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MSG and Young Children

Battling the MSG Myth » Archive » Sharing Ideas, Suggestions, and Information » MSG and Young Children « Previous Next »

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Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 7:47 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Help! I have three young children -- the oldest begins kindergarten in a few weeks. How do parents keep their children safe from the horrible food that is offered (almost constantly, it seems) when they are away from home. My kids have already begun spending more time at friends' houses and they almost always come home acting like little monsters. I can't imagine how bad things will get once school begins. I don't want to be the mean-old-mom who won't let her kids have a normal, fun childhood. But I don't know how else to keep them safe from these chemicals that are in almost ALL of the "food" people give to children to eat.

Has anyone figured out how to do this?
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 10:37 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carole, I have several friends locally, with young MSG sensitive children. Some of these children were even in special classes for ADD, ADHD, and autism. Now they are being mainstreamed. That happened when the mothers took charge of their children's diets and that meant informing the teachers and sending lunches and snacks from home only. One parent told me that some of the special ed teachers were asking for recipes and information, especially after seeing the change firsthand in their students. My daughter sends her children to birthday parties with their own cupcakes and hands the parents some Breyer's vanilla, insisting that they only eat what she has sent. The same goes for stayovers. It is perhaps "embarrassing" to speak up the first time or two, but believe me, it gets very easy after just a few wild episodes with "poisoned" kids. And think of the lessons you are reinforcing. They may complain at first, but they will be learning some important health habits that will effect them for life. When they are young you have the most influence and control. They are most likely to rebel when teens, but when they get sick enough, they will know what to do. My book has helpful suggestions for school lunches and snacks, Carole. Again, I don't have it right here, so I have forgotten what page the chapter starts. Remember, if your child were diabetic or had PKU, parents would be sure to inform other parents and school workers about their child's special dietary needs. Your children are just as important!
Evelyn H.
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 10:48 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carole--My son is 6, so I can certainly relate to what you're saying. I pack his lunch each day so I know he's not getting any MSG from me. He is in day care this summer and we have met resistance from his day care providers (he's at a center) who don't seem to think MSG is a problem. We have tried to educate them but it's hard. One thing I haven't done is to pack snacks for him, because I always thought they had fruit for snacks. Yesterday, my husband dropped my son off later than normal (around 10 a.m., right at snack time). The snack yesterday was a Ho-Ho. I started packing snacks today. I don't really care what his day care providers think. I know my son.

The problem of eating at other homes is a continuing problem. I should be taking Deb's advice and insisting on what he eats. I haven't gone that far yet, but I can see her point about diabetic children, etc. They get served special diets, etc., and no one has a problem. Why should our children be any different?
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 1:54 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

People take diabetes very seriously, while they don't take MSG sensitivity seriously at all. That's why it feels harder and more embarassing to insist my children eat a certain way. When the issue is diabetes people feel committed to keeping the child safe. When it is MSG, they feel somewhat insulted. I've started just saying that we (our family) is sensitive to chemical food additives without mentioning MSG specifically. That seems less complicated. I guess this whole thing will take practice. I keep telling myself that my children deserve a safe and healthy childhood, and that it is my job as a parent to enforce food safety rules (just as I enforce car safety rules) even when it is hard.
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 8:08 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

See the latest Feingold newsletter at:
Example of topics: ADHD, When School Starts - What to tell the Teacher.
You can get newsletters sent to you via email -- no charge and no junk mail.
Beth E.
Posted on Saturday, September 08, 2001 - 10:58 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello everyone- It's been a while since I've posted, but I want to thank everyone again for all the information you regularly share with all of us. I've just finished reading an excellent book which may prove immensely beneficial to the parents here whose kids have suffered neurological or behavior problems due to MSG. It's called The LCP Solution-The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment for ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia by B.Jacqueline Stordy, Ph.D and Malcolm J. Nicholl. In it, Dr. Stordy details how children suffering from these problems have experienced dramatic improvements when supplemented with long-chain polunsaturated fatty acids, especially DHA. She makes a convincing argument about how our modern diets have harmed us all. I intend to start my 10 year old on fish oil supplements as soon as I can figure out how to get them in him (he can't swallow pills yet, and the taste is nasty). We've already been using flax seed, which provides a shorter chain omega 3 fatty acid, but Dr. Stordy says early reports of studies say the DHA in fish oil Omega 3's is preferable because some people's systems can't manufacture enough of the longer chain DHA from the ALA in flax. Highly recommended reading.

By the way, we just passed 5 months with no seizures for my son. His brain is working so much better lately. He's far less hyper, able to concentrate longer, has a better appetite, and he even started organizing a messy part of his bedroom the other day - very unlike him - it just blew me away! I still haven't figured out all the foods that cause him problems, but am convinced that the CoQ10, magnesium, vitamin E, flax, and chromium are helping. Thank you all again for sharing your priceless knowledge.
Posted on Sunday, September 09, 2001 - 10:44 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Glad to hear your son has made so much improvment.
Way to go!
Carol H
Posted on Sunday, September 09, 2001 - 6:08 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beth E. Congratulations! It is so nice to hear wonderful news :) There is mention of DHA in the book Beyond Aspirin. The authors of that book recommend and also use DHA eggs. These eggs are from chickens fed a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids. This might be an easier way of getting DHA into your son's diet.
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 8:41 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Beth! It's so good to hear about your son. Maybe you could share with us the sources of the supplements that you use. Many parents have the same problems trying to help their children, and many are unable to find safer supplements.
Interesting that you mention fish oil. I just started taking Carlson Norwegian fish has lemon oil added, and so far it has not bothered me (only tried it for 3 days, though). It has no bad taste at all. It is expensive, but has many servings, and the taste is worth it...I know what plain fish oil tastes like!... :(
Beth E.
Posted on Friday, September 14, 2001 - 12:41 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Ruth, Carol and Deb for your responses. I'm going to buy some of those Omega 3 eggs as soon as we use up the dozen and a half in the fridge right now. I've been fairly successful getting my son to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast at least several times a week (I tell him it's brain food) although he complains mightily sometimes. As long as the DHA eggs don't "taste funny", they may work. I sneakily opened flaxseed oil capsules and spread them on his eggs for several days and he told me "These eggs have been tasting funny all week!"

I've been using two CoQ10 daily (50 mg) and one Viamin E every other day (400 I.U.) from Sam's Club, opening the capsules and spreading on toast. I also grind up one Shaklee Calcium-Magnesium tablet and 2 of a generic brand of magnesium oxide and gluconate (400 mg.)and sprinkle that on his toast,too. We increased the magnesium just lately when tests showed his blood level was still low after 6 months of supplementing. I'm going to need to purchase more magnesium soon and will ask for help this time at a local health food store.

The Twinlabs chromium supplements (200mcg) were suggested by the owner of the above-mentioned store, but I only give my son one capsule every few days. I'm reading a book about chromium right now - am still not too sure about giving it to him because I don't know the proper dose for a child weighing 60 lbs. I'm thankful that my son doesn't put up a fuss about the toast with all that stuff on it, but of course, I top off the whole mess with honey! Sure wish I could get him to try swallowing pills, but I remember I had trouble learning to swallow pills myself, and I never had sensory problems and a powerful gag reflex like he does. I purchased golden flax seed at a Wild Oats Market and we grind it and sprinkle it on salads and some other foods - but NOT the scrambled eggs or toast!

Hope everyone makes it to Reno safely next week. Have a wonderful time sharing with each other in person. I'll be looking forward to a major conference sometime in the next year or so.
Carol H
Posted on Friday, September 14, 2001 - 2:02 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beth E,

Good sources of magnesium are:

spinach 157 mg/serving
sesame seeds - 133 mg
sunflower seeds - 128 mg 1/4 cup
chick peas - 115 mg 1/4 cup
shrimp - 110 mg

Good Sources of Calcium:
sardines w/ bones 371 mg
boiled shrimp 320 mg
milk 291 mg
spinach 244 mg
oysters 202 mg
turnip greens 198 mg

Interesting - maybe this is why we tend to tolerate shrimp well.
Carol H
Posted on Friday, September 14, 2001 - 2:11 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

P.S. It is interesting that you bring up chromium, Beth. Chromium is important in metabolism of glucose, and may decrease insulin resistance. In a nutrition text - Understanding nutrition, it states sources for chromium as: meat, unrefined foods, fats, vegetable oils. Also nuts, and whole grains, brewers yeast and liver. Its deficiency symptoms are diabetes like conditions. Since MSG affects the body's production of insulin, chromium may be involved as well.

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