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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

Monosodium Glutamate

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OK, since you asked for it (and I guess you mean something more "official"), here's just one of many:


This reads like a press release that someone turned into newspaper content. I finally googled and found many profiles of the few "experts" who have written most of the anti-msg books on the subject. To a one they were saying that msg has been proven to be responsible for obesity or the obesity epidemic, but no sources were shown and the reporter did not ask - which makes it suspect -an actual newspaper article written by a reporter should ask those things. Also, these profile pieces were copied and reposted repeatedly, which made them look like a PR piece written by a publicist involved with the release of a book.

As far as medical research is concerned, the only actual research I was able to find shows that when you repeatedly inject newborn baby rats with almost enough msg to kill them, they become obese. This appears to be the basis of the entire "MSG causes obesity" claim.

"MSG is responsible for the obesity epidemic in humans" is a claim that really needs to be substantiated with better research than this - research which shows any effect on humans when used as it normally is, for instance. A proper study might show kids losing weight when msg is removed from their diet, but this would probably not be doable without making their diet healthy, and then it would be impossible to separate any purported effect of msg from the switch to a healthy diet. Giving a daily dose of msg or a placebo to adults for a period of a month or more should probably show a gain in weight for those on the msg, and the result should be dose-dependent. If this study had been run, we would have heard. Since we haven't heard, I'd guess it hasn't. Perhaps the anti-msg proponents could try running just such a study.

What this research shows is that it is probably very bad to inject newborns of any species with near-lethal doses of msg for the first month after they are born, but as far as humans and ingestion of small amounts (as opposed to injection), it proves nothing.

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This reads like a press release that someone turned into newspaper content... but no sources were shown and the reporter did not ask - which makes it suspect -an actual newspaper article written by a reporter should ask those things.

Huh? Did you see the reference to the many ACTUAL LAB STUDIES listed on www.pubmed.com?

As for the duration of the MSG given to rats, they mature too rapidly to do the long-term studies required to satisfy all the requirements of those who doubt the harmful long-term effects of MSG. Giving humans MSG in the quantities found in so many prepackaged foods for an extended period is being done - to the American populace. That's the kind of data required. If the average person is overweight, then it seems to me that any study trying to verify whether MSG is a factor would be better to eliminate that one substance from the diet. Leaving the rest of the dietary intake unchanged would be the only way to give that "absolute positive proof" some ask for. Otherwise, you'd have to give the subject more MSG than what the average person is now consuming, thus voiding the experiment. The argument is over current levels, as well as the steady rise over time of both the MSG level and the obesity epidemic, is it not? This also would avoid the argument that the human race may be a victim of some evolutionary process.

So, this may be one study that truly never gets done, because the funding isn't there. A large number of foods on the market would have to be precisely duplicated except for the absence of MSG. You'd need to have two groups of individuals. Both consuming the exact same diets, but one group gets the duplicates. Then over time any effects could be measured. Any changes to the control group's diet could change their weights, so you have to keep that intact. The non-MSG group can't maintain a different diet because those changes would void the experiment as well. Let's also not forget that such major funding would place all involved head to head with large industries - ones which already provide funding for things they want studied. That leads to conflicts of interest which I don't imagine any lab/university would be willing to step into.

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The argument is over current levels, as well as the steady rise over time of both the MSG level and the obesity epidemic, is it not?

While people in our culture are eating some more msg, there have also been many dietary changes in that same time period that actually have been shown to have a measurable obesity-producing effect.

Your point was mine in doing a study eliminating msg from the diet: that it can't be done while keeping all other things equal, though someone could certainly manufacture (ie home cook) a diet for a month or two with an msg and non-msg option.

I'm also curious why we haven't seen a chorus of "I gave up msg and lost 10...25...50...100 pounds!" which I would expect to see if there was this effect.

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MSG should be outlawed, as it really doesn't enhance the product. You can enhance flavors with spices. I have been allergic to MSG for forever. As msg contains hydrolyzed vegetable protein which more often than doesn't contains gluten and is a big no no for us.. It is safe to say stay away from it. My problems with it started in my late teens when they started adding it to everything. If I ate something that had it in it my tongue would crack and bleed, headaches, and spending copious amounts of time in the bathroom. Guess what KFC has the highest amount of in their chicken breadng...you guessed it so, in essence in that bucket of salt people buy is a bucket of msg and gluten, more gluten than chicken.

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MSG should be outlawed...

Yes, but the FDA has done exactly the opposite!

Here's a quote from this article:

Hermanussen has been conducting a study using Memantine, a drug usually used to treat Alzheimer's disease, for weight control, and all of his subjects, he says, have lost weight easily.

Memantine is a member of the class of drugs called glutamate blockers, which keep MSG from reaching glutamate receptors in the brain

Here's yet another good article on how MSG effects the brain:


While it ends with a promo for a product, the scientific info is still just as valid. One-sided? Perhaps, but since MSG is in so much stuff, that to me seems like an overly lopsided scale too.

I'm also curious why we haven't seen a chorus of "I gave up msg and lost 10...25...50...100 pounds!" which I would expect to see if there was this effect.

I doubt we'll see such a chorus since MSG is so well hidden that most people are unaware of its presents, be they overweight or not. Even when you look for it, you may not find it even when it's list, much less when it's not.

Moreover, from what I've been reading it seems that once the hypothalamus is damaged, there will be irreversible weight gain! This has been proven in the lab, and it seems infants and children are much more sensitive to the effects of MSG. And guess what? Tests show infant formulas have MSG! So they are in essence preparing our children for a lifetime of weight problems. In this case, it may take an entirely new generation to overcome the obesity epidemic, but only if the average consumer becomes informed enough to avoid such culprits as MSG. I'd hope that public demand would force the manufacturers to stop lacing the supermarket shelves with neurotoxins, but the way things are going doesn't give me any hope for the foreseeable future.

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I'm also curious why we haven't seen a chorus of "I gave up msg and lost 10...25...50...100 pounds!" which I would expect to see if there was this effect.

Most likely because its extremely difficult to "give up MSG"...as its in just about everything we eat nowadays. You could say just eat fruit, veggies and meat and you will be naturally free of MSG right???...Wrong.....its actually found its way into the fresh produce via growth enhancers. Auxigro is a growth enhancer (ever wonder how the strawberries got to be so big?) that contains 30% glutamic acid. Yup...thats MSG...and its used on a wide array of crops...vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts.

Its virtually impossible to say "I gave up MSG"....what on Earth would you eat? :huh:

Furthermore....thanks to the widespread use of MSG on the crops....its now found its way back into baby food. At one time MSG was removed from all baby food products but with the use of Auxigro and other growth enhancers unfortunately there is no guarantee your babies food will be free of MSG.

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Organic produce isn't supposed to have MSG in it. I started reacting to it about three months into the gluten-free diet. I only buy organic meats and produce now, turkey bacon with no nitrates....organic soups...anything I can find that I think is the healthiest option around. My system is pretty clean now so I can really tell when I have MSG as my stomach bloats up like a gluten reaction. So I think if something makes you feel bad, you should not consume it. Doesn't matter what study proves what. MSG makes me sick - end of story for me.

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    • LexieA, I agree with Plumbago. The symptom's of low stomach acid and high stomach acid are similar so it is easy to confuse the symptom's of one as the other. Dr. Myatt explains this well in her online article about stomach acid. http://healthbeatnews.com/whats-burning-you/ quoting "But My Symptoms Feel Like Too Much Acid…" Strong stomach acid and pepsin quickly "emulsify" fats and proteins, making them ready for the next step of digestion, passage into the small intestine. When these digestive factors are weak, food remains in the stomach for longer and it begins to ferment. Gas pressure from the fermentation can cause bloating and discomfort and can can also cause the esophageal sphincter to open, allowing stomach contents to "backwash" into the esophagus. Even though weak stomach acid is the central cause of this, even this weak stomach acid, which has no place in the esophagus, will "burn." This burning sensation confuses many people, including doctors, who then "ASSuME" that excess acid is to blame. Too little acid, resulting in slowed digestion, and gas which creates back-pressure into the esophagus is the real cause of almost all "heartburn" and GERD." so  you can see how they can easily be confused for each other. you no doubt are having stomach acid issues but it is because it is too little or too much? Timeline helps us determine which it is. If it happens when we eat something it is already to low to  digest the food we are eating. if eating something cause the heartburn/gerd to improve (especially meat) then your stomach acid is really too high especially if this happens between meals. because eating something will naturally dilute/lower the stomach acid pH. I wrote about my stomach acid being misdiagnosed on my celiac.com posterboy blog. ( have summarized most of what you need to know in this reply but the post is still there if you want to study it more for yourself. if your not taking an antacid now then taking BetaineHCL should improve digestion. If it does then raising your stomach acid by lowering you pH should improve your digestion. study on the best way to take powdered stomach acid before trying this. but I found taking 3 to 4 capsules in the beginning was easier than taking only 1 or 2 in the beginning .. .  until I could back it down to only needing one per meal or now none per meal to aid digestion. which is what we are shooting for.  The place where our body is now producing our stomach acid naturally at a healthy level. if you feel a "warm sensation" in your stomach you have reached a good level. I hope this is helpful. I only know it helped me. *** this is not medical advice but I hope you have as a good experience with it as I did. Usually peopledon't  have a trouble taking BetaineHCL unless they have an ulcer or already taking PPI's which are actually lowering  their stomach acid contributing to a viscous cycle of being locked into taking PPI's long term. if PPIs are taken for more than 6 months they can be almost impossible to stop/quit because of the acid rebound people experience when trying to stop taking them cold turkey and why they recommend stepping back doses by 1/2 gradually so they don't get overwhelmed by the stomach acid your stomach is  able to produce again naturally itself (hopefully). . . if taking betaineHCL jump started your ability to produce stomach acid again. . . if not taking betaineHCL (Powdered Stomach Acid) can replace what the body is missing much like taking a hormone. chris kresser has a good online article on this subject as well. https://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd/ he says it well. quoting chris kresser. "If heartburn were caused by too much stomach acid, we’d have a bunch of teenagers popping Rolaids instead of elderly folks. But of course that’s the opposite of what we see." **** this is not medical advice but I hope it is is helpful. posterboy by the grace of God, 2 Timothy 2:7 "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things".  
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    • The reason I think it was the shampoo? Process of elimination. Our house is almost entirely gluten free (except for this shampoo which slipped through the cracks until I read the ingredient label). My husband has bread that he eats at lunch, but he practices something that resembles aseptic technique from the lab when he's making his sandwiches. He's been doing this for years now and I've never been glutened from within my home. The previous week I hadn't eaten out, I cooked all my food, I don't eat processed food and I never eat something from a shared facility.  Usually if I get glutened it's a single dose sort of thing and it follows a very predictable course, to the point where I can estimate when I got glutened within 24 hours of when it happened. However, this time, I was feeling achy and arthritic and moody for about a week before it got bad enough for me to recognize it as the result of gluten exposure, at which point we went searching and found the shampoo (and conditioner, which does leave more of a residue than shampoo), which he immediately stopped using. Within three days I was feeling back to normal (which is the usual course for me).  Sure, it could have been something else, but I know how sensitive I am, and, as silly as it sounds, it was the only thing that made sense. The other thing you said: You're correct, mine was not a rock solid celiac diagnosis, but I have no doubt that gluten is the problem. I was SICK. I went through two different gluten challenges in an effort to get a more straightforward diagnosis during which I was a barely functioning human being. Consuming gluten may not have given me blunted villi or elevated antibodies, but it did inflame my gut, and actually started to damage my liver. If you look at my diagnosis thread, I had elevated liver enzymes, which have been correlated with celiac disease in the past. There was no alternative explanation for the liver enzymes, he checked EVERYTHING.  I too am a scientist and I have spent a lot of time with the literature trying to make sense of my condition.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26150087 I also have no doubt that gluten was damaging my intestines in some way, as any prolonged gluten exposure in the past has inevitably been followed by a severe FODMAP intolerance that goes away once I've eliminated the gluten and given myself a month or so to heal.  I also had a very fast diagnosis following the onset of symptoms (~1 year) so it's possible that the disease never had a chance to manifest as full celiac. I wasn't willing to eat gluten long enough to find out. As a result of my diagnosis, hazy as it was, I am *meticulously* gluten free. It is not a fad for me. I don't occasionally cheat. It is my life, for better or worse. All of that being said, I'm not sure what my diagnosis has to do with your question. You say you're not trying to be rude, but when you bring up my diagnosis in a thread that has nothing to do with diagnostics, it seems like you're trying to undermine the validity of my disease or the validity of my input in this forum. If I'm being hypersensitive, I apologize, but that's how you came across on my end. I'll admit that the fact that my diagnosis wasn't more straight forward does make me a bit defensive, but I promise that even if I didn't have a solid diagnosis, I interact with the world as though I did, and I'm not out there giving people the wrong idea about celiac disease by not taking it seriously. If there was a connection between your question and my diagnostics that I missed I would appreciate you giving me the chance to better understand what you were asking. 
    • I am just curious.  As a scientist (and I am not trying to be rude), how can you determine if hydrologized wheat protein from your husband’s shampoo was actually the culprit?  If I recall at your diagnosis, you were seronegative, Marsh Stage I, gene positive,  but your doctor still  suspected celiac disease.  You improved on a gluten diet.  Other than observation, how do you really know?  Could it not be something else that triggered your symptoms?   I firmly believe that even trace amounts of gluten (under 20 ppm), can impact sensitive celiacs.  But traces of a protein within a shampoo from someone else’s hair that was rinsed?    
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