Dr. Scott Collie D.C.C.N

Categorized | Eating Right

All About MSG: What is Monosodium glutamate?

Monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate or MSG, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acids. MSG (monosodium glutamate) was discovered (1908) by Professor Kikunae Ikeda. He isolated this flavor from seaweed broth and called it Monosodium Glutamate. With the help of the Ajinomoto Corp of Japan, Ikeda patented MSG in 1909 and it was made commercially available for the first time. Thus, MSG has been around and in commercial use for almost 100 years. MSG was desirable because it boosted the sensation of “savory” flavors in food.

MSG is now so ubiquitous in our food chain (east and west) that you would be very hard pressed to go MSG-free. As you would expect, junk foods and instant foods like soups, ramens and other mixes contain MSG. Prepared food in your grocery stores and at fast food outlets (KFC chicken skin is massively loaded with MSG) and fine dining restaurants alike are awash in MSG. Red meats, poultry, and other off-site prepared meat products are either sprayed with MSG containing solutions (Sanova , a pesticide) or injected with MSG containing compounds (hams, turkey, chicken, etc). Prepackaged hamburger patties have MSG. Fruits and vegetables are sprayed with MSG containing washes (Auxigro, a metabolic crop primer, almost 30% free MSG). When you see the word “citric acid” in prepared food ingredient lists, think MSG. Industrial citric acid is not made from citrus fruits, it’s made from corn. It’s not pure either. Once the citric acid is made from corn, it is contaminated by corn proteins which the producers do not waste time or money on removing. Those proteins are degraded or hydrolyzed into free MSG.

So what’s the big deal, what is this chemical and what is it doing after all? MSG is a glutamic acid. Glutamates are neurotransmitters that effect the signaling of nerve impulses in certain neurons. With respect to flavor, taste is facilitated by the selective excitation of your taste buds (neurons). When we are hit by a large bolus or amount of MSG, we experience excitotoxicity (not just some of us, all of us. Only certain people identify and correlate certain sensations to the ingestion of a bolus of MSG. Many of us are dosed continuously all day by low level exposures, leading to a near constant state of neuronal excitation). This is being heavily researched in the cause of ADD. Another chemical which does the same thing and which is just as ubiquitous is aspartate (nutra-sweet). Early on (in the 50s) studies reported significant issues relating to the exposure of mammals to MSG. If neonatal rats were given a single exposure to MSG, the neurons in the inner layer of their retina were killed. It was also reported that certain parts of their brains were injured as well (the hypothalamus). When considering various findings of MSG exposure in the rat, remember that humans are some 5-6 times more sensitive to MSG than rats. At one point, researchers determined that rats would be an excellent model for the study of obesity after the exposure to MSG. MSG is a chemoinducer of obesity, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome X in the rat. Thus, MSG is used in the lab to induce obesity in rats. Again, humans are 5-6 times more sensitive to MSG than rats. MSG is also known to induce a condition in our bodies called Leptin resistance, which is part of the mechanism that leads to obesity. I am convinced, now more than ever, that it’s the casual and unnecessary doping of our foods with chemicals like MSG that has lead us into obesity and certain brain disorders such as ADD.

So what does this all mean? MSG is a weight inducer and also a brain excitotoxin which are known to cause brain damage. Here are symptoms related to the ingestion of MSG:

  • Numbness (facial , neck and upper extremities)
  • Burning sensation (throughout entire body)
  • Tingling sensation
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Migraines
  • Chest Pain
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing

Leave a Reply