Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a common but controversial food additive approved for use in Canada.
Health Canada’s position follows that of most food manufacturers, that MSG is a natural substance whose safety is unquestioned. In fact in Canada MSG is considered a “flavour enhancing ingredient” and is not regulated as a food additive. The Health Canada website states: “…MSG is not a health hazard to consumers… However, some individuals who consume MSG may exhibit an allergic-type reaction … [and temporarily experience] a burning sensation, facial pressure, headache, nausea and chest pains.”
This “Chinese restaurant syndrome” buzz may be the least of our worries. MSG also affects the leptin receptors in our hypothalamus so that even after eating enough we still feel hungry. This makes it a food manufacturer’s dream but also a likely contributor to the obesity epidemic. In fact scientists now use MSG when they want to fatten lab animals for research.
Free glutamate (released by MSG) is an excitotoxin, a substance that over stimulates nerve cells and can damage or even kill them. Lab animals fed MSG show toxic degenerative changes in their liver, kidneys, eyes, nerves and brain. MSG has been linked to a long and growing list of conditions: stroke, heart attacks, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, autism, ADHD, asthma, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. And unlike the immediate buzz, these conditions may take years to develop.
Even more disturbing is the discovery that glutamate feeds cancer cells, causing them to grow faster and become more invasive. To date, MSG has been linked to melanoma, breast, thyroid and colon cancers as well as glioblastoma multiforme, a particularly nasty brain cancer.
Note these are links only, and more study is required to prove a causal connection. Health Canada must wait until proof is indisputable before acting, but you don’t! Next week: how to identify and eliminate MSG from your diet.
Sources: Cancer Defeated Newsletter #122 “This Food Additive is Like Fertilizer for Cancer” October 2, 2011; website of Russell Blaylock MD, neurosurgeon.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.