Plan A - AVOID MSG
Many of those afflicted with MSG sensitivity seriously attempt to avoid MSG. However, because labeling laws in the United States allow foods high in free glutamate to go unlabeled as such, those with MSG symptom complex often are often unwitting victims of glutamate toxicity.
At this time, there is little clinical data to provide information on remedies for MSG symptom complex, because most of the research done on MSG was paid for by the Glutamate industry. However, here we discuss possible scientific explanations for why a particular food or mineral would provide some relief, based on available scientific research, and reports of benefit from MSG sensitive individuals.
It should be noted that many of MSG sensitive individuals try to avoid most dietary supplements as they often contain items like gelatin or other substances that contain MSG. These individuals do not take any supplement lightly, as most cause them fear of a reaction.
Plan B - REPORTED "REMEDIES"
Some MSG sensitive individuals report relief from some MSG symptoms by taking taurine. The rationale behind this approach is that glutamate competes with the amino acid cysteine for uptake in the body. An excess of glutamate will interfere with the body's ability to convert cysteine into taurine, the other free form amino acid which acts as the body's heartbeat regulator. Taurine is the body's water soluble anti-oxidant, and inhibitory neurotransmitter. The body also uses taurine to make bile, which aids in the digestion of fats.
The idea of taking taurine for accidental MSG ingestion is that since MSG may inhibit taurine formation, those with irregular heartbeat, digestive problems, epilepsy, vision disturbance, and panic attacks from MSG, may benefit from ingesting taurine instead of waiting for the body to make it.
Unfortunately, most food scientists are not taught about taurine because adults are assumed to be able to make it and shouldn't need to eat it. It isn't even listed in most tables of the amino acids. However, taurine is so important in the body, that since 1986 it has been added to baby formula because it is essential for proper growth and development in humans. Also, studies of people with epilepsy have shown that taurine levels in the brain after a seizure are unusually low. Taurine is now being considered as treatment for diabetes as well as epilepsy.
Foods high in taurine include fresh fish and meat. It is not found in significant amounts in foods of non-meat origin. Heat for long periods of time destroys it. It is interesting that the Japanese use much MSG, but also eat diets high in fish, and raw fish at that. A Japanese meal of sushi contains much taurine, as well as MSG. Chinese food, which often is cooked at high heat and also contains mushrooms, another source of free glutamate, and often mostly vegetables, would contain less protective taurine.
We buy our taurine online from here: http://www.beyondacenturyonline.com It is inexpensive and free of fillers and additives.
In a recent report on CNN, magnesium was reported as one remedy for migraine sufferers. MSG is a migraine trigger. It should noted that some MSG sensitive individuals report relief from some symptoms by increasing intake of magnesium to avoid deficiency. The reasoning behind this approach is that glutamate is a calcium channel opener - it causes nerve cells to fire. Overstimulated nerve cells can die if too much stimulatory glutamate is present. Magnesium is the mineral the nervous system uses to switch overtaxed nerve cells to "off".
In the FASEB research report quoted on our home page, Vitamin B6 is mentioned because it is the vitamin used by the body for many functions, including helping to convert amino acids into other amino acids. It has been shown that those with Vitamin B6 deficiency show increased sensitivity to MSG. It should be noted that it is possible to take too much vitamin B6 and that for those with MSG sensitivity that are not Vitamin B6 deficient, more Vitamin B6 may not be of any benefit.
MSG is a calcium channel opener. This means it can act as a blood pressure RAISER. It is well accepted that high blood pressure raises the risk of stroke. In cultures that use copious amounts of MSG, such as Singapore, stroke is on the rise, even in young adults. Many of the newer cardiovascular drugs are calcium channel blockers. It is interesting to note that, Vitamin B6 is now being touted for cardiovascular health by physicians.
It should also be noted that individuals who ingest too much alcohol put themselves at risk of damaging their liver and inducing Vitamin B6 deficiency. Because of this, alcohol use is not encouraged for those who are borderline Vitamin B6 deficient, or MSG sensitive.
For those patients who must restrict Vitamin B6 due to medical conditions (Vitamin B6 can interfere with Parkinson's medications), avoiding MSG is critical, as there may be less ability to deal with an excess of glutamate.
Vitamin B6 is also used by the body to create another very important substance now listed in the formularies of hospitals for treating heart disease, a substance widely used in Japan for heart health, and which also seems to give some relief to MSG sensitive individuals - the next item in this list: CoQ10
CoQ10, is a universal substance used all over the body in what is called the glucose to energy pathway. CoQ10 helps the body take fuel in the form of glucose, or blood sugar, and turn it into energy in the cells of the body. CoQ10 has been of some benefit in reducing the symptoms of MSG Symptom Complex.
The rationale is that since glutamate in excess can over-stimulate nerve cells until they die, energy is crucial. If there is enough energy converted to help an over-stimulated nerve cell withstand an excess of glutamate, than the nerve cell will recover. If however, there is a CoQ10 deficiency, the cell will run out of energy and die. This is a simplistic analogy, but, it does not appear to be coincidence, that the country with the largest consumption of MSG in the world, is also a large consumer of CoQ10.
It should also be noted that some MSG sensitive individuals complain of reactions to food items containing corn. Corn contains substances which interfere in the glucose to energy pathway. It was found early in the 20th century that diets consisting mainly of corn result in the disease pellagra. Pellagra is a deficiency of niacin. Niacin is the vitamin that aids in the glucose to energy pathway. Niacin deficiency results in "The Four D's" Dermatitis, Dementia, Diarrhea, and Death, because work all over the body grinds to a halt, and cells die from lack of energy. Those with liver damage or vitamin B6 deficiency and whose MSG sensitivity manifests itself as skin rash, digestive disorders, lack of concentration, and corn sensitivity, may be helped by taking CoQ10.
Unfortunately, CoQ10 is extremely expensive. However, it appears to help some individuals so much that they will spend the money to purchase it. It should be noted that the body uses many other vitamins to make CoQ10. Therefore, a well rounded diet can help the body make CoQ10 on its own.
An interesting side note:
This begs the question - Are athletes who have asthma and eat athletic supplements high in free glutamate at risk by depleting CoQ10 by both exercise and overtaxing the nervous system?
We buy our CoQ10 online from here: http://www.beyondacenturyonline.com It is less expensive and free of fillers and additives.
Ibuprofen - the active ingredient in Advil - is an easily available glutamate blocker. Some folks are allergic to ibuprofen - and can have an anaphylactic reaction to it. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation. It can easily be found when traveling. When taking ANY supplement, over the counter med or herbs - make sure you check with your pharamacist and doctor to make sure it won't interact with your medications. READ THE LABEL - ALWAYS.
Antihistamines like the one found in Benadryl help some of us with MSG reactions as well. Benedryl was found to act as a glutamate blocker i studies. Since MSG increases histamine reactions, anything that reduces histamine may help. When taking ANY supplement, over the counter med or herbs - make sure you check with your pharamacist and doctor to make sure it won't interact with your medications. Some dopamine agonists should not be taken with Benadryl. READ THE LABEL - ALWAYS.
Red Bull (NOT sugar-free) although we don't advise this one due to the caffeine content
The drink Red Bull is very popular lately. Red Bull contains taurine as well as Vitamin B6 and niacin in large amounts. It also contains lots of sugar - which helps protect neurons under stress according to studies. Are young people self-medicating?
Red Bull contains both taurine and B6. Some folks drink these in excess, which is not good because one can has quite a bit of Vitamin B6 and niacin in it. Some B vitamins in large doses can cause a dependency on them because going back to normal amounts may give deficiency symptoms. And it also has caffeine, which can be a problem for some people. Unfortunately, the sugar-free version has aspartame in it which is as bad as MSG.