by April McCarthy

April 10, 2012

from PreventDisease Website


April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.


We are saturated with glutamate.


It's everywhere. It's in vaccines, medicine, foods, spices, household stain removers and elsewhere. It's extremely dangerous for aging brains and very young brains. Yet, we are exposed to dangerous "free glutamate" everywhere we go and it is slowly but surely destroying the minds of younger generations.

The human brain is packed with a substance that needs to be treated like a handle-with-care explosive.


Glutamate, one of the most abundant chemical messengers in the brain, plays a role in many vital brain functions, such as learning and memory, but it can inflict massive damage if it is accidentally spilled into brain tissue in large amounts.


Glutamate flow in the brain is normally kept in check by a system of dam-like structures, which release a trickle of the substance only when and where it is needed.


But burst a dam - as happens in stroke, head trauma, and some other neurological disorders - and the treacherous messenger floods the brain. The surge of glutamate radiates out from the area of original damage, and kills neurons in nearby areas.


The expanded damage can leave in its wake signs of impaired brain function, such as slurred speech and shaky movement.

Depending on the severity and location of the stroke or head trauma, recovery can be slow and incomplete. Now new hope is coming from a completely new approach to protecting the brain against the ravages of injury and disease. It consists of “mopping up” excess glutamate by boosting a natural process that the healthy brain already uses to safeguard itself from a glutamate overdose.


If this concept is borne out in clinical trials, it might be helpful in treating a variety of acute and chronic brain insults and diseases.




Role of Glutamate in Food

MSG is not a nutrient, vitamin, or mineral and has no health benefits. The part of MSG that negatively affects the human body is the "glutamate", not the sodium.


The breakdown of MSG typically consists of,

  • 78% glutamate

  • 12% sodium

  • about 10% water

Any glutamate added to a processed food is not and can not be considered naturally occurring.


Natural glutamate in plants and animals is known as L-glutamic acid.


Our normal digestive process slowly breaks down this natural or "bound" glutamic acid and it is then delivered to glutamate receptors in our body and brain. Broken down this way, it is harmless. In a factory, however, the bound glutamic acid in certain foods (corn, molasses, wheat) is broken down or made "free" by various processes (hydrolyzed, autolyzed, modified or fermented with strong chemicals, bacteria, or enzymes) and refined to a white crystal that resembles sugar.

Since free glutamate can be a component part of certain food additives, such as autolyzed yeast or hydrolyzed protein, it is essentially unregulated when it comes to labeling standards.


This allows it to go into food unlabeled as MSG.


A label may say,

  • "yeast extract"

  • "calcium caseinate"

  • "beef flavoring",

...but the product still contains varying amounts of "free" glutamic acid.


This makes it very difficult for consumers who are trying to avoid it. It is also very dangerous for those who suffer severe reactions to it. Many people who are very sensitive to MSG experience respiratory, neurological, muscular, skin, urological and even cardiac symptoms.

So why is MSG even allowed into our food supply?


Because they can get us to eat almost anything. There is such an incredible amount of disinformation in the powers that regulate and control food, that they can get us to consume things with absolutely no nutritional value at all.


As long as manufacturing costs are minimized, and we keep buying their food, they'll keep making it regardless of the detriments to our health.


MSG has been proven to act as an excitotoxin which stimulates the reward system of the brain, so we think it tastes better (than it actually does) and consequently consume more.

The addition of MSG to food products enhances the taste. MSG functions by essentially tricking your body into thinking it has consumed foods high in protein. This can make your body crave more of the foods that contain the MSG. This is because glutamate is actually a protein.


According to "Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology," since your body already produces glutamates, excessive consumption of MSG can potentially disrupt the natural order of the glutamate in your body.



Cycle of MSG leading to Obesity

  1. MSG is eaten

  2. Cells in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus that produce dopamine and regulate appetite are destroyed

  3. Hypothalamus becomes leptin-resistant

  4. Glutamate activates AMPK, which slows metabolism AND desire for physical activity ("lazy mice")

  5. The fat cells release leptin to stop AMPK, but the hypothalamus ignores the signal

  6. Appetite stays high, activity is depressed. Calorie intake goes up, calories expended by metabolism go down, calories expended in activity go down

  7. MSG although it is an amino acid, signals the pancreas to release insulin

  8. Insulin drops our blood sugar - causing increased hunger at the same time it packs away excess calories as fat

  9. Obesity




  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

  • Glutamate anything

  • Glutamic Acid

  • Hydrolyzed anything

    • Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten

    • Hydrolyzed Pea Protein

  • Plant Protein

  • Textured Protein

  • Autolyzed anything

    • Autolyzed Yeast Extract

    • Autolyzed Plant Protein

  • Yeast Extract

  • Yeast Nutrient

  • Caseinate anything

    • Calcium Caseinate

    • Sodium Caseinate

  • Gelatin

  • Aspartame (any artificial sugar)

The next ingredients listed do not contain MSG, but are added to activate MSG already contained in the food product. These two chemicals are very expensive and have no other function. If you find them on the label you can be assured that MSG is present.

  • Disodium Guanylate

  • Disodium Inosinate

  • Carrageenan (ingredient in Chocolate Milk)

  • Xanthum Gum (ingredient in Salad Dressings)

  • Maltodextrin (ingredient in Splenda)

  • Flavor(s) and Flavoring(s) anything

    • Malt Flavoring

  • Natural Flavor(s) & Flavoring(s) anything

    • beef, pork, chicken, etc

  • Bouillon and Broth anything

  • Barley Malt

  • Malt Extract

  • Soy Sauce Extract

  • Soy Protein Isolate

  • Ultra-pasteurized Soy Sauce

  • Whey Protein Concentrate

  • Soy Protein Concentrate

  • Pectin Soy Protein

  • Whey Protein Isolate

  • Whey Protein Protease

  • Protease Enzymes

  • Protein Fortified anything

  • Enzyme Modified anything

  • Enzymes anything

  • Fermented anything

  • Citric Acid

  • Seasoning(s) (the actual word)

  • Spice(s) (the actual word)





  • Ranch Salad Dressing (Most salad dressings are of concern, but Ranch is the worst.)

  • Vegetable Dips

  • All Flavored Chips

  • Sun Chips

  • Doritos

  • Flavored Potato Chips

  • Bouillon (including those that claim MSG Free)

  • Meat and Vegetable Stock and Broth (including those that claim MSG Free)

  • Baby Formulas and Foods

  • Hair Care Products

  • Hair Shampoo

  • Hair Conditioner

  • Toothpaste

  • Teeth Whitening Agents

  • Fluoride Treatments

  • Teeth Cleaning Pumice at the Dentist

  • Medication

  • Gel Capsules (contains Gelatin)

  • Children's Cough Syrup









The Role of Glutamate in the Body

While your body requires glutamate for the normal functioning of your bodily processes such as energy production and protein synthesis, glutamate can cause harm to these same processes when present in your body in excessive amounts.


Your body, however, contains a natural system built into your cellular structure that monitors glutamate levels. The vast majority of glutamate exists inside of your body's cells where it remains essentially inactive.


On the other hand, the extracellular glutamate found in your body is the active type of glutamate because it responds to the glutamate receptors located on the surface of many of your cells.

As befits a potentially hazardous substance, glutamate is kept safely sealed within the brain cells.


A healthy neuron releases glutamate only when it needs to convey a message, then immediately sucks the messenger back inside. Glutamate concentration inside the cells is 10,000 times greater than outside them. If we follow the dam analogy, that would be equivalent to holding 10,000 cubic feet of glutamate behind the dam and letting only a trickle of one cubic foot flow freely outside.


A clever pumping mechanism makes sure this trickle never gets out of hand:

When a neuron senses the presence of too much glutamate in the vicinity - the extracellular space - it switches on special pumps on its membrane and siphons the maverick glutamate back in.

This protective pumping process works beautifully as long as glutamate levels stay within the normal range.


But the levels can rise sharply if a damaged cell spills out its glutamate. In such a case, the pumps on the cellular membranes can no longer cope with the situation, and glutamate reveals its destructive powers. It doesn’t kill the neuron directly. Rather, it overly excites the cell, causing it to open its pores excessively and let in large quantities of substances that are normally allowed to enter only in limited amounts.

One of these substances is sodium, which leads to cell swelling because its entry is accompanied by an inrush of water, needed to dilute the surplus sodium. The swelling squeezes the neighboring blood vessels, preventing normal blood flow and interrupting the supply of oxygen and glucose, which ultimately leads to cell death.


Cell swelling, however, is reversible; the cells will shrink back once glutamate is removed from brain fluids. More dangerous than sodium is calcium, which is harmless under normal conditions but not when it rushes inside through excessively opened pores.


An overload of calcium destroys the neuron’s vital structures and eventually kills it.

Regardless of what killed it, the dead cell spills out its glutamate, all the vast quantities of it that were supposed to be held back by the dam. The spill overly excites more cells, and these die in turn, spilling yet more glutamate. The destructive process repeats itself over and over, engulfing brain areas until the protective pumping mechanism finally manages to stop the spread of glutamate.

That’s precisely what happens in stroke or head trauma, each of which begins with a sudden injury to brain tissue that ensues when a blood vessel is ruptured or blocked by a blood clot.


In trauma, the damage is inflicted by a blow to the head. If the damaged area, called the core, is small and not located in a vital region of the brain, it might not cause major harm.


However, because the dead cells in the core spill out their glutamate, the core often becomes the center of a glutamate spill. While the center itself cannot be saved, the secondary damage triggered by glutamate release from damaged or dying brain cells could theoretically be prevented or at least limited, and perhaps even reversed.


Medical management can help to prevent further damage, but effective neuroprotective drugs have, so far, been hard to come by.



Never Ending Assault on Children's Health

A study on infant rats showed that administration of MSG lead to five shrunken glands, including the testes.


Other studies have shown that growth hormone, thyroid hormones and many other endocrine functions can be assaulted by excitotoxins which may lead to growth retardation of children before the age of puberty.

One study on mice showed that aspartate, the excitotoxin in diet drinks, gum and aspartame, did the same kind of neuronal damage to the hypothalamus that previous studies on glutamate exhibited. This study mentioned that the research showed that excitotoxins lead to "subsequent obesity, skeletal stunting and reduced mass of pituitaries, ovaries and testes.


Yes, the research is clear that excitotoxins can literally damage (and reduce in size) the future development of your child's testes and ovaries.

One study on rats showed that female rats given low dose excitotoxins did severe damage to the hypothalamus with resulting nasty effects on multiple hypothalamic functions.

Free glutamate is a "slow kill" for future generations, affecting their minds and bodies, and depreciating their immunity by the day. It's due time to ban this dangerous form of glutamate from every source in our society for good!