I was absolutely amazed at what I read upon picking up Dr. Russell Blaylock's book "Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills." Since that time, quite a bit of info has come across my desk on this topic. I hope this will be helpful to you.
So what is an excitotoxin you ask? These are substances, usually acidic amino acids, which react with specialized receptors in the brain in such a way as to lead to destruction of certain types of neurons. Glutamate commonly toxins.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) is the sodium salt of glutamate. This amino acid (glutamate) is a normal neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, it is the most commonly used neurotransmitter by the brain.
However, when the concentration of this transmitter rises above a safe level - no more than 8 to l2uM - the neurons begin to fire abnormally. At higher concentrations, the cells undergo a specialized process of delayed cell death known as excitotoxicity, that is, they are excited to death.
So, why should we be concerned? MSG is legally masqueraded under a host of other harmless-sounding names. While we thought we have been avoiding MSG for years, only now we find out that it is being concealed in nearly all of our food -- including health food items!
MSG is not an allergen. It is a nerve poison. Dr. George Schwartz, MD, author of "In Bad Taste, the MSG Syndrome" points out that the body's reaction to MSG is a drug reaction, not an allergic reaction. A poison is harmful to everyone. Even those who do not feel they are affected by MSG, are -- since their body processes are still being disturbed.
Why is MSG found in so many foods? It is a flavor enhancer. Food companies learned that MSG could not only enhance flavor, but suppress "off' flavors, bitterness, sourness, and the "tinny" taste of canned foods. The food companies have no intention of giving up MSG which continues to help sell their products.
US national consumption of MSG went from roughly one million pounds in 1950 to more than 300 times that amount today.
And here's the bottom line: as the dose increases, every single person will react to MSG at some point. At certain doses, it becomes toxic enough to cause illness. As with any poison, at higher doses, it is without exception, fatal.
Worst of all, the label on many products may read "No MSG" when in fact, the product is loaded! MSG can be legally hidden in food.
Here are some of the names in which MSG may be concealed, in order to be included in food without disclosure. The most common source of MSG hidden in a product is under the guise of "natural flavors" which can be in fact 40% MSG!
Natural beef flavoring
Natural chicken flavoring
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydrolyzed milk protein
Hydrolyzed oat flour
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Is there a cure for hidden MSG? Of course!!! Think fresh! The more fresh ingredients you can incorporate into your meals, the less likely you are to use products containing MSG. Especially if you make your own salad dressings, sauces, toppings and gravies. Whenever possible, avoid packaged foods. If you aren't already -- become a "make it from scratch" gourmet.
Hydrogenation is the most common way of drastically changing natural oils. This process has major effects on health.
Industry's reason for using the process is to provide cheap, spreadable products, or to provide shelf stability at the expense of nutritional value.
During the hydrogenation process, oils are reacted under pressure with hydrogen gas at high temperatures (2 50° -400°) in the presence of a metal catalyst (often 50% nickel and 50% aluminum). Remnants of these metals remain in the products we find on our shelves. This changes the molecular structure of oil from an unsaturated oil to saturated. This changes the fatty acid to a trans fatty acid.
Since trans fatty acids have detrimental affects on our cardiovascular system, immune system, reproductive system, energy metabolism, fat and essential fatty acid metabolism, liver function and cell membranes, we should consider margarine, shortening, shortening oils and partially hydrogenated vegetables oils to be harmful to human health.
The majority of stock cubes or bullion cubes which used to flavor our soups and gravies contain not only hydrogenated vegetable oil, but also MSG, and are horribly high in sodium.
As an alternative, we can do it the way grandma used to do by making stock ourselves. To do this, we can boil up onion skins, outside leaves and stems of cauliflower and cabbage, extra whole onions, potatoes and carrots. In fact, you can use most skins and peelings of vegetables that you would normally discard. Cover these with water and boil for a couple of hours, then strain. Use as a base for your next pot of soup or gravy.
Courtesy of: SOS Ross Reports, October 2001