Kootenai Valley Times – October 20, 2000

– by Dr. Gloria Gilbere

The ever-expanding use of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is of great concern to the medical profession and health care practitioners like myself who specialize in working with people affected by chemicals from any source. I am, and have been, seriously reactive to MSG since childhood, when my "comfort food" became a popular brand of canned soups containing MSG. I developed acute migraine headaches and stomachaches, and no one ever suspected that a food additive was the trigger.

MSG stimulates brain cell activity. It tricks your brain into thinking the food you are eating tastes good. Manufacturers can and do use inferior ingredients and thus make the product seem tastier. Inferior products and higher profits prevail at the expense of consumer health. MSG intolerance is not an allergic reaction, but a powerful drug reaction.

Glutamate in the brain can be terribly destructive, no matter where the grain glutamate comes from. The blood-brain barrier, once thought to rigorously restrict the flow of glutamic acid (glutamate) into the brain, is now understood to be "leaky" in places, thus causing the brain reaction or neurotoxic response. The age or physical condition of a person is irrelevant. Large numbers of consumers have complained to the FDA that when they ingest MSG, they experience reactions ranging from such things as simple skin rash, flushing of the face, extreme tiredness, bloating, abdominal cramping, hyperactivity in children, migraine headache, asthma attacks, irregular or pounding heartbeat, loss of consciousness, severe depression. These reactions are not experienced when they eat food that is unadulterated.

MSG in its pure form must be labeled. When it is added as an ingredient of another substance it need not be listed on the label. Example: When "broth" is sold as "broth," its ingredients must be listed on its label. However, when "broth" (or any other product) is used as an ingredient in something else, its ingredients do not have to be disclosed.

The earlier these substances appear on a list of ingredients, the more likely they are to contain MSG. I advise avoiding all sources listed below.

Definite Sources of MSG:

Hydrolyzed Protein, Sodium Caseinate or Calcium Caseinate, Autolyzed Yeast, Yeast Extract, or Gelatin.

Probable sources of MSG:

Textured Protein, Carrageenan or Vegetable Gum, Seasonings or Spices, Flavorings or Natural Flavorings, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Smoke Flavorings, Bouillon, Broth or Stock, Barley Malt, Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Whey Protein, Whey Protein Isolate or Concentrate Soy Protein, Soy Sauce or Extract.

These lists are not all inclusive, because new labeling deceptions are invented to confound the consumer.

It is also recommended to eliminate aspartame (Nutrasweet) and sulfites from the diet.

Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are also potential sources of hidden MSG. Also, aspartic acid, found in aspartame (Nutrasweet) ordinarily causes MSG type reactions in MSG sensitive people. Aspartame is found in some medications, INCLUDING CHILDREN'S MEDICATIONS. Check with your pharmacist.

Binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals contain MSG. Even some dental products contain MSG, check with your dentist.

Learning impairment and endocrine disorders may be caused or made worse by early exposure to MSG. Obesity, reproductive disorders, and learning impairment that may only become obvious after puberty may have their origins in neuroendocrine dysfunction caused by exposure of infants and children to MSG. Remember, MSG is a drug. Be informed and learn to read labels. If you, or someone you know, have any of the health conditions listed, or allergic reactions of unknown source, investigate if hidden sources of MSG could be the culprit.

Remember, MSG is a destroyer of health. Choose to maintain your health, Naturally.

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