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Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night with your heart racing and a massive headache? Did you ever connect eating Chinese food that night for dinner? Or any of a bunch of other fast foods. If so, listen up!
MSG is monosodium glutamate. It's use, and the after-effects of using it, are very controversial. But I've seen it in action. My mom wakes up with her heart beating so fast it's scary. And the headache! Oy!
The main ingredient in MSG is glutamate, which is aneurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry impulses from the brain to the body and from one part of the brain to another. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter, which stimulates nerve activity. That's why it tastes so good!
You also should make sure to read labels. Look for the above terms, but also: glutamic acid, yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn or soy protein. I know it sounds crazy, but any food that has an ingredient that's hydrolyzed, fermented, enzyme modified, or protein fortified will have free glutamic acid in it. Pay attention to natural flavors as well. Just track your symptoms if you have them when you eat foods that have these ingredients. I'm looking at you Doritos and Ramen!
So, what do you do if you have an MSG sensitivity? Easy peasy. Stop eating it! The way I deal with sensitivities is do an elimination diet. Then you’ll be able to notice the symptoms. If they are worth the meal, go for it! If not, just quit!
No worries, though. You can order your food without MSG at many Chinese restaurants.
Here's how you can figure out if you are sensitive to MSG:
- Stop eating it for a month
- Try it again and see what happens
- Use a food journal to notice a difference in symptoms.
For more information about how to do an elimination diet, check out my free mini-course.
If you're looking for a list of symptoms and which one of the many chemical constituents it might be, click this box.