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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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