What’s the Big Deal About MSG?

You’ve probably heard that MSG is bad for you. But you might not know why, or realize how prevalent it is. It’s in so many packaged and processed foods that you might not even know you’re eating it when you are, especially since it comes under many different names.

Here’s what you need to know about MSG:

  • MSG is an excitotoxin, a type of chemical transmitter that allows brain cells to communicate. The problem is that excitotoxins can literally excite your brain cells to death.
  • Aside from harming your brain, MSG has also been linked to eye damage, headaches, fatigue, disorientation and depression. Source

  • Children are most at risk from MSG. The blood brain barrier, which keeps toxins in the blood from entering the brain, is not fully developed in children. MSG can also penetrate the placental barrier and affect unborn children as well. Nonetheless, most major brands of infant formula contain some processed free glutamic acid (a form of MSG). Source

Hidden Names for MSG

OK, so now you know why it’s bad. But it gets even trickier….MSG is not always called MSG. Here are 2 tables showing all the names under which it can be found. Source

MSG Gelatin Calcium Caseinate
Monosodium glutamate Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) Textured Protein
Monopotassium glutamate Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP) Yeast Extract
Glutamate Autolyzed Plant Protein Yeast food or nutrient
Glutamic Acid Sodium Caseinate Autolyzed Yeast
Vegetable Protein Extract Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)

The following substances contain some factory created free glutamate in varying amounts. Please note that some food labels list several of these items, which can add up to a considerable and dangerous amount in one product:

Malted Barley (flavor) Natural Flavors, Flavors, Flavoring Modified food starch
Barley malt Reaction Flavors Rice syrup or brown rice syrup
Malt Extract or Flavoring Natural Chicken, Beef, or Pork, Flavoring “Seasonings” (Most assume this means salt, pepper, or spices and herbs, which sometimes it is.) Lipolyzed butter fat
Maltodextrin, dextrose, dextrates Soy Sauce or Extract “Low” or “No Fat” items
Caramel Flavoring (coloring) Soy Protein Corn syrup and corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup
Stock Soy Protein Isolate or Concentrate Citric Acid (when processed from corn)
Broth Cornstarch fructose (made from corn) Milk Powder
Bouillon Flowing Agents Dry Milk Solids
Carrageenan Wheat, rice, corn, or oat protein Protein Fortified Milk
Whey Protein or Whey Anything enriched or vitamin enriched Annatto
Whey Protein Isolate or Concentrate Protein fortified “anything” Spice
Pectin Enzyme modified proteins Gums (guar and vegetable)
Protease Ultra-pasteurized dairy products Dough Conditioners
Protease enzymes Fermented proteins Yeast Nutrients
Lecithin Gluten and gluten flour Protein powders: whey, soy, oat, rice (as in protein bars shakes and body building drinks)
Amino acids (as in Bragg’s liquid amino acids and chelated to vitamins) Algae, phytoplankton, sea vegetable, wheat/ barley grass powders

In order to avoid this nasty chemical, you MUST READ LABELS! I was and continue to be amazed at how many things contain it. I learned how to make my own chicken broth the old fashioned way just to avoid using boullion cubes (it’s really good; try it!).

Dr. Russel Blaylock is a Neurosurgeon who has many teachings, interviews, etc. on the dangers of MSG. I haven’t heard most of these, but I have heard an interview with him in the past; he is extremely knowledgeable (he is a neurosurgeon, after all!) and he speaks with the training of the medical community. Here is a link to a lecture he gave on MSG. I’m sure it’s worthwhile.

So, to recap, Here’s what you can do:

  1. READ LABELS! Try to recognize any of the above names for MSG
  2. Umm…Avoid those things. Probably means eating fewer or different packaged foods. This is a good thing, trust me!
  3. Feel good that you can make this small change for a BIG step towards health for your family!

Cheetos and MSG – Bringing new meaning to the slogan “Dangerously Cheesy”

More info about the damage of MSG

Links about MSG

2 Replies to “What’s the Big Deal About MSG?”

  1. Hi Kim;

    My husband grew up with MSG on the table as a condiment called ‘Maggi’. So we were excited to find the Paul Bragg Liquid Amino’s thinking it was ‘safe’. Then I read your article listing it as containing MSG. So, I am researching it, and wondered if I need to throw out both the Bragg’s, the soy sauce, and the worchestire sauce? Is there a soy sauce that is safe?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *