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Irreversible MSG sensitivity?

Battling the MSG Myth » "Help! I Have a Question" » Irreversible MSG sensitivity? « Previous Next »

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Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 8:51 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did I bring this whole MSG problem on myself and is it permanent?

For years, I've been using powdered egg protein shakes (with 4,500 mg of glutamic acid per shake).

I was adding 15,000 mg of L-Glutamine powder to the shake to help keep my intestines healthy.

I took lots of fish oil gelcaps, and lots of other gelcap form factor supplements.

Although I would not buy prepared foods for home with MSG, it was never on my radar when eating out. (KFC chicken is so darn tasty!!)

Prior to 291 days ago, I was a healthy happy 41 year old male, going to the gym 4-5 days/week,

291 days ago my problems started with a terrible itchy skin rash, which escalated into terrible brain fog and mental confusion. I thought I was developing early Alzheimers ( e.g. leaving stove on, drove through an intersection when I got confused as to which traffic light changed).

It then progressed to muscle coordination and clumsiness problems (e.g. dropped a bottle of vitamins at the Vitamin Shoppe - I never do that).

Eventually I developed stiff jaw (hard to chew) and incapacitating muscle paralysis; I pulled a muscle in my back and literally could not get out of bed - I felt like a roach which had been sprayed with a can of RAID)

Much to my relief, when I went on an elimination diet of only chicken, rice & salt, all symptoms resolved.

Though food challenge after food challenge, and keeping a rigorous food diary with 180 columns in Excel, I eventually figured it it was free glutamic acid. The light bulb for me was noticing that it seemed when I had my protein shakes with L-Glutamine, I seemed to do worse. Since glutamine sounds like glutamate, I started researching that and then the previous 291 days just "clicked". Indeed, when I was consuming the most MSG, indeed my symptoms were at their worst.

For example, I purchased a slow-cooker and cooked everything from scratch, for a really long time 10-12 hours. At the all-time worst point, I started slow-cooking corned beef brisket, eating 10 oz / day for 8 days (then that paralysis episode occured).

A few months later, trying to be healthy, I started making home made chicken bone broth gelatin (slow-cooked chicken carcass for 18 hours).

Now, I've been mostly MSG free for three weeks and doing pretty well.

With all this background in mind, did I permantely damage myself, and if so, is it permanent?

How long does it take for the glutamate to get fully out of my system?

I know that only time will tell, but just curious based on your experiences.

Thanks, and thanks for this great site which contains some very useful information!

Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 11:22 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Mike,

Glad you found your sensitivity relatively quickly. I suspect I have always been sensitive to glutamate and sulfites, but it was in 2004 that my health went seriously downhill where I was unable to work for 8 months.

I found out about Deb's web page March 2007 and that's when everything "clicked" for me. It's only been in the last 6-8 months that I can tolerate some foods that were previously forbidden - cheeses, breads, that kind of thing. I cannot tolerate fast food or anything obviously processed, and I suspect I'll never get over that.

I've often wondered if there's some sort of "switch" that gets flipped once someone reaches critical toxicity. Maybe a gene gets turned on or off, either by too much MSG or perhaps some other environmental toxin. At any rate, it took about two years before I could feel brave and experiment with some food choices that common sense says might be problematic.

I often wonder about permanent damage as well, but I suspect it won't manifest for a long time - in the form of neurodegenerative disease. I just read an article that said ALS sufferers should be treated with riluzole, which turns out to be a glutamate blocker. How about that...
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 12:35 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

MikeS, I'd love to see you post your story on the topic "Share Your MSG Story/Recovery", your's is a good one!

You certainly were a sleuth to find the culprit so quickly, most of us took a lot longer.

As far as how long does it take for the glutamate to get fully out of your system? I think it can be different with each person, but if your symptoms have resolved already, the overload is gone. You will most likely remain sensitive to glutamate for life, but will be healthier for it. Depending on the amount of damage done to your neurons, it may or not be permanent. The body can heal itself to some degree, mostly it just takes time. And you'll probably find in the years down the road you may be able to tolerate little bits of glutamate now and then.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 6:47 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello Mike,

From all of your posts it sounds like you have put for a tremendous amount of time learning everything there is to know about free glutamate. I’m thrilled to hear that you were able to get your health back on track so quickly and are seeing results from your diet. Knowledge is power and the more you learn the easier this diet will become.

Because you are only 3 weeks into this diet, I’d say based on a lot of peoples experience you will get a little better (ie. building a larger diet) but you will never be able to eat free glutamate like you did before. It seems like everyone here gets more and more sensitive, but after a long time of having a clean diet (the time frame is different for everyone) some people are able to add a few more products and foods back into their diet.

I personally became sensitive to MSG in 1997 but could handle small amounts of free glutamate. I would slowly become more sensitive and would cross out a few more ingredients I couldn’t eat. In 2004 I became hypersensitive (like most of us on this forum) and crossed out all ingredients on Deb A’s list even though I didn’t react to some of them. I found I could handle small amounts of things like citric acid, but the small amounts would build in my system and I’d get a big reaction.

Now that I avoid everything and I’m very careful with how I cook (only cooking chicken broth for 3 hours instead of the 18 hour example you gave) I do great. I notice I can slip just a little in my diet and be okay because I’m so careful day to day. But if I start to get lazy/daring with my diet or try to introduce any packaged products I start getting a lot of stomach pains (my reaction to msg).

It seems like this is typical cycle for those of us who are hypersensitive and you may follow that same pattern.

What is your diet currently like? What foods are you now eating? If you can give us a little information on the current foods you are eating (reaction free) it can help us understand how sensitive you are and help better answer your questions. All of us are on different levels of how much free glutamate our bodies can handle. You’ll find there are safe foods for everyone, then there are other foods that a lot of us can handle but others can’t. At some point you’ll have to experiment a little to see where you are at.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to post any questions you have. We’ll do our best to answer them based on our unique experiences.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, October 16, 2009 - 9:56 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been very careful about diet since mid-
september and have almost cut out the migraines completely (at least when I get one, I know exactly what I did wrong). But as some of you have mentioned, I have noticed other symptoms. Does anyone have any idea what could be causing burning eyes? I have had this problem for years and know it is related somehow, as before it would precede the migraines.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, October 16, 2009 - 10:07 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Emily,

Thanks for the posts.

Right now, I'm trying to keep my diet pretty limited except for specific food challenges.

One was accidental (and only discovered as I was typing out the ingredients of my yellow organic protein bar). Imagine my horror as I typed out "Rice Protein Powder". I had the bar during my bike ride, and within 4 hours, my eyes were getting very red, which lasted 3 days.

My next "challenge" was more about me being curious if I could tolerate random pizza joint pizza. I was at a meeting, and they had ordered pizza. I had 2 slices. Again , about 4 hours later, eyes getting red, and the next day, very very very red.

As I look back over the last bunch of years, I did have the red eye response to pizza. At the time, I assumed it was to the "dairy" so I tended not to eat much.

However, now, looking back at it with MSG in mind, it more likely was seasoned salt or MSG in the tomato sauce.

The next time I need to eat pizza, I'll try ordered a "white" pizza with mozzarella and plain olive oil (no seasoned salt) and see how I do.

So, it looks like the things I ate regularly which were a problem was the protein powder (in shakes & bars), and the gelatin in gelcaps (fish oil, vit. d, and the 1 prescription drug I took - since stopped).

As for reactions recently to foods on the outside, the worst was shrimp in soy sauce followed by nearly an entire pizza (probably had the seasoned salt). As I right this, I cringe, with all my new found knowledge and MSG perspective.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 6:38 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike - I have to say I would avoid pizza entirely for a while unless you have an ingredient list.

I have a son that is more mildly sensitive to MSG than most people here. He can handle small amounts. But pizza has been a big challenge for us, as it is his favorite food.

We have found that he does well with Home Run Inn original or thin crust cheese with Beeler's natural pork sausage and/or pineapple added to it at home. He seems to tolerate the pepperoni only if he hasn't had any other exposure for a while. Unfortunately I've not found safe pepperoni - even Applegate Farms is not safe. (Neither is their organic turkey, by the way! It has carregeenan).
Not sure about the Home Run Inn Sausage.
I would be very suspicious of a white sauce - it should be worse than tomato as most anything like that "benefits" from an extra flavor punch.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 9:55 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Indeed: my worst (acute) reaction was to white sauce (chicken alfredo at Spaghetti Factory). I later found it had MSG (expressly labeled as such).

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Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 10:24 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have found that small, local pizza places that make the dough & sauce in house often don't bother me but I do order my pizza with only mozz cheese - no meat.

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