What is MSG?
MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate is a salt of the amino acid - Glutamic Acid (glutamate). A salt is the chemical name for a molecule held together by opposite charges. Basically one (mono) sodium atom is "stuck" to the amino acid glutamate.
Why do food companies add MSG to foods?
There are several reasons:
MSG tricks your tongue into making you think a certain food is high in protein and thus nutritious. It is not a "meat tenderizer". It is not a "preservative". The food industry is trying to confuse the issue by focusing on the "fifth" taste sense they call umami. Free glutamic acid is detected by the taste buds as a simple way to signal the presence of protein in a food, just as there are fat receptors to detect fats and receptors that sense carbohydrate or sweet flavors. The purpose is to help us discern real food from inedible matter. It changes your perception of not simply taste but the nutritious qualities of what you put into your mouth. However, and here is the main problem with free glutamic acid - It is the very same neurotransmitter that your brain and many organs including your ears, eyes, nervous system and pancreas in your body use to initiate certain processes in your body.
MSG stimulates the pancreas anti
The body changes excess glutamate to GABA
Cost. The illusion created by adding MSG to a food product enables the food processor to add LESS real food. The illusion of more protein in a food allows the food producer to put LESS protein in it. The consumer perceives the product - say chicken soup - to have more chicken in it than is actually there. Example: A well-known brand of dehydrated chicken noodle soup. Is that chicken in there, or a piece of confetti?
- 9 out of 10 Fast Food Places put MSG in their foods. Processed Foods from our grocery freezers have MSG in them.
Body effects from MSG
Allergic response – MSG is not a true allergen but may directly affect immune response by stimulating or damaging the nervous system. In studies done recently on animals, food allergies may be caused by a lack of Interleukin 12. This substance is made by cells in the body - oligodendrocytes, that are killed by excess glutamate. Also - Over 85% of individuals with Type 1 Diabetes have antibodies to the enzyme the body uses to turn Glutamate into GABA - glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). Their immune system attacks the means by which glutamate is metabolized, even though it does not attack glutamate itself. Because of their immune response to GAD, Type 1 diabetics are at risk of having an excess of glutamate in their systems already.
Blood Pressure - may create taurine deficiency – calcium channels stay open – causing high blood pressure and counteracting calcium channel blocking medication.
Blood vessels – Glutamate is vasoactive - it changes the diameter of the blood vessels - one reason why it may cause headaches.
Brain – during periods of hypoglycemia where low blood glucose levels leave the brain with low defenses, or allergy response where the blood vessels become "leaky", MSG may cross the blood brain barrier and damage brain cells by excitatory neurotoxicity. By affecting the pancreas and creating a situation of hypoglycemia, MSG may bring down the brain’s barriers, carrying it’s own key, in a sense, to get to the brain.
Digestive system – may create taurine deficiency due to its effect on cysteine. Cysteine competes with glutamate for uptake. Unfortunately, cysteine is used to make taurine, and taurine is used to make bile. Bile, which is made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder is used to break up fats into managable pieces for digestion. If bile formation is compromised - diarrhea and "gall bladder attacks" may occur.
Endocrine System - GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) is created by feedback mechanism from MSG. GABA may be addictive. Related to the date-rape drug GBH. GABA stimulates the pituitary to produce growth hormone. Research has shown that MSG can also overstimulate prolactin production by the pituitary and cause sterility in female animals. Nearly half of all pituitary tumors are prolactin secreting.
Hearing - The hair cells of the ear use glutamate as a neurotransmitter. Over-stimulation of these cells by glutamate can result in ringing in the ears. Glutamate opens calcium channels.
Heart Rate - May create taurine deficiency – (taurine regulates heartbeat) causing irregular or racing heartbeat.
Hypoglycemia – MSG’s stimulation of pancreas decreases blood glucose, making hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) worse.
Hypothalamus – part of the brain most susceptible to attack because it is the "sensor" of the brain, out in the open so to speak, not protected by the blood brain barrier because it needs to monitor levels of hormones in the blood. This part of the brain directs the action of the pituitary gland which directs the action of the entire endocrine system. Many MSG sensitive persons become diagnosed with thyroid disfunction and are put on synthetic hormone due to hypothyroidism. This would suggest that the hypothalamus may be compromised and unable to effectively direct the pituitary gland and consequently the thyroid. The hypothalamus also regulates hunger, and body temperature. The hypothalamus is also responsible for rage and panic as well...
Lungs - Asthma - due to MSG’s stimulatory effect on the nervous system (See Johns Hopkins research) would explain why asthma is induced in some by MSG.
Nervous system - MSG stimulates nerves in tongue and elsewhere directly (that’s why they use it). Glutamate in excess can overstimulate nerve cells until they die. Certain cells called oligodendrocytes which are found in the nervous system and make MYELIN are killed by excess glutamate. It is the inability to make myelin which defines the disease Multiple Sclerosis. In those patients, Interleukin 12 is low. IL 12 is also made by the oligodendrocytes - a clue that these cells are probably being killed by something. We firmly believe that something may be MSG and aspartame in the diet.
Pancreas – glutamate stimulates the pancreas and may cause Type II diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance. In individuals with Type 1 diabetes, it may cause an excess of glutamate since 85% of those with Type 1 diabetes have antibodies which attack GAD - the enzyme responsible for converting glutamate into GABA.
Thyroid function – See Hypothalamus above
Vision - There are glutamate receptors in the retina. Laboratory studies on animals have shown the retina to be damaged by MSG.
MSG Causes of Diseases
If one was to conclude that MSG exacerbates or causes certain diseases based on their connection to glutamate in the body, one would also expect:
The incidence of those diseases to increase with the dramatic increase in the consumption of MSG.
An additional rise associated with the approval and increased use of aspartame (especially since the early 1990's when the patent expired), which the human body can easily convert to glutamate, and which acts on many of the same receptors (NMDA, etc...)
That being said, there is actually a dramatic correlation. Consider:
According to the following link, there has been a 500% increase in the number of prescriptions written for ADHD since 1991:
In Britain A.L.S. deaths were 4 times higher in the year 2000 than in 1952, with a dramatic increase just in last decade. See the chart on this next link:
Gulf War veterans who were fed MSG in their army rations have developed ALS in numbers that are alarming those in charge. Veterans of Desert Storm are twice as likely to develop ALS than veterans not in Desert Storm. MSG was only added to rations AFTER WWII and its use has steadily increased in rations AND in American junk food until very recently, when it was removed from the MRE rations. Veterans of any wars prior to and including WWII would not have been fed MSG in their rations. In addition, many US Army members in the Gulf were subjected to many new vaccines - which have free glutamic acid (the business end of MSG) as an additive.
(Joyce Riley, a former Air Force nurse in Desert Storm who came down with Gulf War illness suspects vaccines played a significant role in her bout of Gulf War Illness. Based on the amount of free glutamic acid present in vaccines today and their suspect role in the rise of autism, vaccines, and their ingredients - besides just mercury - should be investigated further. We agree.)
According to Scientific American, June 2000, pg 30 "Asthma Worldwide", asthma was rare in 1900. Now it is considered epidemic. It kills 5,000 Americans yearly, and 180,000 worldwide according to to the World Health Organization. Asthma is now the most common childhood chronic disease...
The rise in asthma was 42% in the US from 1982 – 1992. The death rate rose 40% from 1982-1991.
Mortality rates for atrial fibrillation have almost doubled in England and Wales since 1993 according to this link:
Autism increase is possibly linked to MMR vaccines (which can contain free glutamate as gelatin) according to these articles based on autism rates in Scotland climbing 18% in just one year. Note also that dramatic increases are also being found in the US as well as Britain, with a particularly large jump just in the last decade:
In Canada from 1995- 2000 visits to doctors for depression rose 36% in just 6 years. Also, since 1996 prescriptions to treat depression increased 63%.
China, a large consumer of MSG, accounts for 42% of all suicides in the world.
According to this recent article, 250,000 people commit suicide in China each year. Suicide and depression among China's youth is becoming a serious public health issue in China.
According to the following link suicides have increased - especially in the age groups of those who consume large amounts of MSG in fast foods:
Note: "Persons under age 25 accounted for 15% of all suicides in 1998. From 1952-1995, the incidence of suicide among adolescents and young adults nearly tripled. From 1980-1997, the rate of suicide among persons aged 15-19 years increased by 11% and among persons aged 10-14 years by 109%. From 1980-1996, the rate increased 105% for African-American males aged 15-19."
Over 80% of people studied with Type 1 diabetes have antibodies against glutamic acid debarboxylase (GAD) . GAD is the enzyme the body uses to turn glutamic acid, (glutamate) into gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). The theory is that the cells of the pancreas and consequently, the body's ability to produce insulin, are attacked by the immune system because GAD is found on the outside of pancreatic cells. The body starts attacking GAD but in the process may destroy pancreatic cells as well.
According to WebMD, "There has been a 10-fold increase in the number of children with Type 2 diabetes during the past five years." (Italics ours.) And over 85% of these children are also obese.
According to ABCNews August 24, 2004:
"Nearly a third of American adults have high blood pressure ... Just over a decade ago, closer to one in four Americans had high blood pressure, and two decades ago the rate actually was declining. ... About 65 million American adults now have high blood pressure 30 percent more than the 50 million who did in the previous decade, according to a report published Monday in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association."
Experts state that athlete heat stroke deaths are rising:
A study from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research indicates that just five players died from heat between 1931-1959. From 1960-2000, the number jumped to 103, including 18 in the past six years
In the US there has been a 60% increase in chronic migraine headaches from 1980 – 1989 according to this link:
The rise in myopia in Asian populations is causing much concern according to the following links:
50% of teenagers in China today are nearsighted compared to 15% in the 1970’s:
Myopia increase in Singapore:
Higher rates of myopia in Asians:
According to research published in the Dec. 12 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, "From 1986 to 1998, the number of non-Hispanic white children who were overweight doubled from 6% to 12%. The research suggests that roughly one in five African-American and Hispanic children are overweight -- a startling 120% increase during the 12-year study period." (Italics ours.)
And, according to the following link, obesity among young people in China is growing quickly. The Chinese consume large amounts of MSG and do not consume as many other foods that may counteract it, as the Japanese do (taurine-containing raw fish, and meat). The latest studies in rural China found that those who ate more MSG than others were several times more likely to be obese. This was INDEPENDENT of caloric intake or activity.
According to the following BBC report, from 1985 to 2000, the number of overweight and obese children in China has jumped 28-fold.
In Spain, researchers have found that MSG, when given to mice increased their appetite 40%.
According to the following link: "Dr. Allen states that between 1971 and 1990 the incidence of hearing problems increased by 26 percent among persons aged 45 to 64, and by 17 percent among those aged 18 to 44."
EXAMPLE OF PRODUCTS THAT CONTAINS MSG!
The absolute worst offender listed on our Foods to Avoid page is KFC. The following KFC menu items all contain MSG:
Roasted Ceasar Salad (WITHOUT dressing and croutons)
Crispy Ceasar Salad (WITHOUT dressing)
Roasted BLT Salad (WITHOUT dressing)
Crispy BLT Salad (WITHOUT dressing
Hidden Valley - The Original Fat Free Ranch Dressing
KFC Creamy Parmesan Ceasar Dressing - contains parmesan cheese - very high in MSG naturally
KFC Garlic Parmesan Croutons Pouch - contains parmesan cheese - very high in MSG naturally
KFC Famous Bowls - Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
KFC Famous Bowls - Rice with Gravy
KFC Snacker - Chicken
KFC Snacker - Honey BBQ
Honey BBQ Sandwich
Double Crunch Sandwich
Oven Roasted Twister
Oven Roasted Twister (WITHOUT sauce)
Tender Roast Sandwich
Tender Roast Sandwich(WITHOUT sauce)
Original Recipe Chicken (its in the marinade - it's literally soaked in MSG and salt)
Extra Crispy - MSG is in both the marinade AND the breading
Colonel's Crispy Strips
Chicken Pot Pie
Boneless HBBQ Wings
Boneless Fiery Buffalo Wings
Sweet and Spicy Boneless Wings
Green Beans (yeah, this shocked us too)
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
The Second Worst offender is Burger King. The following menu items from Burger King have MSG added:
Breaded Chicken Patty
Spicy Chicken Patty
Breaded Tendercrisp Chicken
BK Chicken Fries
Garden Veggie Patty - contains hydrolyzed corn, soy and wheat - which contains free glutamate
Ranch dipping sauce
Ken's Fat Free Ranch Dressing
Based on the way MSG is used by the American fast food industry, the following tips may be helpful for those wishing to avoid MSG when they must eat at an American restaurant:
AVOID all CHICKEN items
AVOID all SAUSAGE items
AVOID all PARMESAN products
AVOID all Ranch dressings - stick to oil and vinegar Italian
AVOID KFC altogether - we're not kidding
AVOID Dipping Sauces
AVOID Soups - as they often come from an MSG-containing soup base
The following very American snacks and foods also have MSG added in large amounts:
FLAVORED SNACK CHIPS - Most flavored potato chips and snack chips contain MSG. Doritos, a very popular food among American teens, has at least four sources of free glutamate - the business end of MSG.
CANNED AND INSTANT SOUP - Lipton, Knorr, Progresso and ramen noodle, and boullion cube manufacturers put MSG in their products. Products most Americans have been raised on, and not a few American office workers have stashed in their desk for those overtime evenings when a home cooked meal is out of the question, and foods poor college students practically live on.
CANNED TUNA - Most brands of canned tuna in the US have "broth" added or hydrolyzed vegetable protein added, which can contain up to 20% free glutamate. Manufacturers add this to hide any off flavors.
FRESH TURKEY - Many "self-basting" fresh turkeys and chickens sold in US supermarkets have solutions injected into them - solutions that contain free glutamate.
This is only a few of the products that have MSG added to them - products most Americans are unaware have MSG added to them.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AND PUT AN END TO MSG! ITS A SLOW CANCER WAITING TO HAPPEN, THINK ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN AND FUTURE CHILDREN.
Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago, MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the prepackaged meals, soups, snacks and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday
How can they claim it is safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like these?
The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity. Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT, Ribeiro IA. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002
Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats. Guimaraes RB, Telles MM, Coelho VB, Mori RC, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug
Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: an animal model of multiple risk factors. Iwase M, Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima
Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar
Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity. Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao K, Kusunoki Exp Neurol. 1978 Oct
Yes, that last study was not a typo, it WAS written in 1978. Both the medical research community and food "manufaturers" have known MSG's side effects for decades!
We are living in an obese country and we need to put an end to it. We have people developing body issues because of this chemical we feed to our children and to ourselves. Please put an end to.