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Beyond MSG: Could Hidden Sources of Glutamate Be Harming Your Health?


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processed food

Previously, Chris interviewed Yrmis and Bobby from Mission Heirloom on his podcast, and the topic of glutamate in our food was briefly discussed. Since then, we have had several questions from our patients about potential health concerns regarding glutamate, so I decided to take a closer look to see what role dietary glutamate plays in our health.

What Is Glutamate and Why Is It so Important?

Glutamic acid is an amino acid found in abundance in both plant and animal protein. It is considered a non-essential amino acid, meaning that our bodies are able to generate glutamic acid even without ingesting it through food sources. (Yes, glutamic acid is just that important that we cannot risk being without.)

Is There a Link between ADHD, Autism, Migraines, and Glutamate?

Glutamate is essentially the same compound as glutamic acid and is the most common form of glutamic acid in our bodies. Glutamate is not only beneficial, but essential for life. It is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain. (Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that nerve cells use to communicate.)

Glutamate thus activates—or excites—cells in the brain in order to communicate messages, and is particularly important in the growth and development of the brain, learning, and memory.  Because of the way glutamate sends these messages, by “exciting” the cells, it is called an excitatory neurotransmitter. You can think of glutamate as a stimulant. And as anyone who’s had too much coffee can tell you, too much of a stimulant is not a good thing.

What’s the Difference between Bound and Free Glutamate?

It’s important to note the distinction between bound and free glutamate since any potential health concerns are associated with the free form of glutamate. Bound glutamate refers to glutamate in a whole, unmodified protein source and is therefore generally digested and absorbed slowly. Free glutamate, by contrast, is no longer bound to other amino acids, and may therefore be absorbed much more rapidly, causing spikes in the concentration of glutamate in the blood. Free glutamate is found in natural food sources, with particularly high sources listed at the end of this article.  But of more concern is the abundance of free glutamate in nearly all processed and packaged foods, also described in more detail below. 

All Glutamates Are Not Created Equal

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a synthetic chemical that is added to manufactured and processed foods to make them more palatable. This form of free glutamate is present in almost all processed foods and is valued by manufacturers for imparting a pleasing, savory taste. Though MSG contains glutamic acid, due to the manufacturing process it is also almost always accompanied by unwanted by-products or contaminants. Searching the scientific literature regarding the health effects of MSG indicates controversy over the potential of MSG to cause various adverse reactions—from headaches and migraines to endocrine disruption. However, careful attention to the source of funding from these studies often reveals that many confirming the safety of MSG are in fact supported by food manufacturers. The Truth in Labeling Campaign has extensively studied the role of MSG and found that some people are clearly sensitive, with the most common sensitivity likely being intolerance to one or more of the contaminants produced through the manufacturing process (1).   

Even those of us without an identifiable reaction to MSG should aim to avoid this additive due to the lack of reliable safety data.

So let’s get back to natural glutamate…

How Does Glutamate Affect the Brain?

Glutamate and glutamate receptors are well established as playing critical roles in normal and abnormal brain development and function (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).  

In particular, abnormal concentrations of glutamate are associated with migraines (7, 8, 9), and hypersensitivity to glutamate is proposed in several other diseases, including Huntington’s Disease (10) and autism (11). Genes that predispose patients to glutamate sensitivity are being investigated.

An imbalance in glutamate and GABA (another neurotransmitter that counters the effects of glutamate) is increasingly implicated in many conditions involving the brain. This imbalance likely disrupts the brain’s ability to efficiently process information, and gradually leads to lasting injury to the brain.

Can lowering dietary glutamate help treat autism and ADHD?

Because of this genetic sensitivity to glutamate seen in children with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, some clinicians recommend lowering glutamate intake in the diet (12). Decreasing glutamate intake intuitively seems like a potentially effective approach to decreasing the amount of glutamate exposure to our brain. However, this strategy is not as straightforward when we consider the role of the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

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How the blood-brain barrier protects your brain

The BBB is a layer of cells surrounding most of the brain, that acts to limit the compounds entering the brain. Under normal circumstances, there is careful regulation of the types and amounts of compounds that enter the brain. This means that normally, glutamate can only enter the brain through specific receptors that regulate the amount allowed in. (This is analogous to a bouncer letting only a limited number of people through the door.) One study, notably funded in part by the International Glutamate Technical Committee (a nongovernmental organization funded by industrial producers and users of glutamate in food), perhaps not surprisingly demonstrated that glutamate, even at high concentrations, does not readily cross the BBB.  

Even if glutamate does not cross the healthy BBB, there are many factors which may contribute to a leaky BBB, potentially allowing too much glutamate to enter the brain. In his podcast on the “gut-brain axis,” Chris explained that having a leaky gut (which itself can be due to a number of underlying causes, including food intolerances, dysbiosis, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) can contribute to a state of chronic low grade inflammation. This low grade inflammation then also makes the BBB leaky, which essentially loosens the control over what enters the brain. More recent research has identified a specific molecule that damages the cells to create microscopic gaps allowing material through, bypassing the normal regulatory pathways, and explaining how general inflammation within the body can cause a leaky BBB.

Thus, it may be that in the setting of inflammation, we have a leaky BBB, which allows more glutamate to enter the brain than normal. Moreover, since some people have a genetic predisposition to glutamate sensitivity,  it may be that a combination of excess glutamate in the diet, combined with chronic low grade inflammation, and an associated leaky BBB, contribute to symptoms.

It seems less clear if people without an underlying genetic predisposition to glutamate sensitivity experience any adverse effects from excess dietary glutamate. Further research is clearly needed to elucidate the contribution of dietary glutamate to symptoms.

How to Lower Glutamate in Your Diet

What we can take from all of this is that some individuals do have a particular sensitivity to glutamate. Understanding the different sources and types of food that contain glutamate can help you make the best food choices for you and your family, and avoid symptoms of sensitivity. If you suspect that glutamate may be playing a role in your symptoms, you can try to eliminate any sources with added free glutamate (specifically in processed and packaged foods) and monitor your symptoms. If symptoms persist, then try eliminating sources of natural free glutamate as well. Once your symptoms have subsided or resolved, gradually introduce some natural sources of free glutamate back into your diet as tolerated over a period of weeks to learn which foods may trigger a reaction.

Additionally, given that glutamate excess may be associated with symptoms only in the setting of chronic inflammation, consider adding turmeric or ginger to some of your meals for their potent anti-inflammatory properties while you investigate potential causes of inflammation.

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Free glutamate may be listed as any one of a number of ingredients:  

Monosodium glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, yeast extract, anything “hydrolyzed” such as hydrolyzed protein, calcium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, textured protein, gelatin, soy protein (including isolate and concentrate), whey protein (including isolate and concentrate), carrageenan, bouillon and broth, stock, and “flavors” or “flavoring” (i.e. natural vanilla flavor), maltodextrin, citric acid, pectin, milk powder, soy sauce, anything “protein fortified,” corn starch, corn syrup and modified food starch.

Here are links to more inclusive lists of hidden free glutamate, including a link to unblindmymind.org, which is a nonprofit working to raise awareness of the link between autism and MSG (13, 14).

Natural sources of free glutamate:

  • Foods matured, cured, or preserved, such as matured cheeses (Parmesan and Roquefort) and cured meats
  • Fish sauce
  • Soy sauce and soy protein
  • Mushrooms
  • Ripe tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Walnuts
  • Grape juice
  • Bone broths and meats cooked for long times (generally using moist cooking methods such as braising)
  • Malted barley used in breads and beer
  • Wheat gluten
  • Dairy casein
Amy Nett

About Amy: Amy Nett, MD, graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2007. She subsequently completed a year of internal medicine training at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, followed by five years of specialty training in radiology at Stanford University Hospital, with additional subspecialty training in pediatric radiology.

Along the course of her medical training and working through her own personal health issues, she found her passion for Functional Medicine. She works with patients through a Functional Medicine approach, working to identify and treat the root causes of illness. She uses nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, supplements, stress management, detoxification and lifestyle changes to restore proper function and improve health.

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Join the conversation

  1. NAET therapy can be really useful for this type of issue if, in my experience, one helps identify allergens from a naturopath’s diagnosis as well. Because I get migraines (less frequently after NAET therapy), I’m going to ask my NAET therapist to test me for glutamate and glutathione. I originally got the idea to look up glutamate after hearing the intro of a Sporkful podcast citing poor research on msg as a reason to supposedly debunk concern over msg. Thanks for the article. It would be really helpful to see sources, also to send a comment to the podcast. Thanks again!

  2. Elevation of glutamate levels in brain from glutamate intake should be not necessary from a week BBB allowing glutamate to enter the brain but by inhibiting the opposite way. Brain should get rid of excessive glutamate by disposing it to blood stream which process may be limited by an already higher level of glutamate in the blood thus resulting in abnormal concentration of brain glutamate.

  3. I also consume so many cups of bone broth, broccoli, mushroom and all meat broth that in 34th day, I get forefoot pain. Omg. Thanks for this information!!!

  4. I get forefoot pain with muscle twitching. Very very painful with muscle twitching that last quite a month or sometimes 2 years or more. The glutamate triggers pseudo-ALS and pseudo-gout. Also Spring Valley brand vitamins as high amount of glutamate that I get pseudo gout, pseudo ALzs, both of which means symptoms identical to real gout and real ALS except that they are trigger x caused by glutamate. This article enlightened me a lot. I ate so much potatoe stew with fish sauce, about 1 dozen eggs, and fish in 3 days. On 4th day, I cannot even stand, not even can walk because of severely painful forefoot with my muscle twitching. Now I realize what I need to avoid eating. Wow. Thanks

    • I also had a reaction to Spring Valley vitamins. As a result, I tested positive to MSG allergy via blood test. Must have been the gelatin in the vitamins. The doctor told me “it’s just a chinese food issue” and he didn’t have a clue! This allergy is very complicated. It is difficult to avoid, even when reading labels!

  5. I have a history of glutamate intolerance & am now Zero Carb. With recent histamine success I experimented with fried, cured & slow cooked meats, all low histamine, for a glutamate overload & long lasting headaches, unusual for me. Using GABA [& melatonin] for sleep disruption problems, I tried GABA for headache to no avail. It seems that GABA, melatonin & other amino acids I was taking all act in the same transmethylation/transsulfuration pathways loading my glutamate levels for dietary excess. Why I came here looking for links. A period of raw [meat] solved the problem.

  6. Would a hydrolyzed collagen supplement be a problem for someone sensitive to free glutamates?

      • I would love to be able to use collagen supplements but my ND said NO! Totally a glutamate and difficult to digest.

    • My Naturopathic doc says Yes. Hard to digest and high in glutamate. Not all it’s chocked up to be for some.

  7. Hi Amy

    I’m Ming from Asia, i was suffering from severe blocked nose & sinusitis since a year ago & till date the symptom come & go which is really tough for me & suffering.
    From kinesiotic test by an allergic specialist from my place shows that i’m allergic to MSG & i found that it’s very though for me to avoid MSG fully from my food list.
    Would like to know more about is there any alternative treatment other from avoidance? I’ve tried out NAET & challenging yet seems like fail to me.
    Appreciate if you could share some of your case & experience.

  8. 20 years ago I ate at a chinese restaurant and spent the night in the ER thinking I had food poisoning. They said it was a reaction to MSG. So, I avoided MSG. But, 20 years later – it’s in everything. Today I drank something with “natural flavors” because I thought it was one of those rare items that didn’t have an effect on me: I became angry, unable to think through problems, my ear felt like it was filling up with water, I started feeling like I had low blood-sugar, my vision became blurry, then my head began to throb. I am now on anti-seizure medication. I heard ibuprofen was a glutamate blocker so I’m taking that – which seems to help a little, but didn’t stop the seizure. I feel like my life has been taken over by this monster. The glutamate doesn’t stop in my gut anymore, it goes straight to my CNS. Why is it in everything? Why could I eat processed foods before, but now it will send me into a seizure? My nieces seem to have similar emotional and headache reactions to MSG. My sister also has migraines with seizures. Is there a genetic glutamate problem? Is there a doctor on earth who knows what my problem is and what I need to take to live a normal life?

    • I also had a severe reaction ( heart pounding, fast heartbeat, irregular heart beat, and anxiety), after eating at a Chinese restaurant,(Chinese syndrome) that was high in MSG. I found that , if I accidentally eat MSG, I take an amino acid “taurine”.I take 500 mg for a very mild reaction, up to 4000 Mg for a severe reaction.Taurine contains a sulfur molecule , if you take more than you need, you will suffer from “sulfur flatulence”Vitamin B6 may also help some people.

    • You may have the mthfr gene.
      My experience of chronic migraines with aura, diahorea and vomiting, muscle weakness, altered taste and fatigue has been cured with diet.
      As well as Glutamate sensitivities I also eat a low sulphur diet. This means I avoid chlorine cleaning products and swimming pools. Avoid 220 preservatives and all 200 numbers. Don’t drink wine, it has 220 preservative.
      So learn to cook. I cannot eat high sulphur vegetables like onions. Broccoli, tomato etc.
      High Glutamate vegetables are Tomatoes and soy.
      I can metabolise eggs and red meat, they both have sulphur but it is only sulphur vegetables that affect me.
      I hope this helps. I hv a diet I stuck to.

      • Rosa. I realize this is an article and conversation that was months ago but I have the same symptoms. Your story is inspiring!
        If you can point me to any resources I would be so grateful.

    • Doctors do not study our food supply. You are being poisoned by processed foods. The poison you are ingesting – MSG, aka “processed free glutamic acid” – is in (from consumer estimates like “Unblind My Mind”) 95% of processed food.

      Stop eating ALL processed food. Do not eat out at restaurants / salad & food bars: full of hidden MSG! Cook from scratch and organic/local. Limit the natural glutamates which are found in bone broths, soup stocks, and long-cooked foods.

      This is NOT a medical issue; it is an issue of a poisoned food supply, which results in terrible medical issues for humans which eat that food.

      Listen to this TEDx by Dr. Katherine Reid, a mom and biochemist, who got rid of the autism harming her daughter’s brain, by methodically removing MSG from their food: http://unblindmymind.org/

  9. My concern is different: I hear of sea lions in California dying of domoic poisoning. Domoic is dangerous because it replaces glutamic acid in the brain and disrupts proper brain functioning. So my query is: Can affected sea lions be helped by an overload of glutamic acid?

    • Wikipedia is not the holy writ, but I’ve found this:
      “In addition there is a synergistic effect with endogenous glutamate and N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor agonists that contribute to the excitotoxicity.”
      According to this it seems to be not the solution.

  10. Have read a lot of stuff online saying that ALL hydrolyzed products and all gelatins by definition contain free glutamates/glutamic acid and must be avoided like the plague. But the Great Lakes website shows the results of 3rd party testing for both their hydrolyzed collagen product and their gelatin product, and yes they both contain free glutamic acid, but seemingly in minuscule amounts. Don’t these warnings need to be qualified better?

  11. So I’m almost in shock right now! I started trying to figure out why I have been intensely bloated, nauseas, feeling the need to vomit with any small amount of food at all & came across dangers of bone broth on fearlesseating blog. Followed a couple of links from there & ended up here. Thank the Lord! I have auto immune diseases mostly unknown & SIBO. So this week I started vine brotb for breakfast, 8oz. By today I could hardly finish 6oz. It didn’t dawn on me it could be that until reading that first article. Then reading yours I know the glutamate has to be the problem factor for me. It’s in several other things I’ve long since had to give up for these very symptoms & it all makes so much sense now.
    Anyhow at the end you say to share any side effects from free glutamates so those are mine. It’s insane & I never would have thought of it & gifted it out on my own! Thank you for posting this info & thank you a lord for being me across this!
    I’m very excited about this though bc on the list, inspite of my very strict whole food diet I am still eating a lot of free glutamates which I believe have been contributing to my inflammation & digestive problems.
    Thanks again!

      • If you’d like to find me on fb I’d be happy to talk to you about what I’ve done to bring huge improvements! All natural methods too no meds!

  12. i have spent 5 years wokring out what all this is about… i found the answer for me last year.

    i have a histamine intolerance.. and plenty of foods with additives set it off… msg is the worst.. but red wine, champagne, ready meals, any almost any restaurant food (apart from curry).. and even stuff like supermarket yoghurts, cakes these days also include flavour enhancers

    my symptoms are a jolt awake when i’m literally about to get to sleep… when its really bad this can happen like 100 times a night = no sleep at all. or like 3 hours sleep late at like 4am.

    so there seems to be a food supplement that works for me – it stimulates an enzyme release which seems to digest the histamine and so i dont get an overload.

    anyway i use a food supplement called Daosin – this isnt a shameless plug, it has changed my life. i can now eat whatever food i like, though i tend to stick to boring diet for much of the time as i dont want my body to get used to the supplement.

    try it it might change your life too!

    • OMG thank you for sharing this. What you describe is EXACTLY what I have been experiencing for over 4 years. I too was finally diagnosed with histamine intolerance and was prescribed an acid reducer but it hasn’t helped. I will go to Natural Grocers tomorrow to give this a try! Thank you so much!

    • Thank you! I have a sensitivity to anything that causes a histamine response. I will try this supplement. I’ve been feeling much better avoiding dairy completely and some of the histamine and glutamate foods. My heart goes into overdrive and I feel super sick, my glands in my neck swell also. It’s a challenging existence!

    • My understanding is Daosin is no longer available in U.S. Do you know of any good alternatives that would work as well?

    • I can’t find the Daosin Supplement anywhere in the US. Is there an exact equivalent sold here? Where did you buy yours?

  13. Hi, I have been suffering with leaky gut for over 15 years. I also suffer from brain fog and many other things. I eat very healthy. I tried glutamine a year ago and it gave me a lot of gas and it felt like my intestines were swollen for like a week. Glutamine seems to be the #1 go to supplement for leaky gut and everyone says it repair it fast, so I decided to give it another go. I tried another brand and a few days later, same excruciating pain. Does that mean it is converting to glutamate in my body? it’s a pity because I have to keep testing out supplements to see what will help. While I have seen some improvement with supplements, it is a slow process. charcoal helps and NAC (but it is not good to take long term). Bone broth does not seem to hurt me, but I didn’t notice any improvement after 3 months of use.

    • Try to cure your gut first with probiotics -leaku gut often comes with dysbiosis or candida overgrowth.it might also be another componate of the supplement you took that you’re intoletant to-many brands are not gluten free and gluten is no.1 gut killer. I have the same problem-I also have a leaky gut (plus anxiety,recurring depression etc) and I was prescribed l-glutamine. one single 5g dose made me feel like mentally ill, complete brain disorder…neurotransmitters are a tricky thing and you better be careful

      • I tried l glutamine – one dose of (2g) to try and help my stomach issues and till today I have not felt the same. It has been 2 months and still have extreme anxiety (manic) depression, loss of concentration, tingling in head, feeling of being lost, paranoid, etcetc. I have not been able to work or do my daily activities. Also has given me balance issues. I am 35 years old father of 3 and a business owner for many years and now since this l glutamine incident I have become a vegetable. Yes all from just one dose (2g) of l glutamine. Seen all the doctors and none are able to help nor are they educated in this area. They just know how to give out pills or look at you like your crazy. This l glutmine should be banned. I hope to save others from this l glutamine nightmare from sharing my experience.

        • I had a very similar, extreme negative reaction to supplemental L-Glutamine taken for digestive issues.

          It elicited extreme anxiety, bordering on psychosis where I was afraid to even leave the house for weeks. I had been functioning normally, took the glutamine one night and felt restless but managed to get to sleep. A few hours later I woke in the middle of the night having a horrific panic attack and feeling extremely agitated; this had never happened before. I have still not fully recovered from this, almost 4 months later, but my symptoms (which are similar to Manny’s above) have improved gradually over time.

          I am assuming this reaction was excitotoxic in nature, at least this is what a neurologist has conjectured. I have been prescribed anti-seizure medication, but have been reluctant to take it in the hope that my nervous system can naturally recover. I am at the point where I feel medication may be necessary in order for me to live a normal life.

          I found this site because It seems that certain foods aggravate my anxious state, so I am currently trying to find the correlation.

        • I, too, will share my experience with taking glutamine as a supplement as a caution to others. After 2 doses, 3 g each, I started to experience extreme anxiety, to the point of being non-functional. Despite anti-anxiety medication, this continued for about a year, a lost year. After this the anxiety gradually decreased, but I started having motor symptoms: balance, weakness, tremors. I was diagnosed with Parkinsonism. Then, this gradually got better over the next year or two. My neurologist was amazed! I’ve been well again for about 3 years. I believe, like others writing here, that excitotoxity was triggered by glutamate, derived from the glutamine I took. Excitotoxicity led to brain damage, hence the Parkinsonism. I wish I could tell you what helped me recover, except that I take a pretty full suite of supplements.

  14. Hi. I’ve been feeling TERRIBLE lately. Very exhausted but with severe brain fog and very blurry vision, too. I recently started drinking a lot of bone broth as well as occasionally taking L-Glutamine to try to heal a leaky gut. I am now wondering if Glutamine could be part of the problem.

    I read this comment on another website ” Some of these people are so sensitive they react not only to broth but to any good dietary source of glutamine, including beef, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products.” I eat a LOT of chicken, eggs and fish.

    Is there a test for glutamine sensitivity or do I just have to try to avoid all of these foods?

    I have a lot of digestive issues and its getting to the point where I don’t know what to eat.

    • Ditto Betsy! Don’t know what to eat anymore. Severe fatigue, brain fog, stomach pains all the time, gas, the list goes on. I am losing so much weight and getting more and more debilitated

          • I think you might be confused about how this NIH website works. PubMed simply published this paper on their website, as they do with a lot of (most English language? plus some other language) peer-reviewed research. That particular paper is not an official NIH study. It was written by a Certified Nurse Practitioner/ Master of Public Health/ Clinical Instructor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. Published in 2006. Fine creds and all, but not an NIH-sponsored study and now 10 years old.

            If you use the search options from that page you linked, you can find more studies, including more review articles. Definitely some more recent articles on that (or any health-related) topic.

            As I easily found a newer article that said (same as the migraine associations say), triggers are not the same in all migraineurs.

            Some may find that a specific item, such as MSG, reliably causes a migraine–and those specific people should avoid it, while others may safely be able to use that same item–leading to advice that universal “migraine diets” are unlikely to be of much help. But again, specific people should avoid what they have carefully determined specifically bothers them. Seems sensible to me.

          • As someone who has had thousands of migraines over the past 30 years, I can personally attest to the fact that glutemate and glutamic acid are a MAJOR migraine trigger for me.

        • You might want to check out histamine intolerance. The list of high histamine foods is nearly the same as the list of high glutamate foods. There is a long list of symptoms that histamine can cause. healinghistamine.com is a good place to learn about it.

    • Betsy–Glutamine (Gln) is a different amino acid than Glutamic Acid (Glu) or it’s version, glutamate. That being said, possibly having free amino acids in high concentrations could cause problems in sensitive individuals. I’m trying to just eat whole foods and avoid processed ones. Eating out is a challenge.

  15. Hi – have you ever worked with a patient with ALS? My little bit of research since we’ve been recently diagnosed seems to indicate that too much glutamate may be a factor.

    • My sister was helped at a clinic in FL, who also worked with ALS patients. She had mold toxicity (in conjunction with lyme) and was dying from it. She is now much better and is only dealing with the Lyme (which is still nasty in and of itself). I would imagine that glutamate issues would be due to a toxic body. I personally get migranes when I eat gf miso or soy sauce, due it its high levels of free glutamate. Here is that doctors facebook page. I know he is very expensive, but perhaps you could find someone who does the same type of work?

      I have also some articles about a lyme ALS connection.

      I hope the best for you.


      • Hi. Can ylu say more on glutimate being involved with a toxic body? Interesting idea so would lke to know more on how you reached that conclusion and more on theconnection. Thanks.

    • Look into supplemental Lithium Orotate (NOT the prescription form) for ALS. It’s been proven to slow progression.

  16. Hi there!
    I have a question about gelatine capsules.
    First: Is the amount of a capsule with gelatine really crucial in case of glutamate? Does this already can have an effect on brain issues?
    And second: Is it true that auxiliary materials in medicine can have a more severe effect because they are entering the bloodstreem very quickly?

    I ask this because I try to avoid glutamate in all forms. But I take a thyroid pill made of gelatine (Tirosint). Because changing a thyroid pill is not an easy thing I really want to be sure if the gelatine could harm me or not.
    I take the Tirosint in the early morning and do not feel bad with it. Also hours later I feel good. Therefore I guess, the pill is not having any severe glutamate effect. But I am not sure if the effects could occur later and I do not see the link anymore.

    Thanks for your help!

  17. I can not eat any of the foods mentioned in this article, and just read about glutamates. Crockpot cooking usually makes me sick as well. I had Cdiff some years back and have had trouble with anxiety and allergy type spells and IBS ever since. The gut brain connection makes sense.

  18. Hello Chris. I’m trying to find a way to help my husband alleviate his chronic headache. We live in the South of Spain, and there are no functional medicine practitioners near us. He has had these headaches on and off for years. A few months ago we removed dairy and gluten from his diet and after that he noticed that eating MSG gave him headaches so we removed that too. The past month we have been strictly paleo. Then last week we had guests, and even though we stuck to the diet 99%, we did have a little wine every day, and due to tiredness after having guests he had chocolate (only 55%) sunday. This week he is misserable and nothing we do seems to help… It seems like we are just eliminating more and more foods from his diet, I am at a loss. I am thinking MSG sensitivity or histamine sensistivity – but I am not sure. I am tired of guessing. I would like to find a practitioner who can help him – the only Dr. we found that was close started him on an acid/alkaline diet and used “live wave” bandages… I’m a strong believer in evidence based medicine, and wasn’t willing to pay hundreds of € for that… Could you recommend a practitioner who is in Spain? Or someone who makes Skype consultations?

    • Please look into osteopathic treatments.. I used to have bad “right-sided migraines” that would put me into bed clutching my head until the ibuprofen kicked in. Sometimes I’d need to take 2. Since getting osteopathic manipulations (for other issues) I’ve only felt a tiny bit of a right-sided headache trying to come on, and it went away within an hour, no ibuprofen required. I’m sure over time I won’t even get mild migraines.

      It’s something to research into for sure.

    • Sounds like histimine intolerance..chocolate Is a no for many . Google histimine issues, and diet… to see if this resonates with what your husband is experiencing, good luck.

    • I used to think my severe msg sensitivity was just that, but was still having similar issues from non msg containing foods, and also from hot showers. I am convinced that halide toxicity (flouride, bromide/ine, chlorine) is a huge part of the puzzle. For example some wine, chocolate, tea, veggies, can be high in these toxic halides due to fluoridated water and bromide pestacides, and it even accumulates in the bones of the chicken you are making your broth from. Many flours in US are also brominated. If you think this may be part of your problem look into an excellent drinking water filter, a shower filter, and correcting the likely severe iodine deficiency. Toxic halides will latch onto empty iodine receptors. Iodine/selenium/boron/zinc supplementation with daily sea salt pushing (important), and also msm, vit C, and glutathione supplementation. Part of why we are being poisoned is that our antioxidants have been completely depleted and we have nothing left to combat the free radicals. Can be exasperated by MTHFR genetic mutation. This is part of the puzzle of MCS.

      Heavy metal toxicity along with undiagnosed infectious diseases, parasites, and viral infections, are other pieces to the puzzle.

      Look into food grade diatomaceous earth if you suspect leaky gut. Candida can morph and grow hyphae that puncture your gut lining, allowing unprocessed protein and things directly into your blood stream, wreaking havoc and causing severe food sensitivities. Remember, any herx reaction is from excessive free radicals that will wreak havoc and be reabsorbed if you don’t take action – activated charcoal, FG diatomaceous earth, bentonite clay, are good, along with ensuring daily #2s. Gross to say but worth noting, the probiotics, and even glutathione, will be more effective if you administer them via the other end.

      May God bless us all during our challenging path towards better health.

      • This is the most informative response I’ve read down to this post. Do you have a F B or other site where you could be followed? Thank You, RLG

  19. I have recently developed what I believe is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). I’ll be going to a doctor to have that verified but, whatever the diagnosis, I’ve become sensitive to many chemicals (e.g., my hairspray so I changed to another w/fewer toxic ingredients but quickly became sensitive to the new one). Symptoms are itchy, red eyes with red circles around them so that I look like a panda bear except my circles are red and not black. Among the many things I’m now sensitive to (w/symptoms as above and none other) are free glutamates. I’ve found that glutamate is an “excitotoxin” and is present in many foods and is listed on the label under various pseuodnyms (including “natural flavoring” and “spices.”) A very informative video on the subject is by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon/brain surgeon, who has devoted many years to this topic. Go to YouTube and search for “Russell Blaylock, Excitotoxins, the Taste That Kills”. It’s hugely informative. [Re Dr. Blaylock, he’s very Christian and wears his religion on his sleeve, so to speak. That’ll be a plus to some but a minus to others. Nevertheless, he’s got the credentials and the talk is essential for MSG-sensitivity sufferers. Both of his parents died of Parkinson’s Disease (which he thinks can be caused by excitotoxins) and he has devoted years to researching this problem.] Good luck to all of you sufferers!

  20. I finally realized that I may have this issue after drinking bone broth for almost a year. Every time I had it, especially when I cooked it for a very long time, I would get many unpleasant symptoms, the worse being brain fog and headaches. I thought bone broth was good for me, so I kept drinking it, but I finally realized that I just couldn’t have it.

    After doing research online, I discovered this free glutamate intolerance, and then a bunch of things clicked for me. I get the exact same symptoms when I eat wheat, certain aged cheeses, some cured meats, corn starch, and gelatin. And now that I’ve seen the list of things “MSG” can be called, this may also explain why I often feel this way and don’t know why. I am going to try to avoid free glutamates as much as I can and see how I feel.

    I’m really glad I found this article, and I really hope more research goes into this problem.

    • I found exactly the same. I’m extremely sensitive to MSG and was shocked and disappointed when I started experiencing the same symptoms eating slow cooked meats and bone broths. I get tachycardia, arrhythmias, numb sensations in my tongue and muscle stiffness. I really appreciate this article as it sheds a lot of light on my reactions.

      • I have a mechanical aortic valve and incision scar tissue that inflames with overabundance of glutamates to block electric pathways, creating atrial fibrillation.
        I am surprised that a plant growth encouraging compound can also create glutamates in fruits and vegetables.

    • Hi, I also have real problems with long cooked stews and broths and have learnt that they also create high levels of amines that give me really bad stomach symptoms. I get bloating, intense pain, and depression when I eat them. I now also avoid chicken fat and skin and all pork and any meat that isn’t exceedingly fresh. Meat and cheese and eggs must all be super fresh and never left at room temp. Don’t eat left overs the next day even if they have been in the fridge as they still increase in amines and glutamate rapidly. Give them to less sensitive friends or the dog! (cooked foods are actually really bad for pets, so only occasionally use them as your bin!)

      • Also those reacting to bone broths and slow cooked meats – look into histamine intolerance, as that can also cause these reactions.

        Healing the gut / balancing the bacteria in the gut is still the first point of call from healing from these issues.