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Old 02-25-2011, 04:55 PM   #61
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I drag around an O2 tube from an oxygen accumulator in the house all day long that I refer to as "Satan's Tail", so, needless to say NO ONE has or ever will smoke in my house or car!!! I've even banished my mother, a heavy smoker, to the outdoor deck in order to satisfy her habit! I've heard no end of grief about that, particularly when it's cold, but I refuse to give in.

She has this sense of denial about the harmful effects of second and third hand smoke. She knows in her head, but doesn't appreciate that smoke leaves a sickening after-smell that's nearly impossible to get rid of.

My price for smoking for many years is having to haul an O2 tank around with me whenever I go away from home. NOT fun!
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:56 PM   #62
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As was already pointed out earlier today, this is a thread about MSG and an MSG allergy. Please keep the thread on-topic.

Any further off-topic posts will be deleted.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:47 PM   #63
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I love opportunities to dust off my biology degree and hope no one minds.

In this thread, we are mixing up terms "allergy" and "sensitivity." While both can be life-threatening, they are far from the same things. An allergy is a reaction to a substance by the person's immune system, whereas a sensitivity does not involve one's bodily immunity. Both can result in symptoms that range from mildly irritating to deadly.

In order for someone to develop an allergy, the person must be exposed to the substance at least one time before the allergy will appear. It works like a vaccination. The first encounter with the substance puts the body's immune system on alert. The second (or third or whatever number) time it is encountered, the immune system goes into overdrive. (This can happen immediately or it could take a few hours depending on the severity.) When the immune system goes into overdrive, the person can experience a variety of symptoms. Some common ones have been mentioned above: Respiratory problems, hives, anaphylaxis, etc. Nuts, bee stings, etc. fall in this category. Often one can take allergy shots to help with this condition.

A sensitivity does not involve the immunity system; however, it also has a range of symptoms. Common symptoms include fatigue, feeling ill, headache, runny/stuffy noses, breathing issues, etc. which sometimes make it hard to track down what is really causing the issue. Sensitivities, like allergies, can definitely be life threatening - especially if someone is repeatedly exposed to the substance. MSG (and cigarette smoke) generally falls in this category. Really avoidance is the only thing you can do with this condition.

To complicate matters, there are also conditions known as an intolerance. This is where someone lacks the substance needed to process another substance. A good example of this would be someone who is lactose intolerant, so they cannot digest milk. Some with intolerances can take the missing substance (like lactace) to help their intolerance....of course depending on what the intolerance is.

I once heard the difference between allergies and sensitivities as this:
In allergic reactions, the chemical exposure acts as a trigger. It is not the bullet.

In sensitivities, the chemical exposure acts as the bullet.

Evidence is strong that MSG is a significant sensitivity in some people. Clearly not all people react to it. In fact, most do not. But for those who do, it can cause issues with digestion, feeling sick, headaches, etc. If one is sensitive to MSG, serving MSG to them is sending in a bullet that is toxic to their body. Remember, those who are sensitive can only "deal with it" by avoiding it.

On the scientific study, a better study would be to tell no one that they had consumed MSG and see who got sick and who did not. The mind is powerful and can conjure physical responses in people.

I hope this makes sense!

~Kathleen
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:01 PM   #64
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Kathleen, thank you for that detailed explanation. Now I can understand the differences.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:28 PM   #65
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Thanks, Andy!

Someone mentioned earlier that MSG is a salt. It's not just any old salt, like Sodium Cloride (table salt). It's a salt of the amino acid Glutamate.

Amino acids are considered to be the building blocks of life as they are what links together to create proteins. Now, Glutamate is just one of a variety of amino acids, but it is found to be linked into proteins that are responsible for many vital functions like telling nerves when to fire and when not to fire. The production of hormones and the functioning of glands. (It's very interesting that some people who have experienced strokes have been found to have excess glutamate in their brains which cause the nerve cells to die from over stimulation.)

The big controversy comes from the fact that MSG is basically a sodium atom stuck to glutamate, and our bodies make glutamate....so it should not cause a problem, right??? But if there is too much, what happens to it? In those who are sensitive, perhaps it unbalances the body's natural balance too much. Interesting to ponder.

Oh! It has been shown that MSG encourages the pancreas to make insulin. When there is more insulin, the sugar in the blood will drop faster. In an hour, you are hungry again. This is sometimes called "Chinese Food Syndrome." Just a curious fact.

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Old 02-26-2011, 11:31 AM   #66
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And to add to Kathleen's very excellent explanation, I just learned that to be termed "allergy" rather than "sensitivity" or "intolerance" there must be a protein involved. You can only be "allergic" to something with a protein in it (thus things like fish, nuts etc). Therefore you would be "sensitive" to MSG or even "intolerant" of MSG. Neat bit of semantics there I thought.

Kathleen, since MSG is related to amino acids and has protein involvement do you suppose that would cross the line into "allergy"?
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:45 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I never heard of a pilot taking a shortcut. Wouldn't they always take the shortest route?
I was on a flight where a person suffered a heart attack. We didn't take a "shorter route" but we did get clearance to land ahead of other planes and the pilot "dove" onto the tarmac. We did not circle the airport...you would have thought we were landing on an aircraft carrier. We got in about 30 minutes early. I don't recall anyone complaining...but maybe that was because we were struggling to get "unglued" for the backs of our seats.

I am severely allergic to pine nuts. Allergy developed in my mid-30s. I am not allergic to anything else, just pine nuts. I can't buy nuts in bulk food stores, however, if pine nuts are sold in bulk as well because I don't know where "the scoop" has been or whether or not some pine nut pieces "might" be in one of the other bins because of careless "scooping" or refilling. My responsibility.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:08 PM   #68
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Kathleen, an association with the symptoms people have dubbed the "Chinese restaurant syndrome" and MSG has never been scientifically proved.

On another note, someone wondered about the seeming rise in allergies/sensitivities recently. I think that some portion of that is psychological -- a reaction to the constant articles and junk science stuff out there. A perfect example is the current fascination with gluten. Suddenly, everybody seems to be gluten-intolerant. It's quite the fad.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:12 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by suzyQ3 View Post
Kathleen, an association with the symptoms people have dubbed the "Chinese restaurant syndrome" and MSG has never been scientifically proved.

On another note, someone wondered about the seeming rise in allergies/sensitivities recently. I think that some portion of that is psychological -- a reaction to the constant articles and junk science stuff out there. A perfect example is the current fascination with gluten. Suddenly, everybody seems to be gluten-intolerant. It's quite the fad.
Yes, it's an amazing thing, for everyone to suddenly become intolerant over a food that has been a staple in human diet for many, many, many years. My doctor mentioned it and I laughed at him. He retracted the suggestion.
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:45 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
And to add to Kathleen's very excellent explanation, I just learned that to be termed "allergy" rather than "sensitivity" or "intolerance" there must be a protein involved. You can only be "allergic" to something with a protein in it (thus things like fish, nuts etc). Therefore you would be "sensitive" to MSG or even "intolerant" of MSG. Neat bit of semantics there I thought.

Kathleen, since MSG is related to amino acids and has protein involvement do you suppose that would cross the line into "allergy"?
An amino acid is a building block for proteins. MSG is such a tiny molecule that the body does not recognize it as a protein.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suzyQ3 View Post
Kathleen, an association with the symptoms people have dubbed the "Chinese restaurant syndrome" and MSG has never been scientifically proved.

On another note, someone wondered about the seeming rise in allergies/sensitivities recently. I think that some portion of that is psychological -- a reaction to the constant articles and junk science stuff out there. A perfect example is the current fascination with gluten. Suddenly, everybody seems to be gluten-intolerant. It's quite the fad.
People have called all of the side effects "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, etc. and no one knows what actually causes all of them. That being said, MSG (specifically the glutamate) has been proven to increase the production of insulin by the pancreas. More insulin means more sugar absorption. Personally, I seem to get headaches after eating MSG. That's too bad for me because, as a diabetic, I would welcome any help I can get with the insulin production. As mentioned, it is something to ponder.
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