MSG is Everywhere

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e-Vision volume eight
1
http://www.jmu.edu/evision
MSG is Everywhere
by Ian Hannon
______________________________________________________________________
MSG IS EVERYWHERE!
MSG IS ADDED TO THE MAJORITY OF PACKAGED PRODUCTS, INCLUDING CHIPS,
SOUPS, SALAD DRESSINGS, GRAVIES, COLD CUTS, AND ALMOST EVERY FOOD
SERVED AT FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS. THE LIST OF FOODS CONTAINING MSG IS
ALMOST ENDLESS.1
STUDIES SHOW THAT THE CONSUMPTION OF MSG CONTRIBUTES TO STROKES,
BRAIN TUMORS, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, ALZHEIMER’S, AND OTHER
NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS, AS WELL AS OBESITY AND BLINDNESS.2
_______________________________
1.“What Foods to Avoid?” Msgtruth.Org. 2007. Msgtruth.Org. 13 Nov. 2007 <http://www.msgtruth.org/avoid.htm>.
2. Blaylock, Russell. "Excitotoxins in Your Diet: How They Affect Your Health." Nurses World Magazine April-May 2007:
42-44.
Background image courtesy of http://www.cvcoffee.com/prod_images_blowup/Mauchan_Instant_Lunch.jpg.
______________________________________________________________
Easy Mac. Progresso Soup. Doritos. Ramen Noodles. These products are godsends for
those living on an American college student’s budget. However, the adverse effects they have on our
health go beyond the gaining of the dreaded “freshman 15.” All of these foods contain monosodium
glutamate (MSG), which is an excitotoxin. When brain cells communicate, neurotransmitters are
secreted in small amounts in order to “excite” nearby brain cells and transmit a message. Most
scientists believed all neurotransmitters to be relatively benign until 1969, when neuroscientist John
Olney discovered two neurotransmitters that are harmful to the brain: glutamate (MSG) and
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aspartame, which is found in the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas (Newman). These
excitotoxins, in essence, “excite” brain cells to death by causing them to be excessively stimulated,
resulting in brain damage (Newman).
According to Dr. Byron Newman, “excitotoxicity is something that is connected with
virtually everything bad that can happen to the brain--strokes, brain injury, brain tumors, severe
hypoglycemia, multiple sclerosis, asphyxia, heavy metal poisoning, and most of the
neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.” In
addition to these serious, long-term side effects, the consumption of MSG has negative short-term
health effects as well, including headaches, sweating, facial pressure, numbness or tingling around
the mouth, heart palpitations, chest pain, and/or asthmatic symptoms (“Monosodium Glutamate
(MSG)”). These reactions take effect within one hour after consuming MSG (“Effects of
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)”). Many people are familiar with the term “MSG,” but the masses
are oblivious to the devastating toll that it takes on the human body.
The number of foods that contain MSG is astounding. It is present in chips, cold cuts, salad
dressings, fresh produce that has been sprayed with pesticide, gelatin, and in virtually every food
served in every fast food restaurant in the United States (The Natural Health Place). The most
alarming fact is the food industry increases the amount of MSG put in our food every year. National
consumption of MSG has risen from about one million pounds in 1950 to over 300 million pounds
yearly (The Natural Health Place). This raises the following question: if scientists have known about
the dangers of ingesting of MSG for over thirty years, why do food manufacturers not only continue
to add it to our food, but increase the amount used every year? The answer is simple: manufacturers
record larger profits when they add MSG to our food. In “MSG & Aspartame During Pregnancy,”
Richard Pressinger reports on Campbell’s Soup’s discovery: when they add MSG to their chicken
soup, they only need to use half as much chicken to achieve the same taste as when they don’t use
MSG.
In addition, the food industry constantly camouflages the presence of MSG, an underhanded
tactic to keep the public from identifying the toxic chemical. MSG can be identified as
monopotassium glutamate, yeast extract, calcium caseinate, corn oil, textured protein, and up to
twenty other names (The Natural Health Place; “Hidden Sources”). This is not a conspiracy theory.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, met with a senior executive in the
food additive industry, who reportedly acknowledged that “these excitotoxins are going to be in our
food no matter how many name changes are necessary” (“Hidden Sources”). It is truly mind
boggling how the food industry is permitted to put MSG in our food using such deceptive methods.
Like the brain, there are glutamate receptors in the human eye. According to the article
“MSG Found to Injure Retina, Damage Eyesight,” in an experiment conducted in Japan, a group of
rats were put on a diet high in MSG for six months. The rats’ retinal nerve layers thinned by up to
75 percent. At the end of the six months, all of the rats had severe vision impairment, simply
because their diet was high in MSG (Saleh).
On top of the fact that consuming MSG results in brain damage and vision loss, there is also
scientific evidence that MSG is directly correlated with obesity. In another experiment, scientists
injected rats with MSG at birth. No rats are naturally obese, but since MSG triples the amount of
insulin that the pancreas produces, scientists were able to create “morbidly obese” rats (Van Buren).
When the pancreas increases its insulin secretion, it has severe implications in regards to human
health; it leads to obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are early stages of type II diabetes.
Before MSG was introduced into Americans’ diets, obesity and type II diabetes were rarely found in
children (“MSG and Obesity”). Obesity and type II diabetes are now epidemics in America, and the
trend could worsen if MSG consumption continues.
The main reason the food industry is allowed to poison us by putting MSG in our food is
because the FDA is more interested in protecting the profits of big businesses than doing its job of
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protecting the health of American citizens. In 1969, shortly after Olney’s discovery, then FDA
Commissioner Herbert Ley presented evidence to the U.S. Senate from four studies that, he alleged,
demonstrated that MSG was safe (“MSG Kills”). It was later disclosed that two of the studies the
commissioner cited were incomplete and two did not even exist (“MSG Kills”). It is even stated on
the FDA’s official website that “injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in
damage to nerve cells in the brain” (“FDA and Monosodium Glutamate”). It is a disgrace that a
federal organization with as much authority as the FDA blatantly ignores its responsibilities to
protect the American people. No matter how it gets into our bodies, MSG damages glutamate
receptors, which results in the deterioration of our health. The FDA is well aware of this
information but has decided it is more important to assist in lining the pockets of food industry
executives than to protect the health of the American people.
After reviewing this information, it is imperative that we as a society become more
responsible consumers. MSG is quickly becoming the new cigarette in America; we are becoming
addicted to this “nicotine for food,” but the worst part is, we don’t even realize it. So the next time
you reach for a snack, remember this: although foods that contain MSG are often less expensive and
more appealing, we cannot take lightly the deadly risks of consuming MSG.
Works Cited
Blaylock, Russell. “Excitotoxins in Your Diet: How They Affect Your Health.” Nurses World
Magazine April-May 2007: 42-44.
“Effects of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).” HappyCow's Vegetarian Guide. HappyCow. 3 April
2008 <http://www.happycow.net/health-msg-information.html>.
“FDA and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).” Fda.Gov. 31 Aug. 1995. Food and Drug
Administration. 13 Nov. 2007 <http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/msg.html>.
“Hidden Sources of MSG in Foods.” Rense.com. 6 April 2008 <http://www.rense.com/general35/
hidd.htm>.
“Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): Is It Harmful?” Mayoclinic.Com. 2007. Mayo Clinic. 13 Nov. 2007
<http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/monosodium-glutamate/AN01251>.
“MSG and Obesity.” Msgtruth.Org. Msgtruth.Org. 13 Nov. 2007 <http://www.msgtruth.org/
obesity.htm>.
“MSG Kills.” Truthinlabeling.Org. 3 Apr. 2008 <http://www.truthinlabeling.org/
Glutes_FDAparagraph.html>.
The Natural Health Place. “The Truth About MSG and Aspartame.” Hilary. 31 March 2008
<http://www.hilary.com/features/msg.html>.
Pressinger, Richard. “MSG & Aspartame During Pregnancy.” Chem-Tox.Com. 1997. University of
South Florida. 13 Nov. 2007 <http://www.chem-tox.com/ pregnancy/pregmsg.htm>.
Saleh, Huda. “MSG Found to Injure Retina.” Rense.Com. 31 Dec. 2002. 13 Nov. 2007
<http://www.rense.com/general33/found.htm>.
Van Buren, Ruth. “MSG or Monosodium Glutamate and Obesity.” Ion Life. 6 April 2008
<http://www.ionizers.org/msg.html>.
e-Vision essays copyright © 2008. All rights revert to individual authors.
All authors have granted permission for use in instructional purposes only.

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