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Glutamic Acid

Technically, glutamate is the salt of glutamic acid.  Monosodium glutamate and monopotassium glutamate are salts of glutamic acid.

What is MSG?

Outside of the body, glutamic acid is produced commercially in food manufacturing and chemical plants. It’s use in food began in the early 1900s as a component of a flavor enhancer called “monosodium glutamate.” Unfortunately, any glutamic acid that is produced as an individual amino acid outside of the body for use in food, drugs, dietary supplements, cosmetics, personal care products, fertilizers, or other, can cause or exacerbate brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, learning disabilities, adverse reactions, neurodegenerative disease and more in animals — including humans. Many people who realize that that glutamic acid that is produced commercially in food manufacturing and chemical plants places humans at risk refer to all commercially produced glutamic acid as “MSG.”

The first published report of an adverse reaction to MSG appeared in 1968 (Kwok, R.H.M. The Chinese restaurant syndrome. Letter to the editor. N Engl J Med 278: 796, 1968).  The first evidence that MSG caused brain damage in the form of retinal degeneration was published in 1957 (Lucas, D.R. and Newhouse, J. P. The toxic effect of sodium-L-glutamate on the inner layers of the retina. AMA Arch Ophthalmol 58: 193-201, 1957); and the first published report of brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate was published in 1969 (Olney, J.W. Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Science. 164: 719-721, 1969).

Research over the course of the last four decades has undeniably demonstrated, using laboratory animals, that in addition to its role as a building block of protein, glutamic acid serves as a neurotransmitter vital to the transmission of nerve impulses in many parts of the central nervous system.  It has also been undeniably demonstrated, using laboratory animals, that, under certain circumstances, glutamic acid, along with other acidic amino acids, functions as a neurotoxin, causing neuron degeneration and cell death which may be followed by neuroendocrine disorders.

Since man was created, he has eaten food in the form of protein.  We understand a fair amount about human protein digestion and subsequent metabolism at the present time. As part of protein digestion, protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids, one of them being glutamic acid. In the human body, the ingested protein is broken down (hydrolyzed) in the stomach and lower intestines through the action of hydrochloric acid and enzymes–both of which are found naturally in the human body.  In a healthy human, the body controls the amount of glutamic acid converted from protein in this way, and disposes of the “waste.”

Humans do not store excess glutamic acid as such.

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