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MSG – Monosodium Glutamate Part II March 10, 2009

Filed under: Flavorings,Food Additives,Health Facts and Concerns — Yvette @ 4:20 pm

I received a inquiry on my previous post about MSG to elaborate on why it is addictive.  I welcome any other inquiries from anyone :)

MSG, labeled as monosodium glutamate, is addictive due it’s flavor enhancing qualities and it’s stimulating effects on the excititory neurotransmitters in the brain.  There is no conclusive data as to WHY MSG is harmful, but studies, reports and research show that it causes numerous adverse reactions and can even be dangerous in large quantities.

Here are some of the documented reactions to MSG.  If you experience any of these after ingesting a product containing this additive, then it would be wise to do your best to keep this out of your diet.

A burning sensation in the back of the neck, forearms and chest
Numbness in the back of the neck, radiating to the arms and back
Tingling, warmth and weakness in the face, temples, upper back, neck and arms
Facial pressure or tightness
Chest pain
Rapid heartbeat
Bronchospasm (difficulty breathing) in intolerant people with asthma
Intense cravings for the same foods

MSG is free-glutamic acid and is released from the breakdown of certain proteins.  Because this neurotoxin can formed during the manufacturing process, not just added to food as an ingredient it is good to be aware of ways companies hide this ingredient in their products.  Products that are manufactored at high heats or over long periods of time form MSG as well as other contaminants.

Companies might claim that MSG is nothing more than sodium salt from glutamic acid (an amino acid), and it occurs naturally, so the manufactored MSG can’t be harmful.  Yes, MSG occurs naturally, but when manufactored contaminants are released along with the glutamic acid, and this combination is what it harmful to the body.  Careful wording and manipulation helps these companies steer the public into thinking this additive is safe, this is similar the HFCS commercial I posted a few months ago.

Reports show that MSG consumption worldwide is about 4.4 million pounds in 2006, despite the knowledge in 1992 that it’s consumption is harmful to at least 25% of the population.  This does not include the hidden forms of MSG, such as hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate, which may be listed as “spices” or “natural flavorings.”

This food additive can also be compared to aspartame, both are derived from amino acids and isolated from their natural context.  Many believe that this isolation is what causes the body and brain to malfunction when ingesting an additive out of it’s natural habitat.  Tinkering with food additives is relatively new and our bodies are not adapted to handle these strange concoctions, it is best to stick to whole unadultered foods.


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