Excitotoxins are chemicals contained in Monosodium Glutamate (also known as MSG) and other flavor enhancers. Some of their effects are dizziness, headaches and chest pains.
These symptoms have come to be known as "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" because MSG is used so extensively in Chinese cooking.
It is also used in Japanese culinary where it is sold under the brand name Ajinomoto and in North America under the brand name Accent.
MSG is only one of a number of chemicals known as excitotoxins that can cause damage to your brain cells and make you sick.
What are Excitotoxins exactly? They are amino acids which cause changes at the cellular level in your brain. These changes trigger stimulation that cause the neurons in your brain to become “excited”. They fire their impulses over and over again until the cell eventually dies.
We become exposed to excitotoxins when we eat foods with preservatives and flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate, aspartame (known as the sweetener NutraSweet) and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP).
There are literally thousands of packaged and canned products that include aspertame on their ingredient list (a good argument for eating fresh foods) including many diet sodas and sweeteners like Equal, Equal Measure, Benevia, Spoonful and Nutra Taste.
Although the FDA has been plagued with complaints of its ill effects over the years, they insist it is safe and refuse to take it off the market.
This report was made in 2006, and many are still fighting to get Aspertame and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) off the market.
Exposure to Excitotoxins and Monosodium Glutamate Effects
The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require MSG to be listed in the ingredients of a product. So here are some common names you might see on your food labels that are used by food manufacturers to disguise the presence of MSG:
These always contain MSG
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein Extract
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Plant Protein Extract
These additives frequently contain MSG
Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring
These additives may contain MSG
Soy Protein Concentrae
Soy Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Concentrate
Health Problems Associated with Excitotoxins
Besides feeling MSG effects like a headache or a “woozy” feeling like you’ve been drugged, excitotoxins may also exacerbate asthma and lead to more serious illnesses like Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and Fibromyalgia.
How to Avoid Excitotoxins
Avoid chemicals that are normally found in processed foods like MSG, aspartame and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
Check the list above for more common names for these additives.
Eat foods with Omega 3's such as fish and flaxseed and hempseed.
Increase aerobic activity with regular exercise.
The brain depends on vitamins E and C for its protection. Eat foods high in in those vitamins. Beta carotene is very important and so are minerals like magnesium. chromium, zinc and selenium,
Supplement with antioxidants like grape seed extract, pycnogenol, SOD and green tea.
Detox Your Body of Excitotoxins
Most people have no idea that the foods they are eating contain such dangerous chemicals. Now that you do know, you're ahead of the game.
So you can avoid excitotoxins by not eating foods containing flavor enhancers and preservatives from now on but what about the damage that may already have been done?
There’s no way to turn back the clock but you can clean up some of the damage by detoxing your body with a
or other body cleansing technique.