MSG Tak Sekadar Penyedap Rasa
RASA adalah hal penting dalam makanan. Untuk meningkatkan citarasa suatu makanan biasanya diperlukan kuah penyedap atau penyedap rasa agar makanan jadi lebih lazat dan sedap. Salah satu kuah sangat popular adalah vetsin atau bahasa kimianya MSG (monosodium glutamate). Kehadiran MSG ini sudah diakui dapat menyebabkan masakan menjadi lebih enak, lazat, dan sangat disukai oleh lidah kita. Namun kebelakangan ni, para ahli kesihatan menuduh senyawa ini sebagai penyebab timbulnya berbagai masalah kesihatan.
Kenapa MSG disukai?
MSG adalah garam dari L-asam glutamat (GLU) yang merupakan asam amino pembentuk protein yang sangat penting bagi makhluk hidup. Senyawa ini banyak terdapat secara alami di hampir seluruh tubuh makhluk hidup dan makanan seperti keju, susu, daging, serta beberapa sayuran.
Tubuh manusia dan binatang memproduksi sendiri senyawa glutamat untuk kepentingan metabolisme, fungsi otak, dan sebagai sumber tenaga. Untuk berbagai kepentingan tersebut, manusia ibaratnya memiliki lapar berat akan glutamat. Penelitian di Amerika menunjukkan rata-rata orang Amerika se hari mengambil glutamat sekira 11 gram dari bahan alami, 1 gram dari MSG, 30-45 gram dari keju parmesan, dan 50 gram dari produksi tubuh sendiri. Jadi, jika dijumlahkan, maka glutamat yang ada di tubuh hampir 100 gram se hari!
Kerananya, tidaklah mengherankan bila MSG dibubuhkan pada makanan, tubuh menganggapnya sebagai glutamat yang vital bagi metabolisma dan sangat merangsang pencernaan. Hal ini pernah dinyatakan oleh Prof. Bernd Lindmann dari University Homburg yang dalam tulisannya mengatakan, ”... bagi manusia konsume protein merupakan keperluan mutlak untuk menjaga fungsi kehidupan, dan manusia dalam evolusinya mengembangkan kepekaan untuk mengenali rasa protein yang amat penting bagi fungsi kehidupannya, sekaligus menggemarinya”. Dari sini pula kita menjadi tahu mengapa makanan segera (fast food) atau chips kentang yang banyak dibubuh bahan penyedap jauh lebih digemari orang, terutama oleh kanak-kanak.
Apakah MSG berbahaya?
Mungkin kita berfikir, tak ada masalah jika memakan MSG dalam jumlah besar kerana glutamat secara alami sudah ada dalam tubuh. Selain itu, proses pembuatannya pun alami (secara fermentasi) tidak memakai bahan-bahan kimia berbahaya. Tapi, beberapa penelitian menyebutkan MSG dapat menyebabkan timbulnya berbagai masalah kesihatan seperti kegemukan, kerosakan otak, kerosakan sistem syaraf, depresi, sampai kaku. Hal tersebut disebabkan glutamat yang ada dalam makanan segar seperti daging dan beberapa sayuran ada dalam bentuk terikat dengan asam amino lain membentuk protein. Sedangkan glutamat dalam bentuk bebas seperti MSG merupakan senyawa exitotoxin atau beracun.
Yang paling merisaukan adalah pada otak. Mengenai hal itu seorang profesor di Northwestern University Medical School, George E. Shambaugh, Jr., MD menyebutkan, “…ketika sel-sel neuron di otak menerima senyawa ini (MSG-red.), mereka menjadi sangat bergairah dan meningkatkan impulsnya sampai pada tingkat kelelahan yang sangat tinggi. Tapi, beberapa jam kemudian neuron-neuron tersebut mati seakan-akan mereka bergairah untuk mati”.
Jika banyak sel neuron yang mati, maka fungsi otak pun akan menurun, yang tentunya sangat merbahaya bagi perkembangan otak, terutama anak-anak. Dalam suatu research, anak-anak yang memakan sup mengandung MSG dan minum dengan Nutrasweet (soft drink) darahnya akan mempunyai tingkat excitotoxin (keracunan) 6 kali lebih besar dari excitotoxin yang menghancurkan hypothalamus neuron pada anak tikus. Jadi, menurut Prof. George E. Shambaugh, makin muda anak, makin besar bahaya yang dapat ditimbulkan MSG pada otak.
MSG juga sering dikait-kaitkan dengan masalah Cancer. Dr. Russell Blaylock seorang doktor ahli bedah otak dalam artikel "Health and Nutrition Secrets" menyebutkan, glutamat bebas dan senyawa excitotoxin lainnya (seperti aspartame dalam soft drink) dapat menghasilkan jumlah radikal bebas yang sangat banyak dalam jaringan tubuh. Jika radikal-radikal bebas ini terus-menerus mengauli DNA, maka gen cancer akan teraktif dan menimbulkan cancer. Walaupun di dalam tubuh sudah terdapat enzim yang berfungsi menangkap dan menutralkan radikal bebas tersebut, tetap saja kemungkinan ini akan lebih mudah terjadi bila gen orang tersebut mudah diserang cancer, sistem kekebalan tubuhnya rendah, dan pola hidup tidak sihat.
Untuk meningkatkan daya tahan tubuh tersebut, makanan yang dimakan harus seimbang. Dalam hal ini, untuk meredam radikal bebas yang disebabkan MSG, memakan makanan yang banyak mengandung vitamin C, vitamin E, dan co-enzym Q10 dalam lemak akan sangat membantu. Selain itu, untuk memperkuat rasa, boleh digunakan bahan penyedap lain seperti kicap, santan kelapa, dan kuah tradisional lainnya yang kurang lemak.***
A SILENT KILLER OF MSG
A silent killer that’s worse than alcohol, nicotine, and drugs is likely lurking in your kitchen cabinets and even your child’s school cafeteria. It’s monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer that’s known widely as an addition to Chinese food, but that’s actually added to thousands of the foods you eat.
In this telling three-part video series, you’ll find out why Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon, describes MSG as a dangerous excitotoxin, and learn how this toxin could be making you fat.
MSG is used in countless foods in your supermarket, local restaurants, school cafeterias, and more. Everything from soup to crackers to meats may contain it because MSG, as dangerous as it is, makes food taste good and it is dirt cheap, just like sugar.
Incredibly, even infant formulas and baby food contain this poison, even though babies and infants, who are four times more sensitive than adults to the toxic effects of this chemical, are the most at risk.
There are a couple of main reasons why MSG is one of the worst food additives on the market. First, as Dr. Blaylock, author of the highly recommended Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, says in the video, MSG is an excitotoxin, which means that it overexcites your cells to the point of damage, acting as a poison. The second part of the equation is that MSG can be literally hidden in food labels, under names like broth, casein, hydrolyzed, autolyzed, and more, making it extremely difficult to identify.
MSG is also a probable cause contributing to the obesity epidemic. As the FDA continues to vouch for its safety, scientists have known that MSG causes obesity since the 1960s!
It is clearly not worth a few bites of tasty junk food to give your body the green light to produce visceral fat, the most dangerous type that surrounds your organs and increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, insomnia, type 2 diabetes, and more.
Yet, that is exactly what you’re doing when you eat foods that contain MSG.
Eliminating MSG from your diet is a wise choice for everyone, including pregnant women. To do so, stick to natural, unprocessed foods. And, if you do eat processed foods, be on the lookout for the many hidden names for MSG on food labels. They include (but are far from limited to):
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
- Yeast Extract
- Malted Barley
- Rice Syrup or Brown Rice Syrup
The dangers surrounding MSG are, perhaps, most concerning for new moms who are unable to breastfeed, and are looking for an alternative to the MSG-laden infant formulas on the market. Fortunately, women who are unable to breastfeed can make an extremely nutritious, MSG-free infant formula for their baby using raw milk.
Eye Damage from MSG
Controversy surrounding food additive MSG (monosodium glutamate-a common flavor enhancer) was re-ignited when a Japanese researcher suggested that consuming too much of the ingredient could make you go blind.
Researchers at Hirosaki University in Japan have found that rats fed diets high in MSG suffer vision loss and have thinner retinas than those in the control group. Glutamate, a group of chemicals that includes MSG, is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter. It has already been shown to cause nerve damage in experiments where it is injected directly into the eye.
MSG, a sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid and a form of glutamate, is used as a flavor enhancer in a variety of foods prepared in restaurants and by food processors. While technically MSG is only one of several forms of free glutamate used in foods, consumers frequently use the term MSG to mean all free glutamate.
Its use has become controversial in the past 30 years because of reports of adverse reactions in people who have eaten foods that contain MSG. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), research on the role of glutamate in the nervous system has also raised questions about the chemical's safety.
According to lead researcher Hiroshi Ohguro, his is the first study to show that eye damage can be caused by eating food that contains MSG. A report in the New Scientist this week explains that in the study, rats were fed three different diets for six months, containing either high or moderate amounts of MSG, or none. In rats on the high-MSG diet, some retinal nerve layers thinned by as much as 75 percent, and tests that measured retinal response to light showed they could not see as well. Rats on the moderate MSG diet also had damage, to a lesser extent.
The researchers found high concentrations of MSG in the vitreous fluid, which bathes the retina. MSG binds to receptors on retinal cells, destroying them and causing secondary reactions that reduce the ability of the remaining cells to relay electrical signals.
Ohguro acknowledged that large amounts of MSG were used-20 percent of the total diet in the highest group. "Lesser amounts should be OK," he said, "but the precise borderline amount is still unknown."
He said the findings might explain why in eastern Asia, there is a high rate of normal-tension glaucoma, a form of the eye disease that leads to blindness without the usual increase in pressure inside the eyeball. The higher rate, however, could also be due to genetics.
The New Scientist report continues that Peng Tee Khaw, a glaucoma specialist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, said the amounts of MSG in the highest diet are "a lot, lot higher than you'd eat. But if you're a sodium glutamate junky, then you could potentially run into problems with your retina."
And while the amount of glutamate in the rats' diets was extremely high, lower dietary intakes could produce the same effects over several decades.
With such persuasive evidence it is clear that food processors must brace themselves for another wave of anti-MSG activity from global consumer associations. In a bid to reassure these same campaigners, food scientists must continue to investigate the impact of MSG, and free glutamates, on human health, as well as looking into alternatives.
One step toward finding alternatives was reported by FoodNavigator.com in April of this year. New research into the use of human taste and smell receptors in functional assays to screen for novel receptor activators and blockers was reported. Senomyx, the U.S. company that carried out the research, is hoping that their research will lead them to discover alternatives to MSG, as well as enhancers of sweet and umami (the taste conveyed by several substances naturally occurring in foods, including glutamate) tastes.
The Danger of MSG and How it is Hidden in Vaccines
The glutamate industry and companies, including pharmaceutical firms, that wish to use processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in their products, improperly claim that the term "MSG" only applies to the food ingredient "monosodium glutamate."
They pretend not to realize that "monosodium glutamate" is nothing more than glutamic acid that has been freed from protein through a manufacturing process (processed free glutamic acid), salt (sodium), and moisture. It is the processed free glutamic acid that MSG-sensitive people react to, providing that they ingest amounts that exceed their tolerances for the substance.
Consumers may react to processed free glutamic acid that is contained in any food ingredient or product, including AuxiGro, regardless of the name of the ingredient or product.
Because MSG-sensitive people may react to all ingredients and products that contain processed free glutamic acid, they refer to such ingredients and products as containing "MSG."
In August, 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted in a document entitled the "FDA Backgrounder" that consumers frequently refer to all [free] glutamic acid as "MSG." The "FDA Backgrounder" is still in use by the FDA and can likely be found on their Web site.
Based on peer reviewed studies, there is no question that glutamic acid is neurotoxic. This can be easily confirmed by accessing MEDLINE retrieval service for studies dating from 1966 to the present, using the words "glutamic acid" in combination with the words "brain lesions" and then "neurotoxicity." I would also suggest that you look up the words besity," " and "seizures" combination with the words "glutamic acid."
There is also no question that the young are most at risk from MSG. To confirm this, you might start by reviewing the work of John W. Olney, MD and look up the words "glutamic acid" in combination with the words "blood brain barrier" and "placental barrier."
You will learn that the blood brain barrier is not fully developed in the young to protect against toxins that enter the blood, and that glutamic acid can also penetrate the placental barrier.
Disregarding the blood brain barrier and the placental barrier issues, the literature clearly indicates that, based on the amount of MSG used in the 1970s, over 25% of the population react to MSG.
Although we have not reviewed all vaccines used on infants, we have found one or two sources of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in those that we have information on. In discussion with a retired executive of a company that produces vaccines, he suggested to me that all viral vaccines would have free glutamic acid, used to feed the live virus.
The glutamic acid in vaccines are often described as "stabilizers," i.e., ingredients to keep the virus alive. We describe them as a hidden source of processed free glutamic acid (MSG).
An example for you would be the Chickenpox Vaccine by VariVax -- Merck & Co., Inc. (Merck). This vaccine includes "L-monosodium glutamate" and "hydrolyzed gelatin."
Another example would be Merck's M-M-R vaccine. The product insert states that the growth medium for measles and mumps includes "amino acids" and "glutamate." It is also stated that the medium for rubella included "amino acids" and "hydrolyzed gelatin." Finally, it states that the "reconstituted vaccine" for subcutaneous administration includes hydrolyzed gelatin.
We have no way of knowing which amino acids are used in Merck's vaccines, but we do know that the amino acids "glutamic acid," "aspartic acid," and "L-cysteine" are neurotoxic.
We also know that any hydrolyzed protein, such as the hydrolyzed gelatin will contain some processed free glutamic acid (MSG), some aspartic acid, and some L-cysteine, all considered to be neurotoxic by neuroscientists. Even without hydrolyzing gelatin, gelatin contains over 11% processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and some aspartic acid and L-cysteine. It is present as a result of the manufacturing process that results in gelatin.
The product insert for M-M-R vaccine by Merck provides a contraindication that states, in part: "Hypersensitivity to any component of the vaccine, including gelatin." It is footnoted to the following reference.
I cannot help but wonder if at least some of the subjects in the study above reacted to gelatin. Most reactions to processed free glutamic acid (MSG), as contained in gelatin, are not IgE mediated. They are best described as a sensitivity to a toxic substance.
If you wish to determine more about Merck vaccines, I would suggest you call their National Service Center at (800) NSC-MERCK. Do not ask about the presence of "MSG" in vaccines. Rather, ask about the presence of "free glutamic acid." You will have a better chance of getting a reliable answer.
Not long ago, a vaccine for Rotavirus came to market. The product, which contained some processed free glutamic acid (MSG), carried a warning in the product insert that it not be used for individuals who had a hypersensitivity to MSG. Shortly after the Rotavirus came to market, it was found that the vaccine resulted in digestive blockages, and the product was withdrawn from the market.
One last comment regarding the exposure of infants to processed free glutamic acid (MSG): the presence of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in infant formulas.
We have found that major brands of infant formula, if not all infant formulas, contain some processed free glutamic acid (MSG). The hypoallergenic soy formulas contain very high levels of MSG. See www.truthinlabeling.org/formulacopy.html for further detail.
It might be worthwhile for someone to do a study of people who were raised on hypoallergenic formulas to determine if they have experienced a higher incidence of obesity, learning disabilities, and/or ADHD, in childhood and/or endocrine disorders later in life, as compared with people who were breast fed, and then as compared with people who were raised on milk based infant formulas.If I can be of any further help to anyone on this important subject, they should not hesitate to write or call. If anyone receives a list of ingredients from vaccine producers, I would be pleased to go over the ingredients and advise them of the ingredients that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG).