Topics Topics Edit Profile Profile Help/Instructions Help    
Search Last 1|3|7 Days Search Search Tree View Tree View  

Starting to think MSG is the issue

Battling the MSG Myth » How You Made the MSG Connection » Starting to think MSG is the issue « Previous Next »

Author Message
Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 6:48 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi everyone,

Well, here's a story I figured I'd share, both to see if it corresponds to anyone else's and to potentially encourage others who may be suffering some of the same things.

I am a 26 year old male, and have been in generally good health for all of my life. I suppose there is one exception, and that is that around age 18 I was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME) and prescribed Depakote 750mg per day. By God's grace I didn't suffer side effects from this drug as many do, and it covered my epilepsy quite well.

Anyways, besides JME I would say I have been in excellent health, enjoying swimming, cross country, baseball, and other sports often. A few years ago I started lifting weights regularly. I also began taking whey protein supplements by mixing Designer Whey protein powder with various fruits and juices and blending them. I did this for a few months off and on, and then earlier this year I decided to get on a real "bulking diet" and include much more protein than before. I started consuming maybe 3 of these protein shakes per day, each loaded with around 40g of "Designer Whey" protein.

An odd thing happened early this year. I began suffering terrible anxiety all day long. It never seemed to leave me. My chest would feel tight and full of pressure. The anxiety didn't leave at night, and I just felt like my nerves were shocked or something (I know, a strange thing to describe but it felt like that). I couldn't sleep more than 2 or 3 hours a night, and this went on for weeks and weeks. Gradually I developed a very deep depression of a type I have never experienced before. This continued for most of February, and all of March, April and May.

The anxiety bothered me a lot, and really I cannot describe the mental anguish I have gone through this year. I am a Christian, and normally in life have experienced great peace through my relationship with God through Christ. But at this time I was filled with terror and anxiety much of the day. I finally went to a doctor and told him about my anxiety, kind of sheepish to even mention a psychological problem like that. He prescribed me Effexor, an anti-depressant. I took it once, and became a total zombie for about 24 hours. I never took it again.

The chest pain also continued to bother me, so I went back to the doctor who said it was inflamed cartilage in the chest (I was really not convinced of this at all) and gave me some NSAID called Mobic, along with a proton pump inhibitor called Aciphex in case acid reflux was causing the issue. I took both of these and it did nothing at all.

Next, in additional to all of these, I developed a squeezing sensation in my lower esophagus. I searched the internet and found out this is called Globus Sensation. Whatever it is called, it was extremely unpleasant, to say the least. I figured I had acid problems and went to a specialist who gave me a "barium swallow" to image my esophagus. The radiologist said nothing was wrong, but my doctor, when he received the results, said I had acid reflux, and to continue my aciphex medication. I pretty much lost hope of finding a solution medicinally.

Through all of this, the anxiety was tremendous, along with the insomnia and deep depression. I only slept part of the night by taking Ambien pills to knock me out. I even considered suicide at one point. This may sound ridiculous due to my somewhat "mild" physical symptoms, but the psychological symptoms were great.

Eventually I began playing with different dietary changes. I dropped caffeine entirely, whicih wasn't fun because I was a big coffee addict. Next, I tried taking various vitamins and minerals in higher amounts. Both of these did make me feel a little better in general, but I still suffered all of the symptoms.

I tried taking some allergy medications to see if I had some strange allergy. I noticed that things were a little better when I took claritin-D during the day. I also found i could sleep better at night using benadryl, which of course is another antihistamine. I also stopped taking the whey protein shakes, noticing for some reason they seemed to bring on my symptoms or make them worse.

I settled out in the same pattern for awhile, and then was reading on some work out forums about different supplements for athletes. I discovered that some supplement with the amino acid glutamine and say this helps them recover from workouts. I was actually considering doing this (thank the Lord I didn't), and was doing some web searches for glutamine supplementation when I stumbled across web sites discussing msg reaction symptoms. I realized the whey protein shakes are great sources of MSG, and that might be why I felt better when I was off them.

It's been a few weeks, but the pain in my chest, the squeezing in my esophagus, the insomnia, the depression, and most of all the dreaded, terrible anxiety have subsided HUGELY. I feel like life is returning to normal in some way.

Once I had MSG as a potential theory, and began reading about what foods contain MSG, I realized that even before knowing this I have associated chicken noodle soup and thick soup broths with headaches and lightheadedness and dizziness.

I've started cutting back on MSG wherever I can, realizing it's hidden in lots of other ingredients. Yesterday I ate soy protein enhanced cereal and soy milk, and noticed some of the classic reaction sensations--numbness in the face, stiffness in the neck, pressure in the head, confusion, tightness in my chest, and moderate anxiety. It subsided as the day went on.

Anyways, that's my story, and it's still a story in progress. I am not absolutely sure MSG is the cause of my health issues this year, but it makes a good bit of sense.

Thanks for this web site and for the great info you all have provided. I will post again as I progress in this. God bless you all!
Deb A.
Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 10:37 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you SO much for sharing your difficult story. I want you to know that it's the glutamate in your whey protein that is the culprit. Any substance that is high in natural glutamate, which milk is, when highly processed as it is to isolate the whey protein, will contain a lot of free glutamate, the harmful component of MSG. The fact that you have noticed symptoms from other substances that are high in this processed glutamate, such as soy protein and soy milk, convinces me that you are glutamate toxic now....and will most likely become increasingly sensitive to glutamate. You have named most of the common symptoms associated with glutamate toxicity and sensitivity. I suffered for all of the ones that you mentioned and had the upper G. I. track tests done, as well. I am all too familiar with the anxiety and depression, chest tightness, and that sqeezed feeling in the upper throat. PLEASE continue to learn all you can about MSG and its hidden forms. You can learn at where a helpful book is available, and there is more information at and And yes, do let us know of your progress. I spoke with a body builder a bout 5 years ago. He had gone so down hill with his health that he was then confined to a wheel chair and sometimes hobbled with a walker. He too, was drinking protein shakes and one of his physical therapists told him to avoid them because of all the glutamate in them. He did a web search and he is doing great today, as long as he avoids MSG and glutamate rich food additives....and now he warns other body builders at the gym. So keep learning where it is hidden and why it is so is aspartame, another excitatory neurotransmitter.
Carol H
Posted on Friday, September 16, 2005 - 10:51 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I'm glad you found relief from your symptoms. It sounds exactly like what we discuss here all the time. The reflux, the anxiety, the depression, the trouble sleeping, the confusion, the dizziness, the headaches, coupled with the assumed cause of the trouble - processed soups, processed protein powders, and processed soy protein. The fact of your epilepsy also is important. Taurine levels (which can be affected by MSG consumption) were low in persons after a seizure. MSG itself is cautioned against for those taking anti-seizure meds. Some think MSG cannot possibly affect all these things, but there is sound science behind this. MSG lowers dopamine levels (affecting mood) - it triggers receptors in the ears (affecting balance)- it triggers the pancreas to release insulin (affecting mood and hunger) - it stimulates the hypothalamus (affecting fight-or-flight response, anxiety and sleeplessness) - it increases already occuring histamine response (affecting gastric reflux because histamine makes reflux worse). Histamine also increases inflammation which is responsible for other disorders in the body - especially painful joints, etc. MSG also is a calcium channel OPENER (effecting blood pressure and consequently causing headaches).

You may be on exactly the right track. MSG only started to really affect me when I was about your age. I am glad you may have discovered this now, instead of a few years down the road.

Question, did you also notice and inability to tolerate heat while excercising, and do you have any other allergies or skin rashes, or digestive troubles, etc.?
Lisa Marie
Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2005 - 4:39 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Anonymous,
You certainly seem to be open to the fact that having become MSG toxic is your problem. It is so overwhelming to think that one little substance can do this to a person, and for me, it took some time to fully comprehend what this means in terms of how I had to change my way of eating. (It never before had occurred to me that MSG is in almost every single thing we ingest) If I were you I would follow Deb's diet on the first page of this site-"Test Yourself for MSG Toxicity." That is what I did. I personally do not think 3 days is enough; I did it for 2 weeks and never went back to my previous way of eating. However, 3 days is a good starting point. After which I only added one food a day so I could pinpoint what was causing my symptoms if I did react. It took several months to expand my food options, but now I know what to avoid in blanket fashion--fast food, processed food, restaurants, and what to embrace--fresh foods, farmer's market foods, free range meat, etc. I totally cut out aspartame when I started this, and within a month, my memory returned and my energy came back (this was an added bonus which I had never even considered)
My worst symptom of all was the insomnia. Lying there wide awake all night with my heart pounding out of my chest was horrible. When I cut out MSG, I stopped having GI distress, stopped having hot flashes and all the symptoms normally associated with woman's hormonal problems, and stopped having Rosacea to the point I thought my face would explode, and no more lying awake all night. Also, my family says my personality has changed from volatile to pretty normal. I hope you will see the benefits that changing your eating will do for you, and soon!
Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 - 6:22 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry I took so long to respond. Deb, Carol and Lisa Marie, thank you very much for responding to my post. I'm continuing to feel well as I stick to a diet containing as little MSG as I can. Carol, I have to say I never noticed any sensitivity to heat while exercising, however most of my exercise occurs in an air-conditioned gym, so I may not have noticed that. Also, I am fascinated by what you said about Taurine. Do you think it would make sense to try supplementing with Taurine (I know, if i can avoid glutamate in the caps)? Concerning the epilepsy, I did not mention in my long post above that during these last difficult months, I went to a routine visit with my neurologist, and he suggested I take another EEG to see if I had recovered from the epilepsy. I had that test done, and it showed up clear! I then weaned myself off of Depakote and for a few months now have been completely medication free for the first time in about 8 years. The seizures have reappeared now, however, on two instances (and both just recently). Mine are pretty much "morning only" seizures (and small, short ones that are not terribly debilitating, fortunately). Both mornings where I had them, I had taken benadryl the night before to sleep, and did not get very much sleep on top of that. I don't recall what I ate the night before the first time, but the second time I ate at an Indian restaurant, which someone later told me was probably loaded with MSG (tasted great!). Next morning I had the seizures, and also a persistent headache for about 2 days. For you MSG-sensitive people that might seem like an obvious cause, but for me, I'm not accustomed to associating these things with food yet. Anyways, I'd love to find a drug-free way to manage the seizures, because with seizure meds, once you're on them, it's very often for life. I would gladly avoid these "excitotoxins" for the rest of my life rather than take a drug several times a day, if that would do it. I feel like this period where i'm off the meds might be a window where I can try more natural remedies, because if i can't find one, I"ll probably end up back on the meds for a very long time.

I'd also like to know for sure that MSG is my problem--perhaps by intentionally eating a good bit of it one day and seeing what kind of symptoms return. Have any of you done this?

Thanks again for everything.
Lisa Marie
Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 3:54 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I would never injest MSG on purpose. Chances are that in the course of your every day life, no matter HOW you attempt to avoid it, that you will react on occasion to something. This happened to me pretty frequently as I learned what not to eat. And don't trust shopping at a Health Food store without diligently reading all labels. I have not had a reaction in a few months now, and that is how I am 100% positive that MSG is the problem. If you intend to eat out in a restaurant or fast food place ever again, you had better prepare for it to happen to you. Seizures are serious business, as I am sure you know, and I think avoidance is the way to determine this-and it may take you some time to be positive in your own mind. Did you read this page:

From this link: (note what can be done to a dog with the substance MSG)

Found In Most Packaged Foods

"Plain and Simple: MSG is a drug added to our foods that causes widespread toxicity."1
George R. Schwartz, M.D
In Bad Taste­The MSG Symptom Complex

By Larry Cook

In many Philippine provinces, as in the rest of Asia, it is not uncommon for people to eat dogs, after poisoning them with one or two tablespoons of monosodium glutamate (MSG), placed inside a roll of bread. The dog salivates, loses consciousness and involuntarily spasms until breathing stops.2

You can find MSG in the spice section of your local supermarket, as monosodium glutamate­MSG, under brand names such as Ac'cent and in many seasoning mixes. It is used in most processed foods-candy, cakes, donuts, dairy products, snack foods, frozen entrées, salad dressings and soups, to name a few. And it is often disguised under different names: Hydrolyzed Protein, Sodium Caseinate or Calcium Caseinate, Utilized Yeast or Yeast Extract, Gelatin, Textured Protein, Carrageenan or Vegetable Gum, Seasonings or Spices, Flavorings or Natural Flavorings, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Smoke Flavorings, Bouillon, Broth or Stock, Barley Malt, Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Whey Protein, Whey Protein Isolate or Concentrate, Soy Protein, Soy Protein Isolate or Concentrate, Soy Sauce or Extract, zest, gourmet powder, and more.3
1 "In Bad Taste­The MSG Symptom Complex," by George R. Schwartz, M.D., pg. 2
2 "In Bad Taste­The MSG Symptom Complex," by George R. Schwartz, M.D., pg. 61
3 Gnomes, HTTP:// Sources

I think it is great that you now are aware of what is happening with your body, and I hope you stay on this path of wellness. Please keep contributing your thougths and comments and progress to this board!
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 5:18 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anonymous, taurine is already being tested to treat epilepsy. It may help prevent a seizure or mitigate one.
Central ValleyCA
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2006 - 5:42 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Make it yourself with ingredients you know are not contaminated with this poison. And it is a poison. Your nervous system was attacked. Know the feeling. What scares me so badly is that this garbage kills brain cells, and gives the term "couch potato" a whole new meaning. By all means, check out the TRUTH IN LABELING site. Very informative.
Posted From:
Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 6:41 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi everyone,

It's me, the anonymous who started this thread over a year ago with my story. I thought I'd give an update on what's gone on since that post. As I avoided MSG as much as practical and completely avoided whey protein powder, my symptoms gradually improved until one day I realized the deep depression and anxiety had lifted. Every now and then I eat something I know I shouldn't (doritos or pringles, etc) and often experience the classic symptoms. I can recognize it very well now--if I'm in bed trying to sleep and feel that odd "tingling" in my extremities, like the nerves are shocked or something, and notice my heart is beating unusually fast, I can think back and locate the MSG I ate, sometimes the previous day.

I have since told several friends about MSG in various forms and have had heard wonderful stories as a result from all of them about their symptoms improving.

I do admit I don't eat an incredibly strict diet and I do ingest MSG in some of the hidden forms from time to time, but I've learned to read labels and avoid MSG, hydrolyzed proteins, flavoring, natural flavor, etc whenever possible. I also have learned that if there's some very tangy or savory sauce, it's full of it and should be avoided. I stick to this and I do much better.

Another thing I've discovered is that I can supplement with pure egg white protein with no adverse reactions at all, so this is a good substitute for getting more protein. I bought a bunch online and it's worked well.

Anyhow, that's my update and I'm still feeling much better. Thanks to everyone on this board for getting this information out. I'm still spreading the message myself!
Deb A.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 9:24 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good to hear from you, and to know you are much better at avoiding MSG. What is pure egg white protein...are you talking about dehydrated egg whites? Site please? Thanks and stay well!

Add Your Message Here
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Options: Post as "Anonymous"
Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message

Administration Administration Log Out Log Out   Previous Page Previous Page Next Page Next Page