Now here is a natural compound that nevertheless should not be added to foods. MSG is a sodium salt form of one of the non-essential amino acids, glutamic acid. Not the tastiest thing on its own, when you add MSG to foods it greatly increases that item's savory flavor. Alongside various forms of sugar, it is probably the most effective and widespread food additive for increasing processed food's tastiness.
In the long run, MSG has not been proven to negatively affect human health. Still, that's of little comfort to the millions of people who experience the MSG symptom complex, a wide array of immediate symptoms associated with consumption of MSG. Briefly these include headaches and migraine, heart palpitations, profuse sweating, dizziness, brain fog, and respiratory issues.
Unfortunately, it can take a long time for those who are sensitive to monosodium glutamate to recognize that their symptoms are related to consumption. This is especially true for two reasons; first that MSG is among the food industry's favorite food additives, and second that they hide it under a literally dizzying array of alternate names.
If you are looking for MSG or glutamic acid on your food labels, here are a few of the terms you should be searching for: MSG, glutamic acid, glutamate, (or any variation on all the previous), yeast extract, hydrolyzed items, and soy or whey protein.
Plus a few good internet resources with lengthier lists:
Modesto, Ca/ Usa
Apache Junction, Az
Is there an antidote for glutamic acid? Is it the same as MSG? Thank you
Richardson, Tx, Usa
Hello, Here is the most comprehensive list I have seen of foods to stay away if you are attempting to avoid MSG:
I started thinking about fast foods and MSG after talking about MSG with a fellow ECer. Quite a while back I realized that after I stopped eating MSG for a month or so - if I ate at Arby's - the roast beef in their sandwich had so much MSG in it that it actually made the tip of my tongue hurt! Funny, I had never noticed it before. The web said that Arby's took out MSG a decade ago. Well, they may have taken out MSG, but there is something going by another name that is MSG in that meat as far as my tongue is concerned!
KFC is also a huge user of MSG and does the same thing to me. There is actually so much added to the chicken coating that I can "feel" it on my tongue.
I hardly ever eat any fast food anymore. It seems to be in almost everything.
I believe that the addictive nature of the chemicals / high fructose corn syrup (a GMO item) and MSG are responsible for the obesity and poor health of Americans today.
I am 50. When I was a child I do not recall there being more than 2 or 3 kids in my entire grade school who were overweight. Look around you the next time you are out in a crowd.... It is shocking how obese we are as a society. Don't even get me started on the rate of childhood diabetes these days!
My opinion - ALL are due to the additives in fast and processed foods!
I don't have a severe, life threatening allergy to this nerve excito-toxin called MSG, thank God. I don't know how people who do even cope. I just get a pounding headache a few hours after eating an offending food item, which can last anywhere from a day to three, - depending on how much I ingested - which is total misery.
Anyway, just a few random thoughts and a cool website I thought I would throw out there.
Louisville, Ky, Usa
Hi Everyone...Just to highlight some dangers of disguised MSG, its labeling, and its effects:
"U.S. food regulators and chemical companies are intentionally making it difficult to avoid M.S.G., by using other names to hide its presence in ingredients lists. Yes, they really are trying to dumb us down, and these deceptions are allowed as a matter of official policy."
"Common Names Used To Hide M.S.G. In Ingredients Lists
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
Autolyzed Plant Protein
Vegetable Protein Extract
Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten
Natural Flavor *
* Since the F.D.A. has intentionally left "Natural Flavor" and "Spice" without meaningful definitions, the chemical companies freely use these names to hide the presence of toxins in your foods. The system works this way by design.
** Senomyx -- We are not going to report what this chemical is, because you would have trouble believing us. Read about it yourself, and stay away from it. Naturally, the F.D.A. has awarded it a G.R.A.S. (Generally Recognized As Safe) rating, with it only having been "scientifically" tested by its manufacturer (wink). Now get this, for here comes the real kicker: this stuff is going to be marketed to the health-conscious consumers in much the same way that canola oil has been. Are there any doubts remaining about what the real agenda is?"
"[MSG's] commercial use is permitted only due to its marketing before the 1958 Food Additive Amendments to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which in effect grandfathered hundreds of substances which had never been tested for safety, including MSG..."
"Certain neuroscientists have, for years, warned that consumption of neurotoxic amino acids (glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and L-cysteine) place consumers at risk -- with most risk to newborns and young children whose immature blood-brain barriers leave them less well protected than more mature people. There is now additional and growing concern on the part of neuroscientists that the glutamate that we eat may cause or exacerbate neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease."
"Industry has begun to proliferate products with the words 'No MSG', 'No Added MSG', or 'No MSG Added' on product labels when the products contain hydrolyzed protein (which invariably contains MSG) -- a practice that is clearly in violation of existing FDA regulations. Hidden MSG is not limited to use in food. MSG sensitive people have reported reactions to soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics that contain hidden MSG. The most obvious common hiding places are in ingredients called 'hydrolyzed protein' and 'amino acids'. Drinks, candy and chewing gum are also potential sources of hidden MSG... Binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, including internal feeding materials and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals, may contain MSG. Reactions to MSG are dose related, i.e., some people react to even very small amounts of MSG while others usually only react to relatively more. MSG-induced reactions may occur immediately after contact or after as much as 48 hours."
-- Aspartame Poisoning Information Canada
"The Documented Effects Of M.S.G. Consumption
- Vision Disturbances
- Panic Attacks
- Heart Attacks
- Parkinson's Disease
- Huntington's Disease
- ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Brain Lesions
- Retina Damage
- Food Cravings
- Depleted Nutrients
- Stunted Growth
- Crosses Into The Fetus
- Ocular (Eye) Destruction
- Liver Damage
- Kidney Damage
- Vastly increased chance of ADD,ADHD, Asperger's or Autism
- Severe Headache
- Shortness Of Breath
- Chest Pains
- Slowed Speech
- Gastrointestinal Disturbances
- Numbness of Hands, Feet, or Jaw
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Allergy Reactions
- Irregular Heart Beat
- Unstable Blood Pressure
- Pain in Joints or Bones
- Abrupt Mood Changes
- Tingling in Face or Chest
- Pressure Behind Eyes
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Anxiety Attacks
- Explosive Rages
- Balance Problems - Dizziness or Seizures
- Tenderness in localized areas, neck, back, etc.
- Chronic Post Nasal Drip
- Sleep Disorders
- Blurred Vision
- Chronic Fatigue
- Extreme thirst or Dry Mouth
- Difficulty Concentrating and Poor Memory"
One of the best ways to remove or neutralize MSG from your body is to supplement with Taurine. This is a required amino acid for your body that is non-toxic and easy to purchase. Taurine completely neutralizes the effects of MSG.
Hi... can anyone confirm if l-glutamine is good or bad for people who are very sensitive to MSG. i have read on this site that it is an antidote to msg and that it displaces it. however on many other sites it says to avoid it if you are sensitive to MSG. can someone please clarify?
Land O Lakes, Florida
Hi Kimmi -
You recipe sounds delish - however one problem... those chicken "flavoured" ramen noodles are chock FULL of MSG.
I had the worst reaction ever after eating them. I love the taste, but they make me sick as a dog.
Just saying, anyone who has issues with nerve toxins and wants to stay away from MSG should not eat this!
Park City-wichita, Ks
Is anyone interested in calling attention to the posting of the words "natural flavors" on labels in the products that we eat and drink? I am seeing it on many products that have organic ingredients. After reading the feedback on EC about natural flavorings and MSG causing heart palpitations and cardiac arrhythmia, I think this might be something worth pursuing. I am going to start writing the companies of products in my house that have "natural flavors" posted in their list of ingredients and inquire more about these flavorings. I have a few brands of tea and juices that I will start with! When I get a response, I will post it on the site. Anyone interested in doing the same? It would be great to compile a list of products with "natural flavors" and company responses. Be interesting to see how companies respond to consumer inquiries on this subject.
According to the Truth in Labeling website, here's how you inquire about MSG:
"If you want to find out if there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product, you must ask the manufacturer for information about "free glutamic acid." Don't ask about "MSG." Manufacturers find it convenient, when speaking to consumers, to tell them that there is no "MSG" in their product, meaning that there is no ingredient called "monosodium glutamate." Even if a manufacturer tells you there is no MSG in a product, there may be autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed pea protein, carrageenan, sodium caseinate, enzymes, and a whole slew of other ingredients that contain or create processed free glutamic acid (MSG) during manufacture.
If you are told that all of the MSG in a product is "naturally occurring," thank the manufacturer for that meaningless information, but explain that all processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is referred to as "natural" by the FDA -- so "natural" tells you nothing. In fact, as the word "natural" is defined by the FDA, the food ingredient "monosodium glutamate" is "natural."
It is the amount of processed free glutamic acid in the product that will determine whether or not you might suffer an MSG reaction. If the manufacturer claims not to know whether or not there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in his or her product, ask that the product be analyzed for free amino acids, including free glutamic acid. There are tests for measuring free glutamic acid. The AOAC Official Methods of Analysis (1984) gives one method. There are others. The cost of testing should be no more than $100...
Thousand Oaks, Ca, USA
Be careful with supplements. They are FULL of MSG ingredients. I had a four-month MSG headache because of a calcium supplement with maltodextrin. Having heard that a calcium deficiency caused headaches, I would take extra and make the headache worse & worse. It was a nightmare that messed up my life well beyond the miserable four months. Now I'm having the same trouble finding a magnesium supplement that doesn't give the same headache, though I don't know which of the ingredients is the problem.
Orange City, Florida, Usa
Hi, just now read the post on msg and reports of heart rhythm abnormalities. I respectfully disagree regarding msg's potency. All animals and all humans -- including those of Asian descent -- react to MSG with a variety of adverse physiological symptoms ranging from mild to severe. MSG is a potent neurotoxin. Even in the smallest amounts, it can -- among other things --affect heart rhythm, which is a neurological/electrolytic hiccup in the heart. It is also added to most "natural" and organic prepared foods, and nearly all "natural" pet foods. Check out the Truth in Labeling site for a long list of symptoms and pseudonyms.
Richardson, Tx, Usa
Fleming Island, FL
I was in the grocery store today after reading about MSG last night on various internet sites. I started reading the ingredients on bottles of mayonaisse and juice, 2 items on my grocery list. Every single bottle of mayonaisse had "natural flavors" listed as an ingredient, as did 97% of the juices. Are we to believe that Natural Flavors = MSG?
MSG: I learned something else myself in looking this one up.That latest wrinkle of the manufacturers hiding the hydrolyzed plant protein under pea, soy, corn, etc. protein. I guess we are getting the word out somewhat or they wouldn't be shifting names for the most deadly form of all for MSG because it also contains aspartame.
The fact that they haven't attacked Dr. Blaylock personally at this time tells me that he is right in suspecting that they are attacking those helping him get the word out instead, because they know he can prove their lies in court and when that happens, their goose is cooked and they know it.
I wonder if we could get a good class action lawsuit going against the suppliers of monosodium glutamate & aspartame? I would love to see that happen. I know a lot of people who would love to join in that suit.
This is under' the cold remedies cure catgory. Anytime I feel the slightest hint of a cold coming-on, I eat something that has MSG. flavored potato chips,and drink a glass of red wine,or a glass of orange juice. Monosodium-glutamate is also found in canned soup,not all of them use it,you need to read the label. This sounds funny-but it really works. When there was a rash of cold and flu outbreak at my workplace, I made this suggestion, but no-one took me seriously. But I never got sick.
... Most hospitals don't cook any more (just as schools also) but have the food catered and brought into the hospital. Our schools' meals are more atrocious than hospsitals' meals, by far. I would have laughed when I read that schools had petitioned the federal government and got an ok on counting the catsup packet served along with fries as a vegetable, if it hadn't been so pathetic and such potential of damaging our children. I have visited several elementary, middle & high schools over the past few years and seldom saw anything that wasn't grease-laden, sugar laden and most likely also MSG laden. Now with all the hype on the obesity epidemic in our kids (as well as our adultsl) they will probably also be laden with both MSG and aspartame. I agree with Ted that most of our obesity can be attributed to damage from MSG. We will probably see Alzheimer's moving on down into childhood then, as used to be called adult onset diabetes mellitus has, because I believe neurologist Russell L. Blaylock knows what he's talking about when he says that the most deadly form of MSG is any hydrolyzed plant (corn, soy, etc) protein because it kills off both calcium and sodium transport cells of the brain and central nervous system. It seems that separately, they only kill off one type of neuron.
On eczema, I believe removing the cause is the best cure. The causative factor is usually soap. No matter what kind - if it's soap, don't use it. One of our psychiatrists came in with a classic case of exzema (in his forties). I took one look at him and remarked, "that looks itchy, is it?" He said yes. When I caught him without an audience, I asked him if he ever tried leaving off soap for his eczema. He said he had and it got better at first, then got worse.
This almost threw me off track, until I thought to ask him what he used instead of soap. He replied that he didn't remember the name of it but it was some kind of medicated cream. I then suggested that he try leaving off soap again and not using any thing instead. He was surprised when told to just use a thick, wash cloth and water when bathing, nothing else, but agreed to give it a try. Several days later when he was next on call, he came in with the smoothest complexion and very happy with it.
People who forgo the use of soap also find that they have less body odor and attract fewer insect bites.
Again, on headaches, remove the cause, instead of looking for a cure. Aspartame (Nutrisweet) is well known for causing headaches. So is Monosodiumglutamate. If you want to find some other things they can cause, type in Excitotoxins, and hit search. For those who think MSG is only found in stir-fried (Chinese foods), make a list of the names MSG is hidden under in the ingredients list, then go into your kitchen and see how many of your foods have one or more of them listed in the ingredients.
Classic example is the 15% chicken broth that may be contained in a well-known brand of raw chicken that you must take home and cook...The MSG isn't mentioned because they didn't add MSG - they added chicken broth which contained the MSG.....Learn to protect yourself and your loved ones by learning these legal loop-holes. Oh, yes, you will also learn that that they are named excitotoxins because they excite the neural cells (Brain & Central nervous system) to death.
If you also research meta-bolic syndrome X (now called insulin resistance) by orthodox medicine) you will also find that excitotoxins are the same things that cause insulin resistance which ends up as full fledged Diabetes Mellitus,Type 2 which used to be called DM, adult onset, but was renamed to DM type 1 for juvenile onset and type 2 for adult onset, because children (even toddlers, are now developing type 2. So be your own health defender by learning all the names the excitotoxins are hidden under, stop buying these products, and write the supplier telling them why you aren't buying their product. You will only have to make one list because the excitotoxins are the same ones that makes us kick out excess insulin, proceed through insulin resistance, then to full fledged DM, type 2 and all of its complications.
to respond to the woman with the terrible boils. I suffer from horrific cystic acne. I discovered that if I eliminate all forms of hidden MSG [do an internet search to find all that it is in] that my skin is perfectly clear. I am so sensitive that I cannot even touch anything with citric acid or natural flavor which is a form of hidden MSG and is in most shampoos, liquid hand soap, prepared foods, pop etc. I convinced my husband to eliminate all hidden MSG and his headaches, ezcema and skin rash went away. Now when he has any exposure the itchy, weepy skin rash comes back and today it is back with a vengence. He had mustard on Sunday and it flared. By Monday evening it was drying up and he licked the spoon of the ice cream he served our children and during the night it erupted so bad he could hardly sleep.
A good rememdy for all these skin things is a 125 watt clear infrared bulb. Not only will this clear up the skin but is great for any aches and it healed my son of acute asthma. Asthma requires a one hour treatment 1-2 times daily or more. The more you use it the quicker it heals. The only draw back is having to stay stationary so long. My husband hasn't had time to sit under it the past two days so he is still in bad shape. He started on the vinegar and honey last night to see if a change in body pH will help.