MSG is the shortened version of monosodium glutamate. MSG has a very interesting story. From working with patients with MSG sensitivity, I know that the sensitivity is present. However, in my research I found that the FDA considers MSG safe for individuals using it in small amounts. MSG was discovered and isolated in Japan and was patented by a Japanese company in the early 1900′s.
Anyways, the testing done by the FDA included 1 group of 71 individuals and 1 test of 130 individuals. This is hardly a large enough portion of the population to verify that MSG is not harmful to the masses. So, either you do, or you don’t have a sensitivity to MSG. If you do, the symptoms can include swelling, breathing difficulties, itching, water retention, constipation and headaches (plus more). It is not pleasant and very unnecessary.
What is disturbing is the many food products that contain hidden MSG. So, your symptoms could be the MSG itself, or your symptoms could arise from the products containing MSG or it could come from another additive used in cooking (such as wine). Some forms of MSG are made from gluten, another highly sensitive food for many people.
The book, Battling the MSG Myth, goes in depth about these hidden substances and the common foods in which they are found. Find tips on label reading, shopping and cooking. Remember, eating as many foods that come from nature as possible, you will avoid adding chemicals to your body. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, and grains are meant to keep us healthy. And, stay away from processed foods!!
The following substances contain the highest percentage of factory created free glutamate. MSG contains about 78%.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Vegetable Protein Extract
Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
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.
- Barley Malt
- Malt Extract or Flavoring
- Maltodextrin, dextrose, dextrates
- Caramel Coloring
- Reactions Flavors
- Natural Chicken, Beef or Port Flavoring Seasonings
- Soy Sauce or Extract
- Soy Protein
- Soy Protein Isolate or concentrate
- Cornstarch fructose
- Wheat, rice, corn or oat protein
- Rice Syrup
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Lipolyzed butter fat
- “Low” or “Low Fat” items
- Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup Solids
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Citric Acid (when processed with corn)
- Milk Powder
- Dry Milk Solids
- Protein Fortified Milk
- Gluten and Gluten Flour
- Fermented Proteins
- Protease Enzymes
- Protein Fortified “Anything”
- Gums (guar and vegetable)
Isn’t this list amazing? Well, this is what we read on canned and boxed labels. Avoid them. Try going three weeks without opening one box or one can that requires a can opener. See how you feel. I’ll bet the change will be dramatic. If you decide to take this college, let me know what the results are? Did you lose weight, did your hair and nails grow?, did you sleep better? I’ll look forward to hearing from you.
Kim Kromas, DC, PhD