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Heart troubles caused by MSG??

Battling the MSG Myth » Share Your MSG Story/Recovery » Heart troubles caused by MSG?? « Previous Next »

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Posted on Friday, June 27, 2008 - 9:04 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I will try to make this long story a short one.

Brief background. I am a 41 yr old male, poor diet, lots of fatty foods (red meat, potatoes 66% of diet, love bacon, sausage, fried foods in general). I have smoked marijuana for 25years, stopped recently because I am scared to death. I also had a steady diet of beer. I know I sound like a drug addict (maybe I am/was), I think I was just self medicating all those years and became habit. This perhaps is for a different forum, just wanted to paint a clear picture for you.

My story begins about 5 yers ago. I was in good health, except for a few bad discs and kidney stones. Then my Mother passed away. I truly was heart broken at the time, and noticed my heart had irregular beats. But after a short period of time, this simply went away. I passed it off simply as stress.

I went years without troubles until recently. I lost my job 3 months ago, which was extremely stressful as well. But no symptoms. Here is where I need some insight.

We had a new restaurant open up locally, nice mom and pop type place. I took the wife there for late lunch, had a bowl of soup, and half a ham and cheese sandwhich. The food was good, left and went on with my normal day. Went to bed around 11pm (normal), but was awoken about 1am with some of the most severe cramps I have ever had! I don't want to get graphic, but the episode started as severe cramps, and major constipation. After "suffering" for 30 minutes, I finally had a bowel movement, a tremendous diarrhea episode, repeated this cycle a couple times, finally got to feeling better, but let me tell you, this is one of the worse episodes of its kind I have ever had.

At the time, I made no connections at all as to what caused the episode.

About 3 weeks later, we went back to the same mom and pp restaurant and had a late breakfast. I think I had a ham and cheese omelet. Had no problems the rest of the day, went to bed 11pm, and had a similar episode as before, only MUCH, MUCH more severe! I literally was sweating bullets, and was on the verge of collapse, I could feel the stress on my heart, and I honestly feel this was the closest I have ever been to dying!

Needless to say, I have not been back to this restaurant, and it has gone out of business! Imagine that! And I have had no such reactions before, nor after, so I am convinced this was no coincidence!

My theory is this. The mom and pop were doing everything they could do to stay in business, and I personally believe that they were spiking their food with massive amounts of preservatives in order to save money/ cut costs. It may have been MSG they were using, although I have no proof.

Fast forward to present day. I have been having some irregular heartbeats, that I have linked in my own mind to these two episodes. Smoking seemed to make my anxiety worse (lost job) and heart irregular beats worse, so I quit two weeks ago, and after 25 years, have no intentions of starting back. That is how bad this whole deal has scared me!

But now I have no health insurance, lost it with the job, and don't know what to do.

I am not sure if this irregular heartbeat will go away, or if my heart was actually damaged durng these last two episodes. I think my years of bad diet, smoking and drinking made my heart more susceptible to the episodes, but I really feel the last episode was so sever, I may have actually done permanent damage to it!

I have a wife of 16years, and a 22 and 15 year old sons. I don't want to die this young! What do I do from here?

It probably has been close to a month since my last episode, but I still have the irregular heartbeat. Is it possible that this will go away?

I am looking at making some serious life style changes, but I just wanted some advice from this board as to what steps I can take, or what direction to go into.

Thanks in advance for any replies, or advice you may have.

Best regards,
vicki s
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Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 8:06 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I am pretty new to all of this, but I can identify with your two intestinal episodes. I had the same thing three times after eating at Outback Steak House. Each time I had their wonderful prime rib and then spent the night in the bathroom suffering the same thing you describe. The last time was so severe I just laid on the floor on a towel, I was so weak. I attributed the symptoms to their spices which they could not reveal to me. After learning about msg, and then going through withdrawl symptoms from it, I am sure in my heart that the episodes were from msg toxicity.

I think as far as these episodes are concerned, msg is your answer. Others here can talk to you about the heart issues, since I am not familiar with those symptoms. I'd be willing to bet that eliminating msg and aspartame from your diet will make you feel much better. It is very much worth your time and effort to find out! It has made a huge difference in how I feel, after being sick for ten years!

Best of luck, you CAN do this!
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Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 4:31 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I was so happy to get your response, I was afraid of no reply's at all after speaking from the heart.

It just makes me feel a little better to know that others can relate.

My diet has been so poor for so many years, it will be a struggle, but I am determined to learn more.

When you start feeling "mortal", it truly is frightening. If it were just a few "intestinal" problems, I would just blow it off..... by my heart problems truly have me frightened!

I truly appreciate your reply, made my day! ;)

Best regards,
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Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 5:22 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mickey, I applaud you for deciding to make some crucial changes, good for you. You have reached a fabulous discussion board. People here are really helpful, kind and knowledgeable. None of us are medical doctors (and maybe that's a good thing) so we can't make that type of diagnoses but so many who have tried the no-msg diet have been helped immensely. It doesn't hurt to try it, and at the very least, it can only help add a healthy diet to your life. The best place to start, if you haven't already, is to read:

1. everything on
2. as much as you would like from this discussion board
3. Deb's book

and then ask lots of questions.
Lisa Marie
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Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 5:57 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Mickey,
I won't go into detail about my 'GI distress,' except that it was what ultimately made me connect MSG to my problems. I also get the racing heart, anxiety, facial flushing and intense pressure in my face, and insomnia. It is common for me not to sleep for an entire night if I accidentally ingest this stuff. At first, my husband did not believe me, but as I eliminated the MSG, it was SO EVIDENT that I was feeling better, and plus, HE could get a good nights sleep, that he had to agree with me.
I agree with Dianne. Get the book ASAP, and read the first 80 pages over and over. Meanwhile, go on the test diet posted on the first page. Try not to eat anything from a package, and DO NOT eat at any restaurant-no fast food at all. If you want to eat something, check the ingredients, and if there are over 4 things, do not eat it.
There is a lot to learn, even about the basic foods like eggs and milk and butter and bread. But it goes pretty fast, and the good thing is that as you feel better, you will find it easier, and you will WANT to continue to feel that good.
I don't know about your heart....but there are several people on this board that have eliminated their arrhymias by avoiding MSG. Personally, I keep a beta blocker on hand for the nights that my heart is racing like a horse. It helps a bit. Having a reaction on any given night, after going for a week or two or three with no reaction is very distressing. That is why I say you will want to continue to feel good, and you will say to yourself, "Is that sandwich worth a whole night of misery in the bathroom, the fast heart, worry about mortality, etc?" If I think of that, and am still tempted, I say, "Pretend you ate that, and in 4 hours you are in bed with all of your symptoms. Will it be worth it?" Answer, NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS. That is what keeps me MSG free (unless I make a mistake, or some company changes ingredients, etc.)
Good luck and keep posting questions and comments.
vicki s
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Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 6:43 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I have been thinking about this all day. I have had chest pains of undetermined origin for over twenty years, since I was in my 30's. Echo cardiogram, stress test, etc. Nothing. Since I've been off of msg, I don't think I've had any episodes of chest pain. I guess I'd forgotten about that since I've focused on my fatigue and weakness this winter (other problem). Wow! an unexpected bonus to be free of those chest pains.

You won't ever regret trying this test diet and getting your family on a healthier diet. I agree with Lisa Marie, as I do the same thing, "do I really want the symptoms that come from eating that _________?" Nope, I don't!

Keep posting....we'll do our best to answer and/or encourage you!
Amy N.
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Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008 - 6:40 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


The other ladies have offered excellent advice, but the one thing I would like to stress is that you need to drop all caffeine and alcohol (at least to start out) and see what that does for you. The arrhythmia is sounding a lot like my mom's mitral valve prolapse symptoms, and her worst episodes have always involved coffee, tea or wine. I know the site and book suggest avoiding these substances, but I wanted to reinforce that.
Deb A.
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Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008 - 11:33 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My son-in-law was president of his graduating class in dental school, so his last few months were hectic...studying, meetings, boards, interviews. He started staying at the school all day and catching fast food instead of going home for daughter is MSG sensitive, so cooks like I do. Suddenly, he began to have racing heart and irregular beats at night after retiring to bed. When my daughter suggested MSG, he quickly assured her it was HER family, not his, who had that problem. After the 3rd trip to the ER, and having every heart test, after which they found nothing wrong with his heart, he asked his wife to start packing his lunch again...and he was sure to eat dinner at home, too. Every symptom disappeared and he now sends some of his dental patients he suspects are ill due to MSG, to me. First be sure to be tested to eliminate any other possibility, and then if the doctors scratch their heads and want to try a drug, try MSG elimination!
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Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2008 - 6:59 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just wanted to add my experience with eliminating heart palpitations (atrial fibrillation) symptoms. I used to have palpitations for at least 25 years and most of the time they occurred on a daily basis and were frequently pretty distressing.

About 18 months ago, I quit eating processed food and now eat only raw dairy, eggs, poultry, and meat from local farmers. I also buy organic vegetables and fruits from an independent market. And about 14 months ago, I eliminated all gluten (grain) foods from my diet. My diet is now whole foods with macronutrient proporations as follows: high fat, moderate protein, and very low carb. I am now 62 and have no more palpitations and my inflammatory conditions (asthma and arthritis) are also pretty much gone (no longer take prescription meds).

Once in a great while when I eat food out or at someone's house (in which MSG is surely present), I will experience mild palpitations a few hours later. So now, I try not to eat food that I don't prepare myself most of the time, as much as possible. This way of eating is somewhat of a pain in the rear (meaning that convenience and sociable eating situations are restricted), but I cannot emphasize enough the health benefits of eliminating processed food (meaning MSG) from one's diet.
Deb A.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - 2:53 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What kind of fats are you eating, since you say that your diet is high fat. What about vegetables?
Can you share with us a typical main meal and breakfast?
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Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 2:13 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This thread is fairly dated, but I just found it today...I've had Atrial Fibrillation 3x in 15 years. I've also had heart flutter on occasion (pvc's). My main enemy is caffene. Through trial and error, and talking to my doctors, anything with caffene, including chocolate, I avoid. I think I can now add MSG to that list:

About 3 months ago, I was in a restaurant. I just finihsed a nice ribeye steak. About 30 minutes later, I had either Afib or a string of successive PVC's, and I felt like I was blacking out. After about 30 seconds, I was fine again, but it scared the crap out of me. Hospital test revealed (once again) that my heart is fine and there is nothing they can pinpoint.

The only thing I can think of why I had this near-fainting cardiac episode is the steak might have had MSG on it. I have no proof, but I've decided that's one ingredient I will steadfastly refuse to eat. I read labels now anytime I buy something packaged. Even Doritos chips (some flavors) have MSG! You really have to be your own advocate on what you eat. Hope to learn more here and contribute in the future - Mark
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Posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 - 8:11 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OMG: Doritos are drenched in the stuff (as well as multiple other ingredients that have free glutamic acid. )

Since the steaks (no pun intended) are high for you, make sure you know all the buzz words to avoid.

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Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 10:00 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It is always good when a thread from earlier comes up. I missed this one back in 08, but have had similar experience. Last year my routine echo cardiogram showed an irregularity so off they sent me for the stress test. It was a bit off too. Funny thing was that I had had a migraine in the middle of the night before my annual exam and again when the stress test had been done about 1 week later. I was still trying to rule out some "mystery" headaches. This year I just went for my physical and the echo Card. was perfect. I had not had a migraine the night before this time. When I eat an offending food, I can actually feel a flutter in my chest. It is a first sign actually for me followed by anxiety or aggravated feelings. I have lessened the sneak-in migraines by using Baking soda to brush my teeth instead of toothpaste as many here have recommended, washing my prilosec or ibuprofen if I use it before popping them in my mouth. I went from eggs to organic eggs. I make my own bread as before, but I eat it less. I also eliminated potatoes, unless I can find organic from a local farmer. I stopped using the contact lens solution that I had been using and my doctor worked with me to try a plain solution that when used in a special container turns the solution into harmless saline solution in 6 hours. You do not want to rinse your contacts and then put them in your eye with this one, it will sting. No damage but sting. I did not do that myself because I was warned not to by the Dr. I have dramatically lessened my headaches. Why did I take so long to make these last changes you may ask. Well I was still in a little bit of denial about my problem. With the help of all of you and the success stories I am getting better every day. Thank you all and Mickey I hope you are doing better, please try this out it really works. Mariann
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Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2012 - 1:54 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have had several incidents like Mickey - incredible nausea, dirrahea, vomiting, anxiety, sweats and palpitations. I became convinced it was MSG and by eliminating dips, chips with flavor, and soy sauce, I was able to control my attacks well. I am obviously not highly sensitive. But recently after surgery and two other incidents where dehydration was an issue I had incredible anxiety attacks, migraines, and palpitations. I now believe that I am MSG and sulfite sensitive. Anyone else have incidents linked to surgery and/or dehydration?
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Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2012 - 11:25 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

mommykinz, it depends on what they might have given you as an IV. I know when I had surgery I was very concerned about that. I think it is wise to continue to eliminate MSG and it's many cousins and sulfite sensitivity is something most of us here share too. Best of luck to you and keep in touch with the site you will learn a lot and soon be feeling so much better. Mariann
Deb A.
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Posted on Thursday, February 09, 2012 - 9:29 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Some hospitals still use a glucose drip, but glucose contains glutamate residues. Ringers Lactate is a better choice. Some meds contains sulfites, so be sure to ask the pharmacist about the ingredients in a medication. Many pills contain fillers, binders, coatings, and capsules that contain processed glutamate.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 12:01 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb, I have a question. You have read my story of how highly sensitive I am to glutamate. I am pregnant with child no. 3. In a few weeks, I am normally scheduled for the glucose test which tests for gestational diabetes. It's basically a big dose of glucose that pregnant women are given to drink to measure how fast the glucose is used or goes away. Does it really contain glutamate residues? What would be the concentration (high or low amounts?) Because I remain free to not take the test and would not. In my two previous pregnancies, I did not have diabetes and was healthy, apart of course when I was having my terrible arrythmias which I have all reasons now to believe were caused by glutamates and stress. I now eat well and I have no reason to develop gestional diabetes (no personal or family history of diabetes, healthy eating, enough sleep). In my personal situation only, I would be very confortable to not take the test if it means ingestion of glutamates - and possibly ending up at the hospital with arrythmia a couple of days after.
Roy Piwovar
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Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 3:34 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This article lists the ingredients of one of the glucose tolerance test beverages as:

Glucose syrup, maltodextrin, purified water, acidity control compound E330 (citric acid), preservative E211, cola aroma, foodstuff colour E150 (caramel color), and carbonic acid.

Here's another:
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Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 5:17 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, that maltodextrin would do us in, even without the sugar hit, and with a large dose of sugar, I would be extremely wary.

I think there are two issues. One is of course glutamate exposure. But the other is that if you have a huge hit of sugar, you will have a sugar crash, and if you do, any residual glutamate or even your own naturally produced glutamate can flood the receptors.

What I would suggest is that if you don't want to just skip the test, you find a doctor that is willing to prescribe a balanced or high carb food breakfast test. I've had friends do them through midwives. They take your fasting levels, you go eat breakfast, and they test 1 and/or 3 hours later. I think it's more accurate anyway.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 11:10 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with what LisaS posted - get a doc to go with some alternative breakfast and I think you can find ideas online of what you can present to your doc.

At another board I have seen posted that you can use Maple syrup for the test.
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Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 9:16 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks all. I really appreciate all of your input. Very happy to know the composition of the glucose "potion". I will get more info on the breakfast test or other alternative. Maple syrup has a tendency to give me palpitations though, so I will stay away from it. Thanks again. It's good to have your support. God bless!
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Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 4:29 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lisa, can you give further detail or tell me where to read about the low blood sugar crash and glutamate --- and what is the result?
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Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 10:17 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't have the original studies (I would be interested if anyone else can find anything), but I found a couple random ones.

Basically, I've read two things:
- hypoglycemia impairs the NMDA receptor's ability to close / stop influx of glutamate
- hypoglycemia causes a release of glutamate

The result is that my son and I each react to much smaller amounts of FGA than we otherwise would if the FGA comes in a high-sugar food. (And even worse, if it is a baked good with aluminium baking powder, as that also intensifies the reaction).
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Posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 - 3:13 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Lisa!
Deb A.
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Posted on Monday, April 30, 2012 - 11:21 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lisa, we have been out of town, but I was relieved after reading your inquiry on the 25th, that these wonderful people who post here regularly have answered your question so well. I agree with all their input...hope you continue to feel healthy, especially during this time.

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