A common flavor enhancer, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is normally found in Chinese food. But, according to recent research, many popular foods we consume daily also contain this food additive, which has been linked to various health complications including obesity, fibromyalgia, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, neurological and brain damage. It also increases insulin and blood sugar levels.
Aside from being one of the most commonly used flavor enhancers in food processing, monosodium glutamate is also one of the most dangerous ones on the food market found in crackers, meats, baby foods, canned soups, salad dressings, infant formula, and children’s school lunch.
What MSG does in fact is enhance the food taste while covering up the actual properties of frozen and processed meals. MSG is meant to make your dinner tastier and with a better smell.
Although it doesn’t have a flavor of its own, MSG tricks your senses to believe that the food you’re eating is tasty and that it has proteins.
Umami or the fifth taste, after salt, sweet, sour and bitter, is the one that recognizes the savory flavor of glutamate in bacon and in its synthetic form, MSG. This results in the brain being misled to think that you eat something as savory as bacon.
What’s more surprising is the fact that the largest producer of monosodium glutamate in the world, Ajinomoto, is also a drug manufacturer. MSG first gained popularity in the U.S. after World War II, when the American soldiers discovered that Japanese food was much tastier than the food they ate.
In 1959 the FDA listed and labeled MSG as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS).
10 years after it was introduced in America, a new condition called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” started to affect people who ate Chinese food. This condition is marked by a number of symptoms ranging from numbness to heart palpitations and has closely been linked to MSG.
Today this syndrome is called “MSG Symptom Complex” and is regarded as a temporary reaction to MSG by the FDA. This food enhancer is still “recognized as safe” by the FDA.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills,” explains that MSG can lead to brain damage of various degrees. According to him, monosodium glutamate triggers and aggravates learning disabilities, leads to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and many other health complications.
The thing about MGS is that it’s almost 78% free glutamic acid and this is the same neurotransmitter used by the eyes, pancreas, brain, nervous system, and other body organs to activate certain body processes. Even the FDA has confirmed this:
“Studies have shown that the body uses glutamate, an amino acid, as a nerve impulse transmitter in the brain and that there are glutamate-responsive tissues in other parts of the body, as well.
Abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.”
In the words of Dr. Blaylock, numerous glutamate receptors have been discovered both within the electrical conduction system of the heart and the heart muscle itself, which could account for sudden deaths of young athletes and should serve as a dire warning to all consumers of MSG.
Dr. Baylock adds:
“When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death.”
Despite the fact that the FDA regards it as safe, it still lists the following side-effects of MSG:
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain
- Facial tightness or pressure
- Burning sensation