MSG III and Dr Olney Before Congress

June 08, 2010

MSG III and Dr Olney Before Congress 

 Competency: Brain Health ReferenceRussell Blaylock and “Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills” 

 It didn't take long after the discovery of pure MSG when a neuroscientist, Dr. John Olney, found that damage was caused to the retina in rats.  But it wasn't just the retina.  The rats became grossly obese.  Chasing that down found similar damage all over the place in the hypothalamus of the rats.  Dr. Olney was able to raise enough of a fuss that he was called to testify before Congress in 1969 about the dangers of MSG.  At that time the MSG industry realized they had a public relations nightmare with possibly damaged children's brains so they eased off and beat a strategic retreat.  They voluntarily removed MSG from baby food in 1969.  Humans eat baby food for just a few months.  

There was much more money to be made in adult food.  A strategic removal quieted the uproar at the time and left 97% of the market in place. But what about pregnant mothers?  Their babies were developing inside them and their mothers weren't being warned.  Dr. Olney was able to show in rhesus monkeys that there were brain lesions in their babies when the mother was fed the same level of MSG as is common in the American diet.   There was never any warning issued by the FDA to pregnant mothers to avoid MSG. And the final kicker is that humans turn out to absorb MSG at about 5 times the rate of rhesus monkeys and 20 times the rate of rats, the animals being tested in the lab.    

In fact, humans get higher blood levels of MSG to a given dose than any other know animal, and we are eating levels of MSG on a par of what can be shown to cause damage in lab animals, all while we get higher blood levels in response. And children's brains are about 4 times more sensitive to MSG than adult brains.  Do you see a dangerous path emerging? And how about foods aimed at children who are slightly older than babies?  Can you imagine those cute little circular pasta dishes that come in cans and have tiny little pasta balls?  Have your children demonstrated enthusiasm for them?  Mine did?  In fact, that's all they would eat.  Harried, rushed, busy parents are so grateful to find a food their children will eat that comes in a quick and easy can.  Just open it up, dump it in a bowl and microwave it and you and the spouse can have a nice dinner later when they are in bed.  Have you looked at the can label?  

Look at the fine print on the bottom and see if you can find any of the following terms for MSG.  Caseinate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yeast extract, flavorings, textured protein hydrolyzed plant protein, autolyzed plant protein, yeast food or nutrient, glutamic acid, vegetable protein extract.  Those are all names for MSG.  Many of your child's favorite foods will have more than two or three of these names.  Manufacturers don't have to put the final chemical in, just the ingredient and what it's made from.  Most of those names are 40-60% MSG, but because they are made from the original product, they can be named as that product. 

 WWW:  What will work for me?   Go to the website "Hidden Names for MSG" on Google and print out the list.  There are dozens more on the list.  Practice looking at them and using that list when you go grocery shopping.  I just went on a plane trip and asked for the spicy tomato juice.  It’s my favorite drink on plane trips.  Guess how many names for MSG I found on the label?   I’m so mad.  It’s all hidden, right before your eyes.  We're going to talk about Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS, and other nasty illnesses next week.  For now, let's start with keeping our own exposure down as much as we can.  I bet you can find one product with at least 5 names of MSG on it.  I did.  Took me about 5 minutes.  Clue: it's in the soup section.  

Column written by Dr. John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI, (262-784-5300)