We are receiving a growing number of inquiries about a connection between MSG, ADD, and ADHD. We have believed all along that the diet children largely get today is filled with hidden MSG, and that this is the real cause for these disorders of epidemic proportion. We hear from school principals, teachers, nurses, and parents who agree with us. Here are some of their comments.
I thought I should tell you my story since I just read your book (cookbook) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since my daughter was 2 1/2, I realized she had some food sensitivities because of her sporadic horrendous behavior. I narrowed it down to chocolate about a year ago and she had been much better but still had some bad "episodes" since then. For the past few months her bad "episodes" were getting worse and more frequent. She would start screaming, hitting, and would be uncontrollable for at least an hour. I got to a point where I didn't want to have any friends over because I would get so embarrassed about her behavior. If she was normal she was always sweet and played so well with other children. She is not in school so I didn't have to deal with that nightmare. Just two weeks ago I had friends over and she started having severe tantrums "all of a sudden." I told my friend I know this is a reaction to food and I have it narrowed down to a food additive but didn't know which one. My daughter asked to eat a Chinese shredded pork that was on the counter and I said no you have had enough. My friend who has some allergies read the label and said that it has MSG in it. I knew at that moment we found the answer to my prayers. I read the label of everything she ate that day and it all had MSG. (It wasn't even disguised.) I graduated college with a nutrition degree and never heard of this before. I did hear some people couldn't tolerate it in Chinese food, but that was it! That night I went on the Internet and through CBN (700 club) I found your book and ordered it. I read the whole thing in two days and am so exited to start using the recipes. My daughter already says to me, "Did you read the label? Is this going to make me sick?" She remembers how she felt and doesn't want to feel that way anymore. She said she felt really tired and her legs ached really bad. She had absolutely no coping skills so I think there were other symptoms that she didn't have the vocabulary for. I am so grateful for all the information I received from your book. I do have a question though. You say many times that you need to try a food and see if it affects you or not. Do you have any advice in finding out how much something affects a child. My daughter is almost four and it's hard to decide whether it's a kid trying to get her own way or the MSG affecting her mood. I know it's very individual, but I thought you may have some experience with this since you now have grandchildren. Thank you again for all your hard work. The recipes look great!
Thank you so much for sharing your daughter's story with me. This is where this terrible scandal hits me the hardest ....children. I am confident that MSG is at the root of the childhood epidemics we have of ADD, ADHD, rage disorder, depression, asthma, and more. I am so happy that you were able to track down the cause for your little daughter's symptoms and our book. As for your question regarding trying to evaluate your daughter's reaction to MSG or just normal "growing up" behavior, I would suggest that you write down all the symptoms that you have noticed in the past as MSG related. Some of the common reactions in children reported to us are, flushing, hyperactivity (often the reason children become anxious, unfocussed and sometimes destructive and demanding), complaining of stomach aches, crying or overreacting to little things that normally they can handle, headaches, becoming more argumentive, whiny. Many children become extremely tired and need to sleep it off. I realize that this is difficult to distinguish sometimes from the normal developmental patterns that are characteristic of children at this age. But as your daughter matures in her ability to communicate her discomfort, she will be able recognize for herself if she has gotten MSG by mistake. It's good to keep a journal of everything she eats for at least a month so that you can correlate "episodes" with a perhaps reoccurring food. Wish I could be of more help, but I do know that my daughters now are certain when their child has had MSG or is misbehaving. They can tell if their daughters have eaten something they shouldn't have at school, or at a friend's house. If the child is not coming down with an illness, has had plenty of sleep, and there are no other obvious problems, it's a good bet that MSG is part of the problem. My daughter who has an 8 year old, says that Chelsea can tell for herself if she is reacting, and "hates how she gets". She now avoids drinking milk, too, and that has helped immensely. She does better with whole organic milk as opposed to regular whole or skim varieties of milk. She prefers Rice Dream rice milk with calcium. She also reacts to chocolate. Of course most chocolates are loaded with dry milk solids and lecithin, two good sources of free glutamic acid. It is amazing to me that the national organization for dietitians accepts what the glutamate industry and the FDA keep saying about MSG's safety. Of course, most doctors do too, although more are starting to listen to us. The FDA rubs shoulders, or should I say trades favors with the food industry all the time, as you may have read about in Jack Samuel's site,www.truthinlabeling.org. We have to get the word out to more victims. Your story really touched my heart, and if other parents could read what you and your daughter have gone through, it could make a difference. We are getting more and more calls from frightened parents and even school teachers who are mystified by the number of ADD and ADHD children popping Ritilan pills in schools today. We need to do more to alert them and others of this growing and terrible national health problem. I know your daughter is one of the lucky ones to have a mother who went to great lengths to find the answer to help her.
Take care and God bless!
Congratulations on a fantastic website. I have taken msg & artificial sugars out of the diet of my 2 boys (Luke 6yrs Downs & Jack 5yrs Autistic) and myself, 18 months ago. You won't need me to tell you the difference that it has made to us all. In the UK, the support group that I am involved in, Allergy Induced Autism, recommends that msg & artificial sugars be taken out the child's diet immediately. All who do this, report wonderful things. Keep battling away. It is much appreciated.
With thanks & best wishes,
A friend in the United Kingdom who wishes to remain anonymous
I have asked this delightful mother to send more information about her son's autism and I will post more as it is received. She is an activist, author, and has given media interviews concerning autism and diet.
Thank you for all the valuable information on MSG!!! I have an 8 year old daughter that is currently being checked for ADD-she has a difficult time focusing (her grades in school are falling) figits, hyperactive, loud and can be be very mean. She is also experiencing nausea, vomitting & headaches-the doctor asked me to eliminate milk from her diet for 2 weeks. During this period my Mother in Law told me to check into MSG (she owns a deli, and has many customers asking for lunchmeat with no MSG). I began researching and decided to eliminate MSG from her diet for 2 weeks-after having no MSG my daughter is a new person-her school work has dramatically improved, she stays focused during homework, less Hyper, no more headaches or vomitting! I CANT BELIEVE THE DIFFERENCE!!!
G'day! We are very health conscious in Oz (Australia), despite the image sometimes portrayed, and your subject would be the answer to many people's symptoms. On the health and lifestyle shows on TV the "experts" are always answering questions on chronic fatigue, "digestion" problems, asthma (and its huge incidental increase, especially in children), sleep disorders, hyperactivity (once again especially in children.The dispensing of drugs and ADHD medications to cover the effects of colours and flavours is bordering on criminal, and has been receiving huge press coverage for some time.), poor concentration, irritable bowel (another huge one!) and general aches and pains not diagnosed as arthritis or any other condition. The general treatment for this is painkillers!
A February 2007 news release has validated what we have been suggesting for years. A Canadian team has lead research that has involved 120 scientists from 19 countries and 50 institutions. Studied were the genetic codes of 1168 families, each of which had at least two autistic sufferers. In the analysis, researchers implicated the gene neurexin 1 on chromosome 2, and a sequence on chromosome 11. They code for glutamate synapses and receptors and transport proteins that deal directly with glutamate's use as a neurotransmitter. The study mentions glutamate's role in wiring the brain during early fetal development and its ability to elevate neuronal activity. Neurexin 1 is specifically believed to be involved in glutamate synapses, and the section of chromosome 11 has been linked to proteins that ferry glutamate across synapses. A combination of mutations in any of these genes could contribute to the likelihood of being born with autism. Competing theories linking autism to environmental factors persist. One such theory that the report mentioned, linked mercury in childhood vaccines. In a recent e-mail from Jack Samuels discussing these new findings with me, he said, "While everyone is looking for a connection of mercury to autism, the following referenced article should have encouraged scientists to look for a possible connection of the ever increasing use of free glutamic acid (MSG) in our food supply.": Paschner et al. ("Methylmercury alters glutamate transport in astrocytes." Neurochem Int. Aug-Sep, 200; 37 (23): 199-206). It states, "In the absence of glutamate, neurons are unaffected by acute exposure to mercury... Co-application of nontoxic concentrations of methylmercury and glutamate leads to typical appearance of neuronal lesions associated with excitotoxic stimulation (Matyja and Albrecht 1993.)" Although ethylmercury was used in some vaccines, it is Jack's understanding that it would have the same effect as methylmercury. Glutamate was present in many childhood vaccines where mercury was also present. I agree with Jack Samuels when he says, "One must ask if autism is directly related to a genetic defect (above) or if a predisposition for autism is inherited, a predisposition that is activated due to the ever increasing amount of processed free glutamic acid and aspartame that pregnant women are exposed to." Keep in mind, in the last 10 years, the number of diagnosed cases of autism has increased ten-fold. And as Carol Hoernlein posted on our board at www.msgmyth.com, many autistic children share many of the symptoms we (MSG reactive individuals) suffer. "20% have epilepsy. Many have food sensitivities, hyperactivity, sensitivity to light, sound, pain. They throw tantrums, have digestive distress." This comes as vindication after decades of being told that MSG (glutamate) sensitivity was "all in our heads." We look forward to more research and answers with excitement and hope.