What is MSG? Why does the manufactured free glutamate cause problems? Are you MSG sensitive? What are other names for free glutamate that you might find on the labels of processed products?
Dedicated to people with problems that once defied medical diagnosis - people who discovered that elimination of MSG from their diets let them be well. From Truth in Labeling.
What is MSG?
MSG (621 monosodium glutamate) contains manufactured free glutamate, as do other flavour enhancers 620-625. These flavour enhancers include any glutamic acid that is produced by bacterial fermentation or freed from protein through manufacture or fermentation (now genetically modified). They contain unwanted by-products (contaminants), and may be used with other flavour enhancers such as 627, 631, 635 to enhance the free glutamate. Manufactured free glutamate may be found in processed food, medicine, pet food, protein drinks and dietary supplements.
Glutamic acid found in unadulterated, unprocessed, and unfermented plant and animal protein has no contaminants, and is bound in a balanced form with other protein components.
In humans, glutamic acid is a non- essential amino acid: i.e., the body is capable of producing it on its own. The manufacture of monosodium glutamate began in about 1910. The first published reports of adverse reactions appeared in 1968, and the first published report of brain damage following ingestion of MSG followed shortly thereafter. Research has demonstrated that free glutamic acid can be neurotoxic, causing neuron degeneration and cell death as well as adverse reactions.
The glutamate industry denies the existence of contaminants in MSG, and denies that exposure to MSG can cause brain damage in humans and serious adverse reactions. Manufactured free glutamate is an excitotoxic – brain damaging – amino acid, no matter how it is produced, or what it is said to be used for.
Ingredients always containing MSG
Any "hydrolyzed protein"
Hydrolyzed corn gluten
Ingredients often containing or producing MSG:
Bouillon and broth
Any "flavors" or "flavoring"
Anything "enzyme modified"
Anything containing "enzymes"
Soy protein isolate
Soy sauce extract
Soy protein concentrate
Anything "protein fortified"
Are you MSG sensitive?
MSG-sensitive people report reactions ranging from simple skin rash to severe depression and life-threatening physical conditions. Diagnosis of MSG sensitivity is extremely difficult, especially because MSG ingredients are often not disclosed on food labels.
Migraines are the most often reported reaction to MSG, but reactions can include asthma, heart irregularities, panic attacks, drastic mood swings, seizures, and more.
For a full list of symptoms that might indicate MSG sensitivity, and suggestions to help you decide if you are sensitive to MSG, visit the website truthinlabeling.com.
Dealing with MSG sensitivity
With ever-increasing use of MSG, with FDA, USDA, and EPA cooperation, it becomes increasingly difficult for the individual with little tolerance for MSG to avoid having MSG-induced adverse reactions. How do people determine if they are MSG-sensitive?
There are no traditional diagnostic procedures for sensitivity to MSG. The MSG reaction is due to sensitivity to a toxic substance, and antibodies are not involved. Allergy tests, used to diagnose conditions that create antibodies in the body, are not appropriate.
An individual typically has the same reaction or reactions each time he exceeds his tolerance for MSG. Ingestion of alcohol or extreme exercise just before or just after ingesting MSG may increase the severity of the reactions; and some women are more sensitive at a certain point in their menstrual cycles.
Tolerance for MSG varies. A reaction can occur immediately following ingesting MSG or up to 48 hours later; but for any one person, that interval is generally the same every time. Knowing that, one can look back to determine what food or drink caused the MSG reaction. A food diary may help with diagnosis.
About the Truth in Labeling Campaign
The Truth in Labeling Campaign (TLC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to securing full and clear labeling of all processed food. We are an all-volunteer organization funded entirely through contributions.
Our first project has been to secure identification of MSG whenever and wherever it occurs in processed food. We helped file a Citizen Petition with the FDA asking them to require labeling of all MSG found in processed foods. The publicity generated by the petition and a subsequent lawsuit generated help from hundreds of volunteers who help inform others of the toxic effects of MSG. Unfortunately the FDA succeeded in getting the lawsuit set aside. We invite you to work with us in our continued efforts to secure full disclosure of all MSG on the labels of all processed food.
Downloaded 2016 and edited from
Truth in Labeling Campaign