by Grace Marcinkoski (Editor)
Reading an article in Alive Magazine, lead me on to do some research on infant formula. The results of this research are scary! I fed formula to 2 of my children naively thinking it was healthy and totally safe.
Alive Magazine (#195) did an article on the connection between glutamate-heavy foods and Alzheimers disease. It is thought that the role of a family's eating pattern can be as important as a family's genes in the occurence of this disease. The consumption of glutamate may also be a factor in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, MS, fibromyalgia, and Huntington's.
This article interested me as my mother-in-law has Alzheimer's, and her mother also had it. Thinking about what the hospital is feeding her and other Alzheimer's patients, I checked out the label on Boost, and realized that it contained glutamate! Boost is one of the drinks marketed to adults who are not eating balanced meals**. It occured to me that the ingredients in Boost seemed to be the same as baby formula, and I realized that formula would also contain glutamate! Knowing that this damages the brain, infants should not be exposed to it!
In laboratory experiments, MSG has been found to cause brain lesions, vomiting, stunted growth, endocrine disorders, and more. Some effects such as learning disabilities and obesity do not show up until later in life.
For years, consumers have complained that MSG causes migraine headaches, asthma, rapid heartbeat, seizures, depression, and other side effects.
MSG was supposed to be removed from baby food (unfortunately manufacturers have managed to sneak it back into some baby foods under other names) so it definitely should not be in formula since that is fed to infants younger than those who eat solid baby food!
Checking cans of infant formula, I found MANY ingredients on the label lists that indicated that free glutamic acid (msg-containing substances) were present: carrageenan, maltodextrin, soy protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, whey hydrolysate, milk protein isolate, skim milk powder, corn syrup solids, whey powder, citric acid, hydrolyzed casein, casein hydrolysate, corn starch, modified cornstarch, modified tapioca starch,
Some formulas also contain L-cystine, which is also an excitotoxin*** like MSG and Aspartame.
I was shocked to see these ingredients in baby
formula. I was even more shocked that it appears that NO studies
exist about MSG/glutamates in formula!! The No MSG Organization
says that there is NO "safe" level of glutamate! Since
babies have a continuous intake of formula throughout the day,
they are getting a continuous onslaught of glutamate, which will
increase the effect on the brain.
Hypoallergenic formulas are hydrolyzed, so they have an extremely high level of free glutamic acid (glutamate). Yet there has been no long-term research on children fed this formula to see if they have a higher incidence of learning disabilities, behavior problems, endocrine problems, and fertility problems.
I decided to send several brands of baby formula
to a scientific lab for testing, to get professional, unbiased
results. The testing was done by the University of Alberta.
The test results were forwarded to the No MSG organization, who
were very interested and posted a report on their web site.
Because of the Alive article, I also checked out some of our family's other favorite foods. Since some of our family members have a milk allergy, Rice Dream was a favorite beverage. With some time and persistence, I was able to gather enough information from the manufacturer to learn that it does contain glutamic acid! We were disappointed that veggie weiners also had to be eliminated! The consumer liason people at the food companies are not knowledgeable of the composition of the ingredients on the label. (I'm assuming that their lack of truthfulness is not deliberate and is merely because of ignorance.) They will reassure you that their product does not contain glutamate, but when you ask them specific questions (for example, if any of the ingredients are hydrolyzed), you find out that there is indeed glutamate in the product. (For example, glutamate is a by-product of hydrolyzing any protein!)
And unfortunately the sales people in natural food stores may have been told by their suppliers that their products do not contain "synthetic" MSG, only "natural" MSG, or they may not be aware of the many alternative names for MSG. Many health food stores sell "Spike" seasoning which contains "hydrolyzed protein" and "yeast". If you wish to avoid MSG you will need to learn to read labels for yourself!
**there are also meal-replacement drinks with
similar ingredients, marketed to people trying to lose weight.
***Excitotoxins: Amino acids such as cysteine, aspartate, and glutamate which, when applied to neurons will cause them to become overstimulated and die. Other names for these three amino acids include L-cystine (cysteine which has broken down), Aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, and MSG. Note that MSG has dozens of aliases which are perfectly legal for food manufacturers to use on labels. When you consume something that says "natural flavors" you may not realize that is a term for MSG (glutamate)!
for more information, visit:
For in depth information, purchase the book "Excitotoxins". You may find answers to some of your health problems such as migraine headaches!
Related article: Infant Formula - The Canadian Study