- "The worst piece of information I have when I am
in the midst of the reaction is that I am going to live. I only want to
die. It will not happen...I know I will live through this, and that's
- "I come across embarrassingly as if I have brain
damage, even though I graduated from a good college, top of my class."
- "If I don't make it, I don't eat it. I have to
make everything from scratch. I can't eat in restaurants. It's just really
pathetic and I'm really depressed."
- What do the people who made these comments have in common?
What devastating condition could they possibly be referring to, the one
factor which makes their lives at times akin to a living hell? The answer
is a condition termed "MSG Symptom Complex" by the Federation
of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), an independent
body of scientists sponsored by the U.S. government's Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) in September 1992 to review all available data bearing on the safety
of the food additive Monosodium Glutamate and related substances. For
a full one third of the U.S. population (70 to 75 million Americans) ,
consuming this chemical (as well as the close relative Aspartame, also
known as "Nutrasweet" or "Equal") will result in mild
to moderate physiological and emotional reactions. For a small minority
of people, accidental ingestion could prove to be severely debilitating
and sometimes even life-threatening. What's worse, the New England Journal
of Medicine and Science Magazine have both published articles linking Glutamic
Acid and other excitatory amino acids (namely Aspartic Acid and L-Cysteine)
to the development of various neurological diseases.
- The FDA-funded FASEB report was in response to a set
of laws on the books designed "to protect the public health, to prohibit
the use in food of additives which have not been adequately tested to establish
their safety." In 1958, the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 21)
established a FOOD ADDITIVES AMENDMENT which subsequently required that
manufacturers show "proof of a reasonable certainty that no harm will
result from the proposed use of an additive." This included the DELANEY
CLAUSE, which demanded a federal ban on any food additive shown to cause
cancer when fed to either animals or humans.
- At the Fourth Annual NoMSG (National Organization Mobilized
to Stop Glutamate) Conference held in Los Angeles in October 1996, members
flew in from all over the country to hear lectures by respected doctors,
scientists, authors, and activists, receiving legislative updates, medical
findings, food and nutritional tips, and a chance to gain more information
on how to cope with MSG sensitivity. The following attendees agreed to
share their unique stories with us:
- Erik J. of New Jersey has been experiencing symptoms
since college. For a period in excess of 24-hours after ingesting MSG,
Aspartame, or Sulfites, he develops a cloudy head, faded memory, an inability
to concentrate, and excess nervous energy. It has impacted his life enough
to motivate this cross-country journey.
- Kaye W. of Montana watched her infant daughter react
negatively to MSG-infused babyfood back in the 1950's. Her own typical
reactions have included stomach aches, swollen abdomen and gums, frequent
urination, difficulty in focusing her eyes, and extreme "gallbladder
pains" that have lasted for up to a week. In addition, her rectal
and genital regions become highly irritated and inflamed, complete with
hardening of the tissues and vaginal bleeding. After a particularly serious
attack from eating an offensive salad dressing, her doctor even suggested
per- forming a colostomy. After eliminating MSG from her diet, the condition
resolved itself completely and surgery was cancelled. She happily lost
20 pounds within 2 months from this change in her food intake.
- Natalie M. of Los Angeles suffers severe 12-18 hour migraine
headaches that don't hit her until 8-10 hours after she has swallowed MSG.
At that point, she can't ingest anything and even regurgitates her own
saliva. Her ability to function plummets to zero until the reaction abates.
It is a self-described nightmare.
- Ten years ago, Pat Conway of Palm Springs, California
would meet her mother for lunch every Wednesday at the same Chinese restaurant.
By the end of the meal each week, like clockwork, she would become clammy
and sick, plagued by diarrhea. Progressively over time, the symptoms became
worse: chest pains, heart pounding, depression. The doctor diagnosed
her condition as "panic attacks" and accused her of being a hypochondriac.
Previously affluent and happily married, this "mystery illness"
destroyed her relationship. Eventually she learned that she was acutely
sensitive to MSG.
- Today, a single bite of food laced with this flavor enhancer
will trigger full respiratory arrest for Conway within 30 seconds. At
a sea- food restaurant, one nibble of shrimp cocktail (which the waitress
had assured her contained no MSG) landed her in the hospital emergency
room for 4 hours with a heartrate of 200 beats per minute, followed by
severe depression. In another instance, eating a little bag of flavored
nuts during an airplane ride resulting in the stewardess having to drop
her the oxygen mask. The numerous breathing crises she has endured have
caused her to develop asthma. She's moved to a house only two minutes
away from the E.R. The paramedics have been summoned to her rescue so
many times that she not only knows them by name, but has begun educating
them and the hospital staff on this affliction of which most medical professionals
are largely ignorant. She feels it just as necessary to inform the general
public, especially those employed in the food service industry. "People
who work in restaurants are as much a problem as the problem. Because
of my MSG sensitivity, they treat me like a space alien, embarrass me,
tell me not to worry. They believe that my aller- gic response would consist
only of a little itching and a few hives."
- Los Angeles resident David Livingstone has been taken
for a wild ride of his own on the MSG rollercoaster as a result of the
food industry's lax attitude toward the problem. In July 1993 during a
business lunch, he ordered vegetable soup at a Marie Callender's Restaurant
after his waitress represented to him that it was free of monosodium glutamate.
He had clearly advised her of his health concerns, after which she assured
him that the chefs made all the soups from scratch daily. Walking back
to his office, he felt the symptoms of an asthma attack coming on. His
inhaler did not provide him with the usual relief, so he promptly drove
over to his primary care physician, who was a close 5 minutes away. Experiencing
intense bowel discomfort, diarrhea, and profuse perspiration, it was there
that he passed out and went into massive anaphylactoid shock (a chemically-induced
poisoning of the system), which triggered severe respiratory arrest. Apparently,
the MSG had triggered a response for his lungs to shut down. His doctor
began applying CPR, which was then taken over by the paramedics who arrived
to transport him to the hospital by ambulance. Once there, he went into
full cardiac arrest and lost his pulse for 7 minutes. More CPR was administered,
during which time some ribs were cracked. After being worked on for an
hour, David was finally resuscitated and stabilized. For the next 3 days,
he was unconscious on a respirator in the Intensive Care Unit, then remained
another 3 days in the hospital for observation and treatment. An MRI determined
that there was some deadening of the grey matter of his brain due to Hypoxia
(lack of blood flow to deliver oxygen). He still remains with a slight
- Back on his feet and more than a bit perturbed, this
less-than-satisfied customer returned to the same restaurant to do a bit
of investigation. Inquiring about the exact recipe of the vegetable soup,
he discovered that it actually contained "beef base," a pasty,
tar-like material on whose label MSG was clearly listed as an ingredient.
Because soup is hot and liquid, the glutamate it contains is absorbed
very quickly into the human system and causes a more severe, immediate
reaction. Because he claims his "near-death experience" was
a direct result of Marie Callender's providing him with wrong information,
David Livingston initiated in June 1994 a Products Liability and Misrepre-
sentation Lawsuit against the company. Intending to protect other consumers
as well as himself, he feels that "restaurants need to be more proactive
in providing information about their food's internal ingredients to sensitive
individuals, especially those that ask." The case is set for trial
in June 1997 in the Glendale Superior Court.
- Restaurants making false allegations about their use
of MSG may just be more the rule than the exception. Jack Samuels, who
founded the Illinois-based TRUTH IN LABELING CAMPAIGN with his wife Adrienne
(both are MSG-sensitive), recounts the tale of an ABC news station in San
Diego that investigated 10 different Oriental restaurants, each claiming
they didn't use any MSG. After a laboratory tested food purchased from
each venue, the chemical was indicated to be present in all samples. A
similar venture pursued by a New York station uncovered an equivalent amount
of fraudulent claims by that city's eateries.
- David Livingston and ABC are not alone in their pursuit
of honesty and integrity in the culinary MSG minefield: In 1988, a Pasadena,
California District Attorney successfully sued Union Foods for mislabelling
their Golden Ramen soups as containing "NO MSG," when in fact
it did. Under Section 403 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,
the FDA has acknowledged that such a practice would be considered deceptive
mislabelling of a product. A California Civil Code also permits such a
lawsuit if a company makes untrue representations. The Japanese-owned company
agreed to pay a $153,000 fine and recall 455,000 cases of the soup.
- In December 1994, a Citizen Petition was filed by the
TRUTH IN LABELING CAMPAIGN (in conjunction with 29 independent citizens,
includ- ing 10 physicians) requesting the FDA take specific action. It
asked that all processed foods be tested for the presence of glutamates
and, if present, that MSG be identified and its amount listed in grams
on the label. It's estimated that the total investment in these testing
and relabeling procedures would fall around $3 billion, resulting in a
price increase of only one quarter cent per product. When the FDA failed
to respond within the prescribed 180 days, lawyers for the petitioners
filed suit in Federal Court in August 1995. As the FDA first attempted
to have the Court dismiss the Complaint, then was withholding important
documents and evidence in their possession, the trial date has been continually
postponed, but is scheduled for sometime this year.
- HOLD THE MSG!
- If all this uproar over a simple seasoning has taken
you by surprise, then pull out your chopsticks and get ready to burst a
well-established bubble, for the "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome"
has gone international. If you thought the only place you had to exclaim
"Hold the MSG!" while ordering a meal was at your local chow
mein eatery or egg roll takeout joint, read on. Its presence has spread
like a virus, in epidemic proportions, into almost everything we eat (at
least anything that's "convenient"), and we've all been fooled.
This article is to shed light on the deleterious effects of Monosodium
Glutamate, a dangerous "excitotoxin" which is currently used
in some form in almost every single processed, pre-cooked, and pre-packaged
food manufactured today, whether frozen, canned, boxed, or dried. Not
always detectable by examining the product label, it may be hidden under
any one of a number of seemingly innocuous, even wholesome and healthy-sounding
ingredients. So buyer beware, as it may not alway s be-where you expect
to find it.
- A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
- If ever there was a wolf in sheep's clothing, this was
it. Until recently, the wool had been pulled securely over the eyes of
even this health food advocate, and I was adamant to reverse the damage
now that my blindfold had been lifted. I had just finished devouring two
incredible books on the subject, and this powerful new knowledge inspired
the activist in me to take my first action. Armed with a bag of product
"rejects" in one hand and a list of food additives in the other,
I ventured into the grocery store and sniffed out the customer service
desk, determined to take advantage of the company's "satisfaction
guaranteed or your money back" policy. (Many supermarkets and health
food stores have such policies in place, even if the products have been
opened or used.) I knew it would be the first time that a customer returned
items because they contained not just MSG, but "hydrolyzed vegetable
protein," "natural flavorings," "corn syrup,"
"barley malt", or "calcium caseinate," so I came prepared--documentation
close at hand--to explain the whole story should any argument ensue. Surprisingly,
the manager quickly and cheerfully refunded my money, casually commenting,
"So you're allergic to MSG, huh?"
- COBRA IN A BASKET Allergic? Tip of the iceberg, I thought.
Try brain cell destruction; try Alzheimer's Disease; try neurodegenerative
ailments. If he only knew the extent to which I yearned to spew two volumes
worth of statistics, scientific data and case studies at him like so many
cognitive bricks, shattering an ignorance that permeates the food industry
and consumers alike. Because although approximately one-third of all Americans
are sensitive to MSG consumption, reacting with symptoms running the gamut
from fatigue, headaches, nausea, and diarrhea to heart irregularities,
asthma attacks, and depression, the down-and-dirty bottom line of this
excitotoxin's detrimental effects on the human organism is devastatingly
simple: Consumed over a long period of time in great enough quantities,
monosodium glutamate poses a serious threat to one's physical, mental,
and emotional well-being. Like a cobra curled up in a basket, this toxic
substance has insidiously slithered its way into the cuisine of an entire
generation and waits, coiled and silent, ready to pounce on even the most
unsuspecting victim. Its venom, its poison accumulates invisibly...a predator
that may strike now or later, sparing some fortunate individuals, striking
others without warning. So, Mr. Grocery Store Manager, NO, I'm not allergic
to MSG in the classic sense (as far as I know, although I don't keep track
of every headache or bout of minor depression), but YES, I definitely am
allergic to Death. So give me my money back, please.
- AT THE ORIGIN OF FLAVOR
- Who would have dreamed that at the root of this whole
fiasco was an innocent little piece of seaweed? For thousands of years,
Japanese chefs had been spicing up their cuisine by the simple addition
of a flavor-enhancing ocean plant called "kombu" or "sea
tangle" (Laminaria japonica), which can still be purchased in many
specialty or natural foods outlets. A chemistry professor at the Imperial
University of Tokyo named Kikunae Ikeda began to investigate this seaweed's
amazing, yet mysterious, qualities, and in 1908 was successful in isolating
its active ingredient as the sodium salt of the amino acid Glutamic Acid,
or Monosodium Glutamate.
- Aware that a potential treasure chest sat bubbling in
his test tube, Ikeda quickly patented his newly discovered food secret
and teamed up with another enterprising businessman, Saburosuke Suzuki,
to form the Ajinomoto Company (literal translation: "At the Origin
of Flavor"). Their intention was to synthesize this substance in
the laboratory and introduce it to the world in a massive campaign of development,
marketing, and distribution. By 1933, production had escalated to 10 million
pounds yearly, and "Ajinomoto" (the term is used interchangeably
with MSG) was the Orient's most popular seasoning. Its consumption has
doubled in every decade since the 1940's, with the United States alone
using in excess of 80 million pounds annually. Additionally, this figure
fails to include the enormous quantities of hydrolyzed vegetable protein
used (an ingredient also produced by the Ajinomoto Co.), which contains
between 12-20% MSG and is mixed into everything from canned tuna fish to
baby food to those vegetarian meat substitutes you thought were safe.
Today, this same company is responsible for manufacturing more than half
the world's supply, and has managed to make it a staple within the processed
food and restaurant industries. What wheat is to bread, MSG is to almost
anything in a box, bottle, or can.
- STOWAWAY IN OUR FOOD SUPPLY
- How can this be?, you ask. You are an avid label reader
at the supermarket, and very few products have Monosodium Glutamate listed
as an ingredient. Due to the fact that this additive was proven harmful
years ago and has a negative reputation in the minds of countless individuals
who are highly sensitive to its effects, MSG is cleverly disguised beneath
a myriad of deceitful monikers that the average consumer wouldn't blink
twice at (refer to box on this page). There- fore, under such bland generalizations
as "natural flavorings" (which may contain 20-60% MSG), "spices,"
"seasonings," "broth," "gelatin," or "bouillon,"
one may stumble upon the Glutamate snake coiled up in its basket, waiting
to thrust a concoction of unpleasant symptoms onto its unwary dinner guests.
It may be injected into poultry or lurking within the cured tobacco leaves
of that cigarette you're taking drags on. It sneakily snugs within the
grains of the myriad baked goods enhanced with malted barley (added to
most flour to help it rise) or the yeast used for the same purpose (Red
Star Yeast consists of 9-11% MSG).
- This free form Glutamate does occur spontaneously in
some whole unadulterated foods, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes,
grapefruit, and parmesan cheese. However, consumer groups want to make
it crystal clear that this natural form of free Glutamate is not dangerous
and does not cause adverse reactions in people allergic to MSG. According
to Mrs. Wanke, a spokesperson for NoMSG, "The FDA is purposefully
clouding the issue and deceiving the public by comparing the naturally-occurring
Glutamate found in some foods to the kind that is chemically added or created
during processing." It is the breakdown of proteins during any of
a number of manufacturing procedures (pasteurization, fermentation, enzyme
modification, hydrolysis, protein fortification, chelation, etc.) which
poses the risk to humans. Jack Samuels of the TRUTH IN LABELLING CAMPAIGN
compares it to breaking apart a pearl necklace, on which is strung a long
chain of bonded amino acid beads, after which they fall off into "free
form" units and lose their relationship to each other. He relates
that "some neuroscientists feel that perhaps hydrolyzed pro- teins
are worse than pure MSG because in effect you're ingesting a "neurotoxic
amino acid stew" containing Aspartic Acid and L-Cysteine as well as
- Most people learn to live with the minor physical reactions,
which may occur daily or regularly if one's diet consists even in part
of processed or fast foods. They attribute their discomfort to stress,
lack of sleep, the weather, or the flu, coping with the pain by merely
popping an aspirin or antacid whenever symptoms strike. In the scheme
of things, a cramp here, a wheeze there, an itch or ache elsewhere may
easily be overlooked, but snap together all the pieces of the MSG puzzle
and what materializes is the partial crippling of a substantial slice of
this planet's population. A minimum of 20 million people in the United
States and in excess of 100 million worldwide experience prominent reactions.
Thirty percent of the population will react when given 5 grams MSG (an
amount easily consumed in one day of eating convenience foods) and 90%
when administered 10 grams.
- So why does the FDA continue to allow this substance
to inundate our food supply when over 10,000 individual case studies have
proven its danger? Because, having an undeniably suspicious allegiance
to the large pharmaceutical and chemical industries, the FDA has decided
to ignore documented incidents by passing them off as "anecdotal"
evidence and, therefore, scientifically invalid. At least four of the
eight men on FASEB's expert panel had conflicts of interest (MSG industry
connections), and even though the original study was advertised as an independent
review of existing data pertaining to glutamate's safety, some important
data were omitted, and other were distorted. This was not the first time
the FDA's sources were less than impeccable. An early 1970's committee
set up to evaluate MSG in baby food included toxicologists from DuPont
and Dow Chemical, as well as scientists tied to Gerber Products and the
International Mineral and Chemical Corporation (producer of ACCENT and
80% of MSG sold in this country). Yet another "expert" had acted
as an industry spokesman on behalf of the Grocery Manufacturers' Association.
- WIZARD OF AHHS
- An entire economy revolves around the MSG phenomenon,
and the multi-billion dollar industry at stake has a huge investment in
protecting its reputation. As most people are aware, addictions are big
business, and greedy corporate empires have more than once been known to
sacrifice human welfare for the sake of profit. Whether the fixation is
tobacco, alcohol, sugar, sex, or the almighty tastebud, human beings (my
friend calls us "pleasure units") on the warpath toward sensory
fulfillment will always be easily manipulated by the propaganda geniuses
of our day. So just who is the Wizard of Ahhs (as in: "Ahh, that
sure tastes good!") lurking in the shadows behind the MSG stage show?
The conspiracy to keep consumers in the dark about the hidden forms of
MSG and its deleterious nature has been waged by the food industry itself
in conjunction with a special MSG lobby group (so what's new?) titled The
Glutamate Association. Composed of representatives from major U.S. food
manufacturers in addition to (surprise, surprise) the Ajinomoto Company,
these powerful monied interests have banded together to fight anyone who
would dare criticize their precious seaweed derivative. So if their synthesized
chemical neurotoxic time bomb happens to interact with your personal human
organism in anything less than a fortunate manner, well, that's just par
for the course.
- TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
- In 1948, the first symposium was held in Chicago to introduce
Monosodium Glutamate to such companies in attendance as Campbell's (as
in "soups"), Nestles, General Foods, Libby, Borden, Pillsbury,
Oscar Mayer, United Airlines, and the National Livestock and Meat Board.
The almost too-good-to-be-true, flavor-enhancing attributes of this substance
were described: Its ability to intensify existing flavors and increase
odor appeal without contributing a strong aftertaste of its own; Suppress
undesirable bitterness or sourness; Remove the tinny taste from canned
items; Provide a meaty, chicken-like flavor; Add zest to low-fat, diet,
or bland foods; Mask inferiority in quality or freshness; And remove the
stale or spoiled taste from frozen or mass-produced meals (as in cafeterias).
Needless to say, the bait was irresistible and the big fish bit. The
far-reaching consequences of this eight-hour event to revolutionize American
food processing and adversely affect the future health of many millions
of its citizens was at that time unforeseen. Over the years, as the use
of MSG increased, evidence began trickling into the scientific community
that something was gravely wrong. The first case studies were ridiculed,
ignored, or swept under the rug. Today, the tragedy of this spiking of
the American food supply has become crystal clear.
- TOXIC TIME BOMB
- Almost 30 years have elapsed since physicians and scientists
began publishing well-documented accounts of serious, even life-threatening
effects from the ingestion of small amounts of MSG (as served up in a bowl
of wonton soup containing only 2.5-3 grams). In sufficient quantities,
it is toxic to everyone (the degree of reaction depends upon individual
tolerance levels and dosage), but for those who can't metabolize it effectively,
it acts like a poison that can trigger a combination of gastrointestinal,
neurological, and psychological symptoms. It has a peripheral effect on
blood vessels and the lower esophageal sphincter, on the brain and central
nervous system. Particularly severe reactions in some individuals can mimic
those signalling a stroke (slurred speech, loss of balance) or heart attack
(pressure in chest area radiating to the arms and neck); produce disabling,
arthritic conditions in the joints and tendons; debilitating migraine headaches;
severe hives or rashes appearing to be "atopic dermatitis;" acute
asthmatic episodes requiring hospitalization (artificial ventilation and
cardiopulmonary by-pass); and prolonged attacks of depression requiring
psychiatric intervention. Considering that 100 million persons worldwide
suffer from clinically recognized depression (with teenage and childhood
suicide rates on a drastic upswing) and that asthma has been identified
as "the leading cause of absenteeism among schoolchildren" by
the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, it's urgent
that health professionals begin considering whether MSG toxicity might
in certain cases be the real culprit.
- THE SPICE OF DEATH
- MSG intolerance is not merely an allergic reaction, but
demon- strates a classic toxic reaction, a true drug effect. Technically,
it can be classified as a drug since it initiates changes in the physiology
and functioning of tissues and organs while fulfilling absolutely no therapeutic
purpose. In essence, Monosodium Glutamate works by tricking the body.
In his book "IN BAD TASTE: THE MSG SYNDROME," author George
Schwartz, M.D. describes the substance as a "mouth aphrodisiac."
The brain resembles a television set receiving a variety of signals.
MSG placed on the tongue increases the sensitivity of our taste buds and
feeling receptors, stimulating electrical discharges and creating a more
intense "picture." In addition, glutamates act as excitatory
neuro- transmitters which stimulate brain cell activity. In "EXCITOTOXINS:
THE TASTE THAT KILLS," neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock presents
the latest research findings to illustrate how exposure to this class of
chemicals (including MSG and other glutamates, Aspartame/Nutrasweet and
other aspartates, and cystoic acid/cysteine) can damage cerebral nerve
cells. "When neurons are exposed to these substances, they become
very excited and fire their impulses very rapidly until they reach a state
of extreme exhaustion. Several hours later these neurons suddenly die,
as if the cells were excited to death." In the May 1997 issue of
FOOD SCIENCE MAGAZINE, contributing writer Shirley Corriher confirms "there
is evidence that Glutamic Acid is responsible for 75% of the excitatory
transmission in the brain."
- What's more, the devastating implications extend into
the realm of our offspring's health. "Experiments will demonstrate
that glutamate and other excitotoxins can alter the way the brain is formed
during development. ...Exposure to these powerful compounds early in life
could cause developmental brain defects that would produce learning difficulties
and behavioral problems as the child grows older..(and) may contribute
to violent behavior as well." Suspicions are mounting that the recent
increased incidence of hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder (ADD)
in children may be attributed to the widespread use of these toxins as
food additives, and they may play a major role as well in a whole group
of degenerative brain diseases in adults (especially the elderly) including
Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Lou Gehrig's Diseases (ALS).
Even an FDA-sponsored FASEB report (the scientific panel mentioned earlier)
released in July 1995 finally concluded that, due to the controversy relating
to the safety of Glutamic Acid, they suggested it prudent that supplements
containing MSG not be used by: Infants; Children; Pregnant Women; Women
of child- bearing age; and people with affective (mood) disorders. Yet
not only did the Food and Drug Administration suppress this finding, they
then approved a new chicken pox vaccine containing two sources of the chemical--Glutamic
Acid itself, and hydrolyzed gelatin (vegetarian parents take note)--thereby
indiscriminately advocating it for the very young as part of a standard,
aggressively prescribed medical procedure when expert opinion exists that
it could be dangerous to exactly these recipients. So much for child protection
in America, from C-note to shining C-note. Do money and corporate influence
ever stop talking? Apparently not.
- IN THE MOUTH OF BABES
- As far back as the 1950's and 60's, the data started
rolling in. Although I do not condone any kind of vivisection or animal
experimentation, I will present some startling observations from which
you can draw your own conclusions. I don't believe these experimental
results can necessarily be applied to humans, nor do I believe they are
ethical. One of the first major indicators that implied an MSG/disease
link occurred in 1957 when Dr. D. Newhouse and Dr. J.P. Lucas noticed that
baby mice forced to ingest glutamates experienced rapid, irreversible destruction
of the majority of the nerve cells in the inner layers of the animals'
retina (the visual receptor cells of the eye) within minutes of exposure.
Coincidentally, an opthamology conference held in Chicago last year (1996)
found that people stricken with Glaucoma happen to contain anywhere from
10 to 50 times as much glutamate in their eye tissue as persons without
Glaucoma, and their optic nerves are being destroyed at a much faster
- In the late 1960's, John W. Olney, M.D., a neuroscientist
working at the Dept. of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis,
repeated Lucas and Newhouse's experiment on neonatal mice and, upon examining
their brains, discovered that specialized cells in the hypothalamus (the
area critical for both memory and learning) were destroyed after a single
dose of MSG. Brain lesions also appeared in an infant Rhesus monkey.
Obesity, behavioral disturbances, endocrine changes, stunted bodies, seizures,
and infertility in the test animals were also reported. (Leading Edge
Research makes an interesting comment in their literature on Glutamates:
"If MSG could 'solve' the rodent population problem, it could also
help 'solve the population problem for humans'--in theory, that is."
Could the spiking of the American food supply with this chemical possibly
be contributing to the widespread epidemic amongst men of low sperm count?)
In all species tested, immature animals were found to be much more vulnerable
to MSG's toxic effects.
- Dr. Olney was shocked to learn that the concentrations
of this substance added to commercial baby foods was equal to that which
created brain lesions in the experimental models. After the Food and Drug
Administration refused to take action, Dr. Olney testified before a Congressional
committee and finally succeeded in getting food manufacturers to remove
MSG from their infant product lines. Ironically, they simply substituted
a more dangerous ingredient in its place: hydrolyzed vegetable protein
(HVP), which contains three known excitotoxins. (HVP, though advertised
as a safe, natural, plant-based protein, is actually a mixture made from
"junk" vegetables unfit for sale.
- The extraction process involves boiling them in a vat
of acid, then neutralization with caustic soda. The resulting brown sludge,
extremely high in glutamates, is scraped off the top, dried, and sold.
Then we eat it. Yucch!) Shamefully, millions of school children are fed
cafeteria meals laced with these poisons on a daily basis, and we wonder
why there is a market decline in scholastic performance, concentration,
and discipline in the classroom. Who is protecting the innocent from this
chemical bombardment? According to one government official, "There
are no federal regulations or policies which prohibit or limit the use
of monosodium glutamate in the National School Lunch program or any of
the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's federally funded programs." 'Nuf
said. Once again, good conscience must fall on the shoulders of ordinary
citizens uniting in grassroots coalitions. The Feingold Association, a
children's advocacy group focused on reducing dangerous color additives
in food, wholeheartedly supports NoMSG's efforts.
- SPREAD THE WORD! I f you want to further your knowledge
on the subject, please contact: The NATIONAL ORGANIZATION MOBILIZED TO
STOP GLUTAMATES at 1-800-BEAT-MSG, or see their webpage at HTTP://www.nomsg.com.
They have an active membership and publish quarterly newletters. The
TRUTH IN LABELING CAMPAIGN may be written at: P.O. Box 2532, Darien, Illinois;
or phoned at (312) 642-9333. To order the books mentioned, HEALTH PRESS
may be reached at 1-800-643-BOOK.
- Since MSG sensitivity increases with age, we may all
eventually find ourselves in a position of having to become food detectives
and legislative advocates in the quest for health freedom and personal
choice. For now, we have a few courageous individuals to thank for helping
to protect the rights of all American citizens...folks like the Samuels
in Chicago who are fighting for stringent labeling laws, and like David
Livingston who awaits his trial against a major restaurant chain. Armed
with a new understanding after his July 1993 brush with death sparked by
that Marie Callender's bowl of soup, he warns all consumers to be aware:
"The bottom line is, do you really know what you're putting in your
mouth when you buy food? Where it's been, how it's been processed, what
it has gone through to get to your plate? The answer is that, especially
at restaurants--moreso than with food you buy at supermarket, where at
least you have a listing of the ingredients--you really have no clue."
Let's take a clue from these pure food pioneers. Become an informed,
discriminating consumer. Take action, take control, take charge of your
future and your health!
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
Site Served by TheHostPros