Excitotoxicity and Cell Damage

| Modified on Jun 18, 2014

What Is Excitotoxicity?

The pathological process by which nerve cells are damage and killed, excitotoxicity results from overstimulation. Elevated glutamate is the main culprit involved in excitotoxicity, as it is an excitatory neurotransmitter that activates the electrical signaling in nerve cells. As glutamate levels increase too rapidly, the nerve cell essentially becomes “jammed” and is stuck in the open position. This open position allows calcium to flow into the cell without regulation, causing damage to the DNA structure of the cell and resulting in several other damaging reactions.

The main component associated with excitotoxicity is damaged nerve cells; however, this damage is typically responsible for a variety of other conditions. Several common conditions can be linked to excitotoxicity including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and spinal injuries. The damage to nerve cells generally results in neurological symptoms that vary based on which cells are damaged and to what extent the cells are damaged.

Glutamate production is a natural function within the body; however, this increased production is what causes health concerns. Common causes of this uncontrolled phenomenon include brain and spinal injury and the intake of toxic foods.

Natural Excitotoxicity Remedies

Several natural remedies are available that facilitate the normal production of glutamate and inhibit over stimulation. Magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and selenium assist the normal bodily functions and maintain effective levels of glutamate receptors. Likewise, red clover, zinc, milk thistle, curcumin, taurine, vitamins B1 and B6, vitamin C and vitamin E eliminate toxins in the body and support overall health, also supporting the appropriate production of glutamates. Avoiding aspartame and MSG is also important for maintaining appropriate levels of glutamate and avoiding excitotoxicity.

Aspartic Acid in Vitamin C

Posted by Odile (Pittsburgh, Pa) on 06/30/2010

The controversy about Aspartic Acid (as when added to vitamin C) has caught my attention, specially with its effect as an excitotoxin. However, when I went on Wikipedia, here is what is said about it :

"Aspartic acid
40% of aspartame by mass is broken down into aspartic acid (aspartate), an amino acid. At high concentrations, aspartate can act as an excitotoxin, inflicting damage on brain and nerve cells.[89][90]

Humans and other primates are not as susceptible to excitotoxins as rodents; therefore, it is problematic to make conclusions about human safety from high-dose excitoxin response in rodent studies.[91][92] Increases in blood plasma levels of aspartic acid after ingestion of aspartame are insufficient to cause concern for human subjects researchers.[93][94]"

This is found in the post on Aspartame Controversy


What do you think of this post ? I personally will not touch diet soda -or any soda for that matter; but I work in a rehab nursing center where patients and nurses drink lots of diet soda, this issue does concern me. Since I am not a chemist, it is very difficult to untangle all the interests attached to scientific findings...


Posted by Debbie (Melbourne, Australia ) on 08/03/2011

A must watch video on Excitotoxins. The truth behind what we are eating. A must watch. It is a long video goes for about an hour but well worth watching if you want answers about your health.


Dangers of Excitotoxins

1 User Review

Posted by Debbie (Melbourne , Australia ) on 08/11/2011

I have mentioned before the dangers of Excitotoxins. They are MSG and Aspartame. They damage our brains and cause cancer amongst other things. Everyone needs to research Excitotoxins. They are in ALL processed foods including Health foods. A great book to read is by Dr. Russell Blaylock, Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills".

It is the reason kids are getting autism, and ADHD, learning difficulties, and why people are getting alzimers at an alarming rate. It is why people are getting so fat and can't lose the weight. We need to protect our families.

Here is an article of what we can take to block these so called Excitotoxins.

"How to Help Protect Your Brain From Excitotoxins:

Magnesium has been discovered to help impede glutamates from overloading glutamate receptors. People with low magnesium content are the most prone to acute excitotoxicity that can cause a sudden severe digestive distress, headache, or even heart attack. Magnesium is vital to 300 biochemical functions within the body. So it is important for overall health in addition to blocking glutamate sensors or channels from excitotoxin overload. Magnesium content is high in green, leafy vegetables. It is also available in whole grains and many beans and nuts.

Omega 3 fatty acids also block excitotoxins while repairing cellular damage. Fish oils seem to be the best source of Omega 3 for this specific purpose, according to Dr. Russel Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, and Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life.

Selenium is another protector of glutamate receptors from excitotoxin invasion. It is available as a supplement. Small doses are recommended. Brazil nuts are considered a high source of selenium. Two or three Brazil nuts a day is considered sufficient for optimum selenium intake.

Red Clover was recommended by Barbara L. Minton in her September 22, 2008 Natural News article Red Clover Blocks Neurological Damage From MSG. It is basically an herb that is inexpensive and available as leaves for tea, in tinctures, liquid extracts, and capsules. According to Barbara Minton's article, lab tests demonstrated a significant decline in brain cell neuron damage when red clover's essential protective ingredient was added.

Zinc also helps obstruct the glutamate receptor channels from excessive excitotoxin absorption. Many in our society today are zinc deficient. A zinc taste test can be done to determine if one has sufficient zinc stored in his or her body. A solution of zinc sulfate is tasted for the test. If an immediate bad taste ensues, that usually indicates a sufficient zinc level in the body.

To enhance and ensure detoxification, Dr. Blaylock recommends milk thistle to help the liver eliminate all toxins. Curcumin is the essential ingredient of turmeric. It enhances bile flow as well as DNA repair enzymes. He also recommends taurine, an amino acid that contains sulfur to aid the liver, as well as vitamins B1 and B6 and vitamins C and E.

Vitamins C & E: The most important antioxidants are alpha-tocopherol or vitamin E, and ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. The brain normally contains one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the body. The advantages of these antioxidants are that they can easily enter the blood brain barrier and reach the brain cells where they are needed most. The brain is very dependent on vitamin E & C for its protection.

Read the whole article at the link: http://www.rejuvinstitute.com/excitotoxins-chemicals-destroy-health

Replied by Judy
(Denver, Co)

I normally don't eat processed meat, but last week there was a less than 1/2 sale on saulsbury steak with gravy in frozen food aisle. I noticed it had MSG but figured it wouldn't hurt once in awhile and had one. Within 3 hours my heart was racing - over 100 beats per minute and for some reason my blood pressure as only 98/59. That went on over two hours.

I have some decreased kidney function and dr told me not to take magnesium because it's hard on the kidneys. I'm due to have surgery in few days and haven't taken vit E for awhile. I take B6, B12 and folic acid and selenium and vit C. I might add that I am very sensitive and it doesn't take long for things to "react", good or bad.

Naturally I was getting pretty worried, so I thought of balanced B vit since B's are good for stress, and took 2. After about a hour pulse slowed to low 80's and I could finally go to sleep. I've learned my lesson about MSG.

Foods Containing Excitotoxins

Posted by Mary (Muk, Wa) on 06/25/2010

excitotoxins and hydrolyzed plant protein

I am looking for a list of items that have these in their ingredients. I tried to do a search on the net for these items but could not find one. I found a lot of - ain't it awful articles but no list. If anyone knows where I should look it is appreciated.


Replied by Isabelle
(Garden Grove, Ca Usa)

Hi Mary! look here; http://www.rense.com/general35/hidd.htm

I hope that it is the bulk of it. PEACE!

Replied by Joyce
(Joelton, Tn)
495 posts

For Mary and others wanting to find what foods contain excitotoxins, a good way to search these on line is first of all, learn their names and in the case of excitotoxins, the two major ones that our food chain is loaded with are MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE and ASPARTAME.

Monosodium glutamate is hidden under many different names, so hope you all have a printer so you can print out the names they hide it under, because it is a full 8 1/2" X 11" of them.

Aspartame is less of a problem at present, but they will probably start hiding it under other names soon because more people are learning to avoid it. For right now, aspartame, NutriSweet, Equal is pretty much it - but this will probably change in the near future. Also watch your ingredients for L-cysteine and neotame!

To come up with the ones I am forwarding to you, I typed "monosodium glutamate-names hidden under" in the search window and picked out 3 references to send you. There are many others that come up, so you might want to do the search for yourself as some of them might name one left out by others.

You should also be aware that the crops in the field are being sprayed with MSG (for at least a decade according to Dr. Mercola). Since I can't imagine why anyone thinks plants need a flavor enhancer (since they don't eat themselves), one has to wonder why they are spraying our fruits and vegetables with an excitotoxin, and the most likely thing that comes to mind doesn't say much for humanity. I believe the new world order calls it population control and the plan seems to be to reduce population worldwide by 80 - 90%. I suspect this is the reason why our processed foods are so heavily laden with MSG/aspartame and hidden under so many different names.

Russell L. Blaylock said word had just reached him that they were adding monosodium glutamate to tobacco products as his book "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills" went to press. They may have added aspartame as well considering that we Americans have a very active "sweet tooth". I don't know whether it is still available on You Tube or not, but they did have an excellent 60 minute interview video with Dr. Blaylock re excitotoxins. Dr. Blaylock is most likely right when he says the only reason they haven't hauled him into court is because they know that he knows what he is talking about, and if it goes to court their game is over. Guess they are avoiding any further publicity that would wise a few more people up to what their game is.

Unfortunately they don't list ingredients on beer/wine containers, but you can bet they are being used in both.

From: www.truthinlabeling.org

Where is MSG hidden?

MSG can be used (and hidden) in processed food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, personal care products, and drugs. It can be used in waxes applied to fresh fruits and vegetables. It can be used as ingredients in pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers -- remaining in the edible portion of the plant or on the edible portion of the plant when its leaves, fruits, nuts, grains, and other edible parts are brought to market.

MSG is shorthand for processed free glutamic acid, i.e., glutamic acid that has been manufactured or freed from protein through processing or bacterial fermentation. It is a toxic substance. It can be used without disclosure.

To understand how MSG can easily be hidden, you must first understand that there are two very distinct ways of manufacturing MSG. The first is through manufacture of a product called "monosodium glutamate." There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved, but the end result will always be a product that contains glutamic acid (glutamate), sodium (salt), moisture, and a number of contaminants. It is important to understand that in "monosodium glutamate," glutamic acid will be the only amino acid present. If there were other amino acids present while the "monosodium glutamate" was being manufactured, they would have been cleaned out. When any product contains 79% free glutamic acid (with the balance being made up of salt, moisture, and up to 1 per cent contaminants), the product is called "monosodium glutamate" by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must be labeled as such. FDA regulations require that all food ingredients be called by their "common or usual names," and "monosodium glutamate" is the "common or usual name" of the ingredient that contains 79% free glutamic acid (with the balance being made up of salt, moisture, and up to 1 per cent contaminants).

"Monosodium glutamate" was invented in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo, Japan who noticed that glutamic acid had flavor-enhancing potential. Prior to that time, the Japanese had used seaweed as a favorite flavor enhancer, without understanding that glutamic acid was its flavor-enhancing component.

The second way of producing MSG is through breakdown of protein, i.e., processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is created when protein is either partially or fully broken apart into its constituent amino acids. A protein can be broken into its constituent amino acids in a number of ways (autolysis, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, and/or fermentation). When a protein is subject to autolysis, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, and/or fermentation, the amino acid chains in the protein are broken, and the amino acids are freed. Acids, enzymes, and/or fermentation processes may be used to create MSG in this way.

There are over 40 food ingredients besides "monosodium glutamate" that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Each, according to the FDA, must be called by its own, unique, "common or usual name." "Autolyzed yeast," "maltodextrin," "sodium caseinate," and "soy sauce" are the common or usual names of some ingredients that contain MSG. Unlike the ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," they give the consumer no clue that there is MSG in the ingredient.

The Truth in Labeling Campaign has asked the FDA to require manufacturers to identify ingredients that contain MSG by listing MSG on a product's label. In response, we have been told that FDA regulations require that all food ingredients be called by their "common or usual names," but there is no requirement that a constituent of an ingredient be identified. Processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is considered to be a constituent of a hydrolyzed protein or fermentation product because the MSG is created during the hydrolyzation or fermentation process. To autolyze yeast, for example, yeast is subject to processing; and during that processing, protein is broken down, and glutamic acid is freed. The finished autolyzed yeast product will, therefore, always contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) as a constituent of the autolyzed yeast. The MSG will not have been poured into the autolyzed yeast. Rather, the MSG will have been processed into the autolyzed yeast.

The distinction between having MSG poured into an ingredient and processed into an ingredient is important because the glutamate industry plays on this distinction in their efforts to hide the presence of MSG. One of their favorite ways of hiding MSG is to claim that there is "no added MSG" in a product. If MSG is processed into a product instead of being poured into a product, they declare that there is "no MSG added" or "no added MSG," in the product, even though they know full well that the product contains MSG.

That the FDA allows these distinctions to be made; that the FDA refuses to monitor those who make false claims about the presence of MSG in a product; that the FDA refers consumers who are concerned about the toxic effects of MSG to agents of the glutamate industry such as The Glutamate Association; and that the FDA refuses to require that MSG in a product be disclosed, testifies to the close ties between the FDA, Ajinomoto, Co., Inc., and the rest of the glutamate industry. It is true that the FDA does not require that the constituents of ingredients be identified. But there is nothing in FDA regulations to prevent constituents of ingredients from being identified. And there is precedent for identifying constituents of ingredients, such as cholesterol.

Although glutamic acid had been isolated in 1866 by the German chemist Karl Ritthausen, it was not until well into the 1900s that food technologists began to break various protein products into individual amino acids and used the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) as a flavor-enhancer. Today, some of those hydrolyzed protein and fermentation products are designed to replace "monosodium glutamate" as a flavor enhancer, because manufacturers know that consumers are looking for products without MSG in them, and that consumers may well not realize that products such as "yeast extract," "autolyzed yeast," and "soy sauce" are nothing more than flavor enhancers that invariably contain MSG.

The flavor enhancer known as "monosodium glutamate" was first brought to the United States in quantity in the late 1940s. Today, processed free glutamic acid (MSG), the toxic ingredient in the food ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," and a toxic ingredient in hydrolyzed protein, enzyme modified, and fermentation products, is found in most processed food. In 1997, MSG was introduced in a plant "growth enhancer" (AuxiGro) to be applied to the soil or sprayed on growing crops. Today, we know of no crop that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to approve for treatment with AuxiGro. People first reported MSG reactions following ingestion of lettuce, strawberries, and giant russet potatoes in 1997 -- people who didn't know at the time that those crops might have been sprayed with a product that contained MSG.

The glutamate industry is adamantly opposed to letting consumers know where MSG is hidden. Why? Because the glutamate industry understands that MSG is a toxic substance: that it causes adverse reactions, brain lesions, endocrine disorders and more. And the glutamate industry must understand, as we do, that if MSG in food, drugs, and cosmetics were disclosed on product labels, people who reacted to those products might realize that it was MSG they were reacting to, and might, therefore, refrain from buying products that contain MSG.

MSG is hidden in ingredients used in processed food. English names of ingredients known to contain and/or produce MSG during manufacture are listed on the following Web page:

Names of ingredients known to contain or create MSG during manufacture E-numbers are numerical designations which have been developed within the European Community (EC) for declaration of foodstuff additives. The list does not include all ingredients that contain MSG. A number of Web pages that give E-numbers are listed on the following Web page: E-numbers MSG is being sprayed on growing fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables -- not all, just some. And, yes, there have been reports of MSG reactions to produce. Using MSG-laced ingredients, MSG can be hidden in:

Infant formula Baby food

Enteral feeding products (tube feeding products)

Dietary supplements


Protein drinks often recommended for seniors

Protein bars and protein powders Vaccines--including vaccines that are injected into children. Fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides

Kosher food


Personal care products

Protein powders sold in health food stores

Food that is labeled "organic."

MSG can be hidden:

In Wine -- Sprayed on wine grapes, including California wine grapes

In food with labels that say "No Added MSG," "No MSG Added," or "No MSG"

In food that is falsely advertised as containing no MSG

In food whose manufacturers claim, in response to questions, that their products contain no MSG

MSG can be hidden by restaurateurs who claim that the food they serve contains no MSG

People who are sensitive to processed free glutamic acid (MSG), or those who simply would choose to avoid ingestion of toxic amino acids, need to know that there are two other neurotoxic amino acids commonly used in food: aspartic acid and L-cysteine. Aspartic acid is found in the sugar substitutes called "neotame" and "aspartame." Aspartame is found in "NutraSweet" and "Equal." L-cysteine is most often found as a dough conditioners.

Following are three web pages that focus in large part on the dangers of aspartame:

Holistic Healing
Say No to Aspartame
Aspartame Consumption is Never Safe

Replied by Tom
(Regina, Sk)

Here is a superb site from Oz that has volumes of information on additives, preservatives, colours, excitotoxins, flavor enhancers, antioxidants,sulphites etc.

Unfortunately, one entire sub-group missing which would take a whole new site to document is pesticides, which by definition includes every herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, fumigant, used in every stage of food from pre-emergent to market-ready.


Testing for Excitotoxicity

Posted by Maggie (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) on 05/19/2013

Excitotoxins: In regards to toxicity of glutamate/glutamine/gaba, how would you balance it?

I am presently on amantadine which works on glutamate receptor NMDA. But, recent books called Exitotoxins by MD Blaylock was excellent. I am taking presently to balance it with NAC and taurin. It helps. What other useful product would be good for me.

Doctor made my diagnosis as Parkinsonism, but considering everything my allergies I came to conclusion that many patients would benefit for testing of Excitotoxins since they affect whole immune system in PD and alzheimer. MSG is very bad and artificial sweeteners as well.

I would like your input, thx Maggie

Replied by Alan H

How do you test for excitotoxicity?