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Do you have an MSG sensitivity?
Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is a food additive used in thousands of restaurants and food products. Its purpose is to boost the flavor of processed, canned and frozen foods.
MSG is derived from glutamic acid, a type of protein found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. It is produced through a fermentation process that was first discovered in 1866. By 1909 a Japanese food company began commercially producing monosodium glutamate.
The use of MSG in foods and products is controversial, due to a wide range of symptoms that some people experience shortly after consuming the additive.
Since cleaning up my diet, I’ve noticed that I do have physical reactions to MSG. Perhaps you do too.
What’s the Controversy with MSG?
Glutamate acid is an amino acid found in many foods. However, monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt derived from glutamic acid.
Natural glutamate is broken down naturally in the body. It is regulated so that excessive amounts are eliminated from the body to prevent toxicity. However MSG is isolated, and not attached to other amino acids. That means it is broken down quickly, rapidly raising levels of glutamate in the blood. Those excess levels of glutamate cause symptoms in people with an MSG sensitivity.
Anthony William, author of Medical Medium, states:
“MSG typically builds up in the brain, going deep into brain tissue. It can then cause inflammation and swelling, kill thousands of brain cells, disrupt electrical impulses, weaken neurotransmitters, burn out neurons, make you feel confused and anxious and even lead to mirco-strokes. It also weakens and injures the central nervous system.”
He goes on to say that MSG is especially harmful when dealing with an illness affecting the brain or central nervous system. Regardless, it is an additive to avoid.
Symptoms of an MSG Sensitivity
Here are common symptoms, experienced by those with a sensitivity to MSG:
- muscle tightness
- numbness and tingling
- headaches including migraines
- pain in the back of the neck
- weight gain
- nausea and vomiting
- trembling and weakness
- free radical formation and oxidation
- heart palpitations
- increased blood pressure
- worsening of asthma symptoms
- higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which is linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke
- dry mouth and excessive thirst
- confusion and anxiety
Where is MSG Found?
Although MSG is most often associated with meals in Chinese restaurants, it’s found in thousands of foods and even personal care products such as toothpaste.
MSG can lurk in:
- canned soups and broths
- fast food such as burgers and fried chicken
- potato chips and seasoned tortilla chips
- convenience meals
- cold cuts
- processed meats and foods
- instant noodles
- ice tea mixes
- salty snacks
- sports drinks
- soy sauce
- salad dressings
- personal care products
How to Avoid MSG
The best way to avoid this additive, and MSG sensitivity, is to limit or entirely eliminate foods from the list above. Focus on more fresh fruits and veggies. And prepare meals at home as much as possible. When you prep and cook your own meals, you know exactly what’s in them.
Read food labels. Look for MSG or monosodium glutamate listed on the label.
Additionally, MSG goes by a variety of other names, making it more difficult to spot the additive on food labels. If you see these words …
- autolyzed yeast
- hydrolyzed protein
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- sodium caseinate
- yeast nutrient or yeast extract
- Torulo yeast
- natural flavoring
- glutamic acid
…it’s very likely that the product contains MSG.
Dealing With MSG Sensitivity
I can now tell, within a few hours, if I’ve eaten something that contains MSG. My mouth becomes very dry and I experience excessive thirst. I may also notice pain in my stomach and a headache.
When I ate a nutrient poor, albeit typical, American diet, MSG stayed in my system. No wonder I experienced daily headaches, constant dry mouth, heart palpitations and frequent stomachaches.
Cleaning up my diet has detoxified my body. I am very aware now if I eat something that is harmful to me. I’m grateful for the built-in sensors and indicators in my body that help me identify and avoid foods that are not the best for me!
I prepare most of my meals at home. And I read those food labels!
I’ll be sharing recipes in upcoming posts, such as DIY seasoning salt, that are MSG free alternatives.
Do you have an MSG sensitivity?
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52 thoughts on “Do You Have an MSG Sensitivity?”
Great information. I will be paying closer attention to see if my food contains MSG for sure!
Awesome! Unfortunately it sneaks in through so many foods and products.
Great info! I may have a sensitivity to msg! I did not know some of the symptoms and your post has made me want to get this checked out! Thank you!
You are welcome! It’s especially important to avoid when you are already dealing with other issues. The MSG I was getting, unawares, certainly didn’t help my sciatic nerve inflammation.
As someone with a very sensitive stomach, I never considered this as an option but I am definitely going to do some more checking into it now!
It makes my stomach hurt. I didn’t realize I had a sensitivity to MSG but once I stopped eating it so many issues cleared up!
*saw the list and reached over to read the ingredients on the Stauffer’s Animal Crackers I’ve been snacking on all weekend* Phew! At leave YOU haven’t betrayed me! *continued snacking* 😅
Whew! 😃 It’s good to check.
I definitely have a sensitivity! It is so important to be informed with what is in our food. Great read!
Thank you! We just don’t know what all is in our food, unless we read those labels!
well thank you for explaining this in a simple way to understand. outstanding.
I’m glad it was helpful!
Whenever I eat Chinese food, I have sneezing fits! This was not on your list but I suspect it may be a symptom!
That’s interesting! And I too believe that’s a symptom. Our bodies respond in different ways. They are definitely trying to alert us to something though, that’s not right.
Really interesting info! I didn’t know how many names MSG went by!
Thank you! Yes the food industry can be a bit sneaky!
I need to pay more attention to this for sure.
I’m realizing what a negative effect it has on many people.
I love how they slip it in under those other names. When you start eating clean you realize how bad this stuff makes you feel. I had no idea the damage it does to the brain. Thank you for sharing!
Exactly so! My body has become a fine tuned sensor, alerting me to additives that aren’t the best for me!
YIKES! I knew that MSG gave me headaches so I have avoided for several years now but I had no idea what it can actually do to a person’s health and wellbeing! Can’t wait to read your replacement posts! 😀
I’ll be posting some DIY seasonings today, all without MSG!
Great post! It never occurred to me that I might have a sensitivity to MSG. I’ll have to play closer attention now.
Yes! See if you have any of the reactions after ingesting.
I never thought about this. This is definitely something to think about with one of my children who is struggling.
Yes you can note whether your child shows symptoms after eating foods with MSG added. It’s in so many snack foods!
Such an informative post! I find that the cleaner I become the more sensitive I become to the unwanted “nutrient poor” American diet. Thank you, as always for a great read.
Oh me too. My body likes the improved health and diet! She lets me know immediately if something is not good for me!
I had no idea about MSG sensitivity. My husband is lactose intolerant and we prepare most of our foods. In other words, I cook a lot. Thank you for informing me about this!
I do the same…cook a lot at home. I’m enjoying it!
I don’t have the MSG allergy/sensitivity but my mom and my husband do. We actually order chinese food and ask for no msg lol. It’s a real thing with real symptoms. Very eye-opening to read more about it here.
Yes it’s a bit controversial because some health care professionals scoff at the idea of MSG sensitivity. Obvious they don’t react to it! Thousands and thousands of people do though, including me and your mom and your husband!
I don’t but my husband does and it’s awful – def sharing this with him! Thanks 😊
Hope this helps! I feel so much better when I don’t eat it.
I’ve shared this article with a friend, who can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with his food sensitivities, maybe it will help him!
I hope so! There are so many things we can react to. I have gluten, dairy and MSG sensitivities plus I don’t handle sugar well!
This was so informative. I had heard little bits here and there about MSG and try to avoid it, but had no idea it was related to so many symptoms and had no idea how sneaky it is put into so many products. Thanks for the info!
Glad to help! I’m so much more aware of what I allow into my body.
Great post! thank you for sharing! need to review the nutrition info on all the products we buy now to see if there is anything we should be aware of
Excellent strategy! When we know, we can make choices.
This is an awesome post, so many people don’t pay attention to what is in their food sadly. I find MSG triggers my migraines as well as several other nasty symptoms.
So true. We just aren’t accustomed to reading the labels. It sure helps when we know what to avoid!
Wow, this seems like it would be so hard! But I wonder if it’s something I’ve been dealing with… thanks for sharing! I think I may need to look into it further.
Yes if you are having symptoms that seem random, look for MSG on food labels that you are consuming or notice if you experience symptoms after eating Chinese food. That’s a good way to start connecting symptoms with what you are eating.
I’m bookmarking this to refer back to later. I have a few of the symptoms you listed and I want to try to track when they happen/get worse.
Excellent idea. Notice whether your symptoms worsen after eating Chinese food. And check labels if you are experiencing symptoms after a particular snack or can of soup, etc. It’s easy to get MSG from a variety of products.
I’ve known all of this, but you explained it very well!
WOAH! I had no idea it was in so many foods! Ick!
Isn’t it alarming?! I read labels so carefully now.
MSG gives me horrible headaches, but I never realized it could be in sports drinks! Thanks for the info, I will be a little more diligent in looking for when it is in a food.
It’s crazy where all MSG can show up!