What is MSG?
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. It is
commonly added to foods as a “flavor enhancer.” Unlike salt or other
seasonings, MSG does not alter the actual taste of food; instead it
“enhances” taste by exciting and increasing the sensitivity of taste buds.
It has a drug-like effect upon the
flavor perception of the person who has ingested food or drink that contains
MSG has no nutritional value, nor is it a preservative, as many people
Why do food companies use MSG?
MSG does not affect food, instead it “tricks” your brain into thinking the
food you are eating tastes good. Manufacturers can use inferior ingredients,
and by adding MSG, mask the inferior quality and freshness of foods.
It is used to disguise the tinny taste of canned products and to give a fresh
taste to frozen or freeze-dried foods. Food companies are able to make their
ingredients go much further with the help of this flavor enhancer, thus
cutting their production costs. Inferior products and higher profits prevail
at the expense of consumer health. MSG is not a preservative and does not
protect food from contamination or spoilage.
Is it true that MSG has been in use for thousands of years?
In a sense, yes. Oriental cultures have used a seaweed extract as a flavor
enhancer for thousands of years, but the essential component responsible for
the flavor phenomenon itself was not identified until 1909. For the next half
century, extensive research resulted in industrial production of manufactured
MSG, and it has become a major additive in our food supply.
The use of MSG is very widespread, so widespread that it is almost impossible
to find a food on the shelves that doesn’t contain it in some form or
another. It is found not only in Oriental foods, but in virtually every
processed food available on the market today. Worse still, the EPA has
approved growth enhancer for crops whose active ingredient is processed free
glutamic acid (which is metabolized to MSG in the body), but the regulatory
agency does not require labeling of such produce.
What kinds of reactions can MSG cause in people?
Reported reactions to MSG include: headaches, migraines, stomach upset,
nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma attacks,
shortness of breath, anxiety or panic attacks, heart palpitations, partial
paralysis, “heart-attack like symptoms,” balance difficulties, mental
confusion, mood swings, behavioral disorders (especially in children and
teens), allergy-type symptoms, skin rashes, runny nose, bags under the eyes,
flushing, mouth lesions, depression, and more. In addition, medical research
has demonstrated glutamate relationships in Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS (Lour
Gehrig’s Disease), diabetes, Huntington’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease.
Why do some people experience a reaction after ingesting MSG?
MSG works like a drug, altering taste buds’ sensitivity. While all people do
not seem to react to the current dose levels found in our food supply, about
30 percent of the population does respond adversely. As higher and higher
doses of MSG are added to foods, more and more people are experiencing
reactions. Also, it is important to remember that a high enough dose is toxic
to everyone! MSG intolerance is not usually an allergic reaction, but a true
Why is MSG still on the market if it causes such debilitating reactions?
MSG production and consumption are multi-billion dollar industries. The
passivity of government regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, coupled with
established relationships with food-industry-sponsored lobby groups, have
allowed a dramatic increase in MSG-use by manufacturers. Current levels added
to food are fifty times higher than amounts used forty years ago—and the
quantity continues to grow every year.