I love ginger! Since I started to drink daily Ginger Slammers I find I am much less susceptible to illnesses, such as the common cold, and for perhaps the first time in my life I’ve experienced multiple summers without any hay fever symptoms.
For thousands of years, ginger has been hailed as a superfood for its healing properties that aid every system of the body. The oils that ginger contains are antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, and ginger has even been found to inhibit cancer growth. Now a study has actually proven that ginger can reverse the damage done by monosodium glutamate, or MSG, a known harmful excitotoxin.
After injecting pure MSG into rats for 30 days, researchers found subsequent withdrawal caused adverse effects including significant epinephrine (adrenalin), norepinephine (noradrenaline), dopamine and serotonin depletion. Low levels of these important neurotransmitters can be detrimental to health.
As an example of the potential risks, it is believed defective signaling of serotonin in the brain may be the root cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy genetically modified lab mice to produce low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The results showed the mice suffered drops in heart rate and other symptoms of SIDS, and many of the animals died at an early age. Researchers now believe low levels of serotonin in the animals’ brainstems, which control heartbeat and breathing, may have caused sudden death, they said in the July 4, 2008 issue of Science. If neurons that make serotonin — serotonergic neurons — are abnormal in infants, there is a risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
MSG is widely used as a cheap flavor enhancer in many processed foods. While MSG may seem tasty for the scant time that its on your tongue, every bite comes with a potential kitchen sink of negative side effects, including headaches, migraines, eye damage, fatigue, drowsiness, depression, numbness, muscle spasms, nausea, rashes, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis and seizures, just to name a few.
Subsequent to injecting lab rats with MSG, researchers injected ginger root extract for 30 more days and were able to completely reverse the neurotransmitter depletion and brain damage that MSG caused. Not only that, but the positive effects of ginger were maintained even after scientists stopped administering it!
A wealth of independent studies show that MSG should be avoided at all costs. Also popularly printed on food labels as hydrolyzed protein, torula or autolyzed yeast, soy or yeast extract and soy protein isolate among some 40 other names, scientists have found that consuming MSG even in low doses can cause blood glutamate levels to fluctuate abnormally high and then stay there. Anyone suffering from a disease or immunity issue that would contribute to a weakened blood-brain barrier is then much more susceptible to the chemical seeping into his or her brain and doing damage. Studies have effectively linked MSG consumption to several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, researchers actually concluded, “we suggest that MSG should have its safety profile re-examined and be potentially withdrawn from the food chain”.
As a cheap flavor enhancer, MSG holds more benefits for food companies than for consumers.
Despite overwhelming evidence of MSG’s detrimental health effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to claim the substance is “generally recognized as safe.” The FDA admits that it has received reports from people who have suffered the adverse effects from MSG, but the organization claims, “However, we were never able to confirm that the MSG caused the reported effects.”
Truth in Labeling Campaign co-founder Jack Samuels has commented that “the staff at the FDA are unbelievably fantastic in their ability to write in a way that deceives the public, but loosely based on fact. We refer to such writing as half truths. Read the FDA points carefully and you will see how MSG can be hidden in foods.”
On the other hand, ginger’s neuroprotective role can be added to a basket of healthful properties. Ginger has an extraordinarily high ability to quench oxygen free radicals. After exposing breast cancer cells directly to crude ginger extract in a laboratory for example, researchers found the cells were rendered unable to reproduce. This treatment had the added benefit of leaving the healthy cells unaffected, something allopathic medicine with its chemotherapy treatments that indiscriminately target all cells, even healthy ones, cannot claim. Ginger is also a natural pain reliever, digestive aid and detoxifier. In short, it’s amazing.
The list of ginger’s health benefits – not just as a brain protector but as a full-body protector – cannot be overstated.
Hidden Sources of MSG
As stated above, according to the Truth in Labeling Campaign, more than 40 different ingredients contain the chemical in monosodium glutamate (processed free glutamic acid). The following list has been compiled over the last 20 years by the Truth in Labeling Campaign from consumer reports and information provided by manufacturers and food technologists.
Names of ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid:
- Glutamic acid (E 620)
- Glutamate (E 620)
- Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
- Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
- Calcium glutamate (E 623
- Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
- Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
- Natrium glutamate
- Anything “hydrolyzed”
- Any “hydrolyzed protein”
- Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate
- Yeast extract, Torula yeast
- Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
- Autolyzed yeast
- Textured protein
- Whey protein
- Whey protein concentrate
- Whey protein isolate
- Soy protein
- Soy protein concentrate
- Soy protein isolate
- Anything “protein”
- Anything “protein fortified”
- Soy sauce
- Soy sauce extract
- Anything “enzyme modified”
- Anything containing “enzymes”
- Anything “fermented”
Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid during processing:
- Carrageenan (E 407)
- Bouillon and broth
- Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
- Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
- Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
- Barley malt
- Pectin (E 440)
- Malt extract
The following are ingredients suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed free glutamic acid to serve as MSG-reaction triggers in HIGHLY SENSITIVE people:
- Corn starch
- Corn syrup
- Modified food starch
- Lipolyzed butter fat
- Rice syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Milk powder
- Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)
- most things “low fat” or “no fat”
- anything “enriched”
- anything “vitamin enriched”
- anything “pasteurized”
- Balsamic vinegar
- certain amino acid chelates (Citrate, aspartate, and glutamate are used as chelating agents with mineral supplements)
- Glutamic acid found in unadulterated protein does not cause adverse reactions. To cause adverse reactions, the glutamic acid must have been processed/manufactured or come from protein that has been fermented.
- E numbers are use in Europe in place of food additive names.
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