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Sleep Disorder - MSG/Dairy Connection

Battling the MSG Myth » Archive » Help! I've Just Made the MSG Connection » Sleep Disorder - MSG/Dairy Connection « Previous Next »

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Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 6:34 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My sleeping problem began about 12 years ago (I am 49). On certain nights I just could not get a restful night's sleep. It was very hard to describe, but I would wake up gasping for breath and I just could not breathe comfortably to return to sleep. It did not take long to connect this problem with injesting dairy products in the evening. I used to love to eat pizza, ice cream, or cold cereal with milk at night. Cutting out these foods seemed to solve the problem. However, they began to increasingly reoccur without any dairy connection. I first noticed that Chinese Food seemed to be the culprit. So I naturally suspected MSG. I quickly discovered that regular Chinese food definitely caused the same sleep problems, but when I experimented with Chinese Restaurants which promised "no MSG" I slept fine. Finally, after another sleepless night I said to myself, what could it possibly be this time? The only thing I had eaten the previous night that was out of the ordinary was a 1/2 jar of Planters Dry Roasted Peanust. I picked up the jar, and sure enough, there it was in the ingredients: Monosodiuem Glutamate. I repeated this experience when I unknowingly ate MSG that was clearly indicated in the ingredients of a fried fish coating.

Upon a lot of reflection, I would characterize my sensitivity to dairy/MSG as some type of sleep apnea. The feeling is very much that if I don't breathe deliberately, that I will stop breathing, which is a common description of sleep apnea. It takes several hours for the condition to go away, but it is a very dramatic relief when I feel that I can close my eyes and feel myself breathing automatically. Amazingly, I don't notice any adversy reactions during waking hours and can eat dairy or MSG until about 3 p.m. Also, I have not noticed any particular reaction to substances like tomatoes which are said to contain natuarally occuring MSG or to aspartame. I drink Diet Coke right up until bedtime.

I appreciate the opportunity to place my experience in the diaglog in the hope that it can add to the eventual understanding of this class of problem.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 11:20 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Dennis. Sharing our experiences with MSG are bound to help people visiting here. We all have different tolerance levels and reactions. That's why doctors have a hard time diagnosing the problem, and why glutamate lobbyists rely on shabby tests to make their claims for MSG's safety.
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 2:27 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Perhaps the reason MSG causes the troubles and aspartame doesn't in your case, could be MSG's affect on histamine response. I'll have to check, and see if aspartame has the same effect on histamine that MSG does. Perhaps there lies the difference.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2001 - 4:39 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Become aware of your heart rate by taking your pulse often. In my case MSG raises my heart rate which is normally around 80 (a little high) to as high as 140 to 160. The reaction can last as long as 8 to 24 hours.

Also in my case, it causes my heart to beat irregularly (probably due to past damage) and I become immediately aware of the reaction. But I have seen my wife have the same heart rate reaction to MSG ingestion. My wife, however, seems unaware of the increased rate except when we go to bed and wake in the middle of the night experiencing the labored breathing, wandering thoughts and worries and irritableness.

My doctor explained these symptoms as being related to the increased heart rate. He stated that it is like your heart is running in place while your body is trying to sleep. Because the heart rate doesn't slow down (as it should in the natural sleep mode) all the other body functions react to wake you up.

Carol H is correct about the histamine connection. My doctor recommended taking benadryl on those occasions when I would have sleepless nights. Because of my heart rate awareness, I can actually feel the rate slow as the benadryl kicks in. And I sleep like a baby unless my wife has ingested the same food -- then she keeps me awake tossing & turning. But she refuses to believe this connection.
Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2001 - 6:25 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I appreciate all the responses. The heart rate is something to whicy I will pay closer attention. The running in place analogy is hits very close to home. When the event occurs during sleep, it does seem like I am aware of every heartbeat and that it is beating very hard, but not necessarily rapidly. The feeling of not being able to breath normally and automatically is definitely the most discomfiting. As I said, the symptoms are hard to characterize, even to myself.

I actually wore a Holter heart monitor a couple years ago and deliberately induced my symptoms. The cardiologist's analysis inidicated no irregular heartbeat, for what that's worth.

I have not discussed the sleep apnea angle with my PCP, who is a pretty open minded doctor (but it is an HMO), but when I mentioned the symptoms and the connection with dairy and MSG, he found it quite reasonable, but characterized my reaction as a "side effect" rather than an allergy. His bottom line was all you can do about a side affect is recognize it and avoid the problem. I'm actually pretty satisfied that I seem to have identified the causes of my problem. I really feel for people who have similar or even worse problems and are still struggling with the causes.
Posted on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 1:32 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just wanted to thank everyone for this site and this messageboard, it has been a godsend for all the information I have gleaned from it. I just wanted to relate my experience leading up to my msg connection. With a busy week I lapsed into the convenience food syndrome where I came home and ate whatever was quick and easy while trying to eat healthy as well. This goal was not always achieved because I started to using frozen entrees because it was quick and filling. I always read ingredients because I am dairy allergic but I thought that a small amount of msg can't be that bad so I continued to eat these products. I noticed that I always had a dry mouth and had to drink something to get rid of it , but wondered where it came from. It took me awhile to look at my diet because in addition to this I was becoming quite tired and my mood swings were getting stronger and sometimes I seem to be in a blue funk that wouldn't abate so my energy and desire for very much just wasn't there anymore.
It wasn't until I came down with a very bad cold that I began to associate my symptoms with what I was eating. I begin to recover from my cold symptoms but I still seemed to be quite tired and my mood was very down. I was very frustrated and very tired since thinking they were good for me I still used my frozen entrees because sick I had no energy to cook anything but knowing I needed to eat .I somehow thought of doing a search on msg on the web and luckily came upon your site.
I then noticed that many of the symptoms mentioned were ones I was experiencing, especially the mood swings. I then proceeded to throw out any products I was using that would have any msg or byproduct. After a couple of days the mood swings abated and I my head was much clearer. I am slowly feeling much better and am very vigilant about what I eat now.Also your advice about soy products have led me to stop using these as well. I am using rice dream milk instead.I am sorry if this reads like a novel but I wanted to list my experience like other people in the hopes that someone else will feel better as well. Again my thanks for your advice and this site.
Posted on Monday, May 28, 2001 - 3:57 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Glad you're feeling better, Paul!
Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 10:45 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have recently discovered that I am sensitive to MSG and I'm feeling overwhelmed with the task of trying to avoid it! I just ordered Debby's book and I can't wait to receive it.

I have struggled with intense headaches since college. (All that dining hall food .... ugh!) I have also battled intense mood swings since that time. I even finally made the difficult decision to go on an antidepressant last year because felt I could not safely parent my three pre-schoolers (including one set of twins) with the frequent rage episodes I was having. I am an otherwise mature, thoughtful, spiritual, often wise person. But nothing I tried seemed to help with this Jekyll/Hyde syndrome.

Well, I have proven to myself that the headaches are MSG related. (I discovered this on a miserable "morning after" I ingested Tuna Helper. (They actually list MSG as an ingredient, thankfully.) That was a month ago and I have been trying to avoid MSG ever since. Normally I cook a lot of whole foods (grains, potatoes, beans, etc.) but I often add prepared canned food (tomato products primarily) and condiments. I wondered why I kept getting the headaches sometimes even when there was no MSG on the label.

This website has been very helpful. I am particularly excited at the possibility that my mood disorder might also be relieved by removing MSG from my diet. It is so hard for me to believe it could be that simple. I plan to get rid of the MSG for a while before trying life without my medication. But I have hope.....

Thanks to all of you.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 7:08 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dear Carole & NOMSGers,

I woke up this morning feeling great. I had a good night's sleep -- no hypertension, no anxiety, normal and strong heartbeat, clear head, no swelling or difficulty breathing, no dizzyness, no rashes or aches & pains in my joints -- in essence -- no Mr. Grumpy.

Thankfully this is no longer an unusual occurance to wake feeling this way and spend my day comfortably. I praise God & those of you contributing on this site that I can once again feel like a normal human being (if there is such a thing with all these Excitotoxins around).

So Carole, hang in there and study those food labels. Do it for yourself & your family no matter how much grief you get from them or others. Don't be afraid to tell it to the world for you will find that you are living proof that Excitotoxin abstinance can do wonders.
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 8:42 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dear Tom,

Thanks for the encouragement.

I have to say that, along with the hope of relief from some of these debilitating symptoms, I am also feeling overwhelmed with sadness at the extent of poison in our food supply. Perhaps this intensely sad response is related to my own tendency toward depression. Have you (or anyone else) felt an almost incapacitating sadness about the state of deception and greed so prevalent in the food industry (and everywhere else). Somehow I need to come to grips with this before I can really have the energy it will take to make the food changes necessary for me and my family.

How can I keep my children safe in this world? It feels overwhelming.

Any ideas for dealing with the emotional stuff -- the sadness and betrayal? I don't mean to sound overly dramatic, but this whole thing has really shaken my faith.
Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2001 - 4:04 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Remember...Bad things just happen. For me, I'm very happy that I found out about Excitotoxins and by controling what I eat I have a pain free and good life. When ever I feel overwhelmed I thank God for another day of life and the gift of life
and it always works for me. As for keeping your children do the best that you can and pray for Devine guidance and wisdom.
Deb A.
Posted on Friday, June 01, 2001 - 8:25 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Again, I am moved to tell my wonderful friends who are constantly monitoring this site, how grateful I am to you for the great service you are rendering here as you give information and encouragement to newcomers who have made the MSG connection. Your words always inspire me and make me proud to be associated with you. I have been and still am out of town on a much needed vacation, and this laptop has not always been very co-operative..couldn't make the connection to the site for days. Missed you all.
Carole, Tom and Marcia are so right. We have all been where you are right now. Also, once your system is more free of MSG and aspartame, and chemicals that are always present in commercial foods, that little "black cloud" that seems to make everything seem more hopeless, will go away. Coping skills and new hope, will give you renewed strength. My husband is home and has probably sent your order. He told me to stay here with my sisters for some more R&R, and I quickly obliged. I was needing a break...we have had tons of company and now I will be refreshed for the next batch...our three grandchildren, while their parents are in Costa Rica.. a school trip for HS students..he's a teacher).
Again, please don't despair. I cannot tell you the number of people who have told me that they found this site after they had dropped to their knees and prayed for help. Some have cursed God for their health problems, but we need to put the blame where it belongs..on the greed and stupidity of men. Hang in there and trust what the book, your body, and we are telling you, Carole.
Posted on Friday, June 01, 2001 - 8:41 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I recommend the book "Don't Blame God" it is published by Christian Educational Services. I think they have a web That is a guess on the address. The book is wonderful.
Posted on Friday, June 01, 2001 - 10:38 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks to all of you!

I am feeling better already. I realized that I am already used to cooking and eating a lot of whole foods, and that I don't really need to make that many changes. I discovered that my kids like a bit of organic honey with peanut butter (organic, natural) just as much as the chemical-laden jams we had used before. I normally make about half of my bread (with a bread machine), but now I will start buying the rest at my local bakery instead of from the grocery store. My commitment to organic produce has come and gone over the years, but with the local Farmer's Markets beginning this weekend, it is a good time to make the commitment again.

It's mostly the condiments and the "special treats" that have got me into trouble. With some effort I can find healthy choices in those areas as well.

So... I'm feeling like I have more control over my food safety than I felt a few days ago.

I am still feeling sad about the extent of deception and greed. But feeling more empowered about my own family's food supply will help alleviate some of that, I expect.

I am excited to get the book and learn more recipes!
Deb A. in rainy Seattle
Posted on Saturday, June 02, 2001 - 8:55 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Great to hear you are feeling better, Carole!
Please be careful about any purchased breads, no matter where you buy them. Even bakeries now add l-cysteine, dough conditioners that often contain glutamate and aspartates, and flours that often contain malted barley flour, soy flour, and dry milk or buttermilk solids, and whey....also margarine and soybean oil...just ask for the ingredients used to be safe.
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 12:40 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

HI TO YOU ALL!!!FROM A NEW MSG CANIDATE (KAY)!Today my eyes were open to the ???? I have had for years about, restless nights, breathing problems, blurred visions certain days, severe headaches lasting hrs-days which no headache medications on market seem to relieve.I have always tried to be health concious, eating veggies/fruits,fiber/grains but when Iam kicking back or doing road shows weekly/mo. I and hubby tended to eat healthy chips when possible, beef jerky,yogurts, bottled fruit drinks, etc whatever is the best item at a roadway gas /store. Usually I would get tired, and or grumpy, headaches, feel fat ,blurred vision, ect. OH MY GOODNESS! I CAN.T BELIEVE THE MSG ASSOCIATION! Today while I was sitting down cracking open the book: EXCITOTOXINS (THE TASTE THAT KILLS) BY RUSSELL L. BLAYLOCK I was happily munching down approx. 1/4-1/3 a bag of designer garlic chips. shortly approx 45min-1 hr. later I Developed a massive headache and extrem blurred vision, I couldn.t figure out why, struggling to continue to read this Excitotoxin book skimming from subject after subject/ chpt/after still fighting this headache
and vision condition (now currently 10 hrs. later)
I discouvered this awesome info. in side this great book. all the diseases related to it / the truth why humanity is ill, and this has lead me to research the word MSG on the internet that has lead to this site as well as others , what a reavalation, I starting calling all my grown children and sharing this most valuable info. with them. this all happened in one day , I am a living crusader to help save this diseased sick nation.
I am soo appolled at the evil conspiracy. going on between food manufacturers/MSG producers as well as Aspartame/ and other drug users not to mention those evil money grabbing co./GOV. OFFICIALS
being paid off by giants to dispose of truth studies/info. documented by honest/legal doctors and researchers. Iam interested in helping to fight for the rights to have good health/longevity
and drug free/ill free country(humans). Iam also a entreprenuer who is always brainstorming how to make a better product,such as drug free snacks, spices, and foods, I would love to research the needs out there and perhaps sometime soon, branch out and produce an awesome MSG/DRUG free product food line. Currently My hunny and I Own/operate a Jewelry manufacture co. and spend 30-35 shows a yr. on road. so time is somewhat limited to research/ dev. I have always had an interest in healthy foods and expanding the human life. You never know where a devoted mind/ and a little bit of enthusiusm may lead. Hope you all have a great day! feel free to pespond back to KAY JACOBS email
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 8:20 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kay, keep brainstorming. It would be so ideal if a line of truly MSG free products could be developed with labels telling the truth about it. It would take lots of money to do it right and on a large level, but if someone is interested, I have some good recipes!:)
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 5:50 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kay Jacobs,

You might want to e-mail about your possible plans to produce a line of MSG-free foods or visit his web site:
Posted on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 7:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

hi dennis thanks for the story about the problems with dairy and not sleeping at night . i have had a problem sleeping for so many years and since reading your posting i realized that i was eating all those dairy foods at night that you mentioned in your posting. and have been able to sleep comfortably since stopping eating those foods at night.thanks again itruly apporeciate the help. clarissa

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