Monosodium glutamate is a drug and a neurotransmitter. Glutamate is a highly regulated chemical of the nervous system, and a proper balance is necessary for healthy brain and organ function.
In fact, every major human organ is now known to contain glutamate receptors. Overstimulation of these receptors—in the brain or elsewhere—can lead to numerous health problems, many of which may mimic other disorders (such as fibromyalgia or heart arrhythmia), but can go undiagnosed for decades, all the while creating a life of misery and disability for the unfortunate sufferer.
Its ever-expanding use by the food industry causes great concern in the medical profession because MSG overstimulates brain cell activity. It is neither a necessary additive, nor a harmless flavor enhancer like common table salt. MSG actually tricks your brain into thinking the food you are eating tastes good. Manufacturers can therefore use inferior ingredients to make a mediocre product seem tastier. Higher profits and low-quality products of little nutritional value prevail at the expense of consumer health.
MSG intolerance is not an allergic reaction, but a powerful drug reaction. Even in those people who do not suffer acute, immediate reactions to the substance, prolonged or acute exposure will destroy brain cells in anyone.
Many foods, such as soybeans and tomatoes, contain naturally high levels of free glutamate, which may cause MSG reactions in particularly sensitive individuals. The processed form—monosodium glutamate—is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, and it is the highly refined substance (which actually looks a lot like table salt) that is added in huge quantities to most processed foods at manufacturing facilities. Restaurants also frequently add MSG to their menu items. Many that advertise “No MSG added” may not add MSG to the food once it is prepared, but MSG may actually be present in the individual ingredients used to prepare their food.
Brain Lesions in an Infant Rhesus Monkey Treated with Monosodium Glutamate
John W. Olney 1 and Lawrence G. Sharpe 1
1 Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110
In an infant rhesus monkey brain damage resulted from subcutaneously administered monosodium glutamate. Although a relatively high dose of monosodium glutamate was used, the infant was asymptomatic for a 3-hour observation period during which time hypothalamic neurons were undergoing a process of acute cell death. With the electron microscope it was observed that dendrites and cell bodies of neurons are the tissue components primarily affected in brain damage induced by monosodium glutamate.
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MSG has now been implicated in a number of the neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and Huntington's disease39.