Warning! Yeast extract contains the same excitotoxic free glutamate as that in MSG

There’s a world of writers who turn out propaganda pieces on the safety of MSG. They’re much like the “researchers” who authored the MSG-is-safe studies for the International Glutamate Technical Committee in the 1990s. These were individuals with little or no obvious connection to one another, affiliated with variety of universities and medical schools, who had no history of studying the safety of MSG and had no misgivings about using excitotoxic aspartame in their placebos.

So, it’s only natural to wonder if John Moody’s article “Yeast Extract: Not MSG But Is It Safe?” in The Healthy Home Economist was designed to be MSG-is-safe propaganda. It sure looked that way, but it also sent a warning to consumers that yeast extract contains the same toxic free glutamate that’s in MSG.

To understand the toxicity of yeast extract, you have to understand the basics of toxic glutamate found in food.

Glutamate must be free to be harmful, meaning it can’t exist as part of a protein. And toxic free glutamate found in food will always have been manufactured.

You can make/produce free glutamate (glutamate outside of protein) using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria. Feed the bacteria on some starchy stuff like sugar, and they secrete glutamate through their cell walls. That’s pretty much how the glutamate in MSG is made in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa.

You can also free glutamate from protein. Begin with something that contains protein — almost any meat, grain, diary product, fruit or vegetable will contain at least some small amount of glutamate. Then, choose your method: 1) extract glutamate from protein, 2) use hydrolysis, autolysis, enzymes, acids or fermentation to break protein into individual amino acids (which would include glutamate), or apply high heat to protein.

All glutamate made/produced by man plus that which has been fermented contains D-glutamate, pyroglutamate and other unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities which industry has been unable to remove) as well as the desired L-glutamate. In contrast, the glutamate in unadulterated fruits, grains, vegetables, and in the human body, which wouldn’t be manufactured, is L-glutamate only.

To be toxic, free glutamate has to 1) be present in excess – more than the healthy body needs for normal body function, or 2) act as a neurotransmitter, overstimulating and damaging glutamate receptors for some weak area in an individual’s body, the heart, lungs, or stomach for example.

Yeast extract contains toxic free glutamate.

Yeast extract contributes to accumulation of toxic free glutamate in two ways. First, yeast extract itself will contain toxic free glutamate. Moreover, yeast and yeast extract can also interact with other ingredients, causing the protein in those other ingredients to break down and release glutamate.

The way that the yeast extract is produced will vary from one manufacturer to another, but all break the protein found in yeast into free amino acids – one of which will be glutamate. Following are various descriptions of how that’s done:

1: Food Navigator-asia.com: https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/09/25/Clean-label-less-sodium-and-vegan-Yeast-extract-specialist-company-Angel-Yeast-names-three-mega-trends-driving-the-industry#

“Angel Yeast’s yeast extract products are obtained from molasses-cultured yeast, which are autolyzed to obtain the extract and made into pastes or powders.”

2: European Association for Specialty Yeast Products:

“Yeast extract is … made from natural bakers’ or brewers’ yeast. First sugar is added so that the yeast can multiply. Then enzymes in the yeast break down the proteins present in the yeast into smaller components and make the cell walls permeable. Finally the components present in the yeast cell – the yeast extract – are separated from the surrounding wall and dried.”

3: Biospringer: https://biospringer.com/en/explore-yeast-extract/yeast-extract/production-process/

“Yeast is a microscopic unicellular fungus that has been living on Earth for millions of years. Like any other cell, yeast is made of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals gathered within the cell walls.”

“Yeast extract is simply the yeast content without the cell wall, making it a natural origin ingredient. Its production consists of 3 main steps:

Breaking of the yeast cell (also known as autolysis)

4: By Elea Carey for Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-yeast-extract-bad-for-me#1″ https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-yeast-extract-bad-for-me#1

“There are two kinds of yeast extract, autolyzed and hydrolyzed. In both, the cell walls are discarded and the contents of the cell are combined. In autolyzed yeast, the enzymes found in the yeast itself are used to break down the proteins. In hydrolyzed yeast, these enzymes are added to the yeast.”

Does yeast extract contain enough free glutamate to cause brain damage or adverse reactions?

If yeast extract was the only source of free glutamate ingested, toxicity would depend on the amount of free glutamate in the particular product ingested, and the sensitivity of the person ingesting it. There are glutamate-sensitive people who react to yeast extract.

But in real life one helping of yeast extract isn’t going to be ingested in isolation. Combined with other sources of glutamate in the diet, yeast extract increases the likelihood of brain damage and adverse reactions.

About MSG-is-safe propaganda

John Moody’s article fits the present propaganda model perfectly. It doesn’t shout out that MSG is harmless, but in several sections feel-good words are paired with the words glutamate, MSG or umami.

“Why we love glutamate”
“the presence of natural glutamates”
“Glutamates… trigger a response in our brains that make us enjoy our food.”
“Glutamates don’t just taste good, they ARE good”
“essential for life itself”
“…glutamates are naturally occurring in a wide range of foods, especially if fermented or slowly cooked or simmered. Also, traditional cultures sometimes prepared foods in such a way to purposefully INCREASE the concentration of glutamates. Clearly, ancestral societies recognized the benefits of natural glutamate in the diet.”

And then there are even more clever sections that the casual reader might think speak of the hazards of glutamates, but actually minimize them: 1) it would be unnatural to ingest too much MSG; 2) it’s processed foods that are the problem if there is one, not MSG; 3) there are a few risks associated with ingestion of MSG, but lots of foods can cause them, and 4) natural forms of glutamates are not a concern.

And finally, at the end of the paper, where psychologists say it will have the longest lasting impression, are the words, “For healthy individuals, glutamates play a vital role both in good health and good hearth (food).”

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

What do some vaccines have in common with plant-based protein substitutes?

Hint: When you get just a little it can cause a-fib, tachycardia, asthma, migraines, seizures and more.

Hint: When you get more than a little, it causes brain damage. (And you won’t notice losing just a few brain cells at a time.)

Send you answers to truthlabeling@gmail.com

All those who answer correctly will receive a link to a free download of the book “It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s, It was MSG.”

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Fact Checked?

People send us all kinds of articles, sometimes for information, sometimes to comment on. livestrong.com is one we’ve been seeing a lot of lately. Livestrong is the perfect venue for MSG-is-safe misinformation.

Every article about MSG has a certain sameness. Most important to industry is that the message you get, even if you don’t notice it, will be that MSG is perfectly safe. Sometimes the article will point out that MSG has gotten “a bad rap.” That was very popular for a while. Sometimes the story line revolves around there being less sodium in MSG than in table salt. That’s still circulating widely and is even mentioned in “The verdict on MSG: is it really safe to eat and where is it lurking?” one of the recent articles at livestrong.com.

To be effective, an article just has to make you think that MSG might be a safe food additive. It just has to make you doubt that MSG causes reactions you can see like obesity and migraine headache. The brain damage that can’t be confirmed unless an autopsy is done will never be mentioned.

“Everything You Need to Know About Food Ingredients and Additives” and the article it links to, “The Verdict on MSG: Is it really safe to eat and where is it lurking?” serve up lots of facts from various “authorities.” The hook is the claim that what they write is “fact checked” or “reviewed” before it is published. You, the reader, are supposed to believe you’re about to read something of merit that’s been meticulously researched. But behind the check mark link next to the words ‘Fact Checked’ is concealed the information that “fact checked” only means that “we’ve confirmed the information cited in it comes from reputable primary sources.” So, Ajinomoto, the company that produces MSG would be a reliable source for information on MSG, as would be their collaborators at the International Food Information Council, which has worked for them for years. And checking the truth of what is written is not considered.

A quick scan of the two articles we looked at suggested that all of their “experts” came through the glutamate industry. And when we looked a bit closer, it became obvious that neither authors April Benshosan nor Tiffany Ayuda, did any research of their own, but took material from Ajinomoto or one of its public relations firms and added some background material. Or maybe these ladies didn’t write the pair of articles at all. A simple Google search of “monosodium glutamate toxicity” turned up articles citing MSG toxicity by Niaz, Hyndman, Husarova, Nnadozie, Kayode and others who weren’t mentioned in the Livestrong.com articles. And authors Tiffany Ayuda and April Benshosan sure didn’t go to the website of the National Library of Medicine where “monosodium glutamate AND toxic” turned up 242 articles.

We checked out some of their “experts.” In 1990 the International Food Information Council (IFIC) was employed by Ajinomoto (producer of MSG) to scuttle, or do damage control, for the anticipated 60 Minutes program on MSG. Besides doing odd jobs for Ajinomoto, IFIC often parrots the disinformation that MSG is made by the same process used to produce beer, yogurt and sourdough bread. Actually, MSG is made using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria that secrete glutamate through their cell walls. Beer, yogurt and sourdough bread aren’t made that way. Tiffany Ayuda listed IFIC three times as a resource.

Mayo Clinic was used as the reference for “researchers haven’t been able to find a reliable link between MSG and allergy.” Taking things out of context is a specialty of the Glutes. The fact is that the reaction to MSG isn’t an allergic reaction. It’s a reaction to a poison. Allergic reactions are IgE mediated. Reactions to poisons are not. So, no informed person would dream that there would be a link between MSG and allergy. But the casual reader may not know that, and the sound bite makes good propaganda.

Bonnie Gaub-Dix, author of “Read it before you eat it” is quoted as saying that “MSG has been around or centuries…it is safe to consume…” But if they’d done their homework, Tiffany Ayuda and April Benshosan would have known that MSG was only invented around 1908, at which time it was made by extraction of glutamate from a protein source, with production of MSG limited by its slow and costly method. And they would have known that in 1957 Ajinomoto began producing the glutamate in MSG using genetically modified bacteria that excreted glutamate through their cell walls. And that it was only after there were sufficient quantities of glutamate in the food supply to cause that glutamate to become excitotoxic (killing brain cells), that the world began seeing MSG-induced reactions such as a-fib, seizures, and migraine headache – and behavior dysfunction, obesity and infertility caused by the brain damage that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye.

Women’s & Children’s Hospital (which one we don’t know) is another interesting resource. It’s strange that it is not included in the list of references following the article. It is also strange to find some allegedly authoritative source listing hydrolyzed and autolyzed products as containing MSG. They contain glutamate, the same toxic ingredient found in MSG, but they don’t contain the ingredient MSG. Wherever the list came from, it didn’t come from someone who had carefully researched MSG.

And then there’s the predictable industry clincher: “Researchers haven’t been unable to find a definite link between these symptoms and MSG.” (Just for fun, note the Freudian slip, “Unable.”)

Why predictable? Because every article put out by industry must deliver the message that MSG is harmless. And psychologists will tell you that what comes at the very beginning or at the very end of a story has the greatest impact.