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Monday, September 26, 2011

MSG is what makes things taste good, but is it good for you?

About two years ago, I began noticing a trend after dining at Chinese restaurants or fast food joints.  After eating lo mein, hamburgers, fried chicken or Mexican food, I would experience abdominal pains, bloating, headaches and hives.  I connected the dots and found a common ingredient in these foods--monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG.

MSG is a crystalline "free" glutamic acid salt that is a flavor-enhancer commonly added to food to make it taste yummy.  This neuro-exciting compound chemical which includes carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sodium and oxygen (C5H8NNaO4), may produce a negative reaction to a person with food sensitivites or intolerance. 

To some people, when MSG is ingested, the autoimmune system reacts as if the food particle is a virus or bacterium.  The effects may affect breathing and metabolism. 

When I ingest a food that contains MSG, it usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour to notice a reaction, which usually includes bloating, stomach pain, inflammation, sharp headaches, and sometimes rashes and or hives.  To help resolve the effects, I drink water to help dilute the chemicals I've ingested.  This sometimes works for me, but for others it may not be enough. 

Since switching to a more organic diet and avoiding foods that may contain MSG, I've notice an improvement in physical health. Decreasing glucose and starches from your menu and replacing it with omega-3, omega-6 and minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium can help reduce inflammation, as suggested by holistic health practicioner Leslie Tatum.

Read up on this chemical compound and determine whether this is causing your food sensitivities. 

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate; http://www.austinallnatural.com/sites/austinallnatural.com/files/AAN_SEPT.2011-web.pdf
http://www.foodpowers.com/; http://www.amsterdamkliniek.com/treatments/allergy/Allergies_and_Other_Sensitivities.html; http://www.buffaloberries.com/choosinghealthy/bad/57.html; http://www.livinghealthnewbraunfels.com/; "What is Inflammation, really?" Tatum, Leslie, Moxie Magazine, Summer/Fall 2011, pg. 10. 

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