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MSG: scapegoat or root of all evil?

Battling the MSG Myth » "Help! I Have a Question" » MSG: scapegoat or root of all evil? « Previous Next »

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Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 11:44 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm still learning, gathering data, but I need to resist the tendency to attribute every symptom to MSG.

For example, I'm completely certain that the skin rash and terrible itching was indeed caused by MSG.

However, my eyes getting red (blood shot looking): is that from MSG or unrelated? (only time will tell)

That woozy / dizzy feeling: pretty sure that MSG (though it seems like magnesium supplements (or lack thereof) played a role.)

The muscle stiffness in my neck: was that from the greek yogurt (2 days, 4 ounces /day), or unrelated and just random? I wonder if their label which had only listed "milk" failed to include milk solids or powder or something to make it thick? Just a thought.

What makes all of this even harder is the "straw that broke the camel's back" aspect of it all: that you can build up glutamate from multiple sources, and the thing that puts you over the top is not the worst thing on the list.

The converse is also true. Last month, before I arrived at the MSG connection, I suspected my reactions were a corn sensitivity. The folks on the delphi corn group were very helpful, but every time the data didn't fit with the corn hypotheses, the answer was it must have been that boogieman "citric acid" or unlisted ingredient or cross-contamination. I'm glad I was so persistent and didn't accept that. I kept pouring over the data, over & over & over, looking for patterns. It was just dumb luck that I had a bad reaction to hot dogs which led me to question hydrolyzed soy protein, which, along with my l-glutamine supplement, led me to msg. The data fit perfectly, no need to blame some unlisted ingredient or cross contamination.

I wonder how many people think it's one thing, only for it to be another?

Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 1:45 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For quite a while I was convinced I was reacting to garlic and possibly onions. "Spices" could contain garlic just as easily as glutamate.....
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 7:59 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For almost a year doctors (and myself) thought my body was unable to digest fats. My MSG reaction affects my gallbladder hence the reason that my body was having trouble with all fats.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 9:01 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, I hear you. We went gluten free for a while...seemed to help a little (of course, as it eliminated many types of foods that have added MSG) but results were spotty.

On the other hand, I don't think I react to glutamates even though I eat almost none now just from removing them from my son's diet...and my adrenal issues, thyroid issues, and heavy metal poisoning hasn't changed. My son has some of these other issues as well which don't seem to be glutamate related (probably genetic) - so it's so hard to tell.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, October 30, 2009 - 3:00 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I didn't realize that you have adrenal, thyroid and heavy metal poisoning issues. I take it from your post that your son has problems with glutamates? What other issues does your son have, if you don't mind my asking? The reason that I am asking - I have started the GAPS diet for me and my children. We all have digestive issues and multiple allergies and my kids are dyslexic. The GAPS diet is a little harder if you can't tolerate glutamates, but we are able to do a version of it and the results are astounding already. Why don't you check out the website and see if it is something that you might be interested in trying:

We had been trying to figure out how to live with all these problems but it looks like they can be healed. My kids already report a difference in reading ability and clarity. I am a member of the GAPS help yahoo group and there are astounding stories on there. The reason I am suggesting it to you is because it just struck me that so many of the Moms on there have the same issues you do. If your son has ADHD, autism sprectrum, asperger's, dyslexia, anxiety, eczema or allergies as well as glutamate sensitivity, you might find some relief for him (and you).

Hope this helps,
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 6:28 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Kristy!

My son has anxiety and mood issues but they disappear when glutamates are removed. He also has fatigue from low adrenal function (and takes hydrocortisone) but even that is getting better. I believe the glutamate sensitivity was triggered by a car accident and lots of stress. We think his adrenal issues were triggered by a medication for anxiety that he no longer takes, but it will take another year or two before we know if they recover on their own. They (and the glutamate sensitivity) are probably made worse by metals, particularly alumimum, which a hair test showed higher than normal levels of.

Thanks for the info on GAPS. It would be too extreme for us at this point as we are finally at a place where we are thriving - not normal, but doing well considering the path we have been on. I've looked into SCD before and we were GF for a while; as I said it didn't help much as it didn't take out the glutamates. However, right now we are at about the limit of what restrictions we are willing to live with. I try for a Nourishing Traditions style of cooking and we rely heavily on raw milk and natural meats, though he won't eat vegetables very often.

The one thing that is still an issue for him is learning and memory. I know glutamates are tied in with learning and memory...and the one med that he takes a low dose of still is a glutamate release blocker (lamotragine).

I am a huge fan and thankful for alternative healing through fixing the gut and nutritional deficiencies. My feeling is that right now this isn't a gut issue as much as other things, but there are definitely more avenues I could try to improve many things to do/try, so little time and energy... :-)

Thanks for posting, I appreciate it.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 7:12 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Funny: I purchased that book: "Nourishing Traditions" for the express purpose of slow-cooker recipes, which of course, from a free glutamic acid perspective is TERRIBLE!

I'll have to look through it for other possible relevant content.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, November 01, 2009 - 1:51 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

LisaS, We can't really do the full GAPS either with our glutamate sensitivity, but we are adding many principals to our diet and taking some of the main ideas about healing our gut. We were already leaning more heavily toward Nourishing Traditions style of eating because we can't tolerate any additives. We can't take supplements or medicines either so we found ourselves searching for ways to improve nutrition through diet. NT is very informative about traditional nutrient dense foods which is exactly what we needed.

GAPS stresses healing the intestinal flora which requires removing things temporarily that stress the digestive system like grains, legumes, stimulants, starches, sugar and adding beneficial things like probiotic fermented foods, organ meats and bone broths. The main difference in our diet was removing all grains (we had already been forced by reactions to remove wheat) and sugar (which we knew was a problem but we hated to lose). Otherwise, we were already eating very GAPS style with meats and vegetables being our main diet, anyway. We just added fermented cod liver oil, lacto-fermented vegetables and raw milk yogurt. It sounds like we have very similar type diets.

Mike, Nourishing Traditions has a lot of information about preparing nutrient dense foods. One of the things I loved in this book is the idea that you can make fermented condiments to add flavor and aid digestion at the same time. Also, the information about cooking organ meats (very important for b vitamin deficient people who can't tolerate supplements) was very helpful for me. I also loved all the information in the book down each side of every recipe.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, November 01, 2009 - 6:10 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Kristy,

Just to be clear for anyone reading this thread:

Bone Broths would bet terrible for people sensitive to free glutamic acid. That's where you take say a whole chicken, and slow cook it for 12-18 hours, skim off the fat, and chill the resulting gelatin.

There was one period, towards the end of my 1 year search, where I was having several cups of bone broth each day. During most of my "home cooking" during that year, I used m slow-cooker extensively.

In fact, my all time worse reaction was the two weeks where I had 10 ounces of slow cooked corned beef a day.

Just wanted to emphasize that point for others,

Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, November 02, 2009 - 12:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Mike,

I do just fine with homemade broth if it isn't cooked for too long. I use safe chicken wings and thigh's with carrots, onions and celery in water. I took it on very low on the stove top for 3 hours, chill, skim off the fat, then freeze for later use. I rely more on the meat of the chicken for the primary flavor for the stock instead of just using bones.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, November 02, 2009 - 12:32 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Emily,

I'm very glad you are able to enjoy broth. It does surprise me, however. I would have totally expected that broth would have been on the very terrible list, because the whole objective is to break down over long cooking times.

I wonder how broth compares to say pectin in a stoneyfield yogurt made with skim milk.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, November 02, 2009 - 5:42 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think a lot of people on this diet are able to make their own broth as long as they don't use a long cooking time. I think Deb A. makes her's just under 3 hours (at least she used to) but I could be mistaken. Others cook it for an hour to be on the safe side.

You are correct, the best tasting broth is cooked for a very long cooking time but as long as I stay in the 3 hour range I do just fine. I have tried making it in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes but have troubles with it so I stick to the stove top method or crock pot method.

My understanding is cooking at a high heat with liquids causes trouble but cooking at a very low heat can be okay. Which is why some recipes in a crock pot at a low setting for just a few hours can be okay. Just frustrating there isn't a solid rule on what is okay and what isn't okay as far as cooking methods go.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, November 02, 2009 - 5:56 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's one solid rule: don't do what I did: slow cooker for 18 hours.

(It was tasty, however).

Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - 7:23 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

LOL. very true. I used to always avoid my crock pot but about 6 months ago I ran across several posts on this forum where people had success using their crock pot on low for 4-6 hours. I was surprised and gave it a try.

So far I've done just fine cooking roasts and chicken breasts. This has rattled my confidence on what cooking methods are okay and not okay. But I'm grateful to be making progress in the kitchen and I'm still taking notes on what methods work and which ones don't.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, November 05, 2009 - 3:48 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Guys,

I agree with Emily that the method of cooking broth matters most. I cook braised osso bucco for two hours and can eat that broth and meat just fine, but when I tried making broth with it on the stovetop for about 4 hours I couldn't eat the meat without a reaction - I could drink the broth reaction-free, though. I did try making broth by cooking it for longer times at first but it was a disaster every time. Also, if cooking soup with the broth later, it is important not to let it boil or that will increase the risk of reactions. I would also like to mention that I never use acidic ingredients like lemon juice or tomatoes when cooking low and slow as it would increase glutamate problems.

I think it is important to note that broth is a no-no if you don't know the cooking process that was used. In every case homemade food with natural ingredients will be much safer than the commercial concoction meant to replicate it. That being said, if I were to ever eat out the last thing I would consider would be slow roasted anything or soup of any kind.

As I said in an earlier post, broth is so good for you that it is worth the trouble to perfect it. When making soup with it, I always add the meat (previously cooked and picked off the bones and frozen) last and just let it heat through and then serve.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, November 06, 2009 - 1:00 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good points Kristy.

So far I have had great success over the years with a whole chicken, slowly simmered on the stove top for 3-4 hours. Chicken legs and wings slowly simmered on the stove top for 3-4 hours (until the meat falls off the bone with the nudge of a fork). By slow simmer I mean the most gentle movement of water, usually a #2 low heat on my stove.

I have also had success with chicken broth made in a crock pot on low as well, cooking until the meat would fall off the bone with a gentle nudge from a fork.

I tried a few attempts of making broth in a pressure cooker, cooking only for 20-30 minutes but received reactions from chicken and a roast. I do fine with vegetables and beans cooked in a pressure cooker but have stopped trying to cook meats and broth in it.

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