Posted on March 10, 2010
For those who don’t know me that well, my life has unfortunately been blighted for many many years by a mysterious condition that causes all sorts of rubbish illness type things. I’ve been on tablets for YEARS for acid reflux disease, IBS, had my gall bladder removed, anti depressants (at times, not always), been told to go to counseling, countless blood tests, endoscopies, barium meals, dietitians, crazy diets to find food intolerances blah blah blah. The doctor recently just accused me of being crazy and the whole thing being in my head. I’m so bored of telling people about them but necessary for the following explanations. I also have weird auto-immune reactions (skin rash, difficulty breathing, tiredness, muscle lethargy among others) to some food from one place that I don’t from another and all sorts of things. Seemingly no connection at all….
After a particularly bad few weeks on the old stomach etc, I was sitting having a jar with my splendiferous partner Andrew complaining about my plight for the millionth and trillionth time. We’d had a few and he piped up: “You know what? It might be MSG”. At the time I went pffft could be anything, but after thinking about it – I decided to do some research. I was amazed beyond belief.
Effects of MSG and MSG Allergy/Intolerance:
- Competes with Cysteine for uptake in the digestive system. This can create a Taurine deficiency which is used to make Bile. Changes in the bile make up can have an affect on the whole system and cause abnormalities in your whole digestive system. Mainly of course, your gall bladder. I was diagnosed with gall stones at the age of 16 after suffering gall bladder attacks for the previous year. To have gall stones at that age is very rare and subsequently I had my gall bladder removed. The bile also effects your bowel especially when you have no storage facility (the gall bladder) as it just dumps the bile straight there. Dietitian says this is quite possibly an attribute towards the development of my IBS. This in turn also affects the acidity levels in your stomach – hello reflux disease! Not so nice to meet you!
- Apparenntly MSG is not a true allergen but damages your nervous system therefore sparking an immune system type response including laboured breathing (check), skin rashes and flushing (check), unexplained severe fatigue (check), rhinitus (check), nausea (check and double check), a feeling of weakness in your limbs/ muscle lethargy (check), headaches (check), pins and needles (check) – hmm lets keep up with the research before jumping to conclusions so far.
- MSG has been known to affect behaviour quite a lot causing unreasonable anger responses and irrational thought. We can all safely assume that I see red quite a few more times than perhaps I should?
- MSG has also been known to exacerbate and bring on depression – ok I will admit this. It’s something I have suffered from on and off for years. Shhhh don’t tell 😉
- Fat retention of up to 40%. When you are losing weight and hit that plateau even though you’re being super good? Probably all the msg in those low fat things you’re eating. I’ve already started to lose weight.
- Induces food cravings so you eat a lot more and more often. My portion sizes since eliminating it from my diet are about half and I’m full for a lot lot longer.
I have now been off MSG for the past 2 weeks. I’ve had a couple of mishaps where I found yet another ingredient posing as something else but is actually MSG. More on those in a minute! I’ve also given up sweetners as they have the same affect on the body as MSG does.
MSG in ingredients lists:
- Monosodium Glutamate
- Monopotassium Glutamate
- Glutamic Acid
- Vegetable Protein Extract
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
- Autolyzed Plant Protein
- Sodium Caseinate
- Wheat Extract
- Calcium Caseinate
- Textured Protein
- Yeast Extract
- Yeast Food/Nutrient
- Autolyzed Yeast
The following also contain some factory processed glutamates and should be avoided for a totally MSG and varients free diet
- Malted Barley
- Barley Malt
- Malt Extract
- Anything with just “flavourings” as an ingredient
- Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Dextrates
- Caramel Flavouring (riboflavin)
- Stock (The process of making it increases natural msg levels anyway – let alone the bought stuff with added “extras”)
- Whey Proteins, Whey powder, Whey
- Lecithin (Soya Lecithin is in 95% of chocolate as an emulsifier – no wonder we like it so)
- Anything that has just “seasonings” or “spices” as an ingredient without any other info
- ANYTHING soy is out. Check bread for soya flour – most brands use it.
- Cornstarch Fructose
- Protein fortified anything
- ultra pasturized dairy products
- modified food starches
- Lipolyzed butter fat
- Citric Acid unless stated it’s from lemons. Most good things use lemon juice and most rubbish things just state citric acid
- Milk powder
- Dry Milk Solids
- Gums (guar and vegetable)
- Anything with enumbers starting in 6
- Beta Carotine
Natural sources of MSG in high quantities and foods to avoid
- Hard italian cheese – particularly parmesan
- Over Ripe Tomatoes
- Soy and Soy products
- Sea Vegetables (I love that crispy seaweed!!)
- Marmite, Vegemite, Bovril etc
- All “Low Fat” of “Non Fat” products
- Condiments such as Ketchup
- Most pub chips
- Spreads (marge, olive oil spread etc)
- Aspartame and sweetners
- Stock based products such as stews, gravies etc
- Any longer life bread and bread check all bread for soya flour
- Packet meats such as ham – the preservatives make me ill
- Only eat normal foods at restaurants – no sauces or anything mucked about with.
- Salad dressings
- Fast foods – any of them.
- Squash (Robinsons however now have a “natural range” which doesn’t make me ill. Quite nom too.
- Any drinks except water really.. they all have sweetners and msg derivitives in.
- Concentrated juice drinks (most mixers in pubs)
- Preserves and Jams
This list I’m sure will grow as I experiment!!
Two weeks later however, I am not on my tablets anymore. My stupid phobias and anxiety has significantly decreased. I don’t feel sick all the time anymore. Pins and needles significantly reduced. Much more energy. Much less anger. Happier healthy me I’ve gotten it a bit wrong a few times and suffered (now I’m not used it to it, I’m finding it hard to just work through like I have done) but these are rapidly decreasing. I’m much more proactive and just getting on with things in my bonnie manner I used to have as a child rather than crazy banshee irritable witch woman. I can’t believe the difference. 15 years…. it’s a long time to constantly feel ill and a long time to wait to feel like normal and I couldn’t be happier. I have recently taken on an allotment with my boy and we are really looking forward to quality home grown no added fodder food that keeps kirstie as kirstie instead of kirstie as twathead. Yay!! Even my programming has improved haha!
Lets hope it continues!!! I believe that a lot of people are sensitive to MSG due to the amount of people that react to high quantites in fast foods and obviously chinese but don’t realise it. Hopefully this will enlighten people to maybe try and stop poisoning themselves quite so much. I can’t have any but it can only be good for others to reduce the intake. Obesity is on the rise and the amount of rubbish we now put in our food – I can see why!