Saturday, December 26, 2015

Removing MSG could help your family. Here is why.

As the new year is approaching, many people will re-evaluate their diets.  Many moms will re-evaluate their children's diets.  Could it be more healthy or more nutritionally valuable?   I have read many times that what you eat either helps you or hurts you.  I wanted to share some important information for you to ponder over that could positively affect your family and your children, especially if they have the diagnosis DS, ADHD, Autism, anxiety, depression, or have unusual repetitive behaviors.   
Glutamate initially came to my attention when we obtained urinary neurotransmitters on Presley when she was 2 years old.    She had noted elevations.
MSG is basically everywhere.   In this informative article, Dr Mercola says "MSG is one of the worst food additives on the market and is used in canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners and much more.  It's found in your local supermarket and restaurants, in your child's school cafeteria and, amazingly, even in baby food and infant formula.  MSG is more than just a seasoning like salt and pepper, it actually enhances the flavor of foods, making processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny."
Here  is a video of Dr  Peirson discussing glutamate at the AutismOne conference. (I am having internet issues and can not access it currently or I would comment more about it, will try to update later).
The Mayo Clinic says: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's "generally recognized as safe," but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.   Keep reading to see what names they use to hide it though.
This video sparked my interest in MSG again.  I highly recommend you listen to this 16 minute video. This is Dr Katy Reid from Unblind MyMind,  She is a biochemist and a mom of five children.  Her youngest daughter has autism and through dietary interventions/removing MSG, she was able to resolve all her symptoms of autism.  She mentions the connection of gluten/casein/MSG and why some children improve removing gluten or casein, stating reducing gluten and casein also reduces the free glutamate load as well.  Here I read that wheat, barley, oats, and dairy have the highest contents of glutamate. Foods that have lower amounts are fruits, vegetables, potatoes, eggs and tree nuts like pecans, walnuts, and macadamias

She also states: while glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid, is produced by our bodies and found in many protein-rich foods, including, meat, vegetables, dairy, eggs, fish and poultry, MSG is derived from the synthetic processing of glutamate and found in nearly 95% of processed foods. In 1908, MSG was developed by a Japanese man for the purpose of enhancing flavor in food. He later went on to form Ajinomoto, the world's leading MSG producer and, ironically, also a drug company.

MSG is approximately 78 percent free glutamic acid, 21 percent sodium, and up to 1 percent contaminants.  MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it can overexcite your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees -- and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease and more. (source).  Per Dr Reid, this free glutamate from MSG is a single amino acid, not linked to other amino acids.  It can immediately enter the blood rapidly and cause surges of varying levels and a variety of symptoms.  Dr Reid says bound glutamate is linked by amino acids to make a series of amino acids and through digestion, there is a slow, controlled release into the blood according to what the body needs. MSG/free glutamate is made when bound glutamate is released from its bond to other amino acids or it can also be chemically created.   It takes a half hour or less for MSG/free glutamate to reach the brain but it takes 4-6 hours for “bound glutamate in food” to get there (source).

Our bodies require glutamate for learning and developmental processes. The amino acids in glutamate are the building blocks of proteins, and subsequently responsible for metabolism and brain function.  Glutamate is also responsible for transmitting signals between neurons and other cells.  We have glutamate receptors all over body, especially the brain, central nervous system, and spinal cord.  When excessive free glutamate/MSG is consumed, it will quickly stimulate this receptors potentially causing a multitude of symptoms within the nervous system and brain.  Receptors are also located in the pancreas and this overstimulation causes excessive insulin release, lowering blood glucose (sugar), thus stimulating your appetite.  Think of eating Chinese food, which is notorious for using MSG, and you can't understand why you are hungry again not long after eating.  There is also 10,000 times the amount of glutamate inside the cells than outside the cells.   It has to be kept in balance, because if glutamate gets outside the cells, it can turn into a toxin an kill neurons.   It can also overly excite the cell, causing it to open its pores excessively and let in large quantities of substances that are normally allowed to enter only in limited amounts (source).

Here is a good video explaining MSG on a simple level and it's effects on different systems of the body.  She also states MSG could be added to dirt and it would make it taste good, which is why it is added to processed foods so they have some type of flavor.  She also states that MSG is given to lab rats to cause obesity and diabetes to do testing of diabetic medications on them.  So why wouldn't it do the same in humans?  There are many opinions and articles stating yes and no.

MSG can be hidden under numerous names.  Per Dr Mercola:
These foods ALWAYS contain MSG 
Autolyzed YeastCalcium Caseinate Gelatin
Glutamate Glutamic Acid Hydrolyzed Protein
Monopotassium Glutamate Monosodium Glutamate  Sodium Caseinate
Textured Protein Yeast Extract Yeast Food
Yeast Nutrient


These foods OFTEN contain or create MSG during processing:

Flavors and FlavoringsSeasonings Natural Flavors and Flavorings Natural Pork FlavoringNatural Beef Flavoring
Natural Chicken FlavoringSoy Sauce Soy Protein Isolate Soy Protein Bouillon
Stock Broth Malt Extract Malt Flavoring
Barley Malt
Anything Enzyme ModifiedCarrageenan Maltodextrin Pectin Enzymes
Protease Corn Starch Citric Acid Powdered Milk Anything Protein Fortified
Anything Ultra-Pasteurized

Here is a comprehensive article listing restaurants and foods by brand that contain MSG.  We like Chick Fil A, so I also looked on their website to see the ingredients and it does show MSG in the form of yeast extract and maltodextrin.  I did find this good homemade recipe for their chicken sandwich though. So, you can possibly look up your favorite restaurants to see if they list their ingredients.

I hope this information peaks your interest on this topic.  There is an abundance of information about MSG available, some quite controversial, so please do your own research and decide what is best for your family.  As for our family, we will try our best to avoid MSG by eating more real foods and avoiding processed foods.  Processed foods are convenient foods, and moms of children with special needs sometimes need convenience just to survive the day, so make changes slowly and keep moving forward.  Best healthy wishes in 2016.

Robin T.

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