I have an MSG allergy. Monosodium Glutamate is a sodium salt derived from plant glutens and acts as a non-essential amino acid that breaks down proteins, especially proteins in meats and milk products. Normal human bodies convert glutens in food to MSG, and the addition of monosodium glutamate is not essential to human digestion, although MSG will enhance taste. Glutamates also function as neurotransmitters throughout the human body.
The effects of MSG can be accumulative in about 3 per cent of the human population that cannot assimilate nor eliminate MSG for various reasons. MSG accumulation can lead to neurotoxicity and the overstimulation or paralysis of nerves throughout the body, especially nerves that control muscles, including the muscles of the heart.
I first noticed the effects of MSG in 2005 after consuming tenderized meat in a Chinese restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown. Approximately twenty minutes after finishing the meal, the muscles in my left arm and left leg locked up. I was no longer able to grip the car’s steering wheel nor move my left leg to work the clutch. Imagine my panic as I drove on Chicago’s crowded expressways at 55 miles an hour, unable to steer normally nor change gears or apply the brake without stalling the car in heavy traffic. Fortunately, I was able to steer with my right hand and use my right foot on the clutch. I exited the expressway and stopped along the side of South State Street in an unfriendly-looking neighborhood. Within an additional half hour, my symptoms eased and I was back in control of my muscles and able to drive an automobile.
Symptoms for me included excruciating pain in the nerves of my left side (arms, hands, fingers, thighs, calves, and ankles), blurred vision, a headache, and greatly-increased anxiety.
These symptoms have recurred to various degrees each time I consume MSG. I notice them most often after consuming salty French fries, juicy Italian Beef, crispy fried chicken, and tasty pork sausage.
Last night I ate Pizza with sausage, cheese, and tomatoes. Cheese and tomatoes are naturally rich with glutamates, and pizza crust adds wheat glutens. My body converted these into MSG. The added MSG the restaurant put on the sausage last night put me over the top. Symptoms of neurotoxicity occurred approximately twenty to thirty minutes after consuming the meal.
I became weak, disoriented, and my left arm and hand froze as pain shot through the entire left side of my body from shoulder to ankle. The muscles in the bottom of my left foot cramped up. I could barely move.
The effects wore off in about 20 minutes.
Today, I ate left over pizza for breakfast and experienced the same results.
Unfortunately, MSG can be addictive. My favorite foods—like many modern Americans—include French Fries,Italian Beef sandwiches, pork sausage, cheeses, and tomatoes.
And, of course, pizza.
Do I love and crave these foods only because I’m addicted to MSG?
Soups, especially Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, contain added MSG. Is that why I crave Chicken Noodle Soup?
I’ll talk this over with my doctor when I have my annual physical tomorrow. I’ll let you know what I learn.