For too long there has been a great debate over the effects of Monosodium Glutamate popularly known as MSG, which is often used as a flavour enhancer for snack food and packaged seasonings.
Most Chinese takeout restaurants these days, have on their menus “NO ADDED MSG,” the label can also be found in supermarket aisles on snack foods or on packaged seasonings, and these labels are meant to ease consumers’ worries, because MSG, which is used as a flavor enhancer, has for decades been popularly linked to various health problems, such as headaches and allergic reactions. It’s even been considered a factor in infantile obesity.
What is MSG
MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. Sodium is the first ingredient in common table salt.” (Natural salt found in foods accounts for about 10 percent of a person’s total daily intake, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).)
Glutamate which on the other hand is the basic component of MSG, is a synonym for glutamic acid which is a naturally occurring amino acid. It’s one of the building blocks of protein.
Scientists say most living things on earth contain glutamate, and it’s also in many foods, including tomatoes, walnuts, pecans, Parmesan cheese, peas, mushrooms, and soy sauce.
Monosodium glutamate was discovered more than 100 years ago by a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda, who derived it from seaweed and discovered that it had unique flavor-enhancing properties. These days, MSG is made by fermenting starch, sugar beets, sugar cane, or molasses, according to the FDA.
The glutamate debate
Glutamate is a naturally occurring amino acid that the body uses and needs, however, the synthetic manipulation and processing of glutamate produces a form that is not found in nature.
Studies show that attempting to recreate a product of nature often produces less than desirable results. MSG has been labeled an excitotoxin because it is thought to have the ability to overstimulate cells to death.
Many people link headaches, flushing, poor attention and other symptoms, as well as diseases like fibromyalgia, to MSG intake.
There have been varied researches on MSG, as many have voted for and against the used of MSG as a flavour enhancer.
Side effects of MSG
According to Metcalfe, effects related to MSG, include burning sensations of the mouth, head and neck, weakness of the arms or legs, headaches and upset stomach approximately 15 minutes after the MSG is consumed.
Further investigations again points to problems such as flushing, headaches and hives or allergic-type reactions with the skin.
One of the best overviews of the very real dangers of MSG comes from Dr Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.”
In it he explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees – and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
However, a report by Fernstrom, suggests that there is really no link between MSG and these symptoms, though this data seems to be wavering.
One study in mice concluded that injections of MSG produced obesity, inactivity and many other hormone fluctuations.
A report by Ohguro suggests that one of the most important factors in MSG research is that some of the effects can occur very quickly while others, that are perhaps much more detrimental, might be more cumulative over time with subsequent exposure.
For example, a study done with animals found that MSG exposure over a period of 3-6 months led to significant risk for damage to the retinas of the eyes. These changes were not seen right away in the study, demonstrating that studies on MSG using 1-2 doses might miss many of the potential long-term effects associated with MSG intake.
Scientific evidences prove that everyone will not be affected the same by MSG, and perhaps some will experience no problems at all.
The uncertain and somewhat frightening aspect of this compound is that it can cause a variety of symptoms over time that can lead to much greater, more permanent problems. It could also be argued that small amounts in any one food will not be a problem, but if small amounts are in several common foods that are consumed every day, the problem moves to a much graver scale.
Since the introduction, in the past 30 years, the incidence of Type II Diabetes has doubled. Obesity in children has skyrocketed!
MSG is injected into lab animals to induce obesity so that pharmaceutical companies can test their drugs.
Ways to stay safe
When buying food products from the markets, one must carefully read product labels, and because there is still so much debate about the MSG, we must be careful as regards the consumption rates of these products.
Avoid them if you can, and do less of them if you cannot help yourself from buying these items containing MSG.
At restaurants, ask if they serve dishes containing MSG, of course many will say “NO”, however, one must try to rely more on home made dishes were all that goes into preparing the meals are carefully selected.
As much as you can, avoid fast foods, as most use MSG in their fries and drinks to enhance the flavor and to get you addicted to their foods.
Consuming MSG causes swelling of the mucus membranes in the gastrointestinal tract. Cleanse your colon regularly to prevent this swelling.
Source : Naij.comNaij.com