Is MSG a toxin or a poison?

Although the terms “toxin” and “poison” are often used interchangeably, there are some significant differences. According to “A chemical is said to be a poison if it causes some degree of metabolic disfunction in organisms. Strictly speaking, a toxin is a poisonous chemical of biological origin, being produced by a microorganismplant, or animal.”  (Emphasis added.)

It goes on to say: “It is critical to understand that while any chemical can cause poisoning, a threshold of tolerable dose must be exceeded for this to actually happen.”

So, strictly speaking, MSG, which is manufactured by humans as opposed to being produced by a microorganism, plant, or animal, is a poison.

The Free Dictionary would seem to agree.  It defines a poison as “a substance that, on ingestion, inhalation, absorption, application, injection, or development within the body, in relatively small amounts, may cause structural or functional disturbance.”

There are four very interesting facts about the poison in MSG.

1) The poisonous component of MSG is free glutamate.  It’s free glutamate that triggers glutamate receptors, enhancing the flavor of food, and at the same time operating as a poison.

2) There are lots of products in addition to MSG that contain free glutamate.  Just like the free glutamate in MSG, each enhances the flavor of the food with which it is eaten while it plays out its role as a poison.

3) Prior to 1957, tolerable doses of free glutamate would not have been exceeded, and the small amounts of free glutamate in processed foods would have not been poisonous.  Prior to 1957, there wasn’t enough free glutamate in processed foods eaten during the course of a day to produce more free glutamate than could be tolerated.

4) In 1957, a revolutionary method for producing MSG and the free glutamate in it was introduced and the use of both MSG and other free glutamate-containing flavor-enhancers began to grow exponentially. From that point forward, the amount of free glutamate in processed foods easily exceeded the amount that could be ingested without causing adverse reactions and/or brain damage.

The dose makes the poison.

How to guarantee you get the ‘right’ results

Designing studies guaranteed to produce the negative results their authors demand of them is an art form perfected by the manufacturers of monosodium glutamate in the late 1990s.

Having incorporated The Glutamate Association to promote their product, and the International Glutamate Technical Committee to design and implement research which they would claim demonstrates the safety of MSG, they found medical journals to publish their studies, print, internet, and TV sources to carry their interpretations of research results, effectively suppressed any mention that MSG might be toxic, and conspired with the FDA to vouch for the safety of their product.

“Industry’s FDA” elaborates their methods, detailing how they’ve accomplished their mission.  The use of excitotoxic (brain damaging) free glutamate in placebos used in their double-blind studies guaranteed the negative results they were looking for in case the rest of their methodology fell short of the goal.

“Industry’s FDA:”

FDA turns a blind eye to policing ‘No MSG’ labeling

A group of California attorneys have filed a trio of lawsuits to try to stop food manufacturers from deceiving consumers with fraudulent “No MSG” claims on food products that contain free glutamates.

The first complaint was filed against Campbell’s in January in an action the lawyers hope will eventually represent millions of consumers across the U.S. who purchased Campbell’s brand Swanson broth products with “false and misleading ‘NO MSG ADDED’ claims.”

That was followed by two more class action complaints against Nissin Foods U.S.A. for its “No added MSG” noodle products, and Del Monte Foods for its “No MSG,” claim that prominently appears on College Inn broths.

The FDA rule regarding such “misbranding” is relatively simple – if you market a food product containing free glutamate in any form, you can’t say it contains “No MSG” or “No added MSG.”

Names of ingredients in addition to MSG that contain MfG (manufactured free glutamate) include hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extract, whey protein and dozens of others. And all those MfG-containing ingredients can trigger what consumers commonly call “MSG reactions.”

Years ago, a group of states sued companies that misbranded products this way — and won. At about that time, the FDA sent out a warning letter to a company not targeted by the state actions, but even that was surprising since the FDA has been denying the toxic effects of MSG since 1968 when then FDA commissioner Herbert L. Ley Jr. was speaking out on the safety of MSG.

Considering how many manufacturers do this (see our list at the end of the products we’ve found), it appears that Big Food has no fear the FDA will begin to enforce the law. 

Label laundering

Last year we investigated several of these brands, including College Inn, calling the company to ask about its “No MSG” claim when its products clearly contained MfG from numerous sources.

The College Inn customer service representative told us that the company had a “campaign” to remove MSG from its products over 15 years ago when they were reformulated. “MSG can’t be hidden or called something else,” we were told.

That’s true.  The ingredient called monosodium glutamate, a.k.a. MSG can’t be hidden.  But the law says that since consumers frequently use the term MSG to mean all free glutamate, saying your product has “No MSG” or “No added MSG” when it contains free glutamate is considered “false and misleading,” and in violation of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act. 

So, College Inn is breaking the law – one that the FDA refuses to enforce.

Attorney Jonas Jacobson, from the firm of Dovel & Luner in Santa Monica, California, who represents the plaintiffs in the three lawsuits hopes that they will soon be certified as class action complaints. Jacobson commented that “this labeling practice is misleading to consumers and is prohibited by consumer protection laws.  Yet a number of companies are still putting ‘No MSG’ claims on products that have added free glutamates.  We filed these cases to stop this practice…”

This practice, however, is so widespread that when you see “No MSG,” or “No added MSG” on a product it’s almost a given that it will contain sources of MfG. And that’s no simple labeling error.

Products we’ve noticed that state “No MSG,” “No MSG added,” or “No Added MSG” that contain free glutamates

Note: This list is by no means complete.

Campbell’s Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle

Despite pledging “No MSG added” Campbell’s filled up its Chunky Classic Noodle with wheat protein isolate, yeast extract, soy protein concentrate, vegetable broth (which can contain numerous unnamed sources of MfG), and two tell-tale ingredients: disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate, which work synergistically with MSG to enhance flavor. If those two expensive ingredients are added for flavoring, so is inexpensive MSG.

Progresso New England Clam Chowder

Progresso adds its “NO MSG ADDED” pledge right above the serving instructions to make sure it’s noticed. But if you turn the can a bit to the right, you’ll see that this soup contains at least two sources of MfG – soy protein concentrate, and yeast extract, along with natural flavors. Over a decade ago Campbell’s and Progresso duked it out over which soup brand used less MSG, spending a fortune on advertising bashing each other.

Minors Soup Bases (Owned by Nestle)

These “No added MSG” products are especially devious as they are used by restaurants as a base mix for “homemade” soups, sauces and gravies. Since they are falsely advertised as “No MSG” products, asking your server or the chef about MSG or free glutamates in a restaurant that uses Minors soup bases is useless.

All of the Minors products we looked at contained some form of MfG. For example, the low sodium vegetable base contains autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn protein, natural flavors and disodium guanylate and inosinate. The mushroom base contains hydrolyzed corn and soy proteins and natural flavors along with disodium guanylate and inosinate.

Newman’s Own ranch dressing

So what’s up with Newman’s and its “No MSG” claims on ranch dressing? Years ago The Truth in Labeling Campaign contacted the company about its “No MSG” ranch dressing. We were told in an email that only a small amount of “free glutamate” was found after a laboratory analysis. Then, they removed the claim. But now we see it’s back.

The ingredient of concern is “natural flavor,” which is basically a free FDA pass to add MfG to a product. We just sent Newman’s Own another email asking if the product has been tested (again) for free glutamates, and if so, what the results were. If we hear back we’ll post it here.

Imagine potato leek soup

Don’t automatically assume that organic products are “pure” or “safe.” Imagine Foods organic potato leek soup makes a “commitment” of stating “no added MSG” on its label, but also is committed to adding those “natural flavors.” While monosodium glutamate is technically not allowed in organic food, there’s nothing prohibiting the addition of any number of additives containing the same free glutamic acid found in MSG — what causes identical “MSG reactions” in people.

Nissin noodle products

Nissin, which is one of the companies named in the current lawsuits, is such a big fan of saying “NO ADDED MSG” that it plasters that statement not only in a big, bold circle on its packaging, but also on the shipping cartons. The product we purchased, Firewok, contains seven sources of free glutamates plus disodium guanylate and inosinate.

Knorr products

Knorr, which sells a variety of gravy and sauce packets along with “pasta sides” is perhaps the number one Big Food fan of fraudulently stating “No added MSG,” yet filling their products full of hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extract and natural flavors. Some of the Knorr packaging states that the no MSG claim is “Our Promise.” Last year we asked a Knorr customer service representative about this deceptive labeling and was told that MSG is the subject of “additional studies… by health officials” and that MSG isn’t used in any Knorr products.

McCormick flavor packets

McCormick is another company that loves to state “No MSG added” on products that contain numerous sources of MfG. We selected chicken gravy, beef stew and au jus gravy, which contained hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy protein and yeast extract. The chicken gravy also had natural flavor and disodium guanylate and inosinate, said on the product label to be included as “flavor enhancers.”

It’s obvious that consuming processed foods is a crap shoot when it comes to avoiding MfG. And relying on advertising claims of “No MSG” or “No added MSG” to make purchasing decisions will decidedly turn the odds against you.

We’ll try to keep you updated on the status of the ongoing litigation. If any are certified as class actions, depending on the state you live in, you may want to join in as a plaintiff. And if you feel you’ve been deceived by purchasing a product based on “No added MSG” claims, you may be able to find an attorney to start your own lawsuit. Since the FDA won’t enforce this rule, it looks like it’s up to consumers to take action.

An open letter to Dr. Anthony G. Comuzzie

This February 28, 2022 letter to Dr. Anthony G. Comuzzie, CEO of the Obesity Society (which publishes the journal Obesity), requesting that he suggest a vehicle for making information about brain damage caused by free glutamate ingested by pregnant women and passed to their fetuses and neonates available to researchers and healthcare practitioners, has not been answered or even acknowledged.   

A copy of the letter is being posted here as an open letter to Dr. Comuzzie, with the hope that someone may forward it to him, and that he will respond.

Anthony G. Comuzzie, PhD, FTOS 

Dear Dr. Comuzzie,

Are you aware that the editors of Obesity have refused to publish studies that demonstrate that the obesity epidemic was set in motion, and is sustained, by brain damage caused by pregnant women passing excitotoxic free glutamate to their offspring?  

Both 1) an overview of the subject submitted as a Perspective, and 2) a Review, demonstrating the role that ingestion of free glutamate ingested by pregnant women plays in the production of intractable obesity have been offered to your journal Obesity, and been refused consideration. 

I find that very strange.  How can papers that suggest and document the fact that a common amino acid used in processed food is responsible for the obesity epidemic not be assigned sufficient priority to allow publication in Obesity

It is obvious from texts of rejection letters that the editors of Obesity have no interest in resolving the cause of the obesity epidemic, suggesting new lines of investigation, and providing those who are afflicted with obesity appropriate psychological and medical interventions. 

The first manuscript was submitted as a perspective, a category that limits submissions to 1000 words and 10 references.   As specified by the journal’s instructions, “Perspectives can provide new ideas on an old problem or commentary/opinion of a hot topic.”  Accordingly, the manuscript provided a new idea on an old problem within the limited (10) references allowed, although there are many more references available to support its thesis. Appropriately, given that this was submitted as a perspective, taking seemingly unrelated things and putting them together to generate a new idea as Einstein was in the habit of doing, there was no hypothesis testing or experimental design for new data demonstrating suitable controls, and there were no statistical tests reported.  

In rejecting it, editor Eric Ravussin stated that “there was really nothing novel on the specific role of glutamate as a trigger of obesity in your piece. All the scientific references but one were from more than 20 years ago.” 

I find it hard to comprehend how it could be that the idea of glutamate ingested by pregnant women causing brain damage in fetuses and neonates followed by intractable obesity is not novel.  To suggest that data have a shelf life of 20 years would put Einstein and Galileo out of business. 

The second submission was a request to submit a review to Obesity.  It was rejected in part because it was submitted by a single author, and in part because there was “no systematic evaluation of clinical trials or meta-analysis to evaluate glutamate on obesity risk,” neither of which would necessarily be appropriate for a review.  Moreover, it was rejected because “we also request reviews on hot topics in the field of obesity.”  I can’t think of any hotter topic in the field of obesity than the cause of the obesity epidemic. 

Given that the journal of the Obesity Society will not publish information on the cause of the obesity epidemic, sharing insights that will benefit those who suffer intractable weight gain, would you, please, suggest a vehicle for making information about brain damage caused by free glutamate ingested by pregnant women and passed to their fetuses and neonates available to researchers and healthcare practitioners? 

I look forward to your response.

Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.
Truth in Labeling Campaign
Chicago, Illinois   USA

Saturday’s Secrets have been moved!

Saturday’s Secrets have been moved from the pages of the Truth in Labeling Campaign to its own website:

There you’ll discover a new secret each Saturday, giving you time to absorb each one and carefully consider the damage that excessive use of free glutamate is doing to human health.

Should you want to lean more immediately, however, below are seven links to evidence of the toxicity of free glutamate that is accumulated from consumption of processed foods, snacks, protein powders and protein drinks, protein substitutes, dietary supplements, enteral care products, infant formula and pharmaceuticals.

1. Seven lines of evidence leading to the conclusion that manufactured free glutamate, no matter where it is found, is excitotoxic:

2. It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s It Was MSG – a true story
Samuels A. (2003):

3. The toxicity/safety of processed free glutamic acid (MSG): a study in suppression of information: Samuels A. Account Res. 1999;6(4):259-310.  doi: 10.1080/08989629908573933. PMID: 11657840.

4. Dose dependent toxicity of glutamic acid: A review
Samuels A. (2020) International Journal of Food Properties, 23:1, 412-419, DOI: 10.1080/10942912.2020.1733016     

5. Adverse reactions known to be caused by MSG:

6. Names of the 40+ ingredients that contain Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG):

7. Seven lines of evidence leading to the conclusion that manufactured free glutamate, no matter where it is found, is excitotoxic, website:

Also, see the Truth in Labeling Campaign website:

Note: It is only since 1957 that there has been sufficient free glutamate available to cause it to be excitotoxic

Toxic glutamate in your food?

When I filed three citizen petitions with the FDA at the beginning of this year, I wasn’t expecting the Glutamate Association to respond. It typically never acknowledges anything negative about its flagship product MSG, that is loaded with toxic free glutamate. But this time it did.

Now, inspired by those comments from the “Glutes” I have produced a website dedicated to laying out the evidence behind the requests made in those petitions — one being that manufactured free glutamate (MfG) and those ingredients that contain MfG should be removed from the FDA’s list of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) substances.

It’s no secret that disease and disability may be caused, at least in part, by toxic chemicals released into the air and added to food. But while chemicals such as lead and asbestos and hazardous air pollutants are recognized as noxious by government agencies, poisonous chemicals used in foods and beverages are rarely acknowledged as such.

The website “Seven Lines of Evidence leading to the conclusion that manufacture free glutamate is toxic,” was created to draw attention to the class of chemicals known as excitotoxins – brain damaging amino acids – recognized by neuroscientists as being toxic, but not acknowledged by the FDA as such. 

Glutamic acid (as in pea protein isolate) and aspartic acid (as in aspartame), two of the three excitotoxic amino acids used in food, are being used as flavor enhancers, protein supplements, and low calorie (diet) sweeteners, added in quantity to infant formula, enteral care products, protein powders, dietary supplements, processed foods, so-called “plant-based” products, snacks, anything that is hydrolyzed, some pesticides/fertilizers and pharmaceuticals.

The FDA, EPA, and USDA will claim that the excitotoxins used in food are perfectly safe.  The evidence says otherwise.

You’ll find Seven Lines of Evidence at  Please use the contact form at the webpage for questions and comments.

In Health,

Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.
Director, Truth in Labeling Campaign

Hydrolyzed Pea Protein

Two years ago, we posted a blog alerting you to the hidden, excitotoxic (brain damaging) free glutamate in pea protein. Since there has been a lot of interest in that topic, we think it’s time to repost the article. Here is the original piece, along with an interesting comment we received (and our reply) at the end.

Hydrolyzed Pea Protein

Ingredients called “protein” on ingredient lists are not proteins.

Beef is “beef,” soy is “soy,” tomatoes are “tomatoes,” and peas are “peas.” Those are the FDA’s “common or usual names” for whole foods. “Pea protein” is made of man-made amino acids manufactured in food processing plants with peas as the starting material. And each and every man-made/manufactured hydrolyzed pea protein will contain the three potentially toxic amino acids* aspartic acid, L-cysteine, and glutamic acid. This is true for every hydrolyzed protein. It may be called “natural,” “organic,” or “raw,” but it will still contain potentially toxic aspartic acid, L-cysteine, and glutamic acid. There are no exceptions. And there are no toxic amino acids in whole protein.

Today, there is a widespread marketing effort to substitute hydrolyzed vegetable protein for real protein, and to expand the use of hydrolyzed proteins in general. While there certainly are other varieties of hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, pea protein is presently the favorite of food manufacturers.

Substituting vegetables for meat may have many benefits for consumers, but hydrolyzed vegetable proteins don’t deliver vegetables. What they provide are arrays of amino acids which are produced in food processing and/or chemical plants. And three of those amino acids (L-cysteine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid) can be toxic to humans. These three amino acids are called “excitotoxins” by scientists. When consumed in amounts that exceed what a human needs for normal body function, they cause brain damage, endocrine disorders, and observable reactions such as asthma, migraine headache, a-fib, fibromyalgia, and seizures. Glutamic acid is the amino acid in MSG that causes brain damage, endocrine disruption, and adverse reactions.

Manufacturers’ claims of benefits for manufacturers

1) Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins are making great inroads into health and nutrition markets.

2) Every hydrolyzed protein will have flavor-enhancing properties. Glutamic acid, the amino acid that triggers taste buds to cause increased perception of taste, will be found in all hydrolyzed proteins.

3) Clean labels are certainly at the top of the list. Unfortunately, not all consumers have caught on to the fact that glutamic acid (a.k.a. glutamate), which is the toxic component of MSG, will be found in all hydrolyzed proteins. So while more and more consumers are attempting to avoid MSG, substituting a flavor-enhancing hydrolyzed vegetable protein for flavor-enhancing MSG would allow the product to have a “clean label” – one that would give the consumer no clue that it contained glutamate, MSG’s toxic component.

4) Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins will have great appeal for vegetarians, vegans and others who want to limit their intake of meat.

Manufacturers’ claims of benefits for consumers (which will also benefit industry)

1) Protein-rich, non-animal products are in great demand as more and more people look for substitutes for meat, fish, and poultry. Hydrolyzed proteins contain the arrays of amino acids that make up most proteins. So, properly promoted, hydrolyzed protein products will appeal to those looking for vegetarian or vegan sources of dietary protein. The fact that high-protein diets are being touted for weight-loss, makes these products even more attractive.

2) Chemical-free claims are another way the food industry is hyping hydrolyzed proteins. Although all hydrolyzed proteins are produced in food processing and/or chemical plants, industry’s promotional materials refer to hydrolyzed vegetable proteins as being “natural” – saying they are derived from a variety of “natural plant resources.”

That should be no surprise since MSG, which is made by fermentation of carefully selected genetically engineered bacteria that secrete glutamic acid through their cell walls, is referred to by industry as “naturally occurring.”

A production flow sheet for manufacturing hydrolyzed vegetable protein

3) Claims of health benefits from hydrolyzed vegetable proteins are typically made. Market-watchers claim that consumer awareness of these so-called benefits is increasing. The claim has been made that hydrolyzed vegetable proteins will help reduce intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, and because it’s an effective way to lower cholesterol, it will decrease the risk of heart disease.

But even with all that propaganda going for it, something is still bothering the glutamate industry.

You’d think that with all their research and planning, glutamate industry giants would feel secure in their efforts to sell hydrolyzed proteins to naïve consumers. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. It would appear that consumers’ growing recognition of the toxic effects of the manufactured glutamic acid in MSG, hydrolyzed proteins, maltodextrin, and some other 40+ ingredients is getting in the way of sales. One industry watcher said it this way, “The high contents of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in hydrolyzed protein products continues to be a bottleneck for pervasive adoption as consumers show an unprecedented alacrity** to read labels to spot ingredients with a bad rep in terms of potential side effects.”

The Truth in Labeling Campaign would like to take some of the credit for that greater consumer awareness and “alacrity.” So, let’s hear it for the Truth in Labeling Campaign — since 1994, providing consumers with the names of ingredients in which manufactured free glutamate, the brain-damaging, endocrine-disrupting, reaction-causing component of MSG, are hidden.

*killing brain cells and disrupting the endocrine system when present in quantity
**enthusiasm, readiness, quickness, promptness, speed, swiftness, rapidity, keenness, zeal

Comment from Cesar Barbero:

It is incredible the level of IGNORANCE in the post. All aminoacids could be toxic (like water) in excess, this is why they are degraded/excreted when eaten in excess. Pea protein contains > 20% glutamic acid covalently linked inside the protein chain. Upon ingestion, te protein is hydrolyzed in the digestive tract to free aminoacids (including glutamic acid). Eating partially hydrolyzed protein, raw protein isolate, raw peas or the completely hydrolized protein, is the same because only the aminoacids are absorbed. In fact, it has been shown that muscle growth (in bodybuiliding) is faster when using the completely hydrolyzed protein than the protein isolate, because no internal hydrolysis is required.

Reply from the Truth in Labeling Campaign:

Thank you for sharing your concerns.

You don’t seem to realized that there are only a handful of excitotoxic amino acids, and only three that are added to processed foods: glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and L-cysteine. (You might want to look up a definition of excitotoxicity.)

When the words “pea protein” appear on a food label, the ingredient being referred to is a hydrolyzed protein produced using peas as the starting material. If “peas” were an ingredient in a product, the ingredient label would say “peas.”

Your statement, ”Pea protein contains 20% glutamic acid covalently linked inside the protein chain. Upon ingestion, te protein is hydrolyzed in the digestive tract to free aminoacids (including glutamic acid)” pertains to the protein present in peas – whole, unadulterated, unprocessed peas. If “peas” were an ingredient in a product, the ingredient label would say “peas.”

What is the meaning of, “[amino acids] are degraded/excreted when eaten in excess.”

The following statement is not true. It is not true that “Eating partially hydrolyzed protein, raw protein isolate, raw peas or the completely hydrolized protein, is the same ……” Truth is that when proteins are hydrolyzed, the glutamate produced is accompanied by unwanted by-products of production.

What is the meaning of “…the same because only the aminoacids are absorbed.” Are you saying that when you eat something nothing is absorbed except amino acids? No vitamins, minerals, starches etc.?

The following is irrelevant to the material covered in the post, but could you tell me, anyhow, the source of this statement: “ In fact, it has been shown that muscle growth (in bodybuiliding) is faster when using the completely hydrolyzed protein than the protein isolate, because no internal hydrolysis is required.” I seem to have missed reading that research report.

Again, thank you for sharing your concerns. I’m sure our readers will appreciate both your comments and our replies.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Don’t expect to learn the truth about MSG from today’s U.S. researchers

I’m certainly not afraid to speak out. I’ve been speaking out on the hazards of MSG for more than 30 years along with Jack Samuels, slowing down only to grieve his death and tell his story, “It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s, It Was MSG.” Given that the US maker of MSG controls the medical journals, the media, and the FDA as well as legislators who might have FDA oversight, speaking out has been limited to updating our fact-based webpage, making it easier to use and writing blogs. And I filed three Citizen Petitions with the FDA requesting that MSG and the toxic glutamate in it be stripped of their GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. But apparently those who would or could do something for the welfare of the American people were not paying attention.

But something changed in the 2020s. Maybe the pandemic caused some soul searching – at least in Asia and Africa. Maybe there was so much free-glutamate in processed food (free-glutamate being the toxic ingredient in MSG and all other flavor enhancers) that the numbers of people reacting to flavor enhancers escalated to the point that it couldn’t be denied. Or maybe Ajinomoto’s campaigns to clear MSG of its bad name backfired, and people realized that it was lies that were being told over and over and over again in industry propaganda dressed up as news — or lies being told by celebrity chefs who really don’t use MSG in their cooking.

Today a friend of the Truth in Labeling Campaign sent me a copy of this research: “Worldwide flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate combined with high lipid diet provokes metabolic alterations and systemic anomalies: An overview” that included the warning, “This comprehensive review formulates health care strategies to create global awareness about the harmful impact of [MSG with a high lipid diet] on the human body and recommends the daily consumption of more natural foods rich in antioxidants instead of toxic ingredients.”

And that wasn’t the only warning I’ve seen in recent years. Others have included:

  • Study of the Toxic Effects of Monosodium glutamate on the Central Nervous System (Egypt)
  • Entering a new era of quantifying glutamate clearance in health and disease (Canada)
  • Anti-inflammatory activity of ginger modulates macrophage activation against the inflammatory pathway of monosodium glutamate (Egypt)
  • Targeting metabotropic glutamate receptors for the treatment of depression and other stress-related disorders (USA)
  • Modulation of immune functions, inflammatory response, and cytokine production following long-term oral exposure to three food additives; thiabendazole, monosodium glutamate, and brilliant blue in rats (Egypt)
  • Natural products as safeguards against monosodium glutamate-induced toxicity (Iran)
  • Dietary monosodium glutamate altered redox status and dopamine metabolism in lobster cockroach (Nauphoeta cinerea) (Nigeria)
  • Antiapoptotic and antioxidant capacity of phytochemicals from Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and their potential effects on monosodium glutamate-induced testicular damage in rat (Egypt)
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)-Induced Male Reproductive Dysfunction: A Mini Review (Nigeria)

In the 1980s, researchers focused on identifying and understanding abnormalities associated with glutamate, often for the purpose of finding drugs that would mitigate glutamate’s adverse effects. It is well documented that free glutamate is implicated in kidney and liver disorders, neurodegenerative disease, and more. By 1980, glutamate-associated disorders such as headaches, asthma, diabetes, muscle pain, atrial fibrillation, ischemia, trauma, seizures, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), epilepsy, addiction, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), frontotemporal dementia and autism were on the rise, and evidence of the toxic effects of glutamate were generally accepted by the scientific community. A November 15, 2020 search of the National Library of Medicine using returned 3872 citations for “glutamate-induced.”

Millions of health care dollars could be saved by simply considering MSG when making diagnoses. And if the truth about the toxic potential of free glutamate were told and its use in food reduced, disease and disability would certainly be reduced with it. Given that free glutamate plays a role in a wide variety of abnormalities, decreasing the amount of free glutamate added through ingestion of free glutamate in flavor enhancers and protein substitutes to the body’s glutamate pools certainly wouldn’t do any harm, and many have argued that evidence says that decreasing the presence of excitotoxic amino acids in processed and ultra-processed foods is called for. It’s time to follow the science of independent researchers and not the propaganda spewed forth by the glutamate industry.

Adrienne Samuels

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.