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MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is found in many processed foods, as well as is used by many restaurants.

How safe is MSG for consumption?

Are the assertions that MSG is harmless in small amounts accurate? Can we trust the claim that MSG can be beneficial as it helps you reduce your salt intake while keeping your food tasty?

Brace yourself for the 7 safety facts that you are going to read about MSG.

MSG and the “Chinese restaurant syndrome”

Some people experience what is known as the “Chinese restaurant syndrome” after consuming MSG. The feelings of discomfort include headaches, tingling, numbness, sweating and flushing. In some instances, the symptoms could parallel severe allergic reactions and be life-threatening, for example, chest pains, heart palpitations, breathlessness and swelling of the throat.

MSG and heart attacks

MSG could over-stimulate your heart’s electrical conduction system. It is a potential source of danger for you if you have pre-existing heart problems, as the substance could trigger sudden cardiac arrest or arrhythmia in you. This is especially the case if you are also low in your magnesium levels.

MSG and brain damage

MSG is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, and too much glutamate in the body has been associated with neurological problems like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. A 1968 study by Washington University found that excessive MSG led to brain damage in lab animals. That is why MSG was discontinued for use in many baby-foods.

MSG and cancer

Studies have found that MSG alters the function of genes and increases free radicals in the body. This probably explains why MSG stimulates the growth of malignant tumors, and conversely, drugs that block glutamate actually help shrink tumors.

MSG, obesity and diabetes

Research has found that MSG causes rats to become obese and even develop Type II diabetes. So if you are working hard to lose weight, or are at a risk of developing Type II diabetes, it is best that you do your best to stay away from MSG.

MSG and pain

Since glutamate plays a major role in the sensation of pain, eating foods high in MSG can actually worsen your pre-existing pain problems.

The many unknown names of MSG

MSG has more than 30 other names. Food producers often use these names to conceal the fact that they use MSG to make their foods taste better, so as to pass off as being healthier. Find out more about these alternative names in my next blog entry.

Sources for this article include
[1] Blaylock, Russell L, MD. Natural Strategies For Cancer Patients. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing, 2003. Print.
[2] Fischer, William L. How to Fight Cancer & Win. Rev ed. USA: Agora South, 2000. Print.
[3] Bollinger, Ty. Cancer: Step Outside The Box. 5th ed. USA: Infinity 510 510 Partners, 2011. Print.
[4] Mercola, Joseph, Dr., and Pearsall, Kendra, Dr. Take Control of Your Health. Schaumburg, IL: Mercola. com, 2007. Print.


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.

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