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Old 02-26-2011, 02:01 PM   #71
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"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."

Kathleen, I can't find any scientific source for this. When I google "MSG insulin," I come up with only sites that are less than credible.
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Old 02-26-2011, 02:22 PM   #72
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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.
Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I meant was...since amino acids are the building blocks for protein...and MSG is essentially a protein building block and an Na molecule...would a reaction to MSG be considered "allergy" or "sensitivity" in light of the label "allergy" requiring protein involvement?

Break out the chemistry/biology texts folks!
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:34 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by suzyQ3 View Post
"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."

Kathleen, I can't find any scientific source for this. When I google "MSG insulin," I come up with only sites that are less than credible.
Well, I did not check my sources with the internet, but I'm sure you can find the studies through medical journals. Or, even easier, check with your nutritionist and endocrinologist - which is how I first heard of them back when I was diagnosed with diabetes. Of course, after reading your note, I had to google too, and here are the first two results that I got. Neither source is what I would call non-credible, though there were plenty of others in the 484,000 hits were cause for giggles. So...research is out there. I'd love to read the rest of this one. Now, it does not say specifically MSG, but glutamate is the G in MSG and the MS is mono-sodium. It breaks down to one sodium and glutamates. Of course, research is still on-going, but it has been out there for a very long time.

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Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I meant was...since amino acids are the building blocks for protein...and MSG is essentially a protein building block and an Na molecule...would a reaction to MSG be considered "allergy" or "sensitivity" in light of the label "allergy" requiring protein involvement?

Break out the chemistry/biology texts folks!
I'm trying to think of a good analogy. Okay, it is like saying that a spoon of sugar is actually ice cream. The sugar is a part of the ice cream, like an amino acid is a part of a protein; but sugar is not ice cream and amino acids are not proteins. Proteins are macro-molecules and an amino acid is an itty-bitty thing by comparison...though...when I had to memorize their entire structures I would not have called them itty or bitty. However, now that the nightmares have ended, I'll go with that. When you look at the reactions that people tend to have with MSG, (feeling unwell, headaches, etc.), it seems to fall in line with the sensitivity classification which is what it would be based on its chemistry.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:59 AM   #74
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I'm trying to think of a good analogy. Okay, it is like saying that a spoon of sugar is actually ice cream. The sugar is a part of the ice cream, like an amino acid is a part of a protein; but sugar is not ice cream and amino acids are not proteins. Proteins are macro-molecules and an amino acid is an itty-bitty thing by comparison...though...when I had to memorize their entire structures I would not have called them itty or bitty. However, now that the nightmares have ended, I'll go with that. When you look at the reactions that people tend to have with MSG, (feeling unwell, headaches, etc.), it seems to fall in line with the sensitivity classification which is what it would be based on its chemistry.
I'm so glad Chemistry class is over. I'm still having nightmares. Give me Microbiology any day!
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:29 AM   #75
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I'm so glad Chemistry class is over. I'm still having nightmares. Give me Microbiology any day!
I loved microbiology. It is probably what initially interested me in biology.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:04 AM   #76
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I've seen some conflicting reports. My boyfriend claims he is slightly "allergic" to MSG and have always wondered if it was a myth. As far as I can tell, it is. This website cites 3 different published scientific journals/studies which say that MSG allergies are a myth. My question is, are there any recent scientific studies that claim it isn't a myth?

I guess I could do my own study, and use a slight amount in some in his food and see if he complains, but that'd be evil. Anyone have any more info on this?
I haven't read the rest of this thread so I apologize in advance if I'm repeating anything else someone else has stated....

Sometimes science gets it wrong. If your boyfriend says he is allergic to MSG it's probably because he has had a reaction to it on multiple occasions and was able to narrow it down as the culprit. Sometimes the science needs to catch up with actual human experiences, and sometimes doctors don't know what makes a person sick.

I for one have a pretty significant zinc allergy. Now if you looked it up you'd find a lot of scientific publications that claim there is no such thing as a zinc allergy. But here is what I know....

I found out I was allergic to zinc about 11 years ago when I came down with a terrible sinus infection and my doctor recommended I buy some of the new cough drops on the market that have zinc in them. He also prescribed a zinc supplement (I was quite sick, and zinc is supposed to aid swift recovery). Whenever I took the supplement, I would vomit violently within minutes. When I used the cough drops, I felt severely nauseous and sometimes also threw up then. It took me a week to make the connection that it was the zinc tablets that were making me sick. I stopped them immediately and the vomiting/nausea stopped right away as well. I thought that's all there was to it.

About a year ago I was taking a multivitamin which I had ignored contained a zinc. Over the weeks that I took the daily pill I became sicker and sicker and sicker. My respiratory allergies were horrendous, worst they'd been in years, I was irritable, fuzzy-headed, couldn't focus. I had a general sense of malaise and feeling of being unwell. One morning while eating breakfast and laying out our vitamin supplements, I picked up the multivitamin bottle and read it....there it was at the bottom....150% dosage of the daily recommended allotment of zinc. And suddenly my mind raced back to that first week with the zinc supplements 10 years before. I stopped the vitamin tablets immediately.

Just by stopping my multivitamin my general well-being improved about 60% overnight. Then I started doing research to determine which foods may contain high levels of zinc (respective to our daily recommended dose).

The list I've found through various websites includes:
* Most beef cuts
* Lean Ground beef
* Beef liver
* Oysters
* Most pork cuts
* Baked beans
* Lentils
* Kidney beans
* Mussels
* Shrimp
* Chicken (dark meat)
* Cheddar cheese
* Yogurt
* White rice
* Chickpeas
* Almonds
* Walnuts

Unfortunately this list made up a rather significant portion of my diet. After my research into the symptoms experienced by zinc allergy sufferers I decided I should experiment with monitoring my intake of certain foods and even trying some meat replacement by subbing in tofu with some of my favorite recipes.

I even started keeping a food diary to monitor what I was having a reaction to. I started discovering some foods make me break out in a rash, some aggravate my respiratory allergies, some cause me to be irritable, unable to focus, etc.

The conclusion is clear: All these years when I've been miserably sick with allergies, at least part of the blame lies with my zinc intake. Since I started monitoring and reducing the zinc in my diet, I have experienced about a 90% improvement in the frequency and severity of my allergy symptoms. And of all the foods I react to, I have the most severe reaction to red meat.

This seems to be a relatively new development (at least our understanding of it) as zinc is still widely considered to be an immune system booster and a healthy thing. For most people it seems that it is a healthy thing to intake. But for those of us allergic to it, we may not realize how sick it is making us.

I am thankful that the Internet makes it easier for regular people to find this kind of information and share it with one another. When my sister was first diagnosed with her yeast allergy, Candida was not a word most doctors had even heard of and most of them rejected it as a "false illness"....just a fancy name for some nondescript symptoms. Those are the same physicians that think allergies means stuffy noses and itchy eyes, and don't understand that allergies truly affect your entire being. I have another friend who has a rather particular dairy allergy. She's not lactose intolerant, she's allergic to a specific protein that occurs in every form of dairy. She cannot have any form of it without being violently ill....so no cake, no cheese, no milk, nothing cooked with any kind of butter (butter seems to affect her the worst). She looks like a million bucks and she's probably the healthiest person I know, but everywhere she goes is a battle to convince people that she really can't eat the things they're putting in front of her.

To make a long story short (too late), do not ever, ever, ever, ever experiment with someone's food allergies. Even if the science hasn't caught up and acknowledged yet that someone's allergy is real, trust that someone knows their own body and how it reacts to different things. Some allergies get worse with time, so small exposures over a long period of time can lead to a very bad attack. And small exposures can have huge repercussions for someone's health in ways neither you nor the person with the allergy may realize.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:43 AM   #77
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Just to be clear....it does not have to be a histamine reaction to be an allergy. A food allergy is defined as "exaggerated immune response". Allergies of any kind, not just food, are not limited to histamine / respiratory reactions. In laymen's terms a food allergy is your body's way of saying "This is making me sick, get it out of me."

PubMed Health - Food allergy
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:52 AM   #78
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Still catching up on this thread so again apologize if I am repeating someone else's words...

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I have a totally different question. Is it me or the allergies are on the rise? I do not remember any of my friends, class mates, college friends growing up having allergies, well exept two who had egg allergies as little kids, but even they out grew it eventually.
I've noticed this too. I think it is a combination of factors. One being that we understand food allergies better than we used to, so things we may not have attributed to food allergies in the past are now recognized as such.....thus making it seem like there is an increase approaching pandemic.

A second factor, just in my humble opinion, could be tied to the increased production / ingestion of genetically modified foods. There have been some studies done in Europe that suggest a link between food allergies and GM crops.....not enough to be definitive, but enough to warrant further study.

Food allergies are a major problem in my family, my sister has the worst of them, mine are less severe than hers but still significant. This is why I am asking questions here about subbing for processed ingredients, I'm trying to make more things from scratch because I'm finding that the less processed foods I buy the healthier I am overall and the fewer symptoms I experience associated with my food allergies.

I'm not a doctor and I'm not an expert on this subject, nor do I claim to be, but I do know what affects my body....that's all I've got to work with.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:01 AM   #79
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I know it's been said before but NEVER EVER, EVER call someone on their food allergies. A friend is allergic to black pepper (never heard that one before) and his new girlfriend didn't believe there was such an allergy so she snuck some in the first time she cooked a meal for him. He ended up in the hospital...

MSG causes migrainous-type headaches in me. Got on a ramen noodle kick once and was eating them almost every day for lunch, then had severe headaches later in the afternoon into late evening. Finally figured it out after Craig pointed out to me that the noodles probably had MSG in them. Checked the label and sure enough. Stopped eating them and the headaches went away. It's apparently a sensitivity though because I can have a little MSG in my food once in a while and it doesn't bother me.

Karen
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:46 AM   #80
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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.
OMG, the gluten free fad is going to drive me battier than the low carb fad. I know someone who is celiac, but it is pretty rare and certainly not an epidemic. I do realize that the low carb diet is essential to diabetics, but for the rest of us a balanced diet works just fine. I think people are just looking for one reason that they are overweight, and when they go "gluten free" they lose weight (because they have cut out a huge segment of their diet) and are convinced that it was a gluten intolorence that made them gain weight. I don't think that gluten is the original culprit for celiacs, I think a horrible diet has messed up or systems to the point where we are now rejecting even the most basic ingredients that have been consumed for thousands of years.

My partner is sensitive to MSG, he gets quite a headache, almost migraine type, with flu-like symptoms. There seems to be a certain amount he can eat without a big reaction, but certain things will set him off. We just don't bring anything in the house with it. I have to do a lot of scratch cooking, but it is worth it. It would be nice to buy a flavored rice mix or stuffing mix, but they mostly contain msg.
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