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Autolyzed Yeast Extract = MSG?

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Can someone give me some insight into autolyzed yeast extract vs. MSG? Is it the same thing? I've done some research on the net, but have not gotten a clear idea. I'm sensitive to MSG and try to avoid it as much as possible. As I read labels, I have come across autolyzed yeast extract in stuff like crackers, soups, and seasoned/salty things lately. Your knowledge will help me be a more informed consumer.

Thanks, y'all!

  1. Sorry, no! Autolyzed yeast is yeast that has been allowed to die and decompose (in the technical sense). MSG and AY contain free glutamic acids and are used similarly, but they are not the same! MSG is not extracted from yeast--but is made from varous starches such as cassava.

    21 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      The linked item says "Autolyzed yeast extract is also the primary source of monosodium glutamate for the food industry." Hmmm ... I may have read that sentence wrong: perhaps what it means is that autolyzed yeast added to foods is the primary source of MSG in those foods. Other articles point out that the only reason to put yeast extract in food is because the glutimates (the part of MSG that gives it its distinctive characteristics) are flavor enhancers. So while they are technically not the same, for the purposes of someone who is sensitive to MSG, they might as well be.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        That same person who is sensitive to MSG (the flavoring), should also be sensitive to not only autolyzed yeast extract, but parmesan cheese, tomatoes, peas, corn and a slew of other things that contain glutamates.
        Not only that, but your body also produces a fair amount of glutamate every day, as an amino acid.
        Autolyzed yeast and MSG both provide glutamic acids (as my colleague Sam has stated), but MSG is not processed from autolyzed yeast.

        1. re: QueenB

          An MSG "Sensitive" person should avoid soy, bean curd and mushrooms, too.

          1. re: QueenB

            Of course all protein-based foods contain natural glutamates. The problem occurs when these protein compounds, whether in yeast or other foods, are hydrolyzed at HIGH TEMPERATURES. When this happens, an UNNATURAL steroisomer (mirror-image) form of glutamate called d-glutamate arises instead of the natural L-glutamate found in nature. It is this unnatural d-form that causes people problems. Since the autolysis of yeast happens at high temperatures it is very likely that autolyzed yeast contains MSG.

            1. re: naturopath

              Hi, what is a "higher temperature" that does this - same as normal cooking temps. or pastuerization?
              Thanks
              Dave A.

              1. re: naturopath

                "Since the autolysis of yeast happens at high temperature ..."

                Sorry to burst your bubble, but yeast autolysis can happen for all sorts of reason and high temps are only one of them. For instance, your statement fails to account for why one might have excess yeast autolysis when fermenting a lager (which is typically done in the 40F-50F range).

                1. re: jgg13

                  I was referring to making bakers YE, not beer/brewing, different world!
                  DA

                  1. re: DAVE A

                    edit: I see, you're referring to a response you gave me below. That wasn't clear. deleting this msg.

              2. re: QueenB

                That is actually a misconception. Although it is true that pretty much everything has free Glutamates (for example, since all Yeast has Free Glutamates it is safe to assume all breads and cakes have it as well) it is the dosage that makes the poison.

                For example. What is the difference between Coca Leaf Tea and Cocaine? Cocaine is highly concentrated. The concentrations make it harmful. Not the substance.

                I am also sensitive to Glutamates but I can eat foods that contain normal concentrations of Free Glutamates. I only get into trouble when I get more than a natural portion all at once.

                So I can eat breads, mushrooms, cheese, peas, corn and what have you. Because all of those foods contain only one tenth of a percent as much. I'm sure there are people with extreme sensitivity, but even they should be able to eat some sources of free glutamates without a problem.

                All they have to do is put the concentrations on the labels and I wouldn't worry anymore about it.

              3. re: Ruth Lafler

                The entire wikipedia article is unsourced, so I'd be hesitant to take what's there at face value.

                1. re: ccbweb

                  Here are two good information sources, from the International Food Information Council (IFIC):
                  "Everything You NeedTo Know About Glutamate And Monosodium Glutamate"
                  http://www.ific.org/publications/broc...
                  --and--
                  "Glutamate and Monosodium Glutamate: Examining the Myths"
                  http://www.ific.org/publications/revi...

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Here is an alternate viewpoint:

                    http://www.truthinlabeling.org/III.Wh...

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      If you research who the financial stakeholders in the IFIC are, you would find you should be very wary of inbiased information. This article referenced here, while informative and using some truthful information, glosses over the terrible fact that the d-stereoisomer of glutamate has some nasty neurostimulating effects that can be VERY problematic for the human body. Natural l-glutamate does not react this same way. Add MSG to rats feed and they will overfeed, creating type-2 diabetes in those rats. MSG is a much bigger problem than the profit-driven food industry wants to admit because they enjoy the profits that come from people being addicted to their specific food products.

                      1. re: naturopath

                        Hi there,

                        Let's talk about neurostimulation a second.

                        Neurostimulation isn't a bad thing. It's how the brain works. It's how pain is modulated, and how depression is kept at bay.

                        So it's not at all clear that we're talking about an improper amount of neurostimulation. Do you have links to scientific articles that prove a damaging amount of neurostimulation caused by either d-glutamate or l-glutamate?

                        I just read several complex articles on d-glutamate chemical pathways and synthesis in the body, and combed through more than 100 articles in the National Library of Medicine database, but I can't find any evidence that confirms what you say.

                        Happy to read any credible info you've got, though. Links to published scientific studes in the last five years are best.

                        Were d-glutamate harmful, medical researchers would be all over it. They have no monetary interest in suppressing information about a substance harmful to humans.

                        Who are the financial stakeholders in IFIC that you feel may bias its information?

                        Thanks -- look forward to reading your info,
                        Maria

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          I'm not seeing any references to any credible sources in your e-mail either. Are we to just take your word for it as well?

                          I'm all for open discussion, but it seems odd to point the finger at someone and then turn around and do the same thing.

                          1. re: missy4short

                            Perhaps you did not read that I give the resource (the National Library of Medicine database) that has the latest scientific information on this subject. It's simple enough for you to go to the database and avail yourself of the scientific information. I've combed through more than 120 scientific peer-reviewed articles, and studied intently several recent articles specific to d-glutamate neurostimulation. No research ever corroborated the claim of excessive neurostimulatory effects. After all, glutamic acid (l-isomer, d-isomer, etc.) is the principal neurotransmitter of the brain. Check out the National Library of Medicine database, and if you like, read the other links I've provided, both above and in other threads on this same subject. Happy to read what your scientific research unearths.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              Could you please recommend just one article in the database that measured neurostimulatory effects? I am not very knowledgeable in the field and would like to educate myself. Thanks.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                Maria, I do not know how you could of possibly searched any database of peer reviewed journals and not found hundreds of articles on the many detrimental health effects of MSG or glutamate. It has been known for decades. A Pubmed search results in thousands of articles. Glutamate is the most used neurotransmitter in the brain, so there is tons of research on it. Yes, it is necessary and natural, but it's all about concentrations. It occurs naturally in your body and in natural foods in very small concentrations. The problems occur with the high concentrations of glutamate that occurs when ingesting food additives. Glutamate, like aspartame, is an excitotoxin. Here's a good review by Dr. Russell Blaylock http://www.jpands.org/hacienda/articl... complete with references to peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Happy reading!

                                1. re: anthonyj

                                  Sorry, I have researched this -- serious time poring over a large number of scientific articles on orally ingested glutamates from both foods and cooked dishes vs. naturally occurring glutamates creating organically by the body. . Your statements that the quantitites/concentrations of glutamates ingested vs. those created organically by the human body, and used as a major *healthy* metabolic chemical, are not borne out by the quantities measured in the scientific studies. Glutamates are one of the major *healthy* fuels of the brain. When something is excitatory doesn't mean it's *overly* excitatory or anything beyond fueling normal healthy brain function. Anything that says otherwise appeasr to be yet another huge food myth that will. not. die.

                        2. re: maria lorraine

                          as yes, the IFIC! Such an unbiased source of information. Never mind their ties to the industry.

                          1. re: dougiedd

                            You're preaching to the choir. I said the same thing on Nov 26, 2011 07:53 PM, and reiterated that 45 minutes ago. You're responding to an old post. A few years ago IFIC was a good source of some food info. But no longer. Now they're a shill for the food industry.

                  2. A person ingests each day 11 parts naturally occurring glutamates (in cheese, soy, mushrooms, etc.) compared to one part from MSG or autolyzed yeast, according to the International Food Information Council.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Which is why I find this whole MSG "sensitivity" fascinating. Especially since naturally occurring glutamates and MSG are processed by the body exactly in the same way. So, anyone having problems with MSG should have problems with a lot of other foods as well.

                      1. re: QueenB

                        Right. I've never heard people who claim to be sensitive to MSG complain about not being able to eat mushrooms or parmesan cheese, both of which are very high in free glutamates.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I don't know about mushrooms as I'm not a big fan, but as someone who can't eat much MSG due to a health condition, I do have trouble with more than small quantities of parmesan cheese.

                          1. re: vorpal

                            Do you also have difficulty eating peas?

                            Or chicken, duck, beef, pork, fish, cheese, corn, tomatoes or soy sauce? All have lots and lots of bound and free glutamates, and the body cannot tell the difference between monosodium glutamate (the sodium salt of glutamate) and other glutamates. Please check the IFIC links above for mg of glutamate per 100 g of these foodstuffs.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              All I know is that I have Crohn's Disease, and if I eat foods containing high levels of added artificial glutamates, I spend about eight hours in crippling abdominal pain probably due to acute, chronic inflammation and a partial intestinal blockage - sometimes helped by Percocet but at other times requiring taxi trips to the emergency room for stronger intravenous opiates - and unable to leave the bathroom for more than about 30 minutes at a time. I believe that this clearly is not psychosomatic since Crohn's Disease is not... additionally, I don't know that I consumed MSG until after the fact, when I call the restaurant / question my host / etc. and discover that MSG was used without my knowledge. (I am usually very careful to avoid it, for obvious reasons.)

                              Note: I can eat virtually everything on your aforementioned list without problems, as far as I know. Why there is a differentiation in my physiological reaction between naturally occurring and artificial glutamates, I don't know; perhaps it's to other non-glutamate components of hydrolyzed proteins or autolyzed yeast that remain after manufacturing? An inability to properly metabolize free glutamates due to a vitamin B6 deficiency? I'm just guessing, and have no clue.

                              This apparently is not an uncommon reaction for people with Crohn's Disease. We Crohn's sufferers tend to react strangely to lots of foods, additives, etc. that don't affect healthy people.

                              1. re: vorpal

                                My husband has Crohn's too. He for sure can't have mushrooms. He once tried to just brush them off of a sandwitch and he still got sick. I don't know if it's only when they're cooked??? but ya he's tried a few times to eat them and got sick. He also switched to Ramano Cheese instead of Parmason Cheese. Tomato Sauce didn't seem to bother... don't know why. Type in a google search for a list of hidden names for MSG and these will pop up.

                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                            I've seen it, but it's rare. Usually the people just whine about chinese food and junk food products, w/o realizing that by and large they're consuming this stuff all over the place.

                          3. re: QueenB

                            That's because MSG is man made and the ones naturally occurring are natural foods, not processed with chemicals, additives and preservatives.

                            1. re: withlovealana

                              Yes, the natural sources do not cause a reaction.

                              1. re: withlovealana

                                Actually MSG is usually made by bacterial fermentation which doesn't sound like "chemicals, additives and preservatives" to me.

                            2. re: maria lorraine

                              As my friend's father explained one day when we found a huge drum of MSG in the back of their Chinese restaurant: "You know, boys, MSG is everywhere..."

                            3. I don't know anything about food chemistry, but I do know that MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast and soy sauce act somewhat the same in my system. Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms do nothing that I am aware of.

                              I went through years of pain and keeping close to a bathroom from the time I was a child to my mid twenties before I read an article in the Toronto Star about "Chinese food tummy syndrome" and what caused it. I had finally found out what my mother's roast beef (with Bisto in the gravy) had in common with flavoured potato chips (particularly sour cream and onion), powdered soups and artificial bacon bits in salads.

                              Now I find that if I have avoided MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and autolyzed yeast in the food I eat, if I indulge in something I shouldn't most of the time the symptoms will be very mild, but if I have been pushing the envelope and nibbling away here and there it takes very little to put me back in the bathroom.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: jefair

                                Do a test with Mushrooms.... They do bother my husband.

                                1. re: jefair

                                  My wife of 46 years has always been "allergic" to MSG. Hives, the runs, extreme flushing, etc. I realize, as I'm a chemist, that she is not allergic, but suffers from SOME reaction to MSG and all of it's clean label names. When we stay away from those foods, she's fine. NO REACTION to parm., mushrooms or the various other foods that are high in NATURAL glutemate. NO ONE can convince me that she does not get a very bad reaction ONLY when she eats these foods. Yep, not psychosymatic as we have been in fine restaurants and neighbors back yards, yet when 20 minutes has passed, there's the signs!! We had NO IDEA that any of the foods had any MSG (or the like) in them. We'd call back and ask VERY specific questions and then get the "Oh yeah, it does say that it contains autolyzed...."

                                  1. re: dennyd3

                                    Thank you for this reply as it shines light on my own situation. I think there are people here trying to increase MSG sales and stop everyone who's hurt from being heard.

                                    1. re: Innertech

                                      indeed it would appear the msg manufacturers are worried about these troublesome ideas about the product getting any reception.

                                      1. re: dougiedd

                                        Just like processed food makers, in general....and pharmaceutical companies, etc.

                                2. MSG and Autolyzed Yeast Extract are the same thing. I'm not going to get involved in the whole "argument" here, because it has been hashed and rehashed on these boards countless times. Some people think that MSG sensitive people are whiners. Others know for sure beyond a doubt that they have a sensitivity. I'm just gonna answer your question, for people with sensitivities, they are the same thing, and often have the same effect.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: tzurriz

                                    Yes, the threads have hashed this through many times, but it's not the MSG. Instead, it's something that always occurs with MSG.

                                    1. re: tzurriz

                                      Thank you tzuriz. That's what I was looking for. I wasn't really looking for a troll to run through here and tell me it's impossible for me to blow up like a balloon every time I touch anything with MSG added to it. I don't know why I don't react to the naturally occurring MSG, perhaps I do have one, it's just not as obvious or severe. What I do know, is that I won't buy anything with it added....period. And now I will be wary of the Autolyzed Yeast Extract as well. I just ate some Goldfish....we'll see.

                                      1. re: missy4short

                                        Hey Missy,

                                        How did the Goldfish go? I found this thread precisely because I was looking for info on autolyzed yeast after reading the ingredients on Goldfish and recalling a connection to MSG. I prefer to avoid MSG and am sympathetic to your health issues though I don't have Crohn's. Your experience would be helpful for me. Thanks!

                                        1. re: missy4short

                                          I am happy to see someone mention Goldfish...I was over-snacking one day on them (I have a known reaction to MSG) and my eye-sockets filled up with fluid!!! (this was my usual reaction to MSG) I had read the label and unfortunately did not know the connection with autolyzed yeast. Am so thankful you were talking about this.

                                          1. re: MSGallergy

                                            I am sensitive to MSG and avoid it however for almost two years I've been reacting to some other kind of food additive which causes an eczema like facial rash. I've been able to trace it to wine, tomato sauce, vinegar sauces and now Goldfish. Had some Parmesan Goldfish last night and this morning, face is a mess. Just checked the label and Autolyzed Yeast was on there.....is there yeast in wine? This is very frustrating....

                                            1. re: blt212

                                              could you be experiencing Rosacea? A lot of what you listed will cause flushing, etc, of the face. Check out Truthinlableing.com for more msg related ingredients-it is scary how many culprits there are out there.
                                              Gotta get back to basics-unprocessed, natural foods, like fruit, veggies, nuts & seeds and minimally processed proteins.

                                              1. re: blt212

                                                "is there yeast in wine"

                                                uhhhhhh, how do you think the alcohol got in there?

                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                  To jgg13 - In referring to autolysis I was talking about a typical controlled system where the temperature would be 140-150F for that step and then normal pastuerization to yield a pure product. Yes, many other things can happen to start aut..

                                                  RE: Yeast in wine is removed for a clear finished product otherwise it would deteriorate and give other nasty effects.
                                                  DA

                                                  1. re: DAVE A

                                                    The amount of yeast cells in a bottle of wine will vary depending on the type of filtration used. The type of filtration used depends on the type (e.g. whites tend to be more purely filtered) and the philosophy of the winemaker (much like beer breweries, the more big time commercial the product the more likely to be heavily filtered)

                                        2. Wow, this is really interesting. If autolyzed yeast extract = MSG it means that millions of us New Zealanders, Australians and Britons have been eating it in bucketloads right from infanthood in the form of Marmite, Vegemite and Promite spreads. Vegemite sandwiches and Vegemite on toast are a standard part of the New Zealand diet. When I was a kid, many years ago, the standard lunchbox contained either a jam sandwich or a Vegemite sandwich. In primary (elementary) school we were able to buy our lunch on Mondays and one of the items we could order was a Marmite and chip roll (Marmite and potato chips in a hot dog bun).

                                          A friend of my claims to be sensitive to MSG. I'll ask him if he has the same reaction to Vegemite.

                                          1. I used to suffer from extremely painful migraines and eventually found that MSG was very often the cause after investigating the ingredients in foods I had eaten prior to the onset of the migraine. One time my mom had made enchiladas with a green enchilada sauce that had autolyzed yeast extract and I got a massisive migraine that night. I hate this additive and it is amazing that food manufacturers actually put this junk in food and claim that there isn't MSG in their product, which is totally misleading.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: enjakes

                                              I went through the migraine thing too. That was when everyone had Accent sitting on the table!!!
                                              But I understand it is used primarily to bring up flavor when the ingredient is cheap and has none on its own.
                                              Over time the label would read monosodium glutamate then when the consumer was balking at eating it they divided the words so that monosodium was on one line and glutamate was on the second line, then the consumer caught on to that so now we have all these other names . Soon the consumer will only eat a one ingredient food product. I went to a Friendlys restaurant and asked what didn't have MSG in it and the manager suggested I try their ice cream!

                                              1. re: MSGallergy

                                                The first migraine I ever had was in middle school. It was during class and all of a sudden my vision became distorted with these giant blind spots. I continued to have them around that time and it wasn't until high school I believe that I realized that these admittedly tasty Gardetto's cracker snacks I had been eating, and was still eating, contained MSG. Unfortunately at that time I wasn't yet aware of MSG's alternate names. By the way, what is Accent?

                                                1. re: enjakes

                                                  I believe Accent is pure MSG in powder form. I believe it can be found in spice etc aisle of any supermarket. (at least that is where it used to be) In homes it was kept on the table as salt and pepper are. Makes me shudder to think of it.

                                                  1. re: MSGallergy

                                                    Wow, makes me shudder too.

                                                    1. re: enjakes

                                                      Why? I have a container of powdered MSG at home. I use a dash here and there pretty regularly because there's absolutely nothing wrong with it and it's a cheap/quick umami booster (a la worcestershire sauce and the like)

                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                        That's fine for you, but I just explained how MSG would give me migraines.

                                                        1. re: enjakes

                                                          Sorry, your post came off as if you were implying that the days of Accent were akin to the Dark Ages.

                                              2. re: enjakes

                                                Enjakes, amazing, also, that the FDA and USDA allowthe use of this additive, and apparently look the other way when mislabeling and misinformation by these companies customer service depts. occurs. Got to wonder how much money is exchanging hands if this is winked away so effortlessly and casually.
                                                In the fight against obesity, Ms. Obama should start doing some research. Not only is MSG and its relatives present in almost every snack/junk food on the U.S. market, linking it to obesity from its ingestion, but the problem is also compounded by the fact that msg causes a release of insulin, making the consumer hungry for more while expanding their waistline at the same time with deposits of fat.

                                              3. Interesting article from a UK newspaper about MSG. The author is in Thailand, and is aware of the controversies of MSG in places like the USA, and the virtual lack of such a concern in most parts of Asia.

                                                http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                37 Replies
                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  interesting article

                                                  1. re: enjakes

                                                    Yeast Extract or Autolyzed Yeast Extract - several years ago I conducted hours of research on MSG. My husband was experiencing migrains followed by hours of pass out sleep! During this research I learned about the so called naturally occuring MSG as found in autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolized proteins (corn etc). My first grocery shopping after becomming a well informed consumer took six hours because I read all labels before I bought. Also do not trust the FDA or any other industry who is supposed to look out for our health, they buy into the "natually occuring myth" (it was not a mistake that I spelled by as buy, just think of the $ the food lobbyist have to influence our officials.) this past week my husband purchased Kraft Sun Chips (Jalepeno Jack, Garden Salsa and Harvest Cheddar) because the package says no MSG. Yet he experienced a migrain and pass out sleep after eating the Harvest Cheddar. I read the ingredients and Yeast Extract is listed. I called Kraft 800-352-4477 talked with Nutrition Specialist Linda Phelps to ask if the Yeast Extract is Autolyzed, she confirmed it was and proceeded to tell me that my husband should know that if he sees Yeast Extract listed, he should ssume it is autolzed and not buy the product. I suggested that we the consumer should not have to know every word to insure our food safety, that as consumers we do our best to educate ourselves to products which will harm our health, and that she is the expert who works for Kraft, a major corporation, and Kraft should add the word "Autolyzed" to their ingredient list to assist the consumer to make an informed buying decision. She offered to send me coupons to purchase other Sun Chips flavors, I asked for a refund. I will receive the refund but it will take 3 to 4 weeks!
                                                    Consumer beware, protect you and your families health and don't believe the nay sayers, believe what you see is happening to your family.

                                                    1. re: Allergictomsg

                                                      Hi - they are using yeast extract at a very low level to replace MSG and ING (usually near the end of the label). The cheese has a lot of glutamic acid in the protein so that would be the main source. The cheese is probably present at 2-3% and has 10% glutamic acid vs yeast extract at .3-.5% and only 3-5% glutamic acid. To make an extract it is has to be autolyzed or "self digested" which breaks down the proteins for more flavorful components (amino acids - kind of like a vegetarian chicken broth without fats/cholesterol). That is the current legal definiton but some companies label as autolyzed YE. It is hard to read labels with all the allergen issues and your husband has a difficult case for a doctor to hopefully solve. Maybe make your own chips and sprinkle Dash seasoning on it? Good luck.
                                                      Dave A.

                                                      1. re: Allergictomsg

                                                        I just had to reply to you because my i have been reading labels about 20 years now, ever since we discovered that the majority of my husbands major (migraines) headaches have been from eating msg, audolyzed yeast extract, yeast extract and anything associated with it. Now, he has had headaches since grade school and we are trying to get to the bottom of it. Today we saw a Dr. at the Bastyl Institute i Seattle. First time seeing a natureopathic dr. He's having blood work done for sentitivity to foods. He's had these before but this time he's having the igg and iga tests. They test for the slow acting food sensitivity. Not the type you have a sudden reaction. Good luck to you and your husband, i know how debilitating they can be. It breaks my heart to see the one i love in so much pain. People that don't have them or live with someone that does just does not know how horrible it can be. I use to take the list to the grocery store with me before i learned them all by heart. take care, and God Bless..

                                                        1. re: lauriechristen

                                                          Migraines: Please study biogenic amines, especially tyramine. These are the substances that trigger migraines and bad headaches.

                                                          By the way, they always occur with MSB and autolyzed yeast. Your husband's, and everyone's, sensitivity to tyramines has a threshold. A little may be OK, but more than a little triggers a reaction.

                                                          Most people never separate the two -- the MSG from the tyramines, the autolyzed yeast from tyramines or other biogenic amines.

                                                          They keep blaming the MSG because they don't realize that tyramines and other amines are probably the trigger.

                                                          BTW, part of my job is research on this very topic, so I am very current with what's going on now. Numerous scientific studies (peer-reviewed, top flight) were done on migraine sufferers. They were given enormous amounts of MSG and not one experienced a reaction. But take those same people out into the real world where MSG always occurs with biogenic amines, and they get migraines. I sympathize with your husband suffering from migraines because I get them too sometimes.

                                                          In sum: don't blame the MSG/yeast when it's probably tyramines and other biogenic amines.There's definitely a bad reaction people are having, but the wrong criminal has been accused.

                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                            Okay, so how do we find out what foods have amines? If we have learned from experience that MSG (accompanied by amines or not) causes migraines, and avoiding MSG (and yeast extract, and whatever else it hides behind the name of) keeps us from getting migraines, are you actually advising that we stop avoiding our known triggers?

                                                            I don't know about you, but I've never seen biogenic amines listed as an ingredient on a bag of doritos, but I know for a fact that if I eat more than 3 or 4 chips, I'll have a migraine within an hour.

                                                            1. re: tzurriz

                                                              Does it matter which flavor of Doritos? The ingredients list for the plain ones is quite different from taco flavored ones. The company product page has symbols beside each flavor what is 'free-of' - gluten, msg, dairy, pig, etc. Same for cheetos.

                                                              How much of your diet consists of prepared foods - fast food, restaurant, snacks, bottled drinks, heat and serve meals? I am not sensitive to MSG, nor am I aware of headache triggers, but most of my diet consists of home cooked meals. There is MSG in various Asian condiments that I use, including the Japanese fake-dashi seasoning, but I rarely buy seasoned snacks, American, European or Asian.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                Doritos was just an example, the same thing happens with nearly all canned soups, packaged stocks, flavored chips of any strip, and one very disappointing time a bloody mary mix at a restaurant. The only connection I have found among all of these things is the msg on the ingredient list.

                                                              2. re: tzurriz

                                                                Tzurriz,

                                                                You won't see biogenic amines listed on an ingredient label. Just as most of us have learned which foods contain calcium, it's a similar learning process to learn which foods contain tyramines and the other biogenic amines (histamine, phenylethylamine and others).

                                                                Two biogenic amines in particular are responsible for the "fake-MSG" response: tyramines and histamines. The ingredients with these substances trigger reactions in the body. Each meal has a tyramine and histamine load. If that load is past your individual threshold -- especially if you're sensitive to these substances -- you'll be hurting.

                                                                FYI: the tyramine molecule and the MSG molecule are *very* similar, though they are vastly different substances.

                                                                TYRAMINES
                                                                Many basic ingredients used at Chinese/Asian restaurants contain tyramines: fish sauce, soy sauce, all soy products, miso, fermented vegetables, frozen vegetables, beer, and so on.

                                                                Eat a meal with a large tyramine load, or one beyond your individual threshold, and you'll get a reaction.

                                                                Since so many tyramine-laden ingredients are used in Asian cooking, it's easy for diners who eat at a "no-MSG restaurant" to experience a reaction and say, "But I KNOW that restaurant puts MSG in their food." Again, it's not the MSG that's the trigger, but the biogenic amines in the ingredients.

                                                                Tyramines are also found in anything dried, cured, fermented or aged, like aged cheese, wine, beer, anchovies, salamis, yogurt, many dairy products. Other foods: apple juice, citrus juice concentrate, and many other foods. So you can also have an "Italian restaurant" reaction (cheese+salami+red wine+anchovies+pickled vegetables = owww).

                                                                A good list of tyramines is here:
                                                                http://www.fdnow.org/images/TyramineF...

                                                                HISTAMINES
                                                                As if those tyramines in those those Asian ingredients listed above weren't bad enough, they also contain histamine, another biogenic amine that causes a reaction. Consume more histamine that your body can take, and you get the classic histamine response: headaches, hives, runny nose, sneezing, stomach aches/cramps and flushing skin.

                                                                Sound like what people describe after they think they consume MSG?

                                                                A histamine reaction has symptoms very similar to an allergy, so many people think it has to be an allergy (but it isn't).

                                                                Other foods with histamines: a huge number of things, and common items like bananas, tomatoes, strawberries, pineapple, nuts, peanuts, shellfish, spinach, egg white and chocolate.

                                                                See a good list here:
                                                                http://www.urticaria.thunderworksinc....

                                                                It seems like a contradiction but a person can consume foods with histamines, AND trigger a release of histamine within their body by their immune system.

                                                                So if you're eating either Asian or Italian dishes -- and you're sensitive -- take it easy.

                                                                Avoid reactions this way:

                                                                --Learn which ingredients have tyramines or histamines, and keep track of how many you eat at each meal. Determine your threshold.

                                                                --Determine if you are more sensitive to tyramines or histamines, and eat just under your threshold.

                                                                For example: Perhaps you can have a Chinese meal but not drink beer. Or eat a meal with only a couple of tyramine-laden ingredients.

                                                                Same goes for eating Italian: a little salami and cheese might be fine, but back off the Chianti to avoid hives and a headache.

                                                                Hope this helps.

                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                  I don't have a problem with Asian food when MSG isn't added, and I've never had a problem with Italian food. I use soy sauce all the time, and I am Italian. :) Aged cheeses, anchovies, and tomatoes are part of our regular diet. :)

                                                                  However, my migraines have notably decreased since I cut out nearly all packaged foods and began avoiding MSG. When I do eat something with MSG, I get a migraine. 99.9% of the time. I've had family try to sneak it by me, because they think I'm faking, (not nice relatives), and so we've even had "blind tests".

                                                                  No incidence of hives, runny nose, sneezing, stomach aches/cramps and flushing skin. Just migraines, and many reputable physicians and neurologists have told me that msg is one of my migraine triggers after years of keeping food logs.

                                                                  1. re: tzurriz

                                                                    I know you have suffered. I'm sorry. Keep checking into tyramines. Most of the headache specialists focus greatly on these to reduce the incidence of migraines. FYI, medical trials with migraine sufferers have debunked the migraine-MSG connection.

                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                      It feels like you are insisting that amines are the ONLY trigger of migraines?

                                                                      1. re: enjakes

                                                                        Of course not. There are lots of triggers.

                                                              3. re: maria lorraine

                                                                some studies, including the most recent one found on medline (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19...) , confirm that MSG can indeed cause headache. So too do some of the worlds leading migraine experts, including David Buchholz.
                                                                So in sum, your pronouncements are to be taken with a grain of salt, not msg.

                                                                1. re: dougiedd

                                                                  The article abstract (it would be nice to see the full article) mentions ' subjectively reported pericranial muscle tenderness'. Which raises an important point - headaches, as a rule, do not involve the brain, but rather blood vessels and muscles on the skull. This is true especially for tension headaches.

                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                    Tension headaches and migraines are two completely different things.

                                                                  2. re: dougiedd

                                                                    Dougiedd,

                                                                    The study you cite published in Cephalgia in 2010 has a couple of big flaws.

                                                                    It has no true control. The MSG was delivered via "sugar-free soda," meaning the reaction could have been to the soda's sweetener -- aspartame, Splenda, etc., or to the carbonation (CO2 often causes severe headaches) instead of to the MSG.
                                                                    So the result is inconclusive because the MSG was not ISOLATED.

                                                                    The study was on only fourteen people, meaningless in terms of statistics.
                                                                    A larger patient sample is required for a study to be valid.

                                                                    Much larger patient studies with strict controls refuted any link between and MSG.
                                                                    Those studies are considered so conclusive they're rarely challenged.

                                                                    I know you want to believe MSG is bad. But it NEVER hits the brain, EVER.

                                                                    There are many kinds of glutamates. MSG -- one kind -- is completely consumed in the digestive tract and never travels to the brain. Another kind of glutamate -- the neurotransmitter -- is made BY the body in a series of complex chemical reactions that begin with completely different molecules.

                                                                    So, no, MSG cannot cause headaches.

                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                      I am glad we have your substantial expertise on medical matters Maria to refute the worlds leading migraine experts who tell us that the msg-migraine connection is not to be dismissed. Or for that matter, the people on this thread who have first hand experience with MSG and its nasty effects.
                                                                      14 patients is a small sample, yes, but not at all meaningless. As far as your idea about the aspartame or C02 being the cause, they were both in the control as well, so that would wash out.
                                                                      I am sure you would prefer us to trust the results of the numerous studies funded by the MSG industry, as those would of course be beyond question.

                                                                      1. re: dougiedd

                                                                        So, what do you think happens when someone eats MSG?
                                                                        Do you think MSG hits the stomach and digestive tract, then goes into the bloodstream and merrily circulates around the body, and then zaps the brain?
                                                                        Is that what you think?

                                                                        --The small study you cite is not corroborated by much larger medical studies,
                                                                        or since 2010. The results of that study have not been reproduced, and again, are on too small a patient sample to be significant.

                                                                        -- I would never trust any study that was funded by the MSG or any food industry, or by the FDA or IFIC, for that matter. The studies, to be valid, have to be independent, double-blind, peer-reviewed and published in a major medical journal. This rules out any agenda-based funding.

                                                                        -- The major medical evidence, believed by migraine and headache specialists, is that there is no connection between MSG consumption and headaches. Migraine specialists, when discussing food triggers with patients, focus on the two major amine groups: tyramines, especially; and histamines. Some docs still say avoid MSG, but that's because they're not current with the science or it's just easier to say that since the myth.will.not.die.

                                                                        1. re: dougiedd

                                                                          Certainly, disclosure is an essential part of maintaining the integrity of medical studies. Outside of the medical profession, however, there are also many people with agendas who have no professional standards to meet. Do a Google search on a controversial subject such as MSG, and most of the hits will be from nonprofessionals with private agendas.

                                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                            "The studies, to be valid, have to be independent, double-blind, peer-reviewed and published in a major medical journal. This rules out any agenda-based funding"
                                                                            Your kidding right? No one believes that these things can rule out agenda based funding. Which precisely why most respectable journals now require full disclosure of the support of the research.

                                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                              Hi, Maria, I am reading your posts with great interest, as it appears that you know quite a bit about the topic. Two things: I'm sure it would help people if you spoke about where tyramines and histamines are found. Also, surely you know that it is the digestive "tract", not "track".....? Something so seemingly small can tend to lend discredit to a post.....

                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                You're right. Thanks for the catch. Fixed it. Sometimes I type so quickly and don't proofread well enough.

                                                                                I posted the links to lists of foods with tyramines and histamine Feb. 10, above,
                                                                                but here are the links again:

                                                                                http://www.fdnow.org/images/TyramineF...
                                                                                http://www.urticaria.thunderworksinc....

                                                                              2. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                ONE TYPE [caps for differentiation only] of my migraines trigger off MSG. Period. Not histamines. Not tyramines. They trigger strictly off of pure MSG.

                                                                                Be careful to not classify "all migraines" into the statement that MSG is not a trigger. Migraines are as individual as the individual that has them. Statistical studies can only carry so far when involving unique biological subjects. It can be used as a starting place for discussions with the medical community but should not be solely used as the defining factor. Sometimes the individuality of biological subjects can "pfffftttt" the studied statistics. In my case, my individual biology (for the record -- independently tested, verified and currently beyond the understood norm) forced my physicians and headache specialists to throw all the current and conventional statistical analysis out.

                                                                                No MSG for me!

                                                                                1. re: JustSayNoToMSG

                                                                                  Sure, there are always outliers for everything. The problem is that the number of people that claim MSG sensitivity is a number that is orders of magnitude larger than those who actually are (and of course, even if a "sufferer" agrees with this, they will always claim to be in the latter category). It's natural for someone to be skeptical of someone claiming to be MSG sensitive in that environment - the most likely situation is that even if the person believes that to be true that it isn't.

                                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                                    Yes, there is usually a mob mentality response to many conditions. On the other hand, if I expect others to respect that I have a specific condition, I feel that I should give them the benefit of the doubt that they also can or possibly are reacting to MSG. Hence my response to maria. Blanket statements based only on statistics (while statistics are a factor) are not the end all be all of the subject. I'm more inclined to suggest an individual get tested (if they really want to know) or talk to their individual doctor. It is then up to the individual to decide what is best for them.

                                                                                    I've suffered from migraines for many decades and I don't even wish them on my husbands deceased ex-wife :). While I concede it is rare, I'd not want anyone else to suffer because they are told a migraine cannot definitively be triggered by MSG when for a particular individual that may not be true.

                                                                                    1. re: JustSayNoToMSG

                                                                                      Everyone is different, a concept that "modern medicine" often seems to be unable to grasp.

                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                        http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/201...
                                                                                        contrasts how a homeopath views anecdotal evidence and how evidence based medicine ('modern medicine) does.

                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                          Wow! Interesting. What a piece of bias!! Who is this writer? I want to avoid him!

                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                            A surgeon specializing in breast cancer. As a blogger he mainly does battle with the anti-vaccine crowd, as well as other alt-med promoters. In this case he's responding to a homeopath.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              Well, he is an interesting fellow.

                                                                                        2. re: sandylc

                                                                                          Everyone is different sure, but in terms of SNPs (the areas that we tend to differ) people largely cluster by the geography of their ancestors. If there was something particular regarding MSG sensitivity it should show itself as a pattern among a sub-population.

                                                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                                                            Well, if you studied enough of the right people and asked the right questions and put two and two together. Etc.

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              You're digging the hole deeper and deeper though - the path that you're taking is arguing that it is an extremely rare condition.

                                                                                              Who knows, maybe as we approach affordable genome sequencing we'll be able to identify the "MSG SNP" or whatever. Then people could get definitively tested. I'm sure there'd *still* be people who claimed sensitivity who were provably not sensitive.

                                                                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                I think we're in agreement.

                                                                                        3. re: JustSayNoToMSG

                                                                                          I take the opposite stance. If there's something that is both extremely rare and the occurrence of it is extremely exaggerated, the most likely scenario is that someone is not accurate if they say to have that condition. They can feel free to try to prove it to me if they actually care, but it'd need to involve double blinds & such.

                                                                        2. re: Allergictomsg

                                                                          I have read somewhere that "spices" on an ingredient label can mean MSG.

                                                                    2. My wife of 46 years has always been "allergic" to MSG. Hives, the runs, extreme flushing, etc. I realize, as I'm a chemist, that she is not allergic, but suffers from SOME reaction to MSG and all of it's clean label names. When we stay away from those foods, she's fine. NO REACTION to parm., mushrooms or the various other foods that are high in NATURAL glutemate. NO ONE can convince me that she does not get a very bad reaction ONLY when she eats these foods. Yep, not psychosymatic as we have been in fine restaurants and neighbors back yards, yet when 20 minutes has passed, there's the signs!! We had NO IDEA that any of the foods had any MSG (or the like) in them. We'd call back and ask VERY specific questions and then get the "Oh yeah, it does say that it contains autolyzed...."

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: dennyd3

                                                                        It is 2011, this should be a no brainer - thank you for replying.

                                                                        1. re: dennyd3

                                                                          I just noticed while looking at the 800 number on a bag of Frito Lay Natural Cheetos, the 800 consumer phone number is the same as for Kraft. Are these two corporations related?

                                                                          1. re: Allergictomsg

                                                                            Frito Lay is a subsidiary of PepsiCo. PepsiCo and Kraft are separate companies as far as I can tell and not related. Not sure about the 1-800 number... maybe they both use a similar company for those services that gets directed through the same toll free number?

                                                                            1. re: bluefirefly

                                                                              Kraft owns just about every brand of "snacks" on the market, but Ido not believe they have acquired Frito-lay yet.

                                                                              As for shopping, avoid anything "flavored", even though the names like jalapeno such and such may sound tempting. I have learned that about the only snacks without yeast extract are the simplest, and even those you have to check. It might be a hassle, but you can easily prepare your own dips or spray plain snacks with olive oil and sprinkle garlic, onion, or chili powder on them for flavor. This works well with microwaved popcorn...Or you could just give up snacking on anything that is not a fresh fruit or vegetable. HMMMM

                                                                              Does anyone know if free glutamic acid is automatically and ALWAYS created when meat is cooked, or does it depend on the temperature, method of cooking, etc???

                                                                        2. Yeast Extracts contain a minor amount of the protein building block glutamic acid, usually 3-5% but these products are used at low levels around 1% in formulations, so the amount in a food product is very low (.03-.05%). Glutamic acid is present in proteins in parmesan cheese at 16% (also mushrooms, tomatoes) that is why those natural food products have well rounded flavor. MSG is the salt form of glutamic acid as monosodium glutamtate and may be used at higher levels 2-3%).
                                                                          It is suspected that the sodium in MSG may be part of the reaction (pulsing temples) as "chinese restaurant syndrome" but there is no pure proof of this yet. Bakers Yeast extracts have been developed to replace MSG but they are more costly. These extracts can be used at 1/3 as much as MSG so it really lowers the amount of glutamic acid contributed to the final food. Bakers yeast has been around for centuries and is very low on the allergen scale. When there were beef/meat shortages in the world wars the yeast extracts were developed for nutrition/protein.
                                                                          Hope that helps.
                                                                          Dave A.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: DAVE A

                                                                            Denny's post contains "NO REACTION to parm., mushrooms or the various other foods that are high in NATURAL glutemate." It would be pretty bold to dispute that directly.

                                                                            Anyway, in your earlier post you wrote, "To make an extract it is has to be autolyzed or "self digested" which breaks down the proteins for more flavorful components..." This seems like a significant bit of information to me. Having something self digested could make it processed in the human body at a much faster rate. I wonder if the extracts have a lot of what is referred to as "free glutamate."

                                                                            Anyway, can you elaborate on free glutamates vs. glutamic acid as it pertains to natural foods like parmesan cheese etc.?

                                                                            1. re: enjakes

                                                                              Yes, the bakers yeast ferments molasses/sugar to a 50% protein level which has a lot of B complex vitamins similar to brewers yeast used in marmite (but not as harsh tasting). This has to be done in a very clean environment of course. The yeast is inactivated by heating and adding a small amount of salt so the cell walls break and the natural enzymes break down the protein in similar conditions to your stomach but hotter - very natural. This yields a "nutrient broth" which can be used similar to chicken broth in the food industry. In the breakdown some glutamic acid is released (3-6%) as it is a building block in these protein structures so a lot of amino acids are released also. Vegetarians take bakers or brewers yeast as a protein supplement but it is usually the whole yeast product. The cell walls are mostly cellulose and insoluble so they are separated to make a clear extract of higher protein value (YE) as it has an enhancing quality for foods. The use is about 1% or less in the industry as they are costly whereas MSG is very cheap and may have a 1-4% dose as it works well. So if you multiply the 1% YE dose by the 3-5% glutamic acid content you come up with a low .03-.05 free glutamic acid content in the food. Nearly half of the weight of MSG is sodium so this could contribute to some of the headache issues when a hungry person consumes hot soup that has a high level in it as the Glutamate and sodium separate in solution and your body can absorb both fairly quickly. . There are still a lot of unknowns on this. Natural food products like parmesan cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes have high natural contents of glutamic acid but a lot of that is bound in the protein structures and not as free but they contribute significant flavor enhancement/flavor.
                                                                              The other complicating factor is that we have 2 regulatory agencies FDA & USDA and they may have different terminology/interpretations.
                                                                              Hope that helps!
                                                                              Dave A.

                                                                              1. re: DAVE A

                                                                                Thank you for this information.

                                                                          2. What is REALLY interesting, is that one of the leading drugs for Alzheimers, works by blocking glutamic acid receptors in the brain!!
                                                                            "I consider it ironic, that the pharmaceutical industry is investing vast resources in the development of glutamate receptor blockers to protect CNS [central nervous system] neurons against glutamate neurotoxicity in common neurological disorders, while at the same time the food industry, with the blessing of the FDA, continues to add great quantities of glutamate to the food supply."

                                                                            -- Richard C. Henneberry, Ph.D.
                                                                            Director, Neuroscience Program
                                                                            Conte Institute for Environmental Health

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: dougiedd

                                                                              Here's another way to look at Alzheimers and glutamates:

                                                                              There are a huge number of scholarly medical papers saying that glutamate DEPLETION in Alzheimer's patents is a cause of patients' brain dysfunction and loss of memory.

                                                                              Read the papers here:
                                                                              http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=...

                                                                              Our brains need glutamate. Glutamate is the MAJOR neurotransmitter of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus and has a big role in learning and memory. When there is too little glutamate, our brains suffer and we experience cognitive decline.

                                                                              You need enough glutamate for your brain to function well. Too little glutamate is bad, but too much is bad, tob. Our bodies make huge quantities of it, far more than we ingest. But, too much glutamate -- enough to cause toxicity -- never occurs from food or MSG, but from concurrent disease in the body. Source: US National Library of Medicine, 1970-2011.

                                                                              Certain diseases -- again, not food -- cause the body to make too much glutamate or to become overly sensitive to it. In Parkinson's patients, a depletion of dopamine can make cells in other parts of the brain overly sensitive to glutamate, resulting in glutamate toxicity that way. In ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), the body makes too much glutamate. When that happens, motor neurons are harmed and nerve signaling is impaired.

                                                                              In any case, it's not the glutamate per se that's bad, but the chain reaction that occurs in the cells AFTER they are flooded with glutamate. In that chain reaction, cell death actually occurs from too much calcium, not glutamate.

                                                                              To be clear, in no way am I advocating the use of MSG in any form. I love the foods with dietary glutamates because they are some of the most flavorful foods out there.

                                                                              You might enjoy reading some research from accurate and current medical sources, just to make sure you're not believing the huge amount of misinformed medical crap on the internet. Make sure the information is on dietary rather than endogenous glutamate, was written in the last 5 years, was the result of a controlled medical study on humans (not rats or mice), was reviewed by peers and then published in a major scientific or medical journal.

                                                                              BTW, I can no longer believe any info from the IFIC or the FDA, as I once did. Both organizations have become shills for the food industry and receive financial support from them.

                                                                              Here's a good source for info: the National Library of Medicine at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/qu...

                                                                              For example, your quote from Henneberry above was from way back in 1993 and based on dubious research on mice by John Olney. The medical community has leapt lightyears forward since then in its understanding of the brain, neurotransmitters, motor neurons and neurodegenerative diseases.

                                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                As best I can tell from Google scholar, Henneberry hasn't published in the past 2 decades.

                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                  funny then that a major class of Alzheimers qdrugs, called NMDA receptor antagonists, work by BLOCKING the activity of glutamate.
                                                                                  Funny too that despite your protestations that you don't advocate for the use of MSG, you seem to come to its defense at the drop of a hat.

                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                    Glutamate receptors, neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration.
                                                                                    Lau A, Tymianski M.
                                                                                    Source

                                                                                    Division of Applied and Interventional Research, Toronto Western Research Institute, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5T 2S8.
                                                                                    Abstract

                                                                                    Glutamate excitotoxicity is a hypothesis that states excessive glutamate causes neuronal dysfunction and degeneration. As glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS), the implications of glutamate excitotoxicity are many and far-reaching. Acute CNS insults such as ischaemia and traumatic brain injury have traditionally been the focus of excitotoxicity research. However, glutamate excitotoxicity has also been linked to chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and others. Despite the continued research into the mechanisms of excitotoxicity, there are currently no pharmacological interventions capable of providing significant neuroprotection in the clinical setting of brain ischaemia or injury. This review addresses the current state of excitotoxic research, focusing on the structure and physiology of glutamate receptors; molecular mechanisms underlying excitotoxic cell death pathways and their interactions with each other; the evidence for glutamate excitotoxicity in acute neurologic diseases; laboratory and clinical attempts at modulating excitotoxicity; and emerging targets for excitotoxicity research.

                                                                                    This is from 2010
                                                                                    Me thinks thou doth protest too much!

                                                                                    1. re: dougiedd

                                                                                      maria lorraine wrote "Make sure the information is on dietary rather than endogenous glutamate," Does this abstract deal with dietary glutamate? I don't think so. Note that she has a already referred to the excitotoxicity (excessive production of glutamate) due to injury or disease like Parkinson's.

                                                                                      1. re: dougiedd

                                                                                        Thanks, paulj.

                                                                                        The confusion rests in not understanding what happens to dietary (enteral) glutamate when ingested, and, separately, how the glutamate neurotransmitter is created.

                                                                                        These are two completely different metabolic processes.

                                                                                        Dietary glutamate NEVER crosses the blood-brain barrier. Any glutamates you eat never enter the brain. So neurotoxicity caused by glutamates you eat is impossible. Nearly all the dietary/enteral glutamate you do eat is metabolized by the gut for digestion. The gut uses it as fuel.

                                                                                        The creation of the glutamate neurotransmitter is a complex process. The body carries around four pounds (approximately 2 kilos) of glutamate that it has made (just to show you how large a quantity it makes compared to what you ingest.). Glutamate is created by converting the amino acid glutamate via transamination to the neurotransmitter glutamate.

                                                                                        Dougiedd, you can research your claim that dietary or enteral glutamate causes glutamate toxicity, again evaluating the information you find using the same criteria I listed above. Again, this is completely different from the neurotransmitter glutamate the body creates causing neurotoxicity as a result of disease processes -- already well-established.

                                                                                  2. You know, you guys have posted a lot in here about science and studies and whatnot and there are clearly a few of you who are on the defense because you probably use MSG in your own cooking. All I know is that I have an 18-month old who develops hives whenever she eats something with Autolyzed Yeast or MSG. She is not sensitive to any other foods.

                                                                                    1. I have been following this chat on and off for quite some time. I am super sensitive to MSG and all the names the food companies want to call it by finding a huge water collection around my eyes-like water goggles.
                                                                                      I have a book "In Bad taste" by George Schwartz recommended to my daughter to read and follow since she has chronic headache syndrome.
                                                                                      No one in this chat has mentioned this book. I think you will all be amazed and realize finally as I have that plain fruits and vegetables and meats is all that is safe.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: MSGallergy

                                                                                        George Schwartz also wrote the foreword to a newer book called "Excitotoxins The Taste that Kills," by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D. In this book, which I highly recommend, Blaylock, who is a board-certified neurosurgeon, reiterates this advice.

                                                                                        "I believe that there is enough research evidence demonstrating the harmful effects of excitotoxins in food additives that all persons having a history of sensitivity to MSG or a strong family history of one of the neurodegenerative diseases should avoid all foods and beverages containing these excitotoxin "taste" additives. Doing so could mean the difference between a normal life and one spent suffering from a crippling disease. I will repeat these warnings throughout the book because they are so important. We must reprogram our eating habits to include fresh foods and excitoxin-free beverages, at least until the food industry takes a responsible position on this most important issue." p. 117-118

                                                                                        1. re: enjakes

                                                                                          Newer as in 1994. Dr Blaylock is now retired, and author of a monthly 'wellness report'. He appears to be more involved in a variety of causes than in practicing medicine. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_... )

                                                                                          1. re: enjakes

                                                                                            Schwartz doesn't know body chemistry. The glutamates you eat are completely different chemically from the glutamates in the brain. The glutamates you eat are used to fuel digestion and completely consumed that way. The glutamates you eat NEVER enter the brain, EVER -- the medical phrase is that dietary glutamates *never cross the blood-brain barrier.* The brain's glutamates are made by the body, about 4 pounds in everyone, and are the major neurotransmitter of the brain.

                                                                                            In short: There is NO CONNECTION between the glutamates you eat and the glutamates in the brain. NONE. Schwartz didn't know what he was talking about way back then.

                                                                                        2. Please note: The discussion about unflavored Doritos was split into its own thread on the General Chowhounding board: here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8331...

                                                                                          1. 5 years later, this thread is getting pretty far afield from what was a pretty simple question, so we're going to lock it now.