What is monosodium glutamate (MSG)?

Stephen H. Atkins, PhD
Integrative Medicine

MSG is a flavor enhancer. It is also known as an excititoxin. Excitotoxins are substances, like amino acids, that react with receptors in the brain causing brain cells to swell up and die or be excited to the point of damage. Excitotoxins like MSG, can cause development problems, (especially in children under the age of 3) strokes, asthma, tight pains throughout the body, headaches and migraines, panic attacks, insomnia, acne, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease as well as other health disorders.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) -- the additive found in many Chinese foods -- may play a role in messing up the body's metabolic systems. A taste enhancer, MSG is used to overstimulate (some say poison) the glutamine receptors of the brain, so we taste salt and sweets more (but not bitter and sour tastes interestingly). The downside is that that may cause us to eat more and to have higher insulin levels.
YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

More About this Book

YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting -- and why so many of us struggle with our weight and the size of our waists. Now researchers...

Continue Learning about Eating Habits and Nutrition

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.