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Excitotoxins – What The Are, What They Do & How To Avoid Them.

Excitotoxins - What The Are, What They Do & How To Avoid Them.

Greetings friends. Recently I have had a spate of clients, mostly younger clients but some adults too, with problems stemming from poor nutritional uptake due to their diets being loaded with processed foods. These processed foods all contain lots of artificial colourings, flavourings and other additives which are all toxic to you. Of particular concern is one group called EXCITOTOXINS. These are particularly harmful as they are neurotoxic; meaning they are toxic to your nervous system and brain. These excitotoxins are so prevalent in our food supply, that people are literally being poisoned without their knowledge, something I personally and professionally find deplorable, bordering on criminal negligence, by both government regulators and the corporations that make this rubbish. There is ample science showing the harm these substances do yet they are still allowed to be added to our food supply, particularly those aimed at kids. Given that our governments are weak and useless, seem more intent on being a slave to the almighty dollar and don’t represent our collective good at all, the best way to fight back is to know your enemy. Today I am going to explain what an Excitotoxin is, what it does and how to avoid them in the hopes that by knowing more about these will allow you to make better choices for your family’s and your own well being. Simply put, if you don’t buy their crap, they lose money and they go away or make food you want to eat 🙂

What is an Excitotoxin?

These are substances that cause excitotoxicity. This is neurological and or neuronal (brain and nervous system) injury caused by excessive release of excitatory neurotransmitters–glutamate and aspartate – (More simply put, MSG and ASPARTATE/ASPARTAME; both of these are found in food additive and flavourings as well as sweeteners. ) causing damage to nerve and glial cells, which occurs in diverse neurologic diseases that may be acute–eg hypoglycemia, seizures, stroke, or trauma or chronic neurodegenerative disease–eg AIDS-dementia complex, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

What Do Excitotoxins Do To You?

Nothing good. As you can ascertain from the paragraph above, they damage your brain and nervous system. At the base of our brains just above the brainstem is the hypothalamus, a vulnerable region not protected by the blood-brain barrier that otherwise keeps our brain safe from harmful substances. The hypothalamus controls certain metabolism and activities of the autonomic nervous system, along with body temperature…hunger…thirst…fatigue…sleep…and the release of pituitary hormones. Anything that affects the hypothalamus has the potential to do serious harm—and excitotoxins do just that by causing inflammation and damage in this critical region. According to the latest research, excitotoxins over-stimulate neuron receptors, resulting in cell death. That means regularly consuming excitotoxins like MSG and aspartame can eventually kill off enough brain cells to cause permanent damage. Ronald L. Meyers, Certified Nutrition Consultant, says that the only reason for adding these chemicals to foods is to enhance the taste and thereby increase sales. “This is death by profit margin, because the research is clear regarding the damaging effects of these additives. Profits are more important than people to the food processors!” Something I have personally said for many years.

Excitotoxins and Kids

The rapidly growing brains of children may be even more vulnerable to excitotoxins than adult brains are, and some children may show more dramatic effects than others. According to neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, a child’s brain is four times more sensitive to excitotoxins than the adult brain is. Here’s where your food-mood observations help. Some children, and some adults, experience severe headaches and mood swings following the ingestion of aspartame or MSG, for example. Some notice only that they feel “weird” or can’t focus as well. Many and varied behavioural problems and conditions in kids predominantly, but also in adults, are either worsened or brought on by the ingestion of these substances.

How Excitotoxins Got Into the Food Supply

Right after World War II, researchers isolated monosodium glutamate from the Japanese sea weed kombu. This involved stripping away the healthy components, including enzymes and minerals. Today, MSG shows up in virtually all prepared foods, including restaurant food, even when their menus proclaim, “We add no MSG.” That’s because they don’t have to add it; it’s already in the food they receive from suppliers. As for aspartame, that comes from the amino acid aspartate. We take it in through diet sodas, sugarless candy and desserts, and from those little pink and blue sweetener packets.

How To Avoid Excitotoxins?

This is the tricky part because these sneaky food corporations hide them under the guise of “other” names and this is a direct result of weak, pitifully weak, labelling laws that allow companies to do this, not only in this country, but also in many other western countries. So as usual, you can only rely on your own judgement friends so here is a list of what these substances; MSG and ASPARTATE go under. Check your food labels ingredient lists carefully and avoid like the plague anything you find on this list. Furthermore, if it contains lots of number and letters; avoid that too, many of those are neurotoxic also. These food additives show up in virtually all processed foods. MSG is added to potato chips…flavored crackers…canned soups…dry soup mixes…canned meats…diet foods…soy sauces…salad dressings…cured meats…and much more. Aspartate appears in diet foods as aspartame or NutraSweet. Spotting these additives on labels isn’t easy. Artificial sweeteners turn up not only as saccharin and aspartame but also as sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), sweetener 951, 950 and neotame. And, as mentioned, MSG goes by many names other than monosodium glutamate, including “spices” and even “natural flavouring.”

Additives that always contain MSG:

  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour

Additives that frequently contain MSG:

  • Malt extract
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Bouillon Broth
  • Stock Flavoring
  • Natural Flavoring
  • Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring
  • Seasoning Spices

Additives that may contain MSG and/or other excitotoxins:

  • Carrageeenan Enzymes (Protease enzymes from various sources can release excitotoxin amino acids from food proteins.)
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Soy Protein Isolate Whey
  • Protein Concentrate

Overall then best way to avoid these types of substances is to avoid processed food as much as possible and eat a balanced wholefood diet; meaning if it grows in the ground or eats what grows in the ground, you are more than likely safe to eat it. Freshly prepared meals are the best way to avoid these types of substances and not eating out often so as to avoid what is in your prepared meal is also worth considering for the your own sake and that of your children. ALWAYS read the labels and throroughly examine the ingredients list. Knowledge is your best defense at this stage, at least until we get some decent leadership that stands up for better food labels and the banning of these types of harmful substances.

Until Next time, be well, naturally.

Craig Hitchens – RT & Natural Health Practitioner


Alternative & Natural Health Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of posting but may change thereafter. The information provided on the various natural health subjects from this website of  is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as any form of medical advice. The information in the article this disclaimer is linked from is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your health professional before taking any products or following any advice that you believe may conflict with other forms of health care. Always consult your health care professional before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your health professional before use



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