become excitotoxic (to kill brain cells)


7. Hashimoto S. Discovery and History of Amino Acid Fermentation.
Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2017;159:15-34.

8. Sano C. History of glutamate production. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(3):728S-732S

IV. MSG-induced adverse reactions


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2. Kenney, RA and Tidball, CS Human susceptibility to oral monosodium L-glutamate. Am J Clin Nutr.25:140-146,1972.

3. Kerr, G.R., Wu-Lee, M., El-Lozy, M., McGandy, R., and Stare, F. Food-symptomatologyquestionnaires: risks of demand-bias questions and population-biased surveys. In: Glutamic Acid: Advances in Biochemistry and Physiology Filer, L. J., et al., Eds. New York: Raven Press, 1979.

4. Schaumburg, H.H., Byck, R, Gerstl, R, and Mashman, J.H. Monosodium L-glutamate: its pharmacology and role in the Chinese restaurant syndrome. Science 163:826-828,1969.

175. Kwok, R.H.M. The Chinese restaurant syndrome. Letter to the editor. N Engl J Med 278: 796, 1968.

179. Schaumburg, H. Chinese-restaurant Syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1122, 1968.

180. McCaghren, T.J. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1123, 1968.

181. Menken, M. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278, 1123, 1968.

182. Migden, W. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1123, 1968.

183. Rath, J. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1123, 1968.

184. Beron, E.L. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1123, 1968.

185. Kandall, S.R. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1123, 1968.

186. Gordon, M.E., Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1123-1124, 1968.

187. Rose, E.K. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1123, 1968.

188. Davies, N.E. Chinese-restaurant syndrome. N Engl J Med 278: 1124, 1968.

189. Schaumburg, H.H. and Byck, R. Sin cib-syn: accent on glutamate. N Engl J Med 279: 105, 1968.

190. Ambos, M., Leavitt, N.R., Marmorek, L., and Wolschina, S.B. Sin cib-syn: accent on glutamate. N Engl J Med 279: 105, 1968.

191. Schaumburg, H.H., Byck, R., Gerstl, R., and Mashman, J.H. Monosodium L-glutamate: its pharmacology and role in the Chinese restaurant syndrome. Science 163: 826-828, 1969.

192. Upton, A.R.M., and Barrows, H.S. Chinese-restaurant syndrome recurrence. N Engl J Med 286: 893-894, 1972

213. Gann, D. Ventricular tachycardia in a patient with the “Chinese restaurant syndrome.” Southern Medical J 70: 879-880, 1977.

214. Asnes, R.S. Chinese restaurant syndrome in an infant. Clin Pediat 19: 705-706, 1980.

215. Cochran, J.W., and Cochran A.H. Monosodium glutamania: the Chinese restaurant syndrome revisited. JAMA 252: 899, 1984.

216. Freed, D.L.J. and Carter, R. Neuropathy due to monosodium glutamate intolerance. Annals of Allergy 48: 96-97, 1982.

217. Ratner, D., Esmel, E., and Shoshani, E. Adverse effects of monosodium glutamate: a diagnostic problem. Israel J Med Sci 20: 252-253, 1984.

218. Squire, E.N. Jr. Angio-oedema and monosodium glutamate. Lancet 988, 1987.

219. Pohl, R., Balon, R., and Berchou, R. Reaction t chicken nuggets in a patient taking an MAOI. Am J Psychiatry 145: 651, 1988.

220. Reif-Lehrer, L. and Stemmermann, M.B. Correspondence: Monosodium glutamate intolerance in children. N Engl J Med 293: 1204-1205, 1975.

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

222. Reif-Lehrer, L. Letter: A search for children with possible MSG intolerance. Pediatrics 58: 771-772, 1976.

223. Reif-Lehrer, L. A questionnaire study of the prevalence of chinese restaurant syndrome. Fed Proc36:1617-1623, 1977.

224. Reif-Lehrer, L. Possible significance of adverse reactions to glutamate in humans. Federation Proceedings 35: 2205-2211, 1976. 225. Colman, A.D. Possible psychiatric reactions to monosodium glutamate. N Engl J Med 299: 902, 1978.

226. Neumann, H.H. Soup? It may be hazardous to your health. Am Heart J 92:, 266, 1976.

227. Gore, M.E., and Salmon, P.R. Chinese restaurant syndrome: fact or fiction. Lancet 1(8162): 251, 1980.

228. Sauber, W.J. What is Chinese restaurant syndrome? Lancet 1(8170): 721-722, 1980.

229. Allen, D.J., and Baker, G.J. Chinese-restaurant asthma. N Engl J Med 305: 1154-1155, 1981.

230. Allen, D.H., Delohery, J., & Baker, G.J. Monosodium L-glutamate-induced asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 80: No 4, 530-537, 1987.

231. Moneret-Vautrin, D.A. Monosodium glutamate – induced asthma: Study of the potential risk in 30 asthmatics and review of the literature. Allergic et Immunologie 19: No 1, 29-35, 1987.

232. Smith, J.D., Terpening, C.M., Schmidt, S.O.F., and Gums, J.G. Relief of fibromyalgia symptonsfollowoing discontinuation of dietary excitotoxins. The Annals of Pharmacoltherapy. 35: (6) 702-706.

233. Scopp, A.L. MSG and hydrolyzed vegetable protein induced headache: review and case studies. Headache. 31:107-110, 1991.

234. Martinez, F. et al. Neuroexcitatory amino acid levels in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid during migraine attacks. Cephalalgia. 13: 89-93, 1993.

235. Scopp, A. Personal communication. June 17, 2002.

236. He K, Zhao L, Daviglus ML, et al. Association of Monosodium Glutamate Intake With Overweight in Chinese Adults: The INTERMAP Study. Obesity. 16(8): 1875-1880, 2008. Epub 2008 May 22.

V. Warnings


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35. Hermanussen M, García AP, Sunder M, Voigt M, Salazar V, Tresguerres JA. Obesity, voracity, and short stature: the impact of glutamate on the regulation of appetite. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60(1):25-31.

36. Stover JF, Kempski OS. Glutamate-containing parenteral nutrition doubles plasma glutamate: a risk factor in neurosurgical patients with blood-brain barrier damage? Crit Care Med. 1999;27(10):2252-6.

37. Castrogiovanni D, Gaillard RC, Giovambattista A, Spinedi E. Neuroendocrine, metabolic, and immune functions during the acute phase response of inflammatory stress in monosodium Lglutamate-damaged, hyperadipose male rat. Neuroendocrinology. 2008;88(3):227-34.

38. Gill SS, Mueller RW, McGuire PF, Pulido OM. Potential target sites in peripheral tissues for excitatory neurotransmission and excitotoxicity. Toxicol Pathol. 2000;28(2):277-84.

39. Zautcke JL, Schwartz JA, Mueller EJ. Chinese restaurant syndrome: a review. Ann Emerg Med. 1986;15(10):1210-3.

40. Hermanussen M, Tresguerres JA. How much glutamate is toxic in paediatric parenteral nutrition? Acta Paediatr. 2005;94(1):16-9.

41. Nakanishi Y, Tsuneyama K, Fujimoto M, Salunga TL, Nomoto K, An JL, Takano Y, Iizuka S, Nagata M, Suzuki W, Shimada T, Aburada M, Nakano M, Selmi C, Gershwin ME. Monosodium glutamate (MSG): a villain and promoter of liver inflammation and dysplasia. J Autoimmun. 2008;30(1-2):42-50.

42. He K, Zhao L, Daviglus ML, Dyer AR, Van Horn L, Garside D, Zhu L, Guo D, Wu Y, Zhou B, Stamler J; INTERMAP Cooperative Research Group. Association of monosodium glutamate intake with overweight in Chinese adults: the INTERMAP Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008;16(8):1875-80.

43. Niaz K, Zaplatic E, Spoor J. Extensive use of monosodium glutamate: A threat to public health? EXCLI J. 2018;17:273-278.

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

45. Mondal M, Sarkar K, Nath PP, Paul G. Monosodium glutamate suppresses the female reproductive function by impairing the functions of vary and uterus in rat. Environ Toxicol. 2018;33(2):198-208.

46. Olney JW. Excitotoxic food additives–relevance of animal studies to human safety. Neurobehav Toxicol Teratol. 1984;6(6):455-62.

47. Onaolapo OJ, Onaolapo AY, Akanmu MA, Gbola O. Evidence of alterations in brain structure and antioxidant status following ‘low-dose’ monosodium glutamate ingestion. Pathophysiology. 2016;23(3):147-56.

48. Dixit SG, Rani P, Anand A, Khatri K, Chauhan R, Bharihoke V. To study the effect of monosodium glutamate on histomorphometry of cortex of kidney in adult albino rats. Ren Fail. 2014;36(2):266-70.

49. Zheng C, Yang D, Li Z, Xu Y. Toxicity of flavor enhancers to the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Ecotoxicology. 2018;27(5):619-626.

50. Olney JW. The toxic effects of glutamate and related compounds in the retina and the brain. Retina. 1982;2(4):341-59.

51. Olney JW. Excitatory neurotoxins as food additives: an evaluation of risk. Neurotoxicology. 1981;2(1):163-92.

52. Hashem HE, El-Din Safwat MD, Algaidi S. The effect of monosodium glutamate on the cerebellar cortex of male albino rats and the protective role of vitamin C (histological and immunohistochemical study). J Mol Histol. 2012;43(2):179-86.

53. Iamsaard S, Sukhorum W, Samrid R, Yimdee J, Kanla P, Chaisiwamongkol K, Hipkaeo W, Fongmoon D, Kondo H. The sensitivity of male rat reproductive organs to monosodium glutamate. Acta Med Acad. 2014;43(1):3-9.

VI. Suppression of information


101. Samuels A. The Toxicity/Safety of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG): A study in Suppression of Information. Accountability in Research.1999(6):259-310 (

Warning! Yeast extract contains the same excitotoxic free glutamate as that in MSG

There’s a world of writers who turn out propaganda pieces on the safety of MSG. They’re much like the “researchers” who authored the MSG-is-safe studies for the International Glutamate Technical Committee in the 1990s. These were individuals with little or no obvious connection to one another, affiliated with variety of universities and medical schools, who had no history of studying the safety of MSG and had no misgivings about using excitotoxic aspartame in their placebos.

So, it’s only natural to wonder if John Moody’s article “Yeast Extract: Not MSG But Is It Safe?” in The Healthy Home Economist was designed to be MSG-is-safe propaganda. It sure looked that way, but it also sent a warning to consumers that yeast extract contains the same toxic free glutamate that’s in MSG.

To understand the toxicity of yeast extract, you have to understand the basics of toxic glutamate found in food.

Glutamate must be free to be harmful, meaning it can’t exist as part of a protein. And toxic free glutamate found in food will always have been manufactured.

You can make/produce free glutamate (glutamate outside of protein) using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria. Feed the bacteria on some starchy stuff like sugar, and they secrete glutamate through their cell walls. That’s pretty much how the glutamate in MSG is made in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa.

You can also free glutamate from protein. Begin with something that contains protein — almost any meat, grain, diary product, fruit or vegetable will contain at least some small amount of glutamate. Then, choose your method: 1) extract glutamate from protein, 2) use hydrolysis, autolysis, enzymes, acids or fermentation to break protein into individual amino acids (which would include glutamate), or apply high heat to protein.

All glutamate made/produced by man plus that which has been fermented contains D-glutamate, pyroglutamate and other unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities which industry has been unable to remove) as well as the desired L-glutamate. In contrast, the glutamate in unadulterated fruits, grains, vegetables, and in the human body, which wouldn’t be manufactured, is L-glutamate only.

To be toxic, free glutamate has to 1) be present in excess – more than the healthy body needs for normal body function, or 2) act as a neurotransmitter, overstimulating and damaging glutamate receptors for some weak area in an individual’s body, the heart, lungs, or stomach for example.

Yeast extract contains toxic free glutamate.

Yeast extract contributes to accumulation of toxic free glutamate in two ways. First, yeast extract itself will contain toxic free glutamate. Moreover, yeast and yeast extract can also interact with other ingredients, causing the protein in those other ingredients to break down and release glutamate.

The way that the yeast extract is produced will vary from one manufacturer to another, but all break the protein found in yeast into free amino acids – one of which will be glutamate. Following are various descriptions of how that’s done:

1: Food

“Angel Yeast’s yeast extract products are obtained from molasses-cultured yeast, which are autolyzed to obtain the extract and made into pastes or powders.”

2: European Association for Specialty Yeast Products:

“Yeast extract is … made from natural bakers’ or brewers’ yeast. First sugar is added so that the yeast can multiply. Then enzymes in the yeast break down the proteins present in the yeast into smaller components and make the cell walls permeable. Finally the components present in the yeast cell – the yeast extract – are separated from the surrounding wall and dried.”

3: Biospringer:

“Yeast is a microscopic unicellular fungus that has been living on Earth for millions of years. Like any other cell, yeast is made of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals gathered within the cell walls.”

“Yeast extract is simply the yeast content without the cell wall, making it a natural origin ingredient. Its production consists of 3 main steps:

Breaking of the yeast cell (also known as autolysis)

4: By Elea Carey for Healthline:″

“There are two kinds of yeast extract, autolyzed and hydrolyzed. In both, the cell walls are discarded and the contents of the cell are combined. In autolyzed yeast, the enzymes found in the yeast itself are used to break down the proteins. In hydrolyzed yeast, these enzymes are added to the yeast.”

Does yeast extract contain enough free glutamate to cause brain damage or adverse reactions?

If yeast extract was the only source of free glutamate ingested, toxicity would depend on the amount of free glutamate in the particular product ingested, and the sensitivity of the person ingesting it. There are glutamate-sensitive people who react to yeast extract.

But in real life one helping of yeast extract isn’t going to be ingested in isolation. Combined with other sources of glutamate in the diet, yeast extract increases the likelihood of brain damage and adverse reactions.

About MSG-is-safe propaganda

John Moody’s article fits the present propaganda model perfectly. It doesn’t shout out that MSG is harmless, but in several sections feel-good words are paired with the words glutamate, MSG or umami.

“Why we love glutamate”
“the presence of natural glutamates”
“Glutamates… trigger a response in our brains that make us enjoy our food.”
“Glutamates don’t just taste good, they ARE good”
“essential for life itself”
“…glutamates are naturally occurring in a wide range of foods, especially if fermented or slowly cooked or simmered. Also, traditional cultures sometimes prepared foods in such a way to purposefully INCREASE the concentration of glutamates. Clearly, ancestral societies recognized the benefits of natural glutamate in the diet.”

And then there are even more clever sections that the casual reader might think speak of the hazards of glutamates, but actually minimize them: 1) it would be unnatural to ingest too much MSG; 2) it’s processed foods that are the problem if there is one, not MSG; 3) there are a few risks associated with ingestion of MSG, but lots of foods can cause them, and 4) natural forms of glutamates are not a concern.

And finally, at the end of the paper, where psychologists say it will have the longest lasting impression, are the words, “For healthy individuals, glutamates play a vital role both in good health and good hearth (food).”

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

What do some vaccines have in common with plant-based protein substitutes?

Hint: When you get just a little it can cause a-fib, tachycardia, asthma, migraines, seizures and more.

Hint: When you get more than a little, it causes brain damage. (And you won’t notice losing just a few brain cells at a time.)

Send you answers to

All those who answer correctly will receive a link to a free download of the book “It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s, It was 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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.