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Nutrition Action April 2001

Battling the MSG Myth » Archive » Sharing Media Reports and Letters Related to the Issue » Nutrition Action April 2001 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 12:13 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Nutrition Action Healthletter is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest ( In the April 2001 edition, the following appeared within an article entitled "Food Allergies" by David Schardt:

"Researchers at Harvard University tested 130 people who believed they were sensitive to MSG. In two separate tests, 19 of them reacted to 5 grams of MSG (an enormous dose), but not to a look-alike (but MSG-free placebo. Twelve agreed to be retested. Only 2 of the 12 reacted to the large does of MSG but not the placedbo in the retest. Our research confirms that some people are sensitive to MSG, but it's not common and the symptoms are extremely mild," says Harvard researcher Raif Salim Geha."

Extremely mild!!!!!!! HA!

If anyone wishes to dispute this article, write to:

Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Suite 300
1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009-5728
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 5:16 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I gave those clowns over 100 pages of scientific abstracts ten years ago proving that glutamate was harmful. Nice to see they'd rather rely on faulty data paid for by the Glutamate Association than to actually look at the facts. Bummer :(
Carol H
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 4:09 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry for the insult CSPI, but you really dropped the ball on this one. For anyone out there scientifically inclined at all: when reviewing a "study" regardless of who pays for it, here's what to look for:
1. What exactly is in the test substance?
2. What exactly is in the control substance? The control substance should not have MSG in it - or aspartame or other excitatory substances or uppers, or even large amounts of protein, which increase the amounts of tyrosine into the brain - in effect acting like an upper.
3. How exactly is the test substance conveyed into the body? In a protective capsule? In a food that will chemically alter the test substance to render it less harmful, by converting it to GABA? With a substance that would mitigate it's effects? I mean specifically any food or capsule containing Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Taurine, CoQ10, or any natural or over the counter antihistamine. So foods like potatoes, orange juice, tomato juice, fruit juice - all high in Vitamin C, whole grain foods, beef, salmon, even watermelon - high in B6 should NOT be used in the study. You get the idea. Even foods high in sucrose would dampen the feeling of the subjects having an insulin reaction. In other words, they should give it to them straight. I can mix taurine with a glass of water, why do they have to go through all kinds of contortions with the test substance unless they are hiding something?
4. Were test subjects with asthma,high blood pressure, AFib, MCS, Fibromyalgia, diabetes, MS or any other disorder discouraged from taking part in the test? If MSG has no effect at all like they've been telling us, they shouldn't worry about that now, should they?
5. How long were the reactions measured for? An hour? Two hours? A day?
6. And lastly - this is very important. What is the scientific basis for measuring a reaction? Is it merely a questionaire where the test subject is to describe a vague feeling, a vapour or general malaise (sarcasm) or is it something really measurable by a piece of equipment - like an automatic blood pressure and pulse monitor or by a chemical test - for say, histamine, or insulin levels. You don't test for liver damage with a questionnaire - you do a blood test. The same rules should apply here.

Unless you see a study free of all the biases I listed here, but at the same time with a clear scientifically measurable result of a reaction, you should discount the results even if they came from Harvard University.

Many of you have easily grasped the intricate biochemistry involving neurotoxins, I know you will easily develop the tools to fight bad science with good, sound, ethical science. It is the only way to ultimately win the war. When someone mentions one of these ridiculous studies to you, I want you to have the knowledge and the savvy to blow those halfbaked studies out of the water:)
Carol H
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 4:22 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

P.P.S. If CSPI had known anything at all about MSG, the article would not have been titled "Food Allergies". If MSG directly affects histamine levels, the IGE antibody response or "true allergic response" would be completely bypassed. That is why it is called MSG sensitivity, and NOT MSG allergy. There are no antibodies involved. You can't have antibodies for substances your body uses all the time, and that includes glutamate. Hello.... CSPI, is there anybody there who even knows biochemistry?
Carol H
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 4:44 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry to be so gloomy today, but there are people actually dying out there from this stuff. I just found out that a relative of mine died from an asthma attack. His wife is a pharmacist, and she couldn't even save him. They were away from home, visiting people. I wonder what he ate that day? Nobody is being adequately warned about the effect this stuff has on people with asthma, and it's really upsetting.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 6:01 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Sorry to hear about your relative :( . I've had my share of asthma attacks, mostly when I was younger.

This link discusses asthma drug resistance, which may explain why his pharmacist wife was unable to help him. The article also seems to indicate that glutamate receptors may be involved:
Deb A.
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2001 - 11:02 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol, did you send that message to CSPI? I sure hope you did! It was excellent. Next, send a copy to Harvard. We're all sick of the deceit and back scratching that goes on in powerful circles, namely the glutes, the monied food industry and the inadequate and uncaring government agencies who are supposed to help us. How do some of them sleep at night? Jack Samuels could tell you some horror stories about what really goes on behind the public's back. It's time to get mad. You are right. People are dying. I just heard about a woman who died (in her 40's) from an asthma attack. She was so fit and I had to wonder what she had eaten, too. I know how difficult it used to be for me to breathe when I had attacks before I knew MSG was my trigger. Look at all the kids with inhalers today! Asthma has increased in phenomenal percentages in the last decade.
Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2001 - 1:19 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mon,3/26/01-Moyers will air "Trade Secrets" at 9pm on PBS nationwide (may differ in other time zones) re decades of corruption of science and politics by companies, trade associations and PR firms defending the chemical industry. FYI, see:
Carol - Great outline re pertinent points to ask about re studies. I am keeping a copy for future reference. Sorry to hear of your relative's passing -- so terrible when you know this could have been avoided.
Carol H
Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2001 - 4:09 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, MEMorris, I just thought of one more thing, based on what I believe Christine had brought up - were the volunteers eating the test substance on an empty stomach, or were they eating it with a large amount of food? The amount itself may matter as well as fiber present. Butyric acid is made in the intestine from fiber. Butyric acid is also a component of GABA.

Deb, maybe I should write to CSPI again. I haven't just yet because I remember that the letter I wrote CSPI ten years ago was written in response to an "article" they had written citing the results of the fraudulent glutamate study where tomato juice was used. Citing badly conducted studies is not new to CSPI. They should be called Center for Science in the Public Corporation's Interest. I'm sure they may do some good, but to tell the truth, I'm a little wary.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 4:00 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


After browsing the CSPI web site, ,

I, too, feel that CSPI is pulling their punches with regard to the food industry. For example, they advise consumers to "consider cutting back" their intake of aspartame, rather than to eliminate it.
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 2:40 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol H.-have you ever thought of working for the FDA? If you ran it-the US food supply would be keeping us all alive-instead of slowly killing us and turning us into excitotoxin drugged zombies.
You are one of the most intelligent and sound people I have ever ran across!
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2001 - 3:39 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you, Adam. I am trying to be a good little civil engineer, but my heart really belongs to this stuff. I probably should try to get a job at the FDA. It has to be easier than beating my head against the wall trying to get them to do the right thing from the outside.
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 7:04 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

On 3/21/01, I sent the following letter to Dr. Michael F. Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). See my entry above dated 3/21/01 for additional background.

My letter stated:
Dear Mr. Jacobsen: This letter is in regards to David Schardt's article about food allergies in the April 2001 Nutrition Action Health Letter. Mr. Schardt should have told the other side of the story regarding MSG instead of just citing Raif Salim Geha, a Harvard researcher, who said that MSG symptoms are “extremely mild”. I hope that you will do so in future issues. For example, you can tell your readers about:

*MSG being an excitoxin (see Dr. Blaylock’s book on Excitoxins)

*Organizations such as Truth in Labeling ( and NoMSG (

*Real life experiences posted by people who suffer greatly from MSG (such as myself) and post at the MsgMyth internet discussion board (

Mr. Jacobsen's handwritten response reads as follows:
Dear Ms. E: We have scoured the medical literature but could not find a single study demonstrating severe reactions, hence in light of all the anecdotal reports, we have urged the FDA to undertake studies of people who believe they are severely affected. Sincerely, MFJ
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 9:34 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Way to go, MEMorris! You are doing some great things. This is an example of what one committed person can accomplish with the power of the pen. Let's just hope the FDA doesn't file this away as it has done in the past with complaints from consumers.
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 7:26 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've a long ways to go to match your efforts and efforts of folks like Carol Hornleich (, Jack Samuels ( and Betty Martini*.
*Regarding Betty Martini, anyone can sign up to get copies of Betty’s protest letters directed to the FDA. Register at: . She writes about MSG, Aspartame, Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST), Sucralose (Splendid), and other food chemicals. I’ve learned much from reading her letters – Betty is a real fighter!

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