MSG is liberally added to all fast, processed, pre-prepared and pre-packaged foods – you will even find it in well-known varieties of baked beans, gravy and soup. It is purposely designed to convince our brain that the food we are eating tastes delicious and we want more of it. Think of the post-junk-food feeling of being very thirsty and not very satisfied.
MSG through the ages
MSG was created by Japanese scientists in 1909 and, by 1933, the Japanese were using over 10 million pounds of MSG in food per year. Incredibly, the usage of MSG has doubled every decade since 1940. Due to a lack of labeling laws, it is not easy to spot MSG in the food that you regularly purchase. MSG can be labeled as hydrolysed vegetable protein, vegetable protein, natural flavouring, hydrolysed plant protein, plant protein extract, sodium caseinates, calcium caseinates, yeast extract, textured protein, hydrolysed protein, hydrolysed yeast, malt extract or malt flavouring.
Under European law, glutamic acid and its associated salts have to be declared, and the name of the E number of the salt has to be listed on the label. Glutamic acid and its salts as food additives have the following E numbers: E620, E62, E622, E623 and E625.
OK, so what if my food is flavoured with synthetic flavouring? Excitotoxins. That’s what. These compounds literally excite your brain cells to death – imagine hundreds of balloons being let go before tied, haphazardly flying around until they all run out of air. Excitotoxins cause the brain cells – or neurons – to become overstimulated and fire continuously until they are exhausted and die. Food flavourings are liberally added to adult, infant and children’s food, so we all ingest thesecompounds unknowingly over our lifetime.
The human brain is an incredible but delicate organ that needs proper care. Like the heart, it never rests – chemical transfers fly across the gaps between the neurons with trillions of messages in every single second. A properly functioning brain is required for all operations within the human body. Simply put, your brain is a chemical factory, relying on tiny amounts of chemicals in the correct balance to be released so that you may function every day.
The blood-brain barrier
Nearly all parts of the brain have a blood-brain barrier which protect this fragile system from internal and external toxins – think of it as a cat flap that only allows your cat in and out. The only natural compounds that I’m aware of that can permeate the blood brain barrier are turmeric and cannabis sativa due to their incredible healing qualities.
In addition, the blood-brain barrier helps to protect the brain from rogue cells in the form of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that have lost an electron and then steal one from healthy cells, leading to degeneration of cells and premature ageing and disease. Pac-Man springs to mind – millions of them racing around the body eating your healthy cells.
MSG, being an excitotoxin, gets past the blood-brain barrier bringing toxic compounds into the brain tissue and exciting brain cells until they die. These brain cells are not replicated or replaced, therefore the brain begins a process of degeneration that can only be slowed down and reversed with targeted nutritional support and toxin reduction.
In summary, by consuming MSG, the cat flap in your brain will be wedged open, allowing all the balloons to fly like mad until exhausted and dead.
The primary function of food is to support and facilitate the chemical reactions of the brain and the body. Cells absorb nutrients using a lock and key system. The key to cell nutrient absorption is either sodium or calcium, which opens the lock. So, we need both calcium and sodium for our cells to be nourished by the nutrients we are eating. For the brain, it is calcium that allows brain cells to receive nutrients.
MSG is found in packaged and processed foods high in starches, fats and salt. They are also preserved withcompounds that deplete vitamins and minerals from the body. Two of these key brain-supporting, memory-enhancing nutrients are zinc and magnesium – it is estimated that 80 per cent of the world’s population is deficient in these two minerals. This is due to mass monoculture – farming only one crop on a massive scale of land, which depletes the soil’s minerals, and thereby lowers our nutrient levels.
Excitotoxins, infants and children
Research indicates that children are four times more sensitive to the action of excitotoxins on the brain than adults. Babies’ and children’s brains are even more vulnerable and delicate than ours. They have not yet fully formed and reached maturity, and they do not have a functioning blood-brain barrier. This means that any toxins that the child eats, drinks or applies to their skin will enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain.
A child’s brain develops in the early years, mapping out their brain’s level of function and capacity for the rest of their life. The child’s nutritional intake is critical to support brain development, as the brain has limited powers to re-wire and rectify any cellular damage.
Research indicates that excitotoxin damage to the brain can manifest in children as autism, stuttering or delayed speech, stunted growth, hyperactive behavior, short term memory problems, inability to control emotions, loweredintelligence and damage to the endocrine system, resulting in early onset puberty.
In teenagers and young adults, neuron damage from excitotoxins, can result in a range of problems including an inability to control emotions, arrested development, learning disabilities, lack of ability to see the larger picture, social incompetency, inability to understand or demonstrate empathy and being unable to perform complex problem solving.
Our sensitivity to excitotoxins increases when we consume them from more than one food source. If you give your toddler a diet coke and a can of soup, you are exposing the child to 500 micromules of MSG. These levels are enough to cause destruction to the nerves in the brain.
Once the blood level of the excitotoxin has diminished, the levels remain elevated in the brain for 24 hours and the destruction of neurons continues cumulatively. Those that consume more than two diet beverages or foods a day have constantly elevated levels of excitotoxins in the brain. Continued consumption will cause headaches, dizziness, poor memory, forgetfulness, heightened emotions, sleep disturbance and irritability.
I greatly admire the work of Russell Blaylock, MD and this article draws on his extensive expertise and knowledge.
Juliette Scarfe is the founder of BareSkin Beauty, a range of all natural, organic skin-food products. Visit bareskin-beauty.co.uk
Find us on Facebook