Is MSG Causing Your Health Problems?

Excitotoxins: The Taste That KillsDo you have headaches? Does your body ache? Most of us just chalk these symptoms up to just part of life or getting older. But could these symptoms be related to what we are eating? They could in fact be caused by monosodium glutamate!

What are the possible health effects of MSG? There are many symptoms of a sensitivity. They range from mild to severe. Some of the mild reactions would be headaches and flushing of the skin. Other more severe reactions linked to MSG consumption include: depression, rage, mood swings, hormone changes, memory loss, obesity, stunted growth, infertility, asthma attacks, paranoia, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Research has also shown that behavioral problems and learning disabilities in children are associated with MSG. People that are most vulnerable to the effects of MSG include the elderly, children, infants and the unborn.

MSG is a food additive and is used to enhance the flavor of foods. Behind salt and pepper, it is the most commonly used flavor enhancer today. It comes from the amino acid glutamic. It has been used for decades and has become a staple in the food industry. It is found in all processed foods, Chinese food, canned vegetables, and soups. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MSG as a food ingredient is “generally recognized as safe.” Even though the FDA takes this stance, the use of MSG remains controversial and therefore the FDA requires that it be listed on labels.
So, if MSG is a food additive that makes our food taste better, then why should we be concerned? According to the book In Bad Taste, The MSG Symptom Complex written by George R. Schwartz:

“The answer is plain and simple – MSG is a drug added to our food that causes wide spread toxicity.” The book cites case studies of MSG sensitive individuals and tells us where, how, and why it is being hidden in our food! Dr. Schwartz says his book will help people learn to identify reactions, and then how to avoid eating it. He adds, “Knowing how to avoid this flavor enhancer can dramatically change lives.”

Trying to eliminate MSG from your diet can be extremely hard if not impossible. It is difficult to identify which foods contain this commonly used flavor enhancer because the manufacturers try to hide it. A label that reads “no MSG,” may not mean it’s a MSG-free product. In certain cases, the manufacturer simply did not add MSG! Also, there are hidden names for monosodium glutamate, which include: Gelatin, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP), Autolyzed Plant Protein, and Sodium Caseinate.

In Bad Taste: The Msg Symptom Complex : How Monosodium Glutamate Is a Major Cause of Treatable and Preventable Illnesses, Such As Headaches, Asthma, Epilepsy, heartAs a busy mother, I want to ensure the best possible food is used for all of our meals. I want to feel confident that my family is not going to be harmed in any way by the food I prepare for them. So, the next time you go to the grocery store, please make sure you are checking the labels for MSG! Know what you are buying and how it could affect your loved ones.

This post was originally written for the Bioveda Health and Wellness website by a guest columnist and can be found through this link.

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7 Responses to Is MSG Causing Your Health Problems?

  1. I agree with this!

    Before we started making diet changes around here, I was having headaches 2 or 3 times a month. I wouldn’t feel like cooking supper, so we’d find a fast food drive-thru. It was a vicious circle! I can’t say for certain that it was giving up the MSG that helped my headaches, but it was the first thing I started letting go by making my own mixes (salad dressings, gravies) and giving up canned soups. After I started feeling better, I was better able to spend more time in the kitchen cooking from scratch and I can now say that my headaches are limited to one every three months or so and they don’t debilitate me like they used to.

    Thanks for this post! I agree!

    • I think the three biggest problems with fast food/processed food are 1) rancid polyunsaturated oils/omega-6 overload, 2) MSG and 3) high-fructose corn syrup/refined sugar. All of these three can cause major health issues, headaches included. I know when we eat out at certain restaurants now, the food really makes us ill and I’m wondering if these places use more MSG or something. We try to avoid any restaurant we know has caused us to feel terrible in the past. Though the healthier we eat at home, the more restaurants seem to end up on the “bad” list. ;)

  2. I grew up pretty MSG-free, thanks to a mother who’s major migraine trigger is MSG. Either we could make meals by checking every single ingredient before we purchased it, or we could just cook from scratch… and live a lot better for it! :)

  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    MSG is may also linked to obesity. I used to adore Chinese food until I realized many chinese restaurants use MSG. Thank you for your article.


    • I adore chinese food too! I love Chinese restaurants that guarantee a MSG-free menu. I’ve also learned how to make a few of my favorite Chinese dishes at home–that way I know what’s in the food!

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