MSG or monosodium glutamate is a popular food enhancer commonly used in Asian food (particularly Chinese) and is now added to thousands of processed foods.
MSG is composed of 78 percent free glutamic acid, 21 percent sodium and up to one percent contaminants. Japanese inventor Kikunae Ikeda took a hint from the natural flavor enhancing substance of seaweed (which he identified) and developed MSG as a man-made food additive.
When you eat MSG-laced food, you think that what you’re eating has more protein and tastes better, but in reality, MSG has very little taste at all, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains. MSG just tricks your tongue by stimulating a little-known fifth taste known as umami, which is the reason why foods with MSG taste heartier and more robust.
Foods like fresh tomatoes and Parmesan cheese naturally contain free glutamates but the purified crystalline MSG which was introduced in the U.S. under the name “Accent” is nothing like its natural counterpart because it has been transformed into a toxic substance known as an excitotoxin.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock defines excitotoxins as substances which overexcite cells to the point of damage or death. He warns that MSG may cause brain damage and can potentially trigger or worsen neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, learning disabilities, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and more.
Numerous glutamate receptors can be found both within your heart’s electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself, which is why it can damage your heart. This may even explain the sudden deaths sometimes seen among young athletes, Dr. Blaylock points out.
Free glutamic acid is also the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas and other organs use to initiate certain bodily processes.
The FDA concedes that the abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and has caused damage to nerve cells in the brain, though the consumer watchdog agency stops short of saying that MSG consumption causes adverse side effects.
Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches and obesity.
Curiously, the FDA admits that short-term reactions to MSG known as the “MSG Symptom Complex” can occur in certain people, particularly among asthmatics and those who have consumed large doses of MSG.
MSG Symptom Complex can involve a burning sensation, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, drowsiness, facial pressure, headache, nausea, numbness, rapid heartbeat and weakness.
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms after pigging out on Chinese takeout or junkfood, chances are, they were caused by the “MSG high.”
Because public awareness of MSG has increased over the years, food manufacturers have gotten smarter and have attempted to “clean” their labels by taking away “MSG” because they do not need to label other ingredients which contain free glutamic acid, the main component of MSG.
There are over 40 labeled ingredients that contain glutamic acid, and these ingredients have found their way into all kinds of food products, including canned soups, crackers, meat, salad dressings, frozen dinners and even in baby food, infant formula and inside a meal replacement bar.
You can avoid MSG by eating healthy snacks, like Dr. Mercola’s cocoa cassava bar, which is a natural energy bar. Cocoa cassava bars do not use any potentially toxic food additives to improve flavor because it contains delicious health-promoting ingredients like cocoa, flaxseeds and extra-virgin coconut oil, which perfectly complement one another to deliver one of the best-tasting nutritional bars in the market today.
Aside from eating healthy snacks, choose whole foods to get better flavor and more health value. It may take longer to prepare food at home using fresh, locally-grown and unprocessed ingredients but the extra time is worth it if it means avoiding toxic food additives like MSG.