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MSG: A hot topic

Posted by: admin at 12:00 am on May 5th, 2016


MSG: A hot topic
By Phylis Canion


I recently ate out and, that evening, had off-and-on hot flashes. When I told my friends about it, they all thought it was probably from eating MSG. Is that possible?

MSG, monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer, is actually monosodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the amino acids, and is known as an excitatory neurotransmitter.

The food additive was first used in the United States in the late 1940's.

It occurs naturally in seaweed, sea tangles, soybeans and sugar beets. However, MSG is used to intensify meat and spice flavorings in meats, condiments, pickles, soups, candy and baked goods.

According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills," in the year 1969, injecting large doses of MSG into newborn mice was shown to cause harmful neurological effects. The additive caused brain damage in rats, rabbits, chicks and monkeys.

In the early 1970s, baby food manufacturers voluntarily removed MSG from baby food products, although this was not mandated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA does have MSG on a list of additives needing further study for mutagenic, teratogenic, subacute and reproductive effects.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, an independent body of scientists that advises the FDA, has identified two groups of people who may develop a condition referred to as "MSG symptom complex." One group is those who may be intolerant to MSG. The other group is those with severe or poorly controlled asthma.

According to Mayo Clinic, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports over the years of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG.

These reactions, known as MSG symptom complex, include headache; flushing; sweating; facial pressure or tightness; numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas; rapid, fluttering heartbeats; chest pain; nausea; and weakness.

MSG remains on the FDA list of Generally Regarded As Safe, although its use remains controversial.

I recommend avoiding products that contain monosodium glutamate, so be sure to read food labels.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: The Perfect Day: Going to bed with a dream and waking up with a purpose.

Next free nutrition class will at 6 p.m. May 19 at the Cuero Wellness Center.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at docphylis@gmail.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.