What is MSG?
MSG is a drug added to our foods that causes widespread toxicity.
MSG is a chemical flavor enhancer. It adds a sweetness and depth to virtually any food or beverage, and it is widely used throughout the food industry to enhance the flavors of processed foods that would otherwise taste flat and bland.
And herein lays the problem: processed food is typically so “dead” that most people wouldn’t buy it if the taste wasn’t somehow chemically enhanced. So food processors depend on MSG to make their foods appealing.
Symptoms of MSG syndrome: How to tell if you’re affected?
Download this list to find out whether you’ve been nailed by “hidden” MSG in foods.
That’s why food manufacturers continue to deny any health risk associated with the consumption of MSG — because if they had to stop using this chemical, their foods would taste terrible!
The problem is that MSG is also classified as an excitotoxin, which means it belongs to a class of chemicals that damage nerve cells by overexciting them. It enhances taste by penetrating the taste bud cells on your tongue and overexciting those cells to create a sensory taste experience.
The problem is that MSG doesn’t stop at the tongue. It continues through the bloodstream and can overexcite nerve cells throughout your nervous system. MSG was given the name “excitotoxin” when these effects were noticed by researchers decades ago:
While MSG has been used as a flavor enhancer for a very long time, the discovery of its adverse physiological effects can be attributed to a chance discovery in 1957 by two British ophthalmologists, Lucas and Newhouse, who were studying a rare eye disorder.
They were attempting to improve the condition in test animals by feeding monosodium glutamate, aspartate and other metabolic products to mice, based on the idea that these substances can be used as fuel by some nerve cells.
What they found was that the mice who received glutamate and aspartate suffered severe destruction of the cells in the retina, and that the damage was worse in newborn animals than adult animals.
The greatest damage occurred with exposure to glutamate. Their report went virtually unnoticed, even though monosodium glutamate had been added to processed foods in massive quantities since the late 1940s.
In 1968 another research scientist, John Olney, repeated the experiment hoping to use the ability of MSG to destroy retinal cells to study neural connections dying within deep brain structures, a common technique in neuroscience.
What he found shocked him: the MSG not only destroyed retinal cells, it also killed vital neurons within the brain itself.
On further study, Dr. Olney recognized that the MSG was killing neurons by exciting them to death. Based on this observation he named the process “excitotoxicity.”
The name “excitotoxin” now applies to a class of chemicals that overexcite nerve cells in the human body, causing damage or death to those cells. One of the side effects of excitotoxins is they also enhance the flavor of foods by overexciting the sensory cells on the tongue:
Excitotoxins are taste or flavor enhancers that release glutamate and other brain-active amino acids, such as aspartate and cysteine. The best known example of an excitotoxin is monosodium glutamate (MSG).
High blood levels of MSG can cross the normally protective blood-brain barrier. If glutamine levels are inappropriately raised, neurons fire abnormally and at higher levels, brain cells begin to die (Shefrin 1999; Dodd 2002).
Both oxygen deficiency and lack of fuel (hypoglycemia) interfere with the energy production of brain cells
and make them susceptible to excitotoxin damage.
As noted in a review article by Blaylock (1999) in Medical Sentinel, and other articles, excitotoxin damage may be an important factor in the development of neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (Shefrin 1999; Merims et al. 2001)
The toxicity of MSG
Within 15 to 30 minutes after being exposed to high doses of MSG, neurons suspended in tissue culture are seen to swell like balloons.
Under the microscope you can see degeneration of the small structures within the cell, called organelles, and also clumping of the chromatin of the nucleus.
Within three hours these neurons are not only dead, but the body’s defense mechanisms begin to haul away the debris.
Under experimental conditions using animals, this degenerative reaction is seen when MSG is either ingested in the diet, injected into the abdominal cavity, or applied directly to the neurons in tissue culture or into
the brain by way of cannula or tube.
But when lower doses of MSG were used, scientists discovered something very strange and different. Most of the neurons after thirty minutes appeared to be not only unharmed, but perfectly normal in every way.
Then, suddenly, two hours following the exposure, long after the MSG had been removed, the neurons began to die. It was as if a clock had been set so that the neurons would all commit suicide at the same time.
Within 18 to 24 hours after exposure to MSG all of the neurons were dead. But during that initial two hour period the cells appeared to be perfectly healthy. The best way to avoid MSG is by reading food labels. (Hint: If you haven’t checked out our action plans on reading food labels and harmful additives and preservatives in packaged food in our member’s area go have a look now)
MSG shown to damage the liver, the brain, the circulatory system and more
With increased use of MSG by food producers, more and more people were beginning to show these symptoms. At least 50 million people in the United States show reactions to MSG, with varying degrees.
But even those people who don’t show an immediate reaction to MSG may be suffering long-term brain damage as a result of this ingredient, according to researchers:In a study where MSG was fed to infant mice, one single dose increased free-radical damage to the brain by 60 percent, an effect that lasted all the way to adolescence.
This one dose also produced damage to the liver, endothelial cells, the circulatory system, and cells throughout the body.
The mice exposed to MSG during pregnancy and early childhood did fine, but later in life they had more difficulty performing mental tasks requiring logical thinking or memory.
Scientists also found lowered levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a large role in memory and learning, and of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in attention.
Other Problems Associated With MSG
- MSG can lead to obesity
- MSG can lead to heart problems/cardiovascular disease
- MSG can lead to Attention deficit hyperactive disorder
- MSG can lead to various types of cancers
- MSG can cause severe reproduction problems and endocrine disorders
- MSG can lead to weight gain
- MSG is linked to diabetes
- And much more…