The Serious Health Effects Of Monosodium Glutamine, MSG

msg monosodium glutamine

4 Ways MSG Can Destroy You & How To Avoid It In Your Food

Monosodium Glutamine or MSG is a flavour enhancer used widely in processed and canned foods. It is principally employed in cookery as a seasoning in restaurants, hotels, food centres even your child’s school canteen. You can find MSG in hawker foods, tingkat meals, cup noodles, as well as baby foods and mocked vegetarian meats.

What is Monosodium Glutamine or MSG

MSG is a synthetic and harmful food additive. It is a concentrated glutamate salt extracted from proteins, invented in 1908, by Dr Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese man. He founded a company called Ajinomoto Co Inc and marketed the product as monosodium glutamine (MSG).  Ajinomoto Co Inc. is a pharmaceutical company and is now the world’s largest producer of MSG and aspartame, a harmful sugar substitute.

MSG has no taste or flavour, but it makes most food, even the bland ones taste scrumptious by causing the neurons in the mouth to over react to certain flavours, so that food taste heartier, more robust and generally better to a lot of people.

The Deception Of MSG

Monosodium Glutamine or MSG is not a natural substance as purportedly advertised by the MSG industry. Promoters pointed out that MSG contains glutamic acid, a nonessential amino acid present in natural foods such as tomatoes, meat broths and soy sauce. The key difference is that the form of glutamic acid in these foods is a naturally occurring, non toxic complex, whereas the glutamic acid in MSG is an unnatural isomer manufactured in a lab.

Serious Health Effects Of MSG

The FDA of America has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG. These reactions were collectively called the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome because they were particularly rampant among Chinese restaurant patrons who experienced them shortly after ingesting Chinese food prepared with MSG. They were also known as MSG symptom complex and they include [1]

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

MSG Damages Your Brain

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon, provided comprehensive insights into the damaging effects of MSG. In his book “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.”[2], he cited hundreds of studies on the adverse effects of MSG on human beings and laboratory animals.

He explains that MSG is an excitotoxin. It overexcites  brain and neuron cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees. Within minutes after eating high levels of MSG, neurons can swell and die in 3 hours due to over stimulation!

Sensitive individuals can experience one or a combination of the very unpleasant reactions listed above. Frequent ingestion of MSG can also potentially trigger or worsen learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis,  depression and hyperactivity (ADHD).

If you treasure your brain and wish to keep your mind sharp as a tack for many years to come, if you want to avoid the incapacity and loss of dignity that comes with a demented mind, keep away from this insidious poison that is lurking in your daily food.

MSG Damages Your Children 

MSG is particularly harmful to the developing brains and nervous systems of your children. Because the blood-brain barrier is not completely developed in young children, blood toxins are able to enter the brain more readily. And the part of the brain called hypothalamus becomes susceptible to damage.

The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating growth, the onset of puberty, sexual development, appetite, sleep cycles and waking patterns. Damages in this part of the brain can result in stunted growth, obesity and reproductive problems later in life.

MSG can also potentially thwart the development of other parts of the brain leading to learning disorders, autism and serious psychological problems.

The shocking truth is that MSG is being added in high dose to even baby’s food, sometimes in disguised forms such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein or vegetable protein. Mothers who want their babies to eat more will be delighted to see their babies eating such commercial baby foods so heartily, not knowing that they are actually putting their babies at risk of serious health and developmental problems.

MSG Makes You Fat

monosodium-glutamate-side-effectsIt is a common practice to induce obesity in laboratory rats by feeding them MSG. This is done in order to understand various weight related problems in humans. So what happens when we humans consume MSG in our food?

MSG stimulates the pancreas to over produce insulin which converts the sugar in your blood into fat very efficiently. Moreover, the excess insulin brings your blood sugar levels down so drastically that you get hungry much sooner than you should be.

The result is a FAT you. Unless you eliminate MSG from your diet, it will be impossible to lose weight, and the slimness you so desire will evade you. Besides weight problems, prolonged elevated insulin levels can also lead to insulin resistance, diabetes and other health complications.

MSG Puts You At Risk Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

According to the US Centre For Disease Controls & Prevention, over 460,000 people every year are now dying of a disorder called sudden cardiac death. Young athletes as well as healthy and physically active people suddenly drop dead in the middle of exercise or other strenuous physical routine.

Dr Russell Blaylock explains that MSG can affect the heart muscle and its electrical conduction system, especially when the body in also low in magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. Strenuous exercise- especially in extreme heat is known to deplete the body’s magnesium stores, as do consumption of carbonated drinks and taking calcium supplements.

Both athletes and those over age 45 years should take magnesium supplements, omega-3 oils, eat more mineral rich vegetables and avoid foods with MSG.

The Disgusting Disguises Of MSG

Because consumers are now aware of the negative effects of MSG, food companies are using many pseudonyms to “disguise” the MSG in their products.[3] Here is a partial list of names by which MSG is sneaking into our foods:

  • Gelatin
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Ajinomoto
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
  • Textured Protein
  • Monopotassium glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Yeast Extract
  • Glutamate
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Autolyzed Plant Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Yeast food or nutrient
  • Glutamic Acid Sodium
  • Caseinate Autolyzed Yeast
  • Vegetable Protein Extract
  • Senomyx
  • Natural flavor

Avoiding MSG in your Food

MSG only serves to enhance the taste of food. It has no nutritional value. And in view of all the damages that MSG can bring to your body and the body of your children, it is imperative to avoid this harmful excitotoxin altogether. Here are what you can do:

  • boycott junk and processed foods, including potato chips, frozen foods, diet foods, soups and gravies
  • prepare your own meals using fresh ingredients and health promoting spices and natural condiments,
  • read food labels and
  • visit only reputable organic eateries that promote healthy foods prepared without MSG


[1] Mayo Clinic, What is MSG, is it bad for you? by Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. Available:

[2] Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by Dr Russell Blaylock

[3] The Slow Poisoning Of America by T Michelle Erb



About Rosalind

Hi, I am co-editor of Edwin Low's blog. I am a natural health advocate, author and one given over to savor the best things in life.