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Battling the MSG Myth » Archive » Help! I've Just Made the MSG Connection » Overwhelmed « Previous Next »

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Posted on Monday, June 11, 2001 - 7:41 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've read through lots of messages on this board and it has helped but.... I have removed msg and dairy from my diet in the last 2 weeks. My pain level is wayyy down along with the fatigue but 15 years of muscle tension has wrecked havoc on my back - I can't stand for more than 5 minutes and washing dishes strains my neck and shoulders. So.... I have the cookbook but get exhausted looking at the lists of ingredients. I can't currently knead dough so do you have any easy conversions for your breads to a bread machine. I have a family of 5 ages 2 to 15. I see that all my family has problems with msg (the worse my chronic pain and fatigue the more msg we consumed with "quick and easy" food) so I need to switch but I seem to have a real problem with dairy and soy and margarine are out because of msg. We live in a little town. I'm still trying to track down goat's milk. Anyway, I know you know all the questions. I just keep leafing through the cookbook trying to find something non-dairy that I have the stamina to make - any ideas? Thank you so much. All the information in your book and on your site is great.

Evelyn H.
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2001 - 10:27 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Laura--Hang in there. It's hard not to be overwhelmed sometimes. Try to get some Rice Dream rice milk to use in place of dairy. It works great in most recipes that I've tried it in. I recommend Deb's pumpkin pie recipe. I made it for my son's birthday and he told me it's better than his grandma's pie. I recently bought a rice cooker, which I love. A bread machine is an asset. We try to make large batches of waffles and pancakes and then freeze them for quick breakfasts or even lunches. I'd also recommend trying to find an orgznic farm near your home where you can buy meat direct from the farm. I don't know where you live, but a bunch of organic farmers in Minnesota got together and published a directory, split out by region, of all the organic farms. It's a great tool for finding produce, meat, etc.

As for good quick recipes without dairy--the chicken fingers can be made without dairy. I just put the crumb mixture together and dip the chicken in. My son, age 5, loves those. There's a rustic French potatoe recipe (I make it without butter) that's phenomenal. My husband loves those. The blackened salmon is also great.

Hope this helps. Hang in there. I've been where you are. It does get easier.
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2001 - 4:45 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Laura, may I also suggest the flour tortillas...the big batch recipe? I make it in a jiffy and they are so good. Just form balls and place them on a large cookie sheet, freeze like you would strawberries, and store in a freezer bag. When needed, just defrost 4 to five balls for just 30 to 40 seconds in the microwave or just let defrost. Roll out to desired thickness on a floured cloth, and cook on an ungreased frypan on med-high heat until bubbles start to form, flip, and fill with refied beans, and anything else you like. We like homemade salsa, mild cheese (sparingly, like jack or mozzarella), and avacados. We love them with organic peanut butter and homemade jam, or with either/or. They are great just spread with real butter and sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar or honey. Or try hummus, or seasoned meat for burritos. I slice up peeled apples or drain and slice my canned peaches, and fill rolled uncooked ones. You can sprinkle with sugar to taste. Then I roll them up, and brush with a little melted butter, or oil, and place on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees until light golden and bubbly. I know just where you are coming from at this point in your "learning" and "frustration". I am also very familiar with the burning back pain and trying to feed my four kids. As I gradually got a better handle on what we could and could not eat, the back pain disappeared...that and the headaches were the most terrible things to live with. Try not to be overwhelmed with all the information. It's best to read the book more than once, and things will gradually become easier. The recipe for baking powder is easy and inexpensive and will be healtier for your family, too. I triple it and keep extra in the freezer. Most of the recipes can be cut down for bread machines, by the way. Just use as much flour and liquid as the machine recipes call for, and use yeast that has no additives. Evelyn gave some wonderful suggestions, and support. Just be sure to give yourself the time it always takes to make new habits and undo old ones....and allow yourself to have setbacks and mistakes. We all have had to do the same. But it will get easier and you will regard this time as an important learning experience for your whole family. It takes at least 6 months to get a handle on this new and healthier life style. Then it's not such a chore anymore. We're here for you. Don't give up!
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2001 - 7:41 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Laura, maybe it would help to aim for very simple foods for now -- until you get your physical strength back. By simple I mean cooked grains (rice, millet, quinoa, etc.) with a little lemon juice sprinkled on; meat simply roasted and sliced, nuts (I think most of those are okay...); fruit and veggies. For the kids you could offer simple baked goods (I make muffin batter but pour it into a 9x13 or big jelly roll pan -- easier!), sliced carrots and celery, etc. My main goal for all of us right now is to avoid the toxins and not worry too much about whether all our meals are "balanced" nutritionally. I know that once I feel better and the kids act calmer it will become easier to prepare a wider variety of foods.
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 6:39 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the input. A friend suggested I start juicing carrots and taking barlety green and that along with removing the msg is gvinging me enough energy to feel like we will get to where we need to go. Thank you again for the encouragement and food ideas. Your site and book are very helpful.

Deb A.
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 7:53 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Careful with the barley green products. I have been told that some react to it. I know that malted and sprouted barley are high in free glutamic acid. But the carrot juice sounds great. We buy the big bags of organic carrots at Fred Meyers and juice and freeze it in glass bottles. It's especially good with the juice of some apples and some fresh lemon juice. (don't juice the lemons in the juicer if you don't want a bitter taste)
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2001 - 12:21 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have just read the results of a clinical research study potentially linking Fibromyalgia (which I have) to excitotoxins. The reports indicated that people who switched to a special diet had relief from many or all of their symptoms. Since this is one of the few benign treatment options available, I am interested in trying it out. However, I can't seem to find anything on the Internet about diet suggestions. I find tons of stuff about how bad MSG, etc. is for you, but nothing on what to do about it. This is the only place I've even seen discussion from the proactive side of it, but you guys are all waaay beyond my understanding. I am wondering, for one thing, if it says natural flavoring, does that mean it definitely has bad stuff in it, or just that it might? And if the FDA knows how bad this stuff is, why don't they do anything? Why don't they at least require definite, factual labeling in this area? And if the FDA won't do its duty, why aren't more people informed of this so we can lobby for change? Until today, I seriously had no idea that I was eating stuff that did this. I knew about Nutrasweet, but that was it. Someone help!!!
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2001 - 12:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Also, does this mean no eating out?
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2001 - 12:40 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For answers as to why this poison is still in our food, you can go to site You can learn how to avoid it from our book and by gleaning as much info as you can from this site and posting board.
To put it simply, the FDA is looking out for the interests of the big food corporations and not our health.
"Natural Flavorings" means MSG 9 times out of 10.
Shannon, will you please give us the name of the clinical report you just read? I have spoken with a clinical pharmacist at the at the U. of Florida who submitted such a study a couple years ago, but he said it could take years for a medical journal/group to accept it. We have been looking for some scientific studies to link excitotoxins to FMS for a long time. You can be sure that I hear from MANY ex- fibromyalgia sufferers who have used our book and this site to reclaim their health. Some may call what we eat a diet. I like to think of it as reverting back to the way people used to eat before processed foods.
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2001 - 1:36 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb A.--thank you! I am more than a little freaked out right now. I am not good at making small lifestyle changes, and this one sounds big. I will add the abstract & link to this study at the end of this. Also, Dr. Teitelbaum has written a book about FMS & alternative treatments & I know he has a chapter in his book devoted to this. Sorry but I don't remember the title.

FM Abstract: "Relief of Fibromyalgia Symptoms Following Discontinuation of
Dietary Toxins"

A study reported dramatic results when Fibromyalgia patients stopped consuming
foods containing MSG, aspartate and other 'excitotoxins' - molecules that can
lead to neurotoxicity when used in excess.
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2001 - 4:16 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Be very happy that you made the connection of FMS and Excitotoxins. I did this after I heard Dr. Blaylock on Christian TV and I will be forever grateful. I can't tell you how much I suffered.
Now I lead a wonderful pain free life by excluding the Excitotoxins from my diet. I only eat out for a simple breakfast of eggs and potatoes and dry rye toast and I can have a hamburger and fries from one place. That's ok though. I don't want to suffer again.
Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 11:37 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would like to know if these are potential symptoms? gas, bloating, constipation

These symptoms are making me postitively INSANE and I will find the answer. That's why I'm here. I have "In Bad Taste" on order and will order DebA's book. I do get headaches but until now have not thought much about a food link besides "salty foods". The doctor suspects lactose intolerance and that may be part of it but I havenn't had any dairy (except lactaid milk) and I've got such a bloat belly. And constipation. So, any help will be GREATLY appreciated!!!!
Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 12:02 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I forgot to metion- the lactaid milk ingredients are: reduced fat milk, lactase enzyme, vitamin A palmitate and Vitamin D3.

Also, what about xanthan? I bought an organic dressing in Whole Foods and it has this on the label.
Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 2:30 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For myself I found that taking magnesium works great for constipation. Tri-salts has magnesium, calcium and potassium. So many things we have to find out on our own what works and what doesn't. Most doctors don't do well prescribing for FMS or Glutamate sensitive people.
Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 3:44 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Marcia - I get gas and bloating after having MSG or other additives until I pass it. The constipation ("C") seems to occur for several days following my reaction. After the offending food pushes through my system within a short period of time (5 minutes to 2 hours), I probably get dehydrated (which can cause C) and perhaps, my digestive flora gets disturbed.

My gastrointestinal system was so messed up after repeated reactions each week, that it took me quite a while to get it back to somewhat normal. I think the psychological reactions from familiar foods being trouble didn't help either.

Now that I have eliminated all processed foods from my diet and kept a food diary for more than a year, I rarely have a reaction. If I slip up and/or get any bloating, I reexamine my diet and I almost always can track it down to MSG or another food additive.

To recover from a reaction, drink plenty of water and as previously mentioned last week by Debby A, consider getting Tri-Salts from Beyond-A-Century. Hot tea made with fresh ginger also helps because ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Everyday, I have at least one tablespoon of plain yogurt made with hormone free milk per day and 2-3 tablespoons of organic flax seed that I grind in a coffee mill. I also just started testing out taking a probiotic in hopes that will my gastro system for the long term.

Imagine the number of folks out there who are suffering with digestive problems who haven't made the MSG connection yet --- even worse, imagine how many doctors brush MSG off as a possible problem. The Merck Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) says that there are few folks who have problems from food additives .... HA!

None of my physicians helped me -- but Debby A and the rest of the folks here at this discussion board did and I am most grateful to them. By the way, NoMSG ( has an booklet available for educating physicians that you may want to get.
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 5:32 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

DebbieD, one of the reasons why MSG might cause someone digestive trouble is that it may inhibit the formation of taurine which the body uses to make bile. Bile is stored in the gall bladder and used to pull fat globules apart to manageable pieces and emulsify them, so that digestive enzymes can do their job more easily in the intestines. Often people find out after they have their gall bladders removed that a good dose of MSG will give them the same symptoms as a gall bladder "attack". Another reason for trouble might be the effect of MSG on the histamine response and inflammation. If the nervous system and the immune system are as linked as current research suggests, and MSG triggers immune response, causing the blood vessels to become leaky - prompting swelling, then the body's water is mainly going into the tissues and away from the blood stream. The large intestine is where water balance is maintained and the body calls back most of the water that it supplied in the digestive process. If the body is retaining water in the tissues, because of inflammation, then the body may be very stingy with water and let very little of it leave by way of the colon. That may explain bloating with constipation. Also, if MSG affects the glucose to energy pathway, (which it may since foods like corn which can lead to niacin deficiency and more trouble in the glucose to energy pathway, give MSG sensitives trouble), symptoms similar to the disease pellagra may occur which include : dermatitis, swelling, edema and diarrhea. So there you have three possible routes to trouble: interference with bile, inflammatory response, and the glucose to energy pathway.
Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 7:07 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the info!! I truly appreciate it. By the way- MEMorrisNJ- I'm from NJ too. Essex Co.

I bought some organic, unhomoginized, whole milk yesterday at Whole Foods and I am using it in my coffee this morning. Just want to see if it's better than using the Lactaid. Otherwise I don't use milk or dairy products anymore.
Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 7:30 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is there any mention about ultrapasteurization on the bottle? If not, I am going to find a Whole Foods to get some since I have not been able to find unhomogenized milk! --- Thanks for sharing you are from NJ. Would love to share resources with you if you wish. You may email me.
Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 8:55 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The label just says pasteurized. No metion of "ultra". It comes in a clear glass bottle. I got in in Millburn at Whole Foods on Millburn Avenue.
Deb S
Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 6:42 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A word of caution: Be careful with the un-homogenized milk...I was using it for a few weeks, and was getting symptoms like I do from milk solids or ultrapasteurized milk. I was highly suspicious that they were adding milk solids so that the separated milk (when the cream floats to the top naturally) would look like homogenized, which it did. I was too busy at the time to follow up by contacting the dairy to ask (no website), but it would be a good idea to do so.
Gerry Bush
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2001 - 12:00 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The milk DebbieD describes from Whole Foods is indeed safe. Take it from me.....and I'm extremely sensitive to just about everything and I can drink that milk. Enjoy.
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2001 - 6:28 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Gerry Bush: Has any doctor ever told you that you were lactose intolerant only to find out that you can handle that milk? I'm just wondering if that will happen with me. But, I used it yesterday and this morning (only incoffee) and I'm puffed in the belly again. But, I've been this way for a few days now. Who knows? I'm very frustrated cuz my jean shorts DON'T FIT and I am a very fit and lean person!!!! Oi vey-LOL
Deb A.
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 4:02 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Debbie, you may be lactose intolerant, but I suspect (and could be very wrong) that since you are just at the learning stage of how to avoid MSG, you may also be reacting to something else that you ingest regularly that you are unaware has high levels of glutamate. Or you are getting small amounts of it from a variety of products. It can be lurking in your toothpaste,bread, vitamins, or other surprising items. It took most of us 6 months to a year to get a real handle on MSG avoidance. Your symptoms are also classic ones of sulfite sensitivity. That's how I react to mayonnaise and MSG tainted tuna,(Starfish always has MSG, from what I have been told) fruit drinks, etc.
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 7:47 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Do sulfites have hidden names as well as MSG? I'm trying out Whole Foods tuna today for lunch. Only tuna, water, salt. Same mayo though. What is rosemary extract and could that be MSG? It's in the mayo.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 10:03 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, there are several names such as calcium or sodium bisulfite, sulfur dioxide, etc. I don't have my book nearby, or I'd give you the rest....about 10...but look for sulfur or sulfite words. The rosemary extract may be essential oil, or just rosemary diffused in alcohol. You can call the company...most numbers are on the product or call 1 800 555 1212 for the toll free number of most companies.
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 3:30 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't have a record of my source for the reference on sulfites (see below) which I found very helpful. Maybe it is from someone here? If you are the author, please accept my apologies and let us know who you are and where the reference appears.(I took some editorial license with the formatting.) Here it is:

"The following foods commonly contain sulfites and should be avoided by individuals with sulfite sensitivity. This is not a complete list. Check labels of all foods for sulfite-containing ingredients.
1. Bakery products — Cookies, crackers, pie and pizza crusts, flour tortillas, bakery products containing dried fruits or vegetables
2. Beverages — Beer, cocktail mixes, beverage mixes, wine, wine coolers
3. Dairy products — Filled milk (milk enriched in fat content with vegetable oil)
4. Fish and shellfish — Canned clams; dried cod; fresh, frozen, canned and dried shrimp; frozen lobster; scallops
5. Fruits — Processed fruit including canned, bottled, or frozen fruit; dried fruit; canned, bottled, or frozen "dietetic" fruit for fruit juices; maraschino cherries; glazed fruit
6. Vegetables — Precut potatoes
7. Other — Condiments and relishes (horseradish, onion and pickle relish, pickles, olives, salad dressing mixes, wine vinegar); guacamole dip
8. Sweets — Confections and frostings containing brown, raw, powdered, or white sugar derived from sugar beets

Sulfite-containing ingredients: sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium metabilsulfite and potassium metabisulfite."
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 5:39 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


You may want to watch out for the tuna! Especially, if it is canned or not fresh. It can be very high in tyramine content. I don't know about others here, but canned tuna is a real killer for me.
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 7:05 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IC - Thanks for the reminder about tyramine -- I had forgotten about it. Debbie - Do a keyword search on tyramine -- good info here.
Also, I found Carol H.'s web site excellent for overview. Her tyramine section is at:
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 5:18 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In my opinion, tyramine is the problem for our conditions -- not necessarily MSG. MSG is very high in tyramine and that's what creates the problem for us. If you go to the link ME listed you will see MSG listed in the "to avoid" column (along with other high tyramine related foods). I suspect that most of us will find the items on this list to be our problem foods.
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 6:55 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IC -But does a tyramine sensitivity prompt digestive reactions as well as headaches? Headaches are only mentioned as a reaction for tyramine. I question if tyramine is my problem or a problem for others who do not get headaches and suffer instead with digestive problems.
From Carol H's tyramine list, I only react to the foods that go through some sort of process and not those that come to us as nature provides. For example, unroasted nuts and not overly ripe avocados and bananas are a daily part of my diet. I'd appreciate opinions on this.
Laurie M
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 8:15 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I get severe headaches from MSG but have no problem with many high tyramine foods. I have never had any problems with food that is unadulterated by man.
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 8:55 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I will have to do a little digging to get all of the tyramine connections, but I do believe tyramine is related to the digestive system. Certainly, it is related to the liver. I'm like you, I do not react to all of the foods on the tyramine list. But, I do react to most and to some items that are not processed (nuts as an example). I probably should have added glutamates and histamine to the last post as part of our problem, because many of the problem foods are very high in histamines and glutamates (many foods contain both). Of course, MSG is a glutamate, but clearly there are others. Here is a link, if you are interested:

Actually, my reaction is not a digestive reaction with the exception of some gas occasionally. My reaction is congestion, sinus, fluid build-up in the form of a drippy throat and last, but certainly not least what I call an almost "out of mind experience" for a minimum of one day, sometimes more. For the uninformed, I usually describe my reaction as flu-like symptoms.
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 8:59 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


See my last post to ME. My reaction seems to be a little different and I do react to some foods that are not "unadulterated," as you mentioned.
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 9:11 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


As an add-on to the last post, let me mention that most all that I have read about the amine connection (tyramine, histamine, tyrosine) is that it effects the brain chemicals (amount other things) that control levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin and PEA. It does this by effecting the monoamine oxidase (MAO) levels. This is why you get so spaced out from all that I can tell.

Here is a link to more information about this:
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 9:19 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I believe the sulfite reference was a recent issue of Sully's Living Without.
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 9:23 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I can't eat bananas or avocados. I think spinach is a problem too, but it's been so long since I gave it up that I can't remember if it was because I read it had tyramine or that I actually reacted to it with a headache. I just visited a naturopath in England and she put avocados and bananas on my list of foods to avoid, which I already was doing anyway. After testing many foods, she told me that spinach and raspberries were O.K. for me to eat. I've eaten raspberries since I got back from my trip, and though I don't have a headache, I don't feel quite right yet. Could be jet-lag. I hope to continue with this testing at home. By the way, in Europe I learned that New Zealand uses the least amount of chemicals on its fruits and vegetables. I look for kiwis and apples from New Zealand. I wish there was more produce from there.
Carol H
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 2:47 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IC, MSG and tyramine are two different amino acids, however, their presence and amount yield a clue as to how a food may have been processed. If you are MSG sensitive, avoiding foods with tyramine is a good idea because processed foods high in tyramine are usually high in MSG. Tyramine is not actually in MSG. Meanwhile persons who must avoid tyramine on a doctor's advice or because it's a migraine trigger, also should avoid MSG because you must watch blood pressure, and MSG can raise it by simply being a calcium channel opener. So, MSG sensitives and tyramine sensitives should avoid many of the same foods.
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2001 - 5:25 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I went back to my notes and sites to find the links to the digestive system in connection with tyramine (MSG and histamines as well). As I mentioned in my prior post, the link seems to be one whereby MAO levels are affected by tyramine. Here is a brief description of MAO; "The primary role of MAO lies in the metabolism of amines and in the regulation of neurotransmitter levels and intracellular amine stores. In the gastrointestinal system, the circulatory system and the liver, MAO serves a protective function by regulating levels of exogenous, dietary amines—many of which would otherwise exert potent pressor effects. A similar role can be attributed to MAO in the blood-brain barrier, where it is thought to prevent the entry of potentially toxic 'false neurotransmitters'."

Clearly, there is a digestive relation.
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2001 - 6:00 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Regarding MSG and tyramine, here is a quote directly from a site that discusses MAO inhibitors, MSG and other foods high in tyramine;

"The foods that interact with MAOIs include aged cheeses; smoked, pickled, fermented and otherwise processed meats, fish and soy products; Chianti and other red wines; fava beans and ripe figs; and foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG). These foods all contain large amounts of the amino acid tyramine, which, when it interacts with MAOIs, dramatically raises blood pressure."

Also, here is a link that describes MSG as the "sodium salt" of glutamic acid and it goes on to list other foods (virtually the same list from above) that have the same characteristics and refers to the sodium salt of MSG as an amino acid -- which is what tyramine is.

Again, from all that I've read MSG does contain tyramine as indicated.
Carol H
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2001 - 3:58 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IC, MSG is monosodium glutamate. It may have the same effect as tyramine. It may even be found in the same food. But glutamate is one amino acid. Tyramine is another. Glutamate does not contain tyramine. Trust me. I took food analysis courses and everything :)
Posted on Saturday, August 18, 2001 - 7:23 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Carol,

You are correct that MSG, or at least glutamate (the primary component of MSG) is an amino acid. MSG is manufactured through the fermentation process using starch, sugar beets, sugar cane, or molasses. Tyramine, for the most part, is contained in high concentration of foods that are fermented. Although MSG is its own amino acid it contains tyramine or is a precursor to tyramine.

It is the inability of certain individuals to control the level of these pressor amines in their system that leads to our problem. The primary control mechanism for the pressor amines is monoamine oxidase (MAO) and from my research it is MAO that is the culprit. For some reason, those of us who have these reactions do not have the levels of these enzymes that we need. Thus, the pressor amines build up in the system and in the brain and wreak all kinds of havoc with the certain brain chemicals (mainly norepinephrine and PEA) which lead to the psychosomatic reactions that we experience.
Posted on Saturday, August 18, 2001 - 10:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

On this site that IC posted the URL to, it sure looks like Disodium Guanylate may have a residue of MSG in it- it is said there that DSG is isolated from yeast extract. Then again, there's usually MSG already if DSG is present.
Carol H
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 6:14 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IC it is well accepted already that individuals taking MAOIs avoid tyramine. Hospitals hand out flyers stating which foods contain tyramine, and should be avoided. These foods don't just include fermented items: raspberries, figs, and avocadoes are also on the list. This is not news. Unfortunately, there is no one reason we react, and so far we have not found one magic bullet that works for all of us. It depends on what your symptoms are as to what remedy you need. Unfortunately, your insistance about MSG containing tyramine reminds me of a NightLine show I had seen with Ted Koppel where a husband and wife were explaining their new diet book. The woman emphatically stated that her method worked because there were enzymes in atoms (an impossibility). We must be very clear on the chemistry part if we are to get anywhere with scientists.
Carol H
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 7:38 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

IC, I do appreciate your bringing up MAO. MAO, which breaks down tyramine by oxidizing it, is found in the intestine as well as the brain. The reason the body tries to break down tyramine when it encounters it, is that tyramine is a mimic which causes troubles by pretending it is epinephrine, another useful chemical in our bodies. The oxidation of tyramine forms H2O2 and free radicals which then go about damaging mitochondrial DNA. Not a good thing. Glutamate on the other hand, the body actually makes because it is used as a neurotransmitter. One interesting thing related to MSG sufferers though is that MAO breaks down histamine as well. Now, if IC is correct in that some of us lack enough MAO, then histamine, once formed, would wear out its welcome. Perhaps, the MSG sufferers with inflammation/histamine reactions from MSG are also the ones most sensitive to tyramine? An MAOI-type reaction to tyramine would indicate low MAO and would also mean too much histamine lying around. Now if glutamate causes the body to mount a histamine response, you got yourself an uncomfortable situation. Tyramine would make an MSG reaction worse than it already is. Interesting point, IC.
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 7:38 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol, The list is broader than tyramine. It includes all of the vasoactive pressor amines (histamine, tyramine, tryptamine, serotonin, dopamine, phenylethylamine), but tyramine seems to be the one that gets the most attention.

Go to this site and review the food intolerance links (I believe there are three). You might also want to click on the amines link as well.

Let me know what percent of these foods are a problem for you. For me, it is at least 80%. And yes, there are non-fermented food items that contain tyramine, but for the most part they are at lower tyramine levels and do not create the problem. The critical link here is the fermentation process and the high levels of vasoactive pressor amines.

So, I repeat. MSG is manufactured using a fermentation process. This is also true for MSG related food items (hydrolyzed protein, modified food starch, etc.) and most of the tyramine (and other vasoactive amines) related foods. It is true we don't all have the same reaction, but it seems this is a common thread for many.

It would be good if others here would check out this link and let us know if many of the foods at the link mentioned above cause them problems.

I don't exactly follow your connection with Nightline, atoms and enzymes, but I assume it was meant in some negative fashion and I don't know if that furthers the effort we are all making to find the truth.
Laurie M
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 8:17 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think what Carol is trying to say is that you are confusing the issue. All of us at this board have been learning from Carol for a while now. I would say she is considered our resident expert when it comes to analysis of MSG. She was gently trying to tell you that you are wrong. It will not help our cause if false information becomes prevalent. That will just help the FDA say what misled fools we are. Tyramine and MSG are not the same. There may be connections to reactions for some people but not for all. Please listen to what Carol has to say. She is giving you honest, truthful answers.
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 9:58 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Thank you for your reply. I certainly appreciate what you all do here. Do you react to any of the foods that I referenced on the list?
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 10:44 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol, My last reply to you was to your post 8/19 @6:14am. I just saw your 7:38am response and I think what you described is very close to the root cause of my particular problem. As you previously stated, it may not be everyone.

I might also add that the problem involves *all* of the vasoactive amines, not just tyramine. Certainly, histamine is a major contributor. If I go to the histamine food list I see more of the problem foods than I find under the tyramine list. MSG is a double whammy for me. Not only do the free glutamates cause a problem, but the creation of a vasoactive amine (histamine, as you mentioned) make it a real problem.

In the end, I believe, the real culprit is MAO which allows the buildup of all of these chemicals in the brain. It just so happens those of us who have the MAO problem (which includes MSG) can not tolerate these chemicals.
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 3:54 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello everyone,

Carol, I am afraid I am one of the ones who have a histamine reaction to MSG. I do believe that is where my Rosacea problem comes into play. I get hives, flushing....facial edema, and lesions at my worst. Would taking taurine be helpful for me...since I suffer greatly more so in the fall and winter, I am trying to put together a supplement program that might get me through this fall/winter season with less problems. Thanks,

Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 4:01 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Consider the supplements I take and when you have a reaction, take Benedryl (be careful if you have a history of glaucoma which has been shown to be agrevated by both MSG and Benedryl).

Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 4:09 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Tom,

Many people on the Rosacea board claim they do well by taking benedryl when they have a flare. I have never tried it, since I am so afraid to take anything new when I am in the midst of a serious flare. Where might I find once again the supplements that you take...and do you take Taurine? Thanks,

Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 6:52 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)



NAME Pill Size Dosage Frequency

Taurine 1/4 tsp. Powder 1ea Morning & Evening
Beyond a Century 750mg per 1/4 tsp.

Mag. Orotate 1/4 tsp. Powder 1ea Morning & Evening
Beyond a Century 73mg per 1/4 tsp.

Vitamin B-6 25 mg 1 Daily Mason Vitamins, INC., Miami, Fla
1,250% of the RDA It says it is free of Sodium, Wheat, Corn, Yeast, Soy, Gluten, Egg, Fragrance, Artificial Colors or Flavors and Preservatives.
Other ingredients: Croscarmellose Sodium, Lactose, Magnesium Stearate and Microcrystalline Cellulose.

Geritol Tablet 1 Daily

CoQ10 75mg capsule 2ea Morning & Evening
"Member's Mark" @ Sam's Club
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 9:24 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beyond-A-Century makes a powdered CoQ10 that is about $50 to $60 a bottle, but it should last about 6 months. Has anyone tried that yet? It comes with a little scoop. 1/3 of the scoop is 100 mg, I think. It's good to take CoQ10 with flax seed oil or some other fat.
Tom, do you wash off the red coating of the Geritol Complete? Some of those coatings bother me.
Laurie M
Posted on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 10:38 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi IC,
I just got back to the board and read your message. I actually do not react to any fresh produce unless it is not organic. I don't buy regular produce. I get a hives type of reaction to Sulfa drugs. I can't have even the slightest bit of MSG and Soy products make my face turn bright red along with all the other symptoms. Benadryl hasn't ever done anything for me. I tried COQ10 for a while and it really didn't help me much either. So far supplements of any kind haven't worked. Oh well :)
Carol H
Posted on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 2:42 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


For histamine type reactions, I'm not sure if taurine would help. I do think that eating good sources of vitamin C would help as it is a natural antihistamine, and it helps turn MSG into GABA. (That's probably why it is a good anti-histamine) Vitamin C is found in potatoes as well as citrus fruits. (Buy organic though.) Exercise also helps those with allergies. Probably not taxing your natural supply of MAO would help - so tyramine might not be a good idea. An interesting puzzle peice is that MAO is linked to Parkinsons. (It seems that Parkinsons patients tend to have too much MAO in the brain.) The medicine I take for my tumor, a dopamine agonist, is the same as that given to Parkinsons patients. Probably because MAO breaks down dopamine. In Parkinson's patients it probably does its job far too well. I should avoid tyramine too, but I also need to avoid the antihistamine found in Benadryl. So it's all related somehow. I'm still not sure if Benedryl is a good idea based on all this.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 5:19 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb A,

No I do not wash off the red coating of the Geritol Complete. I doesn't seem to bother me except for an occasional belch that will bring some of the vitamin taste back up.

I'm sold on the fact that the higher dosage of CoQ10 (total of 300mg per day) has helped me greatly. If you will recall during my recent stress period that sent me to the hospital with major A-Fib, I mentioned that I had missed taking a number of my medications and supplements. The evening dosages were the ones I most often misssed -- being busy with all the stressful events. So in essence, I was cutting my CoQ10 dosage in half and I know from experience that that dosage was not sufficient.

Now I keep my afternoon medications and supplements in a pill box that I carry with me so I have it available. I might miss my evening taurine & magnesium (because they are powdered), but that hasn't seemed to bother me -- plus I can take more in the mornings.
Carol H
Posted on Sunday, August 26, 2001 - 4:42 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

DJ, I've got some new info on inflammation response - check out the new post under sharing scientific information. I think adding fresh ginger, oregano, and rosemary to your cooking may also help.

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