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Nerves are conducting to send signals throughout the body Everything happens in milliseconds or less. During normal metabolic function: the concentration of neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft is quickly reduced, this 'cellular housekeeping' takes place to keep everything healthy and in balance. A specialized type of glial (white matter) cell has the job of clearing the area. Excess neurotransmitters can turn excitotoxic- makes receptors over-activate. The nerve cannot keep up and kills itself (apoptosis) or triggers a nearby cell to devour it (phagocytosis). Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain. Glutamate receptors also exist in every part of the body. They are found throughout the heart, the digestive system, and in every vital organ. Aspartate is a neurotransmitter found abundantly in the spinal cord.

Excitotoxicity causes high levels of calcium (Ca2+ ions) to enter cell structures.

5 main conditions which allow glutamate to shift from neurotransmitter to excitotoxin: 1) inadequate neuronal ATP levels 2) inadequate neuronal levels of magnesium 3) high inflammatory prostaglandin/leukotriene levels (caused by excessive glutamate-NMDA stimulated calcium invasion) 4) excessive free radical formation 5) inadequate removal of glutamate from the extracellular (synaptic) space back into neurons or into astrocytes.

The job of GABA (gamma-amino-nbutyric acid) is to calm brain functions

When glutamate is pumped into astrocytes (a major mechanism for terminating its excitatory action), the glutamate is converted into glutamine. Glutamine is then released by the astrocytes, picked up by glutamate-neurons, stored in vesicles, and converted back to glutamate as needed. Excessive free radicals can prevent glutamate uptake by astrocytes.

Excitotoxicity can cause these tight junctures to open up and allow molecules through. Technically this is known as "paracellular transport" but more commonly it is known as "leaky gut". Other tissues such as bladder and kidney can be leaky like this too.

When the glutamate receptors over-stimulate in response, effects such as these can be experienced. Brain headaches (including migraines), irritability, aggression, depression, confusion, uncontrollable cravings, seizures Esophagus reflux, indigestion Bowel irritable bowel, diarrhea Nerves tingling sensations, ringing in the ears, visual sensitivity, changed sense of taste or smell Heart cardiac arrhythmia and cardio artery spasm (heart attacks, both can be fatal) There is growing evidence that the excitotoxic mechanism plays a major role in cardiac disease.

Excess neurotransmitters aren't the only chemicals that contribute to excitotoxicity. Others include Chemicals capable of binding with receptors, or otherwise eliciting a reaction at receptors -- essentially stealing seats and hanging around Chemicals that interfere with enzymes responsible for naturally reducing neurotransmitter levels -- insecticides and nerve agents (chemical warfare) are examples Chemicals that interfere with metabolic 'housekeeping' processes This turns out to be a large and growing list of chemical ingredients found in pesticides, pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medicines, vaccines, and other products.

L- cysteine is a very powerful excitotoxin. Recently, it has been added to certain bread dough and is sold in health food stores as a supplement. Homocysteine (a metabolic derivative), is also an excitotoxin. Elevated blood levels of homocysteine has recently been shown to be a major, if not the major, indicator of cardiovascular disease and stroke. A number of studies have shown that mercury (in submicromolar concentrations), interferes with the removal of glutamate from the extracellular space. This removal system is very important, not only for protecting the brain but also in preventing abnormal alterations in brain formation. Chemical body burden leads to increased brain immune activity that activates excitotoxicity.

Another system used to protect the brain against environmental excitotoxin: A molecule (called the glutamate transporter) binds glutamate and transports it to a special storage cell (the astrocyte). This takes place within a fraction of a second after it has been used as a neurotransmitter. This image shows mutations in the enzyme superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). SOD1 is an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen. High concentrations of neurotransmitter, make the receptors on your neurons misfire, amplifying pain signals, or creating uncontrollable anxiety and irritability.

Also characteristic of MSG exposure is an increase in insulin release from the pancreas. The pancreas contains numerous glutamate type receptors, and glutamate in the diet can induce as much as a threefold increase in insulin release from the pancreas. In addition, experiments in animals have demonstrated that MSG can induce insulin resistance, exactly as we see in type 2 diabetes in humans.

One characteristic of the obesity induced by excitotoxins is that it doesnt appear to depend on food intake.

Excess glutamate impairs a baby's nervous system. It can contribute to developmental delays and lead to juvenile obesity or (SIDS). Excitotoxins themselves, can cause the generation of numerous amounts of free radicals.

A particularly deadly combination occurs in young athletes: Low magnesium intake, high calcium intake, low intake of omega-3 fatty acids and excitotoxins in food additives. When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death.

In unprocessed whole foods, glutamic acid and aspartic acid are not free amino acids. They are bound together with other amino acids in complex proteins. These get digested and absorbed as combined amino acids. They get broken down in the liver and released at very low levels the body can deal with.
Processed Foods Soybeans Citric acid 'Edible' films and coatings applied to foods

Hydrolysis is used during processing to break down proteins and starches into amino acids, simple sugars, and fatty acids. Hydrolysis can be achieved using chemicals, enzymes, heat, and other techniques.

When an excess of food-borne excitotoxins, such as MSG, hydrolyzed protein soy protein isolate and concentrate, natural flavoring, sodium caseinate and aspartate from aspartame, are consumed, glutamate receptors are overstimulated, producing cardiac arrhythmias.

High consumption of aspartame adds an additional cardiac muscle toxin: methanol. A number of studies have shown that consuming aspartame and MSG (and similar excitotoxins) together greatly magnifies the toxicity.

Food science has explored and refined a variety of processes to convert whole foods into basic materials. These materials are manipulated, combined, and added to foods in ways that meet performance and cost requirements.

Ingredients are engineered to achieve attractive taste, texture, appearance, and shelf life characteristics.

Aspartate is a component of aspartame -- the artificial sweetener known as Equal, NutraSweet and AminoSweet. It's in diet sodas, sugar-free drink mixes, and all kinds of low-calorie packaged products.

Glutamate or aspartame combined with colors found in snack foods were significantly more neurotoxic than any of the chemicals alone. Soft drink companies put their products containing aspartame in containers made of aluminum. When aluminum -a known neurotoxin -- is combined with aspartame, the results are multiplied.

Heavy metals cause glutamate to act more strongly towards neuron death.

List of Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame (NutraSweet) Alitame Sucralose (Splenda) = Table sugar + Chlorine Because the chemical composition of the sucrose in Splenda has been altered, it must now be called "sucralose" on all food labels. Acesulfame-K Neotame Today, NutraSweet is sold in Saccharin (Sweet n Low ) over one hundred countries, found in over six thousand products, and is consumed by A study found that Aspartame (Nutrasweet) has an over 250 million people. effect on gene expression even after just one week at the maximum recommended daily amount. Over 800 million pounds of aspartame have been consumed in various products since it was first approved. Aspartame: 1967-78 Researched and brought before the FDA for approval. DENIED 12 TIMES!

As the three cornered molecule Aspartame is metabolized it releases methyl alcohol, plus phenylalanine and aspartic acid, both neurotoxins. Aspartame's three components are: phenylalanine, which makes up 50 percent of the chemical weight; aspartic acid, which makes up 40 percent; and methanol (wood alcohol), which makes up 10 percent. Some Products that Contain Aspartame Carbonated soft drinks Powdered drink mixes Some vitamins Chewing gum Frozen desserts Confections Yogurt Gelatins Puddings and fillings Dessert mixes

Sugar-free cough syrups and cough drops could contain Aspartame Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Human testing has shown phenylalanine levels in the blood are increased significantly in those who chronically use aspartame. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of serotonin to decrease, which can lead to depression, schizophrenia and make one more susceptible to seizures.

Aspartame May Speed Up the Process of Alzheimer's: Dr. H.J. Roberts, the foremost medical authority on aspartame, believes that aspartame is partially responsible for the widespread epidemic of Alzheimers, because it speeds up the process. This is likely because as other studies have shown aspartame can cause holes in the brains of rats. Aspartame May Contribute to Parkinson's Disease: According to Dr. Blaylock, excitotoxins may be a contributing factor in the development of to Parkinsons disease. Excitotoxins, excessively stimulate the brain cells, which then generate free radicals causing cell injury and even death. Some individuals (those who eat a diet low in nutrients and antioxidants) have cellular defense enzymes that are either immature or defective, and are unable to protect the brain cells from excitotoxins.

Isolated phenylalanine and aspartic acid are neurotoxic.

Aspartame will be found in some medications, including children's medications. For questions about the ingredients in pharmaceuticals, check with your pharmacist. MSG may be in, binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals.

According to the manufacturer, VarivaxMerck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains Lmonosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin, both of which contain processed free glutamic acid.

The methanol from breaking down aspartame can break down in your body as formaldehyde. In the body, methanol is oxidated to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic. This oxidation occurs when methanol reaches 30 C. The Environmental Protection Agency defines safe consumption of methanol as no more than 7.8 milligrams per day. One can of diet soda contains almost 16 milligrams of methanol. Over four billion gallons of diet sodas are sold per year.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more complaints about aspartame than any other ingredient to date.

Dr. H.J. Roberts, MD, stated after treating hundreds of aspartame reactors: the optic nerve swelling, retinal degeneration, and visual impairment associated with heavy aspartame use is identical to the pathology observed in recorded cases of methanol toxicity from drinking wood alcohol throughout the days of prohibition.

More Dangers of Methanol Poisoning It has been demonstrated that formaldehyde formation from aspartame ingestion is very common and it accumulates within the cell. It reacts with cellular proteins (mostly enzymes) and DNA (both mitochondrial and nuclear). The fact that it accumulates with each dose, indicates grave consequences among those who consume diet drinks and foodstuffs on a daily basis.

Military Warns Pilots About Aspartame: Articles warned pilots about the many dangers of aspartame including the cumulative deleterious effects of methanol. The articles note that the ingestion of aspartame can make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo. National Business Aircraft Association Digest (NBAA Digest 1993) Aviation Medical Bulletin (1988) The Aviation Consumer (1988) Canadian General Aviation News (1990) Pacific Flyer (1988), General Aviation News (1989) Aviation Safety Digest (1989), and Plane and Pilot (1990) Recently, a hotline was set up for pilots suffering from acute reactions to aspartame ingestion. Over 600 pilots have reported symptoms including some who have reported suffering grand mal seizures in the cockpit due to aspartame. Reported by the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network

Clinically, chronic, low-level exposure to methanol has been seen to cause:

headaches GI disturbances Memory lapses neuritis conjunctivitis

dizziness weakness numbness Misty vision insomnia

nausea vertigo shooting pains vision tunneling vision loss

ear buzzing chills behavioral disturbances blurring of vision depression

Heart problems (including disease of the heart muscle), and pancreatic inflammation could result from methanol poisoning.

Hypothalamus Microscopic photograph: shows normal brain area called the arcuate nucleus. Photograph at right shows same area after exposure to MSG at 1 g/kg. White areas are dead brain cells resulting from the MSG exposure Exposure to high intakes of excitotoxins, can alter the development of the hypothalamus, leading to sexual maldevelopment and endocrine problems that will appear later in life.

As early as 1976, it was shown that aspartame feeding in mice could produce lesions in the hypothalamus of newborns. These are lesions (injuries) that can be seen through an ordinary light microscope.

Neuroscientist Dr. John Olney showed that one of the main ingredients in aspartame, aspartic acid, caused damage to the brains of infant mice. These findings have been confirmed in a similar study.

In an analysis of 166 articles published in medical journals from 1980 to 1985, Dr. Ralph G. Walton, a professor of psychiatry at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, found that 100 percent of the seventy-four studies financed by the industry attested to the sweeteners safety. Although of the ninety-two independently funded articles, 91 percent indentified adverse health reactions.

Consuming a meal or drink containing MSG can elevate glutamate in the blood by 20x. Several studies have shown that the levels consumed by our youth equal those that cause damage in experimental animals. Also, humans are 5X more sensitive to these toxins than any animal. Remember: By food industry definition, all MSG is "naturally occurring." "Natural" doesn't mean "safe." "Natural" only means that the ingredient started out in nature, like arsenic and hydrochloric acid. Any time a cell's energy is reduced it becomes dramatically more sensitive to glutamate. Even normal levels of glutamate become excitotoxic when cell energy is low. Keeping a normal blood sugar level is critical to brain function and excitotoxin protection. During excitotoxicity, ATP production may be reduced, stopped or even reversed.

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. MSG-exposed animals prefer carbohydrates and sugars over protein-rich foods. A diet low in carbohydrates allows MSG to do its worst damage Also, when aspartame is paired with carbs, it causes your brain to slow down its production of serotonin, leading to depression and insomnia. MSG takes the flavors of any food and enhances them to the max, then uses its addictive qualities to make sure the customer keeps coming back for more.

What many dont know, is that more than 40 different ingredients contain the chemical in monosodium glutamate (processed free glutamic acid). The following list of ingredients has been compiled over the last 20 years from consumers reports of adverse reactions and information provided by manufacturers and food technologists. Names of ingredients that always contain processed glutamic acid: Glutamic acid (E 620) Glutamate (E 620) Monosodium glutamate (E 621) Calcium glutamate (E 622) Calcium glutamate (E 623) Monoammonium glutamate (E 624) Magnesium glutamate (E 625) Natrium glutamate Calcium caseinate Sodium caseinate Any hydrolyzed protein Anything hydrolyzed Textured protein Ajinomoto Vestin Gelatin Yeast food Yeast nutrient Autolyzed yeast Yeast extract

The following ingredients work synergistically with MSG to enhance flavor. If they are present for flavoring purposes, so is MSG; Disodium 5-guanylate (E 627) Disodium 5-inosinate (E-631) Disodium 5'ribonucleotides (E 635) Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid: Pectin (E 330) Protease Malt extract Soy sauce extract Soy protein isolate Whey protein Soy protein concentrate Any protein fortified Seasonings Stock/ Broth Bouillon Caramel Flavoring (coloring) Carrageenan (E 407) Maltodextrin Any flavors or flavoring Anything ultrapasteurized Anything enzyme modified Anything containing enzymes Anything fermented

Soy sauce

Whey protein concentrate Whey protein isolate

Barley malt

Soy protein

Citric acid (E 330)- when processed from corn

When soy extracts are produced through hydrolysis; glutamic acid is released and concentrated.

These ingredients are suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed free glutamic acid. Causes MSG-reaction triggers in HIGHLY SENSITIVE people: Milk powder Brown rice syrup Modified food starch Lipolyzed butter fat Corn syrup Dextrose Corn starch Rice syrup

Reduced fat milk (e.g.., skim milk; 1% milk; 2% milk) most things low fat or no fat and anything Enriched or Vitamin enriched. Low fat and no fat milk products (ice cream, cheese, yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc.) often contain milk solids that contain MSG and/or contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum. Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG and/or aspartame, neotame. and AminoSweet (the new name for aspartame). Neotame is relatively new. We have not seen it used widely in the United States. Protein powders contain glutamic acid, which, invariably, will be processed free glutamic acid (MSG).

Humans concentrate MSG in their blood 5 times higher than mice from a comparable dose, and maintain the higher blood level longer than mice. We concentrate MSG in our blood to a greater degree than any other known animal, including monkeys. MSG could cause the hypothalamus to secrete excessive amounts of a reproductive hormone (called luteinizing hormone) which is associated with an early onset of puberty. Numerous studies using immature mice have shown that LH, FSH and prolactin (the reproductive hormones), HGH (growth hormone), ACTH (adrenal regulating hormone), and TSH (thyroid regulating hormone) were all decreased following exposure to MSG.

Is there anything that a person can take to block the absorption of MSG or glutamate as a defensive supplement? Not necessarily to block it but, there are other amino acids that can't compete for glutamic acid absorption. So that may be one way to help reduce the rate at which it would be absorbed. These would include leucine, isoleucine and lysine. They compete for the same carrier system, which would slow down absorption. There are some good general rules to follow regarding amino acid therapy. 1) If you are considering using a specific amino acid, (such as glutamine, aspartic acid, cysteine, etc), document the need first. 2) Do not dose single amino acids on an empty stomach, especially those that are also excitatory neurotransmitters. 3) Consider balancing single amino acid supplements with a broad-spectrum amino acid supplement.

There are a lot of things that act as glutamate receptor blockers: Like silymarin, curcumin (ingredient of turmeric), and ginkgo biloba. Curcumin is very potent. It enhances bile flow as well as DNA repair enzymes. Most flavonoids reduce excitotoxicity. Rosemary extract, green tea extract, ginger and oregano are also effective natural COX-2 inhibitors- reducing inflammation. To enhance and ensure detoxification; milk thistle to help the liver eliminate all toxins.

The brain normally contains one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the body. The advantages of these antioxidants is that they can easily enter the blood brain barrier and reach the brain cells where they are needed most. The brain is very dependent on vitamin E & C for its protection. Vitamin E succinate is powerful at inhibiting excitotoxicity Other antioxidant helpers are beta carotene, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and the mineral chromium. They found combinations of B vitamins also block excitotoxicity. Rechts Regulat: potent enzyme-rich fermented drink from Germany that has been shown to break up abnormal proteins in blood and matrix. An enzyme called "glutamate dehydrogenase" also helps neurons dispose of excess glutamate by converting glutamate to alpha-ketoglutarate (a Krebs' cycle fuel). Glutamate dehydrogenase is activated by NADH, so taking the amount of NADH recommended will promote breakdown of glutamate excess.

Anti-oxidants work best in combination and when use separately can have opposite, harmful, effects. That is, when antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid and alpha tocopherol, become oxidized themselves, such as in the case of dehydroascorbic acid, they no longer protect, but rather act as free radicals themselves. The same is true of alpha-tocopherol. How to Help Protect Your Brain From Excitotoxins: Magnesium has been discovered to help impede glutamates from overloading glutamate receptors. Magnesium can block the NMDA glutamate type receptor. That's its natural function, so it significantly reduces toxicity. Magnesium is vital to 300 biochemical functions within the body. So it is important for overall health in addition to blocking glutamate sensors or channels from excitotoxin overload. Magnesium content is high in green, leafy vegetables. It is also available in whole grains and many beans and nuts.

Omega 3 fatty acids also block excitotoxins while repairing cellular damage. Fish oils seem to be the best source of Omega 3 for this specific purpose, according to Dr. Russel Blaylock. Selenium is another protector of glutamate receptors from excitotoxin invasion. Brazil nuts are considered a high source of selenium. Two or three Brazil nuts a day is considered sufficient for optimum selenium intake. Zinc also helps obstruct the glutamate receptor channels from excessive excitotoxin absorption. However, high levels of neuronal zinc may over activate the quisqualate/AMPA glutamate receptors, causing an excitotoxic action. Keep supplementary zinc levels to 10-20 mg daily. Red Clover Blocks Neurological Damage From MSG. It is an herb that is inexpensive and available as leaves for tea, in tinctures, liquid extracts, and capsules. According to Barbara Minton's article, lab tests demonstrated a significant decline in brain cell neuron damage when red clover's essential protective ingredient was added.

Supplements (recommended from Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, MD, Neurosurgeon) Alpha-lipoic acid- Exceptional for excitotoxin protection Co-enzyme Q10 & Niacinamide, Riboflavin & Thiamine- Prevents damage by improving energy in the brain Acetyl- L-Carnitine- Reduces memory loss in the brain L-Carnitine- Improved long-term memory and learning Taurine- Protects the brain & stabilizes nervouse sysem excitability Lecithin- Repairs injuries to the insulation of nerve cells DMAE (Deanol)- Natural in sardines and anchovies; increases choline in the brain helps moods, improves memory and learning Querestin & Hesperidin- Protects eyes and retinal barrier may also strengthen blood-brain barrier

How You Can Protect Yourself: Become aware of all unnecessary chemicals hidden in your foods. Be a food detective. Purify your diet as much as possible, and try to enjoy natural eating. Educate yourself, your friends and family and anyone who will listen to you about the dangers of excitotoxins.

The key is to eat food as close to nature as possible at all times.

Don't skip meals or practice "starvation dieting".

Your Health is Your Wealth so Spend it Wisely.


Russell Blaylock, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills Mike Adams, Grocery Warning How to recognize and avoid the groceries that cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other common diseases

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