Natural Glutamic Acid VS. MSG

This is an article adapted from Eden Foods. They are an organic food & drink producer, located in the heart of Clinton, MI. I had the opportunity to tour their facility this week and I must say it’s a very impressive operation.  Since 1968, they have been in the business of producing and selling high quality, pure organic products.  If you’ve ever shopped at Whole Foods, you probably have seen the Eden label, since they’re a major supplier to that store chain.

Food Facts Article by Eden Foods

Protein builds muscle, organ, and all body tissue. It aids digestion. It provides structure to hair, fingernails, and ligaments. It produces stomach acid, aids the movement of muscles, helps us to see, produces antibodies, and delivers oxygen to blood. It is essential to life.

Proteins are amino acids linked together in chains. Of twenty-two known amino acids, eight are classified as ‘essential,’ signifying the body does not produce them so they must be obtained from food we eat. The other fourteen amino acids are considered non-essential, signifying the body is capable of making them so they are not diet dependent.

Glutamic acid is a ‘non-essential’ classified amino acid that is very common in plants and animals. Besides being a building block of protein, glutamic acid is vital in the transmission of nerve impulses, and is even manufactured in the brain.

A typical human contains 4.4 pounds of glutamate or Glutamic acid. It is a main component of proteins and peptides, and present in most tissue. Virtually every food contains glutamate. It’s a major component of protein rich food like meat, eggs, poultry, milk, cheese, and fish. Glutamate or Glutamic acid is also ubiquitous in grain, beans, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, nuts, sea vegetables such as kombu, and even a mother’s milk. The following list shows common food content amounts:

Food Source Serving Size Amount of
Natural Glutamic Acid
Chicken breast, roasted 1 each 8.62 grams
Chicken breast, batter fried 1 each 8.50 grams
Turkey breast 3 oz. 3.86 grams
Ground beef, broiled 3 oz. 3.28 grams
Sirloin, roasted 3 oz. 3.54 grams
Avocado & Cheese Sandwich on Wheat 1 each 4.07 grams
Fish Sandwich 1 each 3.38 grams
Pretzels 5 pieces 0.91 grams
Garbanzo Beans 1/2 cup 1.27 grams
Baked Potato w/Cheese 1 each 3.02 grams
Baked Potato, plain 1 each 0.78 grams
Tomato Paste, Unsalted 1/2 cup 1.93 grams
Walnuts 1 oz. 1.42 grams
Peanut Butter 2 Tbsp. 1.60 grams
Sunflower Seeds 1 oz. 1.21 grams
Buttermilk Pancakes 1 ea. 1.53 grams
Couscous 1/2 cup 2.14 grams
Lobster, boiled 1 cup 5.06 grams
Yellowtail Fish 1 fillet 12.94 grams
Salmon 1 fillet 12.68 grams
Egg 1 each 0.63 grams
Yogurt, plain 8 oz. 2.51 grams
Hot Cocoa 1 cup 1.88 grams
Milk 1 cup 200 mg to 1.68 grams
depending on the amount
of fat in the milk
Kelp (kombu) 1/2 cup 0.11 grams
Wakame 1/2 cup 0.08 grams

All measurements are from “Nutrients In Food”  and The USDA Website

There are two common forms of glutamic acid:

L-glutamic acid and D-glutamic acid.

L-glutamic acid found in protein is referred to as ‘bound’ or ‘protein bound’ glutamic acid. In real, natural foods amino acids are rarely free. Rather, they are linked or bound in long chains to other amino acids in peptides or proteins. D-glutamic acid ‘outside of protein’ or ‘free glutamic acid’ is artificially and chemically produced outside of the body. This is what is known as monosodium glutamate or MSG.

Asian cultures have used sea vegetables to enhance the flavor of food for centuries, especially kombu. Kombu is traditionally used to make broth called ‘dashi’ and more recently kombu extract. Though both are sources of glutamic acid, kombu extract is a concentrated form. Keep in mind, though, that this glutamic acid is ‘bound to protein’, L-glutamic acid. Dashi and extract is simply kombu simmered in water to extract the flavor essence of glutamic acid. Kombu is one of the lowest sources of glutamic acid, if you look at the above chart, compared to other high protein foods.

In 1907 a Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, was experimenting with food flavors in a quest for what the Japanese consider the perfectly balanced combination of flavors, ‘umami’. Professor Ikeda captured what he believed was umami by isolating glutamic acid from seaweed and other plants such as wheat, beets, corn, and molasses. In 1909 the Ajinomoto Corporation of Japan patented it as monosodium glutamate or MSG and sold it in the U.S. as Accent, a flavor enhancer. This chemical is not food like kombu sea vegetable, but rather a toxic concoction and excitotoxin.

When we eat food containing protein, our body breaks it down or hydrolyzes it in the stomach and lower intestines through the action of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. In a healthy person, the body controls the amount of glutamic acid that it takes from protein. Excess glutamic acid is not stored by the body, preventing toxicity. It is passed off as waste. Utilized this way, glutamic acid from eating protein is harmless.

In the chemical MSG manufacturing plant, however, the bound glutamic acid in the above mentioned foods is broken down or made ‘free of protein’ by various processes (hydrolyzed, autolyzed, modified or fermented with strong chemicals, acids, bacteria, or enzymes, which are often genetically modified) and refined to a white crystal powder that resembles salt or sugar. Chemical MSG contains 78% glutamate, 12.2% sodium, and 9.6% water. This chemical form is known as D-glutamic acid. It usually contains some L-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and other contaminants. This factory made version causes serious reactions. From our research there is no D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid or other contaminants in the protein found in plants and animals, only L-glutamic acid. When pure, manufactured, MSG is ingested a rapid effect occurs from the glutamate. This ‘free of protein’ glutamic acid, or glutamate unlike the naturally occurring ‘protein bound’ glutamate, is not attached to other amino acids. The normal digestive disassembly process does not happen because there are no ‘peptide’ bonds to slow the process. The sudden increase in free glutamic acid is then rapidly absorbed and can raise blood levels of glutamate eight to ten times causing toxicity.

Chemically produced MSG is found in a very wide variety of foods both in the supermarket and in natural food stores. It may not be, and commonly is not, declared on the label because it is a “processing aid” used in an ingredient. When MSG is used as a processing aid, it is not required by the FDA to be declared on the label. MSG is in hydrolyzed animal, vegetable (textured vegetable protein TVP), and milk protein. Calcium and sodium cassinate are by-products of hydrolyzed milk products. It is found in maltodextrin from processed corn and cornstarch. Bouillon cubes, autolyzed yeast extracts and chemically manufactured malt syrups contain small amounts of it. Whey protein, protein isolates, smoke flavorings, barbecue chips, and cheap and imitation soy sauces contain it. It is also found in chemically made gelatins and even in children’s vaccinations.

Eden Foods does not use the chemical MSG in any EDEN Beans, Edensoy, or any food item that they offer. There is much confusion, contradictory information and studies in the public domain. Most of it skewed or flawed, having been paid for by the manufactures of MSG. Commonly documents are incorrect in referring to chemical MSG as L-glutamate, when in fact it is D-glutamate.

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2 thoughts on “Natural Glutamic Acid VS. MSG

  1. arnel f. December 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be Wealthy. and commented:
    Concern about MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)? Read this article and be informed.

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