What is MSG?


Many Americans enjoy dining out, eating foods from boxes or cans, or eating junk food, fast foods, or deli meats. It’s quick and easy.

But did you know these foods contain a chemical neurotoxin that can damage your nerves, destroy your brain cells, impair your immune system, and cause you to suffer from anxiety or depression?

The nerve toxin is MSG. It can pose significant roadblocks while you’re trying to heal and kill your nerves.

What is MSG?

MSG is a potent flavor enhancer recognized as one of the five basic taste qualities known as umami or savory. In 1908, a Chemist, Professor Ikeda, determined that the savory taste was due to L-glutamic acid, also known as glutamate.  

He realized that adding a molecule of sodium to glutamic acid markedly increased the umami level or flavor. This substance became known as monosodium glutamate (MSG). In 1909, Professor Ikeda filed a patent to produce MSG commercially as a food seasoning.

MSG is odorless and tasteless, but when added to foods, it brings out those incredible meaty, savory tastes that we find addictive.

Today, MSG can be found in most bottled or packaged foods. You’ll also find extensive amounts in restaurants, fast foods, deli meats, frozen foods, salad dressings, bouillon cubes, breakfast cereals, and snack foods. You’ll find it in pet foods and baby food.  

How is MSG Made?

MSG is a nonessential amino acid known as L-glutamic acid. L-glutamate is a naturally occurring amino acid in nature. You’ll find it in various whole foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, seaweed, and mushrooms. This amino acid plays an enormous role in critical functions within the body.   

Most food companies label L-glutamic acid as Glutamate and Glutamic acid. People use these terms interchangeably because L-glutamic acid is converted in the body to L-glutamate, which can then be converted to L-glutamic acid once again. 

There are differences in functions and molecular structures between these two molecules. However, when the term glutamic acid is used, it usually refers to glutamate.

Is MSG Harmful?

So, the question is, if L-glutamate is found abundantly in healthy whole foods, what is the big deal about eating MSG? This question is quite volatile and controversial. 

First, I want you to realize that L-glutamate is what’s known as an excitatory neurotransmitter for the brain, meaning it “excites” the neuron (the nerve cells of the brain) and causes it to fire off a message. This neurotransmitter is vital for memory, cognition, and mood regulation.

Delving deeper, I use L-glutamate in this blog because there are two forms of glutamate: L-glutamate and D-glutamate.


L-glutamate is the naturally occurring amino acid you find in the whole foods I previously mentioned and is safe to consume in whole foods. You’ll find this in almost every natural food except fats. 

L-glutamate binds to a protein. When it enters your body, it enters the bloodstream at a slow, controlled pace. At this slower entry rate, our body regulates how much it uses. Once the cells have enough for the brain and immune function, the body shuts the gates and breaks down any excess, excreting it from the body.


However, D-glutamate or D-glutamic acid is synthetically made and is the form that makes up MSG. This form is not safe to consume regularly, and it can do extensive damage to neurons in the brain and the peripheral nervous system.

When you consume MSG, this synthetic version gets dumped into the body quickly. D-glutamate enters the body at a rate that spikes the amount of glutamate in the bloodstream by eight to ten times the average amount.  

In the 1970s, researchers found that pharmaceutical MSG used in medications kill brain cells. After that, they realized that commercially available MSG had the same effect. Today, many pharmaceutical medications still use MSG.

What Products Have MSG?

The FDA does not require manufacturers to label foods containing MSG unless the “added ingredient” is 99% pure MSG.

As a result, food manufacturers combine MSG with other components. As long as the products contain less than 99% MSG, they never have to report that MSG is present. Even a “No MSG” product often contains MSG or free glutamic acid. 

In reality, MSG is in almost every box, can, jar, or package of highly processed food–even the ones you think are healthy. 

Why Does the Food Industry Use MSG? 

In short, MSG is an extremely cheap flavor enhancer that improves food’s taste. It makes food addictive and drives up sales and profits. 

Fortunately, similar to sugar, consumers are becoming educated on the health-destroying properties of MSG and learning how to recognize its presence in food.

How Do I Detox from MSG?

MSG is highly addictive. The average adult has between 2000 and 10,000 taste buds on their tongue, and infants and young children can have up to 30,000. Each taste bud has multiple glutamate receptors. 

MSG activates to enhance the intensity of umami, sweet, salty, and fatty tastes. This makes the foods far more palatable than they would have been alone. It also amplifies the taste intensity and increases flavor, making the foods addictive.

One of the cheapest ways to detox is to cut out MSG and drink filtered water. We recommend 3 liters of filtered water (about 100 ounces) daily. Other methods include: 

  • 500 mg to 2 grams of taurine, daily
  • 1000 – 1500 of ginger mg, daily
  • 750 mg of Calendula flower, daily 
  • 120 mg up to 240 mg of Ginkgo Biloba, daily

Consult your doctor before taking ginkgo biloba if you’re on any of these medications.

Struggling with Neuropathy?

Book a consultation with one of America’s leading experts in peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro have worked with neuropathy patients for almost 20 years and conduct seminars to help patients and doctors improve and reverse neuropathy.

To schedule an appointment, visit nuphoria.com or call our customer service representatives at (844)400-0101. They are available Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

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