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Trip to the ER

Battling the MSG Myth » Share Your Symptoms » Trip to the ER « Previous Next »

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Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 3:33 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi there,
I ended up in the ER about a month ago after ingesting some left-over Vietnamese Chicken Soup.
I always had a faint sensibility of MSG, but nothing serious (so I thought).
So a month ago, we went to our favorite Pho place. We used to eat there probably 2-4 times a month.
I had veggie soup, my husband ordered the chicken soup. He didn't eat his because he wasn't too hungry. We took it home and I had it for lunch the next day.
Within 10 minutes my arms started itching, my face flushing, and when I looked in the mirror I saw that I was fire red. Burning and tingling from my hands, my chest, face, thighs, my entire back. I also experience tightness of the chest, dry mouth, extreme anxiety and by the time I got to the ER (about 30 minutes later) I was ready for a panic attack, but tried to stay calm.
Oh and my heart rate and blood pressure where through the roof as well.
I received some strong antihistamines and anti nausea meds and was feeling better with in about an hour. However, this came and went in waves and I also started to experience muscle and joint pain.
It took about 2 days to get completely over this.

Long story short. - I LOVE Vietnamese soup and I figured I just overdosed on MSG because I had two soups within about 18 hours. So, last Saturday I had to go and test the waters. I had my meds with me (just in case) and we went to a place that had good reviews and supposedly used less MSG.
I was scared, my husband was scared...I ate a few spoon fools and waited... I thought I was good, so I ate some more. Then all over sudden the tell tell heat on my arms, back, and soon my whole face was flushed.
I also noticed how I got anxious again so I took an antihistamine and we left.
Again, I felt muscle pain for two days.

That was Saturday. Monday I had a fig bar.. and sure enough started itching again.
Today, I had an ALTOIDS CINNAMON Chewing Gum... yup - reaction.

Now my question for my fellow MSG sufferers.
Did you also experience a sudden complete shut down/intolerance like this?
How did you talk to your doctor about this?
I am in the process of looking for a naturopath/MD in my area, because I am afraid my doc will just suggest some Benedryl for life, which I am also sensitive too.
As a matter of fact, now I wonder whether there is some connection.
In recent years (I assume due to new formulations of old favorites), I have grown sensitive to all kinds of medications. Nyquill, Cough medicine, most sleeping pills will give me restless leg syndrome. So does Benedryl.
Anyone else here?

At this point I am totally confused, a little in shock and also a bit depressed about this.
I eat healthy, not much processed food at all. I've been reading labels all day today and almost walked out of the store crying. This stuff is in EVERYTHING!

How do you do it?

Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 7:02 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mischa, My husband seemed to react overnight (to aspartame - almost same as MSG). The good news is that you know how to prevent a reaction and you already "eat healthy, not much processed food at all". I think a lot of us have learned to cook in quantities and freeze in small containers. Yes, unfortunately, the "stuff is in everything!" As far as talking to the doctor about it .... most doctors don't buy it.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 8:22 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for your reply, Dianne.
This is why I am looking to find a MD that is also a Naturopath which seems so hard to find here in the US. (I'm originally from Europe).

Right now I am just freaked out about this.
I mean yesterday I had ONE Altoids gum to set this off. That's just insane.
"funny" you'd mention Aspartame. I had similar reactions to that in the past. Usually I avoid all foods with artificial sweeteners and use the real deal, agave nectar or good honey instead.
I'd always say that foods with artificial sweeteners made me feel "bad". That's really the best I can describe it. No big hives or anything, just more like a depression and overall no sense of well being (if that makes sense).
So, I am not surprised that there seems to be a connection.

Thanks again for this great board. I'll keep reading posts and will be looking for "the" book as well.

While I am really sad that there seem to be so many people affected by this (and the FDA says there's no problem), I am very relieved that I am not alone. I started to feel a little like a hypochondriac..
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 11:15 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Mischa. There are a lot more of us than the FDA and food industry will admit. Also, I'm sure there are many more people will problems that just haven't made the connection.

I think most of us here have felt like hypochondriacs at some point. I suffered from SVT (rapid heart rate) for 26 years and was always told I needed to relax (like stress was the cause of my heart beating at 240 bpm while watching tv). Now that I avoid MSG, I don't have those any more.... and they were frequent.

Are you going to try the test diet? It's amazing how good you can feel eating real butter, milk, olive oil, etc. and avoiding fake food. It really doesn't take much more time, just some planning.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 11:27 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This board has been a god send for so many of us. And many had to suffer for years before realizing the culprit. I know most of my friends still think I'm a little wacky, the way I take my food with me and "pass" on the "tasty" food at restaurants that they all eat.

I think there comes a point when we reach our saturation limit of MSG and Aspartame and the ole body says "that's enough!" and begins to balk big time....probably to prevent us from poisoning ourselves any further.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 12:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry to hear of your recent battles with the msg. I think for me, the anxiety attacks are the worst part of the reactions - that and feeling extremely sick, so I can just imagine how aweful this last attack was for you. You are a brave one to try the soup again I've got to say, but I know you sometimes have to test these things - especially if it's something you love so much.

I wanted to add a comment about how you are feeling so frustrated with seemingly reacting now to small things. Once msg builds up in your system, as testiment to the reactions you had to the soups you ingested, then it doesn't take much from there because "the bucket is full" - that is an analogy I read on here somewhere....the msg builds up in your system and starts to fill the bucket, once the bucket is full, it overflows and you can have reactions to the most minute things that may not have caused reactions in the past. Once you cleanse the msg completely out of your system, I would venture to guess one altoid wouldn't cause a reaction.

I hope you feel better soon!
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 5:38 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you all for the encouragement.
I just ordered the book and also keep a food journal for now. That is what helped me identify the piece of gum as the culprit yesterday. Otherwise I would have never guessed that.

Melinda,I didn't feel so brave after the ordeal...rather stupid for trying :-)
I have to admit, I am a self proclaimed sushi addict and do not know what I will do if I find out that I am having a reaction to that now as well. Although if I remember it right, I did have sushi after the trip to the ER, so I think I passed that test.

This is what I am trying to understand.
If I overdosed four weeks ago,had another moderate dose last weekend, and have been hyper-sensitive since. How long DOES this stay in your system?
I couldn't find any information on that (yet).
Also, are there (reliable) test strips for MSG available yet?
Questions questions...sorry if they have already been answered before. I'm still feeling my way around here :-)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 - 7:04 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mischa, Everyone is different, but for me it took about a year of a pretty strict diet to get to the point that every now and then a smidgen of MSG won't set me off, or at least only mildly for a few hours. But usually I decide it wasn't worth it. A food's satisfying effect only lasts minutes, but an MSG effect can last hours or days.

I love sushi too but now have to stay far away from it. Have you ever read the ingredients from prepackaged sushi in a supermarket. Whew! Then you add soy sauce and/or wasabi and it's way over the top. My daughter makes it sometimes and I can tolerate a little bit as long as I don't put anything on it, but it really doesn't do much for me that way.
Deb A.
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Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 - 8:33 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mischa, a severe sensitivity doesn't happen immediately, though it seems that way. It is a slow shakeup of our body's system. Over the years, it begins to compromise our immune system, disrupts our entire endocrine system (hormones which effect metabolism, fight and flight, fertility, etc.), acts as a vasoconstrictor, and stimulates and kills neurons. Dr. Blaylock suspects that it may even, over time, destroy the pumps in the brain that normally flush excess glutamate from the brain...part of the blood brain barrier. This may be why some of us seem to have an over night extreme sensitivity. The glutamate enters the brain immediately and builds up quickly. And the processed glutamate in a liquid, such as soup will bypass the need for digestion and enter the blood stream and the brain right away. We're so glad you found us here. Know the book will help answer many of your questions. We are here to help. We understand your frustration and fears. I remember standing in a grocery store 13 years ago when I first learned about MSG, and literally feeling like the walls were closing in on gets so much better and you will be able to educate and help others in your circle. Right now though, concentrate on yourself and your own needs and don't worry about what others think, including doctors. Most of the naturpaths here will prescribe cleanses and supplements. Many feel good after a cleanse because they have been avoiding MSG by avoiding processed foods, some for the first time ever, but as soon as they go back to eating as before, they start to feel poorly again. I hear it all the time. And most supplements contain fillers, binders, and coatings that contain glutamate, even the same ones found in Altoids and gum. It does get easier, so take it one day at a time.
Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 - 12:22 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It took me about a year to detox too, where a small amount of glutamate won't set me over the edge. It took about three months for the really bad, acute symptoms to settle down, but still had to be tremendously careful about what I ate. Now I can eat a lot more things. I can't have sushi really, but I'll order sashimi instead. I use about a pea-sized dollop of wasabi, and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce, for the entire meal. Yes I react but it's not that bad, so make sure it's the freshest, so it will at least be worth it. But most fish is contaminated mercury, so I won't eat it more than once every three months. Since it's expensive too it works out.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 - 1:45 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Again, thank you all for sharing your stories and knowledge. This has been a true eye opener and I'm afraid its just the beginning.
Here I was thinking I ate pretty healthy to begin with and "a little MSG every now and then would kill me...".
Now I can't even find that funny anymore. :-(
Deb. your analogy about feeling like that walls were closing in on you is very much what I felt this week. And you feel so helpless, then angry and now I am at a point of determination to beat this.
Jennifer...hmmm sashimi, no rice, more room for the good
I primarily eat a vegetarian diet, a lot of raw foods, little is processed and if it is, I avoid the white stuff.
I wonder now whether that more healthy lifestyle has also made me a bit more sensitive?
Ever since I quit smoking a few years ago, I have grown VERY sensitive to synthetic fragrances and even some chemicals.
I literally have to cover my nose when walking down the cleaning product aisle in the supermarket.
So, I wonder if there's some sort of hypersensitivity issue going on.
Nothing as severe as the MSG reaction tho...*knock on wood*.

Looking forward to reading the book, Deb.
Thanks again for all the support. Very comforting after falling into this MSG sinkhole not knowing what is happening to your body!

Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 - 3:38 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mischa, That is interesting about your sensitivity to fragrances. The same thing happened to my husband after he quit smoking 30 years ago. And his sense of smell is still heightened. It's tough being in a car or room where someone has perfune or aftershave on. Do you get a headache?
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2008 - 11:17 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jennifer, skip the soy sauce with your sushi. That will make a significant difference. And try to find a real traditional high-end sushi place run by conservative Japanese people. Maybe their pure way of making it will be less problematic for you.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2008 - 6:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Very interesting, Dianne!
My sense of smell has definitely heightened. I react to synthetic perfumes (as in I can't stand the smell, but I'm not having any physical reaction like hives).
Harsh cleaners are also bad. I developed an allergy to bleach over the past couple of years.

To answer your question Dianne. I do get headaches from synthetic fragrances and chemicals, but they subside as soon as I leave the environment. So, no migraines or anything.

I am (always have been) allergic to Penicillin. Anyone else here? And are there ANY studies done? I would even volunteer for one if that would help getting this crap out of our food.

Got my book in the mail today, thanks Deb! I'll sink my teeth into that over the next couple of days.... ;)

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

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