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From Devastated to Elated

Battling the MSG Myth » How You Made the MSG Connection » From Devastated to Elated « Previous Next »

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Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 - 6:13 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is my first post. It has been less than a year since I finally realized what was causing all my brain dysfunction.
Since an early age, I have been challenged. As a kid, I suffered from lethargy, lack of motivation, inability to focus/concentrate, very poor memory, and extreme shyness/introversion. As an adult, other manifestations were added to the childhood list, ie. depression, irritability, hypoglycemia and worsening memory. Confusion reigned supreme and I always felt spacey and overwhelmed. The tiniest thing sent me over the edge - I became so sensitive to noise and other outside stimuli. I worked tirelessly on my health and eventually managed to reach a level of brain health that was better than I had ever experienced before in my entire lifetime. My moods were stable and I was feeling wonderful. I started being able to multi-task and even focus on an activity while having the radio or tv on in the background. Lo and behold, I was even able to manage well with directions while driving somewhere. And of course, the biggest sign that I had improved was being able to remember.
Then I went for a 3-day visit to my brother and sister-in-law. I decided I would let my guard down when it came to what I would be eating (I am considered a 'health nut'). So I blessed all the food I was served and ate it with gusto, feeling grateful for not having to cook. BIG MISTAKE! I returned home a completely different person, like Jekyll and Hyde. I was a ranting, raging lunatic, ready to kill. I was depressed and despondent. My life seemed hopeless and I felt helpless. My memory was gone and I could not think clearly if my life depended on it. I could not believe it. Finally, it dawned on me that my brother and his wife cooked and ate with a lot of foods containing MSG and Aspartame. I am sure I got hefty doses of both while spending those 3 days with them.
I was just devastated at having all my hard work go down the drain. Back to Square One. Then it occurred to me that I finally knew the source of all my brain woes so I could finally put the past behind me. Because, if truth be told, I was ridiculed as a child for being 'slow' and I was mercilessly compared to my older brother, who was an absolute brainy student. In Kindergarten, the teacher thought I was retarded because I colored my pictures in black crayon and was so introverted. I was sent off to a psychiatrist for evaluation. The doctor said I was intelligent but somehow the stigma of being inferior in the 'intelligence department' has always stuck, causing me low self-esteem and an overall attitude in life of "What's the use in trying? I'll never succeed anyway." My three siblings all attended private school but I was sent to public school. My mother accused me many times of being lazy and that I would never amount to anything in my life. Of course this kind of negative programming became a self-fulfilling prophecy for me and I have spent all of my life feeling less than everyone else and wishing I could be anyone but me. What a waste!
Anyhow, what a gift to realize after 50 years of believing the contrary, that there never was any deficiency in my IQ.
My older brother died at age 32. He became a schizophrenic and committed suicide. Now I have to wonder if MSG wasn't a contributing factor in his illness and early death.
Even though I am now really strict with my diet (if I don't cook it, I don't eat it), I am still struggling on and off. It is hard to tell what is a reaction to glutamates and what is due to candida die-off as I am taking steps to deal with my candida and I know candida can cause brain fog.
I read somewhere on this Forum that one can be so sensitive to MSG that even foods containing naturally-occurring glutamates can still cause people to react adversely. I suspect that I fall into this category. There was also mention of 'leaky gut syndrome' causing this reaction to glutamates in food and I suspect this is also a contributing factor for me.
Anyhow, thank you Debby and Mike for a great website and a phenomenal book. Even though I have not yet been able to get back to my formal level of brain health (I visited my brother last September), I know that it is possible which helps me persevere and persist.
Roy Piwovar
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Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 - 6:58 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Thanks for sharing. Also have to add that you are a wonderful writer.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 3:45 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Welcome Anon. There are past posts re glutamate and schizophrenia. Use search function. Thanks for your post.
Deb A.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 1:26 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Obviously, anon, you are very intelligent. You coped and survived, albeit with some heavy strikes against you. No need to compare yourself to anyone. You were able to listen to your body and deduce that something in your food was making you "different" many people are still very unaware of what is causing them so much distress. Your older brother may also have been a victim of glutamate toxicity. You might try and share this information with your other brother, just in case he is silently suffering also. Thank you for sharing your story here. Such stories are often the means of helping a newcomer make the MSG connection to their own health crisis.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 8:36 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you for your responses to my post. There is a wealth of info. here that I know will prove very beneficial to me and other newbies.
Debby - both my younger brother and sister are addicted to aspartame, unfortunately, and try as I might to convince them of the dangers, neither of them takes me seriously. I have tried to get my obese, depressed, cocaine-addicted sister to watch SWEET REMEDY AND SWEET MISERY but she refuses. You can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink. My brother's children are all overweight and everyone is on edge. They are constantly bickering amongst each other and his oldest son, who is academically gifted, has no motivation to do anything at all with his life. Hmmm...reminds me of somone I know intimately - ME!
I am still reeling from the ramifications that poisoning from these insidious and ubiquitous excitotoxins are having on society at large.
In my own personal life, I think back on all the verbal and emotional abuse I suffered from at the hands of my very dysfunctional parents and now I wonder if it wasn't because they, too, were unwitting victims of MSG poisoning making them crawl out of their own skin.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 12:27 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cherylin, It takes far more guts to go it alone, so pat yourself on the back for taking charge of your health all by yourself. Those of us who've done it without support know just how difficult that is. And there's that hypoglycemia again, a common factor for so many of us before we figured it all out. And as for the rest of your family, you can't tell anyone anything. They aren't interested, they won't listen and they don't care - that you care. You can explain but when people won't listen, there is nothing else to be done about it. It's frustrating for us because we see the radical difference in ourselves and others who've posted to the list. Lives are transformed, just as yours was. Keep up the good work. You're in good company here!
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Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 3:31 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I commend you for your intuition, guts and fortitude to turn your life around. You are obviously a very strong person.

It is hard to convince others to be believers too. It's also hard to stand by and watch what they are doing. Addiction is a strong force, whether it be from drugs, tobacco or MSG/aspartame laden food. I have been working on my husband and daughter to eat healthier for years - and although I have thrown up my hands in frustration many times, I kept at them. And little by little they have changed a lot of their bad eating habits. I think a persons health is the most important thing - because without it, what is life? Sometimes when you plant the seed of a foreign idea it just takes time to get to be accepted. I realize it's easier to be persuasive if you have frequent contact with someone (like a spouse) but don't give up, because you just never know when you might be getting through, and that person might be on the verge of being ready....with a little more incouragement.

Hope you stick around and give us updates.
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Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 5:33 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Judith and Dianne,
Thank you for your encouraging words. I am often admonished with "Can't you talk about anything else but health?" I am striving to become a better communicator so that my words will have a stronger impact. I have joined Toastmasters so that I may improve my communication skills. My first speech is next week and I will tell the story of how I made the MSG connection. Last week I visited a woman with severe fibromyalgia who has been ill since 1992 and is on disability. I showed her Deb's book and printed off various articles which links fibro. with MSG and aspartame poisoning. It is my intention to keep educating others about the dangers of MSG and to inspire them with my own personal story.

Onward and upward...
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Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 5:59 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Cherylin, Welcome back to the land of the living! and congratulations for doing what it takes to be well. This Board has been a life-saver to me and so many of us that suffer from msg reactions. Lots of very smart people on here. I'm one that is also very sensitive to some foods that are naturally high in free glutamates. A couple of suggestions: I started taking high quality probiotics a couple of years ago and with time (it takes time for the good bacteria to repopulate your colon) the chronic yeast infections are gone (been a year now!). I also cut way, way back on desserts and foods filled with sugars as well as yeast breads as the candida feeds on these. Also, regular grocery store meats are filled with antibiotics, which also feed candida. There's a great web site that I refer to all the time to get info on fruits/veggies/grains, etc. It gives the vitamin content as well as the glutamate content; it is: Deb's book is a wonderful resource-reread it every now and again as we can forget some of the hidden names...the recipes are wonderful. Good luck to you and just know that you're among friends now that truly care in your health and recovery.
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Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 8:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Dianne,
Yes, I agree about the importance of probiotics. I am a big fan of Donna Gates' Body Ecology Diet ( and am making a concerted effort to increase the amount of probiotics I consume along with daily servings of cultured/fermented veggies. Recently I started fermenting coconut water with amazing results - no more sweet cravings or carb cravings whatsoever. It is a miracle! You can read about it here Maybe I should post my experience with coconut water somewhere else on this Forum where it will get more visibility.
Deb A.
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Posted on Friday, July 20, 2007 - 9:43 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have spoken with other individuals who successfully followed our suggestions for avoiding MSG, but when they tried some fermented/cultured vegetables, they began to experience MSG type symptoms. I guessed that some of the vegetables were perhaps high in naturally occurring glutamate, which our system slowly digests, but the fermentation process converts the bound glutamate into free form glutamate, which is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream, thus speeding up or causing some reactions.(talk about a run on sentence!) I have no idea how high in glutamate coconut is, but I would like to learn more about the process of fermenting it. What fermented veggies do you consume daily?
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Posted on Friday, July 20, 2007 - 5:22 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Deb,
I am wondering if how something is fermented makes a difference in how one reacts to it. Lacto-fermented foods done in the traditional way is supposedly crucial to the health and well being of all people. These foods provide crucial enzymes and probiotics. Donna Gates has had tremendous results with autism by changing the body's inner ecology. From all my studies, the health of the gut will determine the health of the body. I remember reading somewhere on the forum that if one has a leaky gut, one will react more to naturally-occurring glutamate and aspartate. It certainly is a quandary whether or not to ingest cultured foods - seems like you can be damned if you do and damned if you don't. Or maybe people react to the cultured foods because it initiates a candida die-off reaction?
I personally eat lots of cultured foods everyday. I culture my own yogourt for 24 hrs. to completely eliminate lactose and each 6 oz. serving provides something like a whopping 700 billion live bacteria vs. the piddley amount you get in a probiotic supplement. I also belong to a cow-share lease program so I am able to get fresh, raw, organic/biodynamic milk products (milk, cream, cheese, clabbered milk (kefir), sour cream, and butter, buttermilk and colostrum when available ). Sometimes I buy UNPASTEURIZED saurkraut from the health food store but generally, I find these too salty. I bought a big crock to start making my own but haven't gotten around to it yet. I also work at an organic farmers' market where I buy cultured shredded veggies (made the Donna Gates way without salt) and eat some of that everyday. And of course I have a little of my fermented coconut kefir water and find this helps me tremendously with sweet cravings. I have been able to eliminate all starches/grains, more or less.
Donna Gates' website is a phenomenal resource for those wanting to know how to culture/ferment. She makes it so easy. Her website is
Today I was on the website and read something interesting about how when you soak grains (or was it rice?) for 24 hours, you increase the amount of GABA ten-fold. Soaking/sprouting/fermenting is a very powerful way to increase the nutritional content and digestibility of our food.
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Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 2:53 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Quote: Saikusa, Horino and Mori (1994) found that -aminobutyric acid (GABA) increased dramatically if brown rice is soaked in 40 degrees in Celsius water for 8 hours to 24 hours. Okada et al. (2000) reported that intake of GABA for 8 consecutive weeks suppressed blood pressure and improved sleeplessness, and autonomic disorder observed during the menopausal or presenile period. More recently, Jeon et al. (2003) found that GBR may be effective for suppressing liver damage. In Japan, people in the ancient era may have been eating brown rice soaked (Kayahara, 2003).

The soaking time and temperature varies --- depending upon what web references you read.
I don't know enough about this but maybe, someone else does:
1. Is glutamic acid also created by soaking the rice?
2. Does the glutamic acid from the soaked rice create the GABA?
3. Is it necessary to sprout the rice to get the GABA?
4. Do the sprouts contain glutamic acid? I see to recall someone mentioning that sprouts in general should be avoided because of this.

Why I ask --- I seem to have a terrible time with brown rice --- not soaked, soaked, washed, organic, etc. I've tried it all.
Lisa Marie
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Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 3:36 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just a comment about rice. I can eat Lundburg brown rice, if I eat it right away after it is cooked. However, if I try and eat it as a leftover, forget it--I get ill. I have tried it a few times, a day later as left over, or in soup, or frozen and taken out for a later meal. The only way I can have it is immediately after I prepare it. I am also that way with frozen peas. I can eat them immediately, but never as leftovers.
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Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 5:54 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lisa Marie - Maybe, you are sensitive to mold? A friend of mine is extremely sensitive to molds. She soaks and washes all her grains and vegies in grapeseed extract before cooking. Re peas, if they are frozen perhaps there was mold on it already from the store. Foods with high moisture content can be contaminated below the surface. Sometimes, I have seen my Lundberg brown rice look a little green.
Basic information:
Lisa Marie
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Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 8:44 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks MEMorris. I would prefer not to eat mold! I don't know if I am sensitive or not. I have seen my Lunberg rice with green grains, thinking that was just not quite ripe?
Deb A.
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Posted on Monday, July 23, 2007 - 10:15 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I do fine with homemade yogurt, too. I think the way a food is processed makes a huge difference. Jack Samuels tells us that the powerful manmade enzymes used to make many cheeses in this country cause naturally occurring glutamate to be converted into a form that we can react to more quickly...they were developed to make cheese our expense, of course. And often, chemicals are added to fermented pickles and other vegetables when commercially made. I do much better with European cheeses. In fact, I react to domestic Swiss cheeses, but do fine with the Jarlsburg from Switzerland we buy at Costco's.
Carol H
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Posted on Monday, July 23, 2007 - 2:34 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cherylin, thanks for really sharing your story with us. You do have a tremendous amount of courage and a great ability to write. There was a great article in TIME magazine this past week about why we get addicted. It is linked to GABA they are finding. For folks who are addicted to the high they get from certain drugs, aspartame and MSG are also turned into GABA. In us, though, it may stick around longer as overstimulating, hyper glutamate which is turning all the switches in OUR bodies ON. That is why I think a lot of folks have trouble believing us. They can't understand how bad we feel after eating this same stuff that makes them feel on top of the world - until they crash. I found it extremely interesting after looking into autism how many similarities I see between those kids and us. Loud noises, strong tastes and smells. Our nervous systems are on high alert all the time. The "healthy" folks are being doped with GABA and are being depressed. They are always looking for something to turn them back on while we are constantly - desperately searching for something to turn us off. We need the rest. They want to sky dive.

I found it extremely touching to read an article written by an autistic woman who said that to her a coversation face to face was her version of an "extreme sport". It really dawned on me then that the constant drawing out that people trying to "help" an autistic person do is based on the very real mistaken impression that autistic individuals are incapable of reaching out and understanding the world around them. The awful reality that dawned on me is that they are NOT "NOT noticing" things. They are noticing them TOO MUCH because they have overly sensitive nervous systems. They aren't not reaching out. They are actually PULLING AWAY. I understand that totally. I have friends who tell me I spend too much time by myself - working and writing. Well, I feel safer, calmer, better when I have less interaction with the world. Reading and posting on the internet is a much more enjoyable way to communicate for me. I think a lot of people who are seen as socially withdrawn have a very active inner life and thoughts than others give credit for. I really appreciate that you joined the Toastmasters. It is an "extreme sport" for sure for many, but a very worthwhile endeavor. Since I was elected to council, I have had to engage in public speaking which isn't easy. Congratulations on taking a big step. I am so glad you joined the discussion - you have already inspired all of us tremendously. Please keep us up to date on how things go for you!
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Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - 7:05 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Carol,

Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I will have to go back in the Forum and re-read about GABA. I am confused - I was under the impression it is a good thing and I should want more of it.

In the past I have wondered if I wasn't mildly autistic as a child (before making the MSG connection). I suspect my middle daughter is, or was, as well. She has many symptoms of Asperger's. She would always be put off balance if something happened to disrupt her routine in any way. She would never want to go on school field trips and suffered from a kind of anxiety that couldn't be explained. Having gone to a small private school for the elementary years, she was unable to make the transition to a large, public high school. My daughter, who will turn 19 in less than a week, has been at home for almost five years and has never attended high school. My husband and I have been at our wit's end but all of a sudden, something has changed and she is now listening to loud music, going out everyday with old friends, going to parties etc. - a complete turnaround. I have no clue as to why the sudden change but am breathing a sigh of relief while at the same time cringing at the thought of what she is eating while away from home. I shudder to think what I would be dealing with had I added insult to injury by immunizing her. YIKES! Bad enough my kids' formative years were spent as vegetarians with all the MSG-containing soy products we zealously consumed.

Thank you for explaining about 'pulling away' due to system overload. That definitely applies to my daughter and to me as well. She and I are quite alike in many ways and I find it interesting that, as I am taking baby steps to finally engage in life (vs. living life from the periphery as a spectator) so is she. We are doing it together yet in different ways. Come to think of it, my father was also a real loner as part of his personality but I am sure my mother's MSG-laden cooking exacerbated that personality trait.

I will make a point of reading the article on GABA in this week's TIME magazine. I have always known that I have an "addictive" personality and so have always been mindful lest I get myself into big trouble. I recognized early on that this is a genetic legacy I had inherited and I will have to be ever vigilant to not fall prey like the rest of my family.

What work to get well and stay well!!

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