Manufactured vs. natural glutamic acid

There are a number of straightforward bold-faced lies used by the glutamate industry in defending its contention that exposure to free glutamic acid found in processed food does not cause adverse reactions, could not possibly cause brain damage, learning disorders, or endocrine disturbances, and could not possibly be relevant to diverse diseases of the central nervous system such as addiction, stroke, epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and degenerative disorders such as ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Central to their argument is the lie that the processed free glutamic acid used in processed food is identical to the glutamic acid found in unprocessed, unadulterated food and in the human body.

The truth of the matter is that the glutamic acid found in unprocessed, unadulterated, and/or unfermented food and in the human body is composed of one form of a single amino acid, L-glutamic acid, and nothing more.

In contrast, the glutamic acid that is freed from protein through a manufacturing process or through fermentation (i.e., processed free glutamic acid), is always accompanied by D-glutamic acid and by a variety of other by-products of L-glutamic acid production (impurities). Thus, the glutamic acid that is used as a flavor enhancer in processed food is always composed of L-glutamic acid, D-glutamic acid and impurities that inevitably appear during fermentation or other modes of glutamic acid manufacture or processing. In addition to the inevitable production of D-glutamic acid, impurities may include, but are not limited to, pyroglutamic acid, mono and dichloro propanols, and heterocyclic amines. Mono and dichloro propanols and heterocyclic amines are carcinogenic. The consequences of the interactions of these various chemicals with other chemicals and/or with the digestive processes are unknown.

Processed free glutamic acid (MSG) used in processed food such as monosodium glutamate and in plant “growth enhancers” is made up of a complex of chemicals (L-glutamic acid, D-glutamic acid, assorted other by-products of production and sodium). The glutamic acid found in unprocessed, unadulterated food and in the human body is a single amino acid. So there is no reason to believe that the glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate will be functionally equivalent to pure, unadulterated, L-glutamic acid. There is no reason to believe that the processed and the unprocessed chemicals will behave identically.

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The Truth in Labeling Campaign

TLC was incorporated in 1994 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to securing full and clear labeling of all processed food. www.truthinlabeling.org