If you like Chinese food, boxed meals or packaged snacks, then chances are you are consuming a high amount of MSG. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a common food flavor enhancer used around the world. In fact, it is claimed that MSG is third to salt and pepper. However, excess consumption of MSG can be detrimental to your health. Read on to learn about the various dietary and health risks of MSG.
1. Brain Damage
It’s difficult to imagine that harmless food flavorings can cause something as serious as brain damage, but the fact is regular consumption of MSG can lead to the degeneration of your brain and nervous system cells. First, it’s important to take a look at how MSG affects the brain. Monosodium glutamate is a type of excitotoxin. Once you eat MSG-rich foods, the MSG travels to your blood stream before heading to your brain. Once in the brain, it basically stimulates your brain cells into thinking that what you are eating is delicious. This is why you often feel a craving for foods that are high in MSG. Unfortunately, overstimulating can lead to the exhaustion and death of your brain cells.
If you have been trying to lose weight but your efforts seem to be unsuccessful, then MSG could be one of the culprits. Studies have linked excitotoxin to obesity repeatedly. Since MSG effectively stimulates your mind into becoming addicted to the flavor, you automatically develop cravings for foods rich in MSG. The stronger your food cravings are, the more likely you will eat. The more you eat, the more you will gain weight. In fact, MSG is so effective in inducing weight gain that it is used by scientists when they want to induce obesity in laboratory animals.
3. ADD and ADHD
Children and even unborn infants are also some of the common victims of monosodium glutamate. Fetuses as well as young children have brains that have been fully developed. This development can be easily disrupted by harmful chemicals such as excitotoxins. If you are currently pregnant, then it’s highly advisable that you eliminate – or at least cut down – the MSG in your diet. If you do not then there is the possibility that MSG may cause your unborn child to develop Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is because the MSG traveling in your blood stream can easily reach your developing fetus.
The elderly are also among those who are prone to developing neuro-degenerative diseases due to excitotoxins. In fact, research has suggested that MSG might be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. The Chinese Food Syndrome
The Chinese Food Syndrome (also known as the MSG Symptom Complex) refers to several common health maladies that you might experience after eating MSG-rich foods. The syndrome is called the Chinese Food Syndrome since Chinese food is known for containing large amounts of MSG. When you experience the syndrome, you might start breaking out into a sweat and start feeling numbness around your mouth. Chest pain, heart palpitations, fatigue and headache are also common reactions to MSG.