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How You Made the MSG Connection

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Why are Oprah's producers ignoring us? Evelyn H.22 5-03-01  10:23 am
Fibromyalgia? Deb A.11 7-14-01  11:15 pm
Is MSG what is making me so ill?Evelyn H.41 9-12-01  10:27 am
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Carol H
Posted on Sunday, October 29, 2000 - 7:02 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I made the connection when I had a very bad high blood pressure episode after eating Chinese food. I grew up eating my dad's Chinese food that had no MSG added to it, other than soy sauce. So, I never really thought about asking for them to skip the MSG. My blood pressure spiked to 150/118. The doctors were very concerned and a one even thought I was using cocaine. I wasn't. It was MSG. What embarassed me is that I was a food process engineer with a B.S. in Food Science. This should not have been a revelation. But it was. A very big one. I was not taught about glutamate in college because it is a non-essential amino acid. That means the body can make it, and any amount in the diet is already excessive, and not necessary to add to food.
You must educate yourselves, because the people who are slicing and dicing your food, have no clue what a neurotransmitter is and why they shouldn't be sprinkling your food with them. The best place to start your education is with this site and other non-profit sites like this that are not fronts for the food industry. I quit a high paying career because of what I found out when I researched my "revelation". You probably won't need to quit your job. You just need to avoid MSG and tell others to do the same.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Monday, October 30, 2000 - 7:18 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I made the MSG connection during a visit with friends in downtown Chicago. It was during a period where I was under a lot of stress at work. My blood pressure during this time had risen to a level where I was occasionally experiencing dizzy spells so I was placed on Atenolol to try to control this. On this particular evening, we dined at a Friday’s restaurant and steak lover that I am, I ordered the only steak item on the menu – a Teriyaki steak. It must have been loaded with MSG because as soon as I started eating the steak, I began to get the “sweats”, I could feel my heart racing and at times the room was spinning.
I was able to maintain my composure and made it back to our friends’ apartment where I lay awake all night still with the sweats and my heart racing like I was running in place. The next day we had planned to go to the Aquarium and since it was a nice fall day decided to walk along the Lake Michigan lakeshore. It was a long walk, but the weather was cool and I hoped that this feeling would pass. But when we reached the Aquarium and had to wait in lines, I could feel the lightheadedness returning and it was difficult to keep my legs from buckling under me. It was so frightening, we cut our visit short and on the way home my wife brought me to the hospital emergency room.
My heart rate was up around 190bpm and they kept me under observation for about 3 hours. During that time the rate came down to about 80bpm. It was assumed that stress had caused this incident and when informed, my doctor raised my dosage of Atenolol and gave me a tranquilizer to help me sleep at night.
In the back of my mind I kept thinking of a link between the Teriyaki steak and this episode. It was then that MSG came to mind and I mentioned it to my wife. She thought I was nuts, but said she had a spice jar full of MSG and if I really thought that MSG was the culprit, why not try some by itself. I took her up on the test and on a day when I felt pretty good and had not eaten anything yet that would cause a reaction, I downed about a quarter teaspoon. I had taken my pulse and it was about 72bpm. The reaction was like the brain freeze you get from ice cream. Within minutes my pulse rate jumped to 160bpm and I experienced that flushed feeling along with the same sweats I experienced the steak night. My wife witnessed this and couldn’t believe that a person could have such an immediate and severe reaction to a spice.
From that moment on, I stayed away from food known to have MSG added. That was fine until about two years ago when the same reactions started to return. It was then I found the NOMSG web site and came to realize just how many of today’s prepared food products contain MSG as a byproduct. I am forever grateful to have found such good friends there & here who have helped me avoid MSG. But I find I am more and more frustrated with the lack of ability to end this poisoning of our food supply.

Vicki K.
Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 6:33 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My symptoms started 10 years ago, after the birth of my second child. We ate at a mexican food restaurant and I got stomache cramps, swelling of the eyes, face and throat. I would have periodic episodes every few months, but the first couple of years I would go a long time between. Each year got worse and worse, with the symptoms getting worse with each episode. I went to the doctor, he said it was a food allergy, that it was too hard to pin point the food and to take allergy medicine and keep a epi pen with me. Several trips to the emergency room left me very frustrated and feeling terrible. In January of this year it came to a head, the symptoms included hives, rapid heart beat, sore bones, many of the symptoms listed on this web site, I fluctuated between diahrrea and constipation all the time and extreme headaches. During November thru December I had used my epi pen every two weeks sometimes once a week. I went to a chinesse place to eat and was deathly ill by the time I got home. I too, went to God and said I can no longer take this, I knew if God did not show me the problem, I would die. I had only ate one thing, so my father called to find out what was in it, of course msg was the culprit. I spent the next few months trying to avoid it, a felt MUCH better, but I still battled bad headaches and unexplained sharp pains under my rib cage and abdomin. Not until I searched the web and found this site did I finally found out that msg is hidden in many foods I was still eating. I have not had a headache since I have found this out and feel better than I have in years. (I was having headaches everyday!) I am still struggling with figuring out what I can eat, but at least I know what the whole problem is now! I am now looking at my 10 yr. old daughter and wondering if her attitude problems and inability to concentrate at school is caused by this. We'll I have fixed her lunch this whole week and we have not eaten out all weekend, she has been a joy to be around. She will be eating at school today, we will see what she is like when she gets home! Debbie, thank you so much for your web site and the information, you have helped us equip ourselves to take control. I have been thinking of ways I can let people know about this deadly additive!
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 8:56 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vicki, thanks for sharing your story. My granddaughter becomes unbearable to be around when she gets MSG by mistake, usually at school or at a friend's house. Otherwise, she is a joy. Now think of the new ADD and ADHD epidemics that are alarming and frustrating parents and teachers alike, not to mention rage disorder and asthma, and neurological disorders that are on the rise.
I'm so happy for you that you found this site. Please continue to learn all you can. You are doing great. It's normal to get discouraged, but I promise you that you and your family will reap wonderful benefits and it will become much easier to eat the right foods. Allow yourself setbacks, but don't give up!
Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 6:46 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My symptoms also started after my second child was born. About 8 months to be exact. I was nursing and thought that might have something to do with it. One night about 20 minutes after eating Mrs. Paul's Healthy fish sticks (HA!) I got a terrible pain in the top of my stomach followed by the runs, hives, rapid heartbeat, completely red from head to toe, and very weak and dizzy and to top it off chills and shuddering. I went to the ER, they thought it was bad fish, the nurse is the one who shook her head no and said to me, "it looks like a MSG reaction". I start searching the computer and thank God I found this web site. I read the other symptoms and realized I had most of them at some point during my life. Just never as frequent or severe. 8 months after the birth of my second boy the symptoms started and would happen about every 6 to 8 weeks until I made the connection. My worst episode, my husband had to call 911. I had all the above symptoms and then some, my blood pressure was 67 over 33 when I got to the ER. My legs where so sore. You would have thought I just ran a marathon the day before that's how sore they where. Ever since changing my diet I feel great. I sure know when I get msg my mistake. My husband says, "how do you know it's not a virus or something else". I say, I just know the difference. I am so thankful for this web site and for all the wonderful people on here. I am always reading and learning here. I know my God is truly taking care of me!
Vicki K.
Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2000 - 6:48 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You were VERY fortunate that a nurse filled you in on the msg reaction, she was definately God sent. Your reactions, sound just like what I feel, and you are right you DO know the difference. Good luck!
Posted on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 6:16 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had learned several years ago that MSG was the cause of my serious digestive reactions. Then last year through the early part of this year, it appeared that my reactions were increasing. No longer was it just when I ate out or had a certain canned clam sauce -- it was happening almost all the time! I was losing weight rapidly and it seemed like I was reacting to almost everything. It was depressing and I was scared. My allergist, GI doctor and internist didn't know how to help me -- they were concerned that my cancer from 10 years ago may have returned somewhere else and I had to go through alot of tests that fortunately were all negative. My friends and family thought it was "in my mind" and were worried.

But thanks to all that I learned from Debby's book and also the encouragement that I received from Debby, Carol H., and many others who provided very valuable information and support at the NoMSG discussion board, I found my way. Words cannot express my gratitude.

I found out that I was reacting to other additives, had some food allergies, and was highly sensitive to glutamates. It was a crash course that still continues -- I read everything I can now to educate myself and I keep a detailed food diary.

Over the past year, I have totally changed my diet by eliminating almost all processed and packaged foods (except for pasta and Italian bread from a local baker) and whenever possible, eat organic. I rarely if ever eat at restaurants anymore and I entertain more at home.

In addition to feeling better, this has been an invaluable learning experience -- I now look very differently at our environment, the food industry and the way we live.

And I won't forget how grateful I am to all of you who contribute to Debby's helpful discussion board since there is always more to learn.
Posted on Friday, November 24, 2000 - 8:10 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I figured out that my headaches were related to MSG back in the 70's. I would get a reaction
every time I ate in a Chinese restaurant. At that
time, it was getting to be common knowledge that they used a lot of MSG in the soup, and I would get weird, tingling symptoms around my eyes as I was eating it. Years later I would notice the same symptoms in all types of restaurants, not just Chinese any more. It wasn't until I read Debby's wonderful book, "Battling the MSG Myth," that I learned I was making MSG right in my own soup and stew pots! What a revelation! My tolerance to MSG, sulfites, and tyramine, is worse now than it ever has been, but still, with this knowledge and help from everyone on this web-site and "nomsg," I have a life again. I have knowledge and I am in control of my health. I am so grateful to all of you.
Posted on Saturday, November 25, 2000 - 11:18 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For several years I had problems with fibromylasia, tense tight muscles and sleeplessness. I would go to sleep, but then wake up at 2AM like I was 'wired' for the rest of the night. I couldn't concentrate to meditate or even count sheep (I remember telling my husband I couldn't get past the 2nd sheep without losing my train of thought!). My doctor treated me with sleep aids (Trazadone) and I remember begging him for a muscle relaxant, just to I could have a day's peace from the pain. I also used massage, chiropractic work and accupuncture to relieve the pain, but it would only "hold" for a few days. Occasionally, I'd have a sudden, forceful need for a bowel movement about a 1/2 hour after eating out, but never made the connection to the meal, other than to blame it on the "spices".

My first clue was last winter when I had a horrible night after eating Chinese food. I wondered if I could be MSG, and will be forever thankful that I found your website. Of course, giving up eating like a 'normal person' seemed like a little too much, and besides, how sensitive could I be anyway? But I stayed away from some things (like Chinese food!) and went on my merry (?) way.

It wasn't until I had a second similar reaction, without Chinese food, that I realized it was time to get serious! I found I'd eating some new cheese-flavored potato chips, which had MSG listed on the label. I considered that my 'blind-taste-test' and proof that I'd better start memorizing all the hidden forms of MSG if I was going to really improve.

It wasn't until I started eliminating all the hidden forms of MSG that I realized I no longer felt like I needed sleeping aids or wanted muscle relaxers. In fact, now I welcome that tightness in my shoulder or the back of my neck as a warning that I need to review what I've eaten. For example, I took some medicine in a gel cap on an empty stomach and found I reacted with the typical MSG neck pain, so now I have no problems when I sprinkle the medicine on a spoonful of yogert and toss the gel cap.

When I was honest with myself, I found I was terribly sensitive to hidden MSG in prepared foods, but this was a time when the truth didn't hurt. :-)

In addition, I've also discovered I have hypothyroidism as well as extremely low levels of calcium, magnesium, etc., thanks to the holistic doctor I visited for further advice on MSG. So, while I am so happy to be pain-free, I also anticipate gathering more info and taking action to keep my body in the best possible state of health. (To my way of thinking, the best defense is a good offense.)

Thanks to all who have made this site possible and to all who contribute their experiences!
Gerry Bush
Posted on Saturday, November 25, 2000 - 5:10 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Connie, What city do you live in? I would very much like to find a holistic doctor that knew of the problems we have with MSG. I live in the Phoenix, AZ area and don't know of any such doctor. Maybe your doctor knows someone here. I would appreciate any help. Thanks.
Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2000 - 7:01 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Gerry,

I live a long plane ride away, in Md. I'd suggest finding a doctor by networking with doctors/nurses/health practictioners whose opinion you trust. I'd been going for psycotherapy (thinking I must have some repressed feelings causing my symtoms!) when I discovered the MSG link and she referred me to the holistic doctor I'm seeing now.

There are links on the web, such as this one I found:
But I look at that as "you pays your money and you takes your chances".

Keep this in mind, when you say holistic doctor, it could be a medical doctor, chiropractor, naturopathic doctor. accupuncturist, etc. It means they treat the whole body. Only a medical doctor (MD) can write an Rx.

But I've also been treated by an excellent chiropractor and naturopathic doctor (ND). Both go to medical school for at least 4 yrs past college. There are good ones and some not(just like MDs), but they usually aren't covered by your medical insurance. When I went to the naturopath (recommended by the holistic MD), she was very familiar with MSG sensitivity. She did chemical hair analysis, which showed how low I was in some essential minerals, and she's very aware of how limited I am in taking supplements. Right now, she has me taking a few basic minerals.

Here's a website I found to describe naturopathic medicine:

So, depending on how much you want to spend on your health...I spend what some women spend on their clothes (!) to stay pro-active in my health, rather than having an MD simply treat my symptoms.

Good luck - Keep your eyes, mind and heart open!
Deb A.
Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2000 - 11:20 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please let us know if you discover a "safe" mineral supplement, Connie. I'm talking to my doctor about finding a compounding pharmacy tomorrow. Hope I have luck like you did with your hormone replacement meds.
Gerry Bush
Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2000 - 7:03 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks so much Connie. I will heed all your warnings and start my search. I will keep you posted on any progress I make. You are right, MD is a long (4 hr) flight away from AZ. I was born and raised in south Jersey and all my family still lives there. Coastal people in my experience generally have more options available to them in most areas. And that's both coasts by the way as I also lived in Calif. for 10 years so I know both coasts fairly well. AZ is behind in a lot of things, but I will check as you suggest.
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 6:54 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

To Deb S. I wrote to you about my bout with chronic hives, and had questions on the gelatine I was taking for nails. You wrote back telling me that each packet contained 40% of the glutamate, the bad substance in MSG. I stopped the gelatine, and I am afraid to even talk about it, but the hives have stopped as well. I realize my skin will still be very sensitive for a while, but thank you so much for finding that out. I wrote a letter to Knox about it, but I can't help but wonder what's in all of the other supplements; even glucosomine/chondroitin, etc. Thank you again, June
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 8:08 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

June, most over the counter and prescription drugs or supplements contain glutamate in one substance or another, such as cornstarch, maltodextrin, gelatin, dextrates, and isolated or hydrolyzed proteins. In addition, sulfites are often added as a preservative or stabilizer. So you are right, things like glucosomine/chondroitin give people symptoms. Of course, they don't make the correlation and then they are soon taking some prescription for the puzzling symptoms, and then they are experiencing some new reaction to that drug, and the cycle begins...of course, the drug companies love it!
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 4:15 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I used to work at Thomas J Lipton in the research department. At the time, they actually owned Knox. Lipton is probably the MSG capital of the food company world, most of their products contain MSG or HVP. Unfortunately, I doubt Knox would be sensitive to our concerns.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 5:05 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Per this link, Thomas J. Lipton, Inc. has been a member of the Glutamate Association, an arm of the glutamate industry that portrays MSG as natural and safe:
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2001 - 1:41 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol & Roy Thank you. Unfortunately I took at least a tablespoon of glutamate for one year. I hope I have not done any permanent damage to my body. My chronic hives have ceased since I learned about what was in the gelatine and stopped taking it. I can finally put my clothes on again. It's sad, because this skin problem was not a broken leg, or arm, etc., but you have no idea what it felt like to want to escape your own skin. I was now lucky to find a site called soap-works, a third generation soap maker, senza caustic chemicals and it is just a pleasure to take a shower again. I used to use the hottest water I could stand to burn the itch out of them, and now have several scars. I am SOOO ANGRY AT THIS COMPANY.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2001 - 6:26 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

June, I hope you can share your experience with other people who may be suffering needlessly as you did. Are there support groups with websites for people with skin disorders who you can warn about MSG? Please share our website addresses with them, if you will. (,, and know a woman who is a single working mother, and she picks her little boy up from the day care center and they eat at McDonald's nearly every night. His entire body is covered in itchy red rashes. I have tried and tried to help him and she won't even read the book I gave her. Actually she told me that even if it is caused by MSG, she doesn't have time to cook nor does she want to. I get so frustratd. How hard is it to fry up a pound of hamburger or a chicken breast? We are SO happy that you found our site and are feeling much better. What is the name of the soap you now use, and can you tell us how to get it? We are always looking for safer products. Thanks.
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 8:01 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I did post a message on the Hives Messageboard. If you just type it in on address bar, it will do a search and lead you there. In Trader Joes, there are products by Soapworks, a third generation soapmaker using vegetable and coconut oils. I tried the body bars and they are wonderful -- nothing caustic. I could not find any of their laundry detergent which was unscented, but I also found Fifth Generation laundry detergent at Whole Foods here in CA. Same premise. Imagine, I was only using A&H Fabric Free and possibly because of the year taking glutamates, (and maybe the fact that they have added enzymes) I could not even sleep in my sheets anymore. Also type in Soapworks and the search will take you there. There is a very interesting story about what happened to her new baby while using chemicals around the house. This inspired them to start the business.
Deb S
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 9:31 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I believe the laundry detergent brand is "Seventh Generation" and I've used several of their cleaning and paper products successfully. The website is at

"We derive our name from the Iroquois belief that 'In our every deliberation, we should consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.'"

I use Dr. Bronner's Aloe Vera Baby Mild bar soap. I like it because it doesn't have a strong smell like the other varieties (peppermint, tea tree oil), and it's gentle on my skin.
Deb A.
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 9:53 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, June. Hope some people there take the info to heart. Has anyone had any luck with any of the common commercial brands of clothes detergents? I am using All Free/Clear, but am not sure it is okay. One person I know just uses baking soda for dishes and clothes since she is so sensitive.
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2001 - 7:14 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb S.. You are correct, I rechecked the bottle. Sorry about that and thanks for the site.
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 1:50 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Many people don't know that MSG is in Alcohol, beer, wine. spirits. My heart would pound all night, sweat and would not be able to sleep for hours. Sometimes days. I would stop breathing sometimes, it was horrible, I am surprised I am alive at 41. Chinese food does the same thing but only for a few hours.
Carol H
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 2:01 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tyramine is in beer, wine and fermented products, it shares some of the same effects on us as MSG.
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 9:32 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Most beers and wines contain sulfites, also. Many wine grapes are now being treated with AuxiGro, and malt that is added to many beers contains free glutamic acid.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 9:16 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A lot of the domestic wines list "Natural Flavors" as an ingredient. The imported wines haven't started yet. Also many of your cheaper liquors seem to have something added, but don't have to list ingredients. I get an immediate reaction from Windsor Canadian blended whiskey, but can tolerate Seagrams VO fine. In fact I used to be able to handle Seagrams 7, but it is starting to affect me. Many fellow A-Fib sufferers have indicated similar experiences - the cheaper the alcohol product the more likely a reaction.
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 2:44 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Surprisingly, a more expensive liquor gave me a reaction. (Twice--had to test it to make sure.) Stoly Vodka, over $20 for a bottle, wonder what they add to it to make it taste so smoooooth??? I can drink Gordon's and Gilbey's vodkas without any reactions (unless I have more than two small drinks, but that's my alcohol sensitivity kicking in).
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 3:45 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Be aware that consuming alcohol impairs the ability of your liver to counteract an MSG assault. It is really your only natural line of defense. It might be wise, when you are eating a new food, to go easy on the alcohol.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 10:09 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Some alcohols contain more sulfites than others, too, which can cause symptoms.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 3:37 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb A.,

Here's a web site about sulfites:
Judy T
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 10:16 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Roy, Interesting. Did you notice the author did not mention citric acids that are made from corn? Oversight? or have I missed something?

I was thinking...I could darn near have "sulfite and sulfur dioxide sensitivity" (or "allergy" to make a point) plus the words "soy allergy" plus "msg sensitivity" on a medic allert bracelet to get the proper treatment from the msg poisons if I ended up in the hospital. The problem is now I doubt hospital personnel would know what to do if we put other words like "free glutamate reactions" or "msg sensitivity". Someone is working out the finepoints on the bracelet so I'm anxious to hear how she resolves the issue.
Hazel B.
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2001 - 12:37 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I first made the MSG connection when I went on a liquid protein fasting diet to lose weight. I'd suffered from migraines, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, intense sweating, etc. for 28 years. After a week on the liquid diet, I suddenly was headache-free and felt like a "normal person". After 3 weeks, I felt so good I decided that it would probably be better to never eat food again! Then I started "road testing" tiny amounts of foods, while still on the liquid diet, to see what elicited a headache. One boullion cube in a cup of water gave me a 24-hour migraine. The 2nd ingredient in the boullion was, of course, MSG. I continued to test various foods over the course of 3 months, and kept careful records. Nothing else brought on symptoms unless MSG was present. Now, if I'm extremely careful about avoiding MSG, I'm migraine-free.

The liquid protein diet was, for me, a perfect way to enable food testing (and even lose weight in the process!). My website, which is listed as a link to this site (thanks, Debby!) is called "Migraines & MSG". Since I've had many questions about this diet, it is closely monitored by a physician and it's called "Medifast 55". However, check the ingredient label for "natural flavors"!! Medifast is made in one formulation without MSG; and in the second formulation with "natural flavors", containing MSG. I hope this helps some readers in their quest to pinpoint the source of their symptoms.
Deb A.
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2001 - 1:58 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for sharing your story, Hazel! Hazel is one of the NoMSG pioneers, if I am correct. She has dedicated much of her life helping others make the MSG connection. It's wonderful "hooking up" with some of the people I have only heard about, and who are also still helping us in this important cause.
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 3:11 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I have been taking vitamins made by the InnerLight
International Co. They are very expensive and
seem to not cause any reaction as far as I can
InnerLight International
134 E 200 N
Alpine Utah 84004
Inquiries 801 763-8805
They usually sell through distributors. I regret I do not have a recent catalog. It may be the answer for some of you who wish to take vitamins without animal products. I am not sure about the
other ingredients, just know that the vitamins do
not affect me.
Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2001 - 3:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb A, I use All Free & Clear also, and have no skin symptoms. I have just recently found this site and am working at getting the chemicals out of my & my husband's diet. I think we are both msg sensitive but maybe I will do the "Accent Test", on myself at least. He gets severe cluster headaches & I don't want to cause one.
Christine K.P.S.
Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2001 - 4:12 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pardon me for intruding, please. Because I did exactly what you are considering doing and paid for it for days--fortunately nothing truly major happened, I strongly urge you to read my postings regarding my own "Accent" (I hate to even mention the name) test about which I typed on Sunday, February 25, 2001, starting at 10:42 a.m. If you'll look under keyword search to the left of your screen and type in Accent, it'll come up as number 1. under Help I have a question: Soy--or something close to that wording.

I would like to personally welcome to this site even though it really isn't mine. I just know exactly where you are with questioning yourself and questioning your symptoms in relation to MSG. Elimination of MSG and its hidden sources should have been enough test for me with all the improvement that I'd seen and felt. If you should have any questions regarding what I'd posted regarding my own test, I would be more than happy to answer them and perhaps save you the headache--so to speak. You're welcome to post them here where we can all help or contact me at

Very truly yours, Christine
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, April 30, 2001 - 3:27 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good advice for Mary, Christine. Testing with Accent is not something I would advise unless you are in a doctor's office, really. If you want to test yourself, fast for a full day, just drinking water and eating rice that has been rinsed a few times before steaming (contains cornstarch as a vitamin carrier). Season the rice with canning salt and pepper. If you do alright with butter, and it does not contain annatto or other additives, you can add some to the rice, too. Fresh peeled carrots, hard boiled eggs, and fresh fruit that you are sure has not been treated with sulfites (many grapes and strawberries are)can also be eaten. If you can eat that for just 2 days, and are feeling good, go ahead and eat something you suspect bothers you that contains MSG, such as canned chili, or Doritos, etc. With it, eat the same rice and fruits and eggs, and see how you feel. Remember, it can take anywhere between a few minutes to 48 hours for an MSG reaction to occur.
Posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 - 10:45 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Christine and Deb A, thanks for the advice. I guess I don't want to provoke any additional reactions-I already don't feel that good! I will be checking in here from time to time and reading the multitudes of posts as I get time. This is a revelation to me since my husband has many of the symptoms and I have asthma and allergies that don't really respond all that well to meds. I'm tired of staying indoors all summer.

And Christine, it was no intrusion. I came looking for help and you offered it. I truly appreciate it. God bless everyone here for their helpfulness! :)
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 - 5:39 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mary, if you read my story at our site, you will see that I used to suffer with allergies and would spend my days indoors, too. I was diagnosed with asthma and suffered through 21 years of allergy shots, only to find out that MSG provoked my allergy reactions and was the main culprit all along. I can now enjoy the outdoors any time of the year and take no shots or meds for allergies.
Posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2001 - 6:05 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks again Deb, that is so encouraging! The staying indoors in the summer is so disheartening. I have been getting allergy shots every week for 2 years, and I'm not sure they're helping but you know they say it takes years. I am feeling better already trying to avoid MSG. I may still be getting a little but it's certainly less. I used to eat a lot of Campbells soup and frozen dinners. I eat tons more fruit & vegetables now too.
JJ Martin
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 5:32 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For the last three years I have been fighting headaches like never before--I have always avoided sodium nitrite foods but then started having MSG related problems. I have successfully eliminated MSG through alot of study, sacrifice, and constant vigilance, yet I still continued to have at least a monthly headache and I am menopausal. I had gone so far as to change toothpaste and to take the only supplement I take out of the gelatin capsule. Recently it occurred to me that the supplement itself (Natrol Mood Support: St. John's Wort with other ingredients) was the only thing that had remained constant in the three years of my struggle. Thinking back I realized that I had begun taking this supplement about three years ago for menopausal symptoms! I had early on studied the ingredients and I felt that the L- tyrosine listed was safe because it was in L form and it didn't seem to be bothering me in any way that I could make a correlation. I now believe that having a steady albeit small dose of this amino acid accumulating in my body caused a headache every 21 days or so and may have caused small amounts of certain foods to put me over the edge. Of course I will never go back to ingesting any MSG and admittedly I have only been off the supplement two weeks - but I believe I am feeling better.
Carol H
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 10:08 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tyrosine would definitely do it. It raises blood pressure by constricting your blood vessels. Avoid anything with free tyrosine in it - especially if you have high blood pressure. I know that tyrosine elevates mood, but at too high a cost to one's health.
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 11:26 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tyramine raises blood pressure and can cause headaches. It sure does for me. Can't eat any bananas, avocados or spinache, as well as many other natural foods any more. Is tyrosine related to, or the same as tyramine? Sure sounds similar.
Deb A.
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 5:45 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brother, when you think of all the women using these over the counter supplements to ward off the effects of menapause, one can't help but wonder how many of them are struggling with recurrent headaches and higher blood pressure in exchange for fewer hotflashes. I know. I've tried some myself with similar results. Most contain soy by-products (phytoestrogens) that always give me a headache.
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 4:57 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And soy is promoted for so many other things (e.g., anti-prostate cancer, osteoporosis). So confusing!!! Check out:

Scientists Protest Soy Approval -

FDA Scientists Wary of Soy -

(The Mercola on-line newsletter is free.)
Posted on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 3:51 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

JJ Martin,
If it were me having those headaches I would quit
the St. John's Wort and see what happens. When I
took it for the same reasons as you do I had a
terrible time. I do great on zero supplements but I do take an occasional 25mg Benedryl.
Has anyone tried YOGA? On a recent OPRAH they talked a lot about the benefits of yoga for menopause and etc.
Posted on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 7:23 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Funny I never thought of mentioning this. I think yoga definitely helps me get through my initial reactions to MSG that occur within the first 15 minutes to 2 hours. Most of the time, I am warned that a reaction is coming because I feel a sudden sense of doom and then I immediately start doing steady yogic breathing to keep my cool as I prepare to get sick (e.g., getting to a safe place, asking someone to stay nearby). I keep up the steady breathing and when the digestive pain gets real bad, I may meditate on one spot. Sometimes, I do some selected yoga floor exercises to get the offending food to move through me faster -- don't know if it does but at least I feel like I am helping myself. I use to pass out and now, this seems to have lessen -- maybe, I am somehow stopping my blood pressure from dipping if that is possible -- don't know. After I pass the offending food, I still feel terrible for the next 24 hours and can barely move but I try to do some yoga stretches or walk in an effort to feel normal again. Hope this encourages some of you to give it a try -- you can't go wrong. Doesn't matter how young or old you are!
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 2:20 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dear NoMSGers,

I just had the scare of my life this morning. I went into A-Fib with gusto and I'm not sure what caused it other than stress and not paying close enough attention to my diet.

Over the last few days the stress was brought on by being in charge of a company staff meeting function conducted at my home requiring a lot of preparation work. My wife's parents came in for a visit and needed attention because of their health problems. Then my 52-year-old neighbor & friend died suddenly of a massive heart attack and my 91-year-old mother fell & broke her hip. To top that off, I worked all day Sunday painting and carpeting a new office for my wife and then yesterday attended the memorial for my friend and went to visit my mother.

During this period I admit I did not pay as close of attention to my diet and probably thought the CoQ10 and other supplements would protect me. But during this time, I forgot to take my prescription drugs & supplements on 3 different occasions.

I was feeling good though until this morning. About a half-hour after getting up I took my morning medications and supplements but a few minutes later I just about passed out. I grabbed my stethoscope and monitored my heart rate. My pulse was over 180 & erratic and at times it seemed like my heart was stopping altogether -- it was at those times I was getting light headed.

I should have called 911, but instead I asked my wife to drive me to the emergency room at the hospital that is about 20 minutes away. During the trip, I realized what jeopardy I had put her in driving under those conditions. Plus I was delaying any help paramedics could have provided me. I could feel my heart stopping and each time I forced myself to cough heavily. My wife asked what I was doing and I told her that I had read that this practice could keep the heart beating in an emergency (the emergency room doctor agreed).

Shortly after arriving at the emergency and before they could get a reading on the EKG, I converted back to a sinus rhythm. The doctor figured that my Lanoxin dose had kicked and helped the conversion.

The moral of this story is to not get too cocky about your avoidance diets and to faithfully take your prescription medications and supplements. And don't let stress get the better of you -- it's not worth it. I have learned a very important lesson.
Christine K.P.S.
Posted on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 2:46 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom, my prayers are with you. Sorry to hear of all of your various misfortunes. Stay well. Thank you for the advice and the reminder. It's all too easy to think that when we feel so great on an avoidance diet that we can easily and often cheat. That's just not the case for many of us. Take care...Sincerely, Christine
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 6:44 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom, thank heaven you are all right. You are important to so many people and to us!
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 8:00 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom, please take good care of yourself. Deb A is so right. You are a godsend. We would all love to actually meet you someday, so please - stick around :)
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 10:09 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hope you're feeling better today. Thank you for the advice about coughing. I have a weird sensation occasionally, kind of like a flutter, and it causes the urge to cough. This was very interesting information. I did have a heart cath test last month and they didn't find anything wrong, except for the left bundled branch block that I already knew about. Anyway, do hope you will take it easy.
Posted on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 1:44 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Everyone,

Tom, I hope you are feeling better! Please excuse me for not replying to your post from the other day. When I read about the AuxiGrow on organic foods, I went into a depression and panic state. I started looking around for home gardeners or co-ops in the area where I live. I am one of the more seriously sensitive people who post, and I am concerned about my future. I am concerned about ALL of our futures. Please be well, and take care....

Posted on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 12:39 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank goodness you are doing better now. Please take good care of yourself.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 6:34 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


When it rains, it pours, but hang in there.
Judy T
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 5:36 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom, Yow! What a week, what an experience! Take care and thank you for your reminders to us to watch not only our food, but our emotions...the whole person, and whatever each of us individually has learned about our specific needs. Thank you. Darn it, take care of yourself.
John Brodar
Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 1:44 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had an interesting experience last night (8/7/01). While visiting my mother-in-law she told me that the soup my wife had dropped off earlier in the day “…tasted very good but also tasted very salty and made her very, very thirsty.” She went on to say that she could not understand why they would make a soup so salty. She asked me to taste it to confirm that it was salty.

Now, because of my MSG experiences, I am very cautious whenever I try a new source of prepared food. I had eaten at this restaurant before, but “before” now means before I learned what MSG was doing to me and my life.

By July 15, 2001, more than 10 months after my major MSG experience my pulse rate had finally returned to the low 70s (with a daily 5 mg. beta blocker). That night I had eaten some Kentucky Fried Chicken (with the skin removed). The next day my at rest pulse rate was back up to 102, even though it had slowed dramatically from the night before. By 8/7/01, about 3 weeks later, it was finally back to the mid 70s.

My mother-in law, this 87 year old woman, was asking me to risk my health sampling her food. I had visions of med-evil food tasters protecting their patron by screening their food for poisons. I took a tea spoon, and dipped an edge of it into the questionable soup.

I bravely moved the soup contaminated tea spoon to my mouth. Instantly, as I touched the suspect liquid to my tongue I experienced a surfeit of taste through out the front of my mouth. This soup tasted great! The reflex to swallow was almost overpowering. The desire to scoop up some more of this wonderful soup was almost as strong.

Finally, what ever tiny part of my brain is still free from the thralls of MSG said, “Wait a minute. No soup can taste that good. Maybe it is loaded with MSG and there is so much of it that Mom was able to detect it as ‘salty’ ”. I spit out the remnants of the soup and repeatedly rinsed my mouth. My mother-in –law was looking at me strangely.

I sat down and told her that I suspected the soup might have MSG. Within two minutes I could feel my heart begin to race. Within twenty minutes of the tiny taste of that soup I was at the drug store testing my blood pressure and at rest pulse rate. I could tell that my pulse rate had really speed up and was already starting to slow down. It still tested at 92 beats per minute. Today, at work where I routinely check my pulse rate it had slowed to 85 …but still 10 points higher than for the last two days prior to my poisoned soup experience!
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 3:14 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Two small tastes of tomato sauce (Prego) gave me a four day migraine. Watch out! MSG is poison!
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 12:51 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How are you supposed to know when a food contains MSG if it is not listed on the label? Or sulfites for that matter as strawberries and grapes may have. I've noticed, lately, when I eat strawberries that they have a strange sweet taste on the outside. Kind of bitter/sweet. As if someone put sweet and low on them.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 10:12 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Most restaurant soups, sauces, and seasoning salts are loaded with MSG. And if it is in a liquid form, such as soups or soft drinks, it will reach your blood stream and brain very quickly, as John will attest to. I have been very unhappy with the taste of strawberries this year. Don't know what is going on.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 8:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Campbell's is notorious for poisoning their products with MSG. I'd not only avoid Prego, but all of their lines of products.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 2:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


When my wife contacted Campbell's directly about MSG in their soups, they gauranteed her that their Healthy Request line of soups was definitely MSG free. So far so good for us and my family -- no reactions, but I'm not sure if our supplementations have a protective affect.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 5:55 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I am in no hurry to try Campbell's Healthy Request soups. Their web site provides no ingredient lists, without which informed decisions cannot be made regarding the safety of their products. I would advise anyone considering buying them to first print out the list of hidden forms of glutamate, linked below, and check it against the labels in the store:
pattie witherell
Posted on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 12:17 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I want to know if sweet and low in the pink packet is safe
Posted on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 8:17 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think it has dextrose so it isnt safe.

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