Let's talk about ....
... MSG = Monosodium Glutamate
What is it?
It is the salt molecule of an amino acid. In this case, it is the salt of the amino acid – Glutamic Acid (Glutamate). SO it naturally occurs in your body through the foods that you eat.
What is an amino acid?
They are building blocks, that when linked together form a protein.
All processes in the body are dependant on proteins which play roles in the body of structure, messengers, enzymes & hormones.
Remember Biology lessons?
Some amino acids must be eaten because the body cannot make them.
These are called Essential Amino Acids. Other amino acids can be made by the body, these are Non Essential Amino Acids.
Glutamic Acid (Glutamate) is an amino acid that can be linked with other amino acids as building blocks to make a protein (bound) or it can go on its own (free) as an amino acid neurotransmitter.
When Glutamic Acid is acting as a neurotransmitter it is like a chemical messenger that triggers nerve cells to “fire”.
Other amino acids like L-Taurine inform the nerve cells to “cease firing”.
It is important then to have a balance between these “firing” and “non firing” neurotransmitters.
What happens to excess amino acids?
If amino acids are not used by the body they are not stored as amino acids.
Through complex processes the body removes nitrogen and changes amino acids into fuel to be stored.
Mostly these processes happen in our livers.
If our livers are compromised then sometimes the liver is not able to convert excess amino acids and this leads to a build up of chemical messengers that trigger nerve cells to “fire” up.
Too many cells “firing up” could manifest as hyperactivity!
Other results could be rapid heart beat, upset tummy, fuzzy thinking, numbness & tingling.
Man made MSG
Through manufacturing processes foods like maize, molasses, wheat & yeast, that have naturally occurring Glutamic Acid that is bound, are broken down. The end product is the free form of the amino acid which means that it is a neurotransmitter telling cells to “fire up”.
Hidden guises of MSG
It is scary how well hidden MSG can be in the ingredients list on regular food items.
Other ways that labelling can indicate MSG is in our food:
MSG by any other name.......
In Japan, MSG is labeled as 味の素 or Ajinomoto
In China, MSG = wie jing
In the Phillipines, MSG = Vetsin
In Thailand, MSG = phong churot
In Germany, MSG = Natriumglutaminat
In Europe - MSG = E621, but avoid E620-625 as they also contain glutamate
In the US - "umami", MSG, glutamate, free glutamic acid
Four good rules of thumb are: