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MSG food flavoring may be linked to dementia disorders.

MSG Food Flavoring May Be Linked to Dementia Disorders

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a widely used food additive that is found in many supermarket products and finds its way into restaurant foods. It is a flavoring component of canned baked beans, salad dressings, roasted peanuts packed in jars, canned soups, soup mixes, baked goods, soy sauces, dried tomatoes, and crackers. Individuals sensitive to the chemical have been known to suffer severe allergy attacks and various forms of hypoglycemia.

In his classic work on the subject of the dangers of MSG, George R. Schwartz, M.D., also implicates MSG in provoking symptoms of dementia and other neurological disorders.

In his book, In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome, Dr. Schwartz writes: "Excesses of glutamate have been linked to a condition called `Huntington's Chorea' which involves destruction of parts of the brain. Symptoms mimicking those of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), such as muscle weakness and slurred speech, have been produced by large doses.

"Some scientists have speculated that the rising incidence of Alzheimer's disease may be related to MSG. Because of the known brain cell neurotoxicity of MSG, they theorize that chronic long-term exposure might lead to neuronal (brain cell) loss. This certainly is an area for further scientific study.

"Scientists studying these problems have sometimes run into severe obstacles. As Dr. Baker, the Australian asthma specialist, notes, "The story needs to be told. This will not only include the side effects of MSG, but also the discrediting of the people honestly reporting these effects, the frustration many of us have had in finding funds to do the necessary further research and the anger at regulatory bodies for ignoring the problem.'"

Dr. Schwartz also notes that the elderly are especially vulnerable to the effects of MSG.

With the current level of MSG addition to such foods (either as MSG or hydrolyzed vegetable protein), this ensures a steady MSG diet which is a factor in edema and depression.

"Other symptoms associated with MSG sensitivity include dizziness and balance difficulties, common problems of the elderly.

"In large concentration, MSG is a potent nerve toxin and it has been theorized that chronic long-term ingestion may be involved with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, as well as other nerve cell degenerative diseases.

"A summary of the experimental evidence linking glutamate and human disease was compiled by Dr. J. Timothy Greenamyre at the University of Michigan Neuroscience Laboratory and published in the Archives of Neurology in October 1986.

"Dr. Greenamyre noted that an inject of a glutamate-like substance can produce many of the abnormalities of Huntington's disease (i.e., bizarre movements and mental deterioration), and suggests that glutamate neurotoxicity may be involved in the cause of this disease.

"Dr. Greenmyre also proposed that some of the brain cell degeneration found in Alzheimer's disease may be caused by increased stimulation of parts of the brain by glutamate. An elevated glutamate level has been associated with one type of brain cell atrophy (olivoponto cerebellar atrophy), causing severe balance difficulties."
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Title Annotation:monosodium glutamate
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Words:501
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