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achilles

project Achilles studies the affect of MSG on the human body.

"In Greek mythology, when Achilles was a baby, it was foretold that he would die young. To prevent his death, his mother Thetis took Achilles to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invulnerability, and dipped his body into the water. But as Thetis held Achilles by the heel, his heel was not washed over by the water of the magical river. Achilles grew up to be a man of war who survived many great battles. But one day, a poisonous arrow shot at him was lodged in his heel, killing him shortly there after." -- Achilles heel on wikipedia

warning

For medical or nutritional advice, do not rely on this site. Please consult a dietician or health care professional instead.

whitehouse petition

when I checked the link on 2017-jun-06, the whitehouse petition I made is a "white screen of death". considering the politics under POTUS45, I am not going to pursue another petition at this time.

contributors

  • michael b
  • family
  • randy h
  • ians
  • donna
  • G
  • ottis
  • chuck

goals

  • gather a statistically significant group with a Chinese Food Syndrome diagnosis (very difficult considering HIPAA in the U.S.).
  • lobby to improve labeling law enforcement for QSRs (Fast Food), packaged foods (ref. hot dogs, cold cuts, frozen pizza, etc)
  • produce and distribute a field test kit (non-profit) which tests for the quantity of MSG (monosodium glutamate) in a wet or dry sample.
  • build, operate, and maintain an information system that tracks various processed food products regulated by the FDA, their UPC labels if available, and whether or not the item has MSG in it (determined via lab testing) and if MSG is on the label or, in the case of a QSR or family dining restaurant (chain or single), clearly on their nutrition guide.
  • conduct scientific tests to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer are not linked
  • test to find out how long MSG stays in the body (cumulative?)
  • test to find out how long free glutamic acid stays in the body (cumulative too?)
  • compare the chemistry of 'gluten', 'glutamate', and 'manufactured free glutamic acid'
  • find out the soluability of MSG.
  • partner with universities and enterprise to test samples and submit results to the information system
  • earn a healthy long term grant (10+ years)
  • lobby to change regulations such that restaurants (especially QSRs) must clearly disclose use of MSG and in what menu items so the consumer can make an informed choice. the new regs must be strictly enforced with regular field testing using "secret shoppers".

summary

  • MSG = mono-sodium + glutamic acid
  • glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter, which is part of the normal function of the body
  • the body gets glutamic acid from food, where it is normally bound to protein
  • the body does not need to make it's own glutamic acid
  • sodium == Na, mono == one
  • table salt is NaCl (sodium chloride)
  • MSG breaks down into sodium ("flavor enhancer") and unbound ("free") glutamic acid
  • glutamic acid is weak, but it can still cause damage
  • too much glutamic acid, like anything, is toxic
  • health affects are numerous. everyone reacts differently.

nutrition guides

  • Burger King® Nutrition Guide (PDF)
  • Wendy's® Nutrition Guide (PDF) (no mention of MSG, does not mean they are clean)
  • McDonald's® Ingredients List (PDF) (NO MSG disclosure as of 2016-NOV-26)
  • KFC® Nutrition Guide (PDF) and (more importantly) food allergies and sensitivities
  • subway nutrition guide. they do not list MSG directly, but instead have a column for "autolyzed yeast" and "hydrolyzed protein" which are two hidden names for mono-sodium glutamate (MSG). each franchise is able to pick their cold-cuts. often, those cold-cuts use MSG to keep the food-cost low (profit high). also, do not go near their sauces or their "personal pizza" which uses MSG.
  • was unable to find a to-the-point nutrition guide for chick-fil-a. their allergens PDF was 18megabytes of empty pages on my fedora workstation. as a result, highly suspect chick-fil-a of using any trick in the book to increase profit including use of MSG. (update: 2017-nov-19: only 5 pages of blank pdf) (update: 2018-May-26: nutrition guide does not load.

changelog

  • 2018-APR-27:
    • talking to emichrandy ~14 days ago and he mentioned an "msg free certification" that would be proposed to restaurants, etc along the lines of a "gmo free" label on various produce
  • 2018-MAR-19:
    • "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." -- from Glutamic Acid - It Is Not MSG or Monosodium Glutamate
  • 2018-MAR-11:
    • updated goals
    • each QSR is "independently owned and operated". thinking of a shop chain which previously sponsored a gold metal swimmer (subway®) where an owner can chose cold cuts that are profitable. regs should be updated and enforced such that use of MSG is disclosed clearly.
    • if a QSR is going to cut corners it should be made clear.
  • 2018-FEB-26:
    • I feel that solving the health crisis in the united states with a very simple diet change should "make up for my sins" at least a "little bit".
    • A2Ian is to me as glenn greewald is to ed
    • call w A2Ian
      • practice the pitch
      • told him about the chemistry involved — breaks down into "sodium" and "glutamic acid".
      • how much glutamic acid is Bad™
      • how long does it stay in the body?
      • talking to an md about "msg" normally gets a chuckle. talking to an md about too much glutamic acid is a different matter
      • a blood test should be available to check for glutamic acid.
      • does the sodium in MSG count towards sodium intake? <evil grin>
      • I do not delete info which turns out to be wrong— instead I use 'strike'. preserve project history
      • glutamate is glutamic acid plus a "stabilizer"; in the case of MSG, that is sodium. Na is the "flavor enhancer".
      • the question is not so much "how much msg is in my diet?" but rather "how much free glutamic acid is in my diet?"
  • 2018-FEB-25:
    • diabetes
    • migraine
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • multiple sclerosis
    • supposing MSG breaks down into Na and "glutamic acid". the problem becomes what to do about a glutamic acid overdose. assume MSG breaks down readilly with heat
    • checked subway "nutrition guide", and all references to MSG or it's hidden names have been removed. big shock. subway menu nutrition FAQs has a question about MSG, but they deny any use of it "except what occurs in nature". bullshit alert.
    • a steakhouse which serves a "loaded baked potato" including "bacon bits" should disclose at the time of order that they use MSG and where. no exceptions. substantial fines and social media pressure if they do not accurately disclose before being served.
    • checked chik-fil-a nutrition guide by waiting minutes for their PDF to render. they do not have a column for "MSG". IMHO, all of their "products" are suspect.
    • each subway is "independently owned and operated" (as are many QSRs). I once had faith that subway would not stoop to using MSG but they do in at least their cold cuts and most likely sauces, and they do not tell their customers directly. sad.
  • 2018-FEB-22:
    • aaron advised that they use glutamic acid during certain surgeries when saline is not appropriate.
    • "glutamic acid" as "neurotransmitter"?
    • supposing that MSG breaks down into "sodium" and "free glutamic acid".
    • supposing that certain lifestyles (ANSNOC, college student) have a lot of MSG in the diet.
    • too much glutamic acid causes 'random' symptoms like "diabetes", "ms", "migraines", or "allergy symptoms" (antihistamine is part of immune system)
  • 2018-FEB-19:
    • what does it mean to have too much glutamic acid in the body? what happens? how long does it take to flush the excess out?
  • 2018-JAN-26:
    • diabetes is when the pancreas is not functioning properly
    • what is going wrong when a migraine (sensitive to light and sound) happens?
    • cancer is when a mutated cell spreads. does the immune system normally handle this situation?
    • ms is an auto-imune disease which attacks the nervous system (citation needed)
    • my problem is not that MSG is being used, rather that it is being used often in secret by quick service and family dining restaurants everywhere.
  • 2018-JAN-20:
    • added link to "The safety evaluation of monosodium glutamate." on nih.gov to 'achilles' sig on teos. researchers were not able to find a link to MSG and "chinese restaurant syndrome". they appeared to be looking for specific neurological effects. the long-term affects of MSG were not studied.
  • 2018-JAN-18:
    • white blood cell count (WBC) blood test to test strength of immune system. flobotomist to draw blood, lab to process test, md to interpret results.
    • planned call with ian to talk about what I've learned about the chemistry of MSG next week
    • does the sodium in MSG count towards daily intake ?
    • what would happen with a diet high in sodium *and* MSG?
    • has HIV been known to "come and go"?
    • what is the generally considered safe amount of free glutamic acid in the body?
    • how long does an excess of free glutamic acid hang around? for example, if I use a ramen noodles seasoning packet (which discloses MSG on the label) a half hour before my shift at the NOC, and then order in Shawarma for supper a couple of hours later, does that count towards what the gov't considers a safe amount of MSG?
  • 2018-JAN-16:
    • is genetics a factor in MSG-related symptoms?
    • HIV is a virus that attacks the T-Cells, a vital component of the immune system.
    • rhumatoid arthritis, MS - auto immune --- immune system goes wacky.
    • excitoxin - toxic to cells
    • "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." -- from Glutamic Acid - It Is Not MSG or Monosodium Glutamate
    • "In humans [glutamic acid] is a non-essential amino acid, i.e., the body is capable of producing its own glutamic acid, and is not dependent upon getting glutamic acid from ingested food. Glutamate is glutamic acid to which a mineral ion has been attached. (Researchers call this mineral ion a "salt".) -- google search for "is glutamate the same as glutamic acid"
    • HIV vacine via transfusion(!)
  • 2018-JAN-13:
    • "glutamate" is another name for "glutamic acid". glutamic acid occurs naturally in food. too much of it is toxic.
    • MSG is "glutamate" plus one "sodium" as a "stabilizer", which to me means it does not break down easily
    • some QSRs are independently owned franchises. that means that if a store changes ownership, they are free to change the brand of cold cuts they use, or change the recipe in various sauces to those which use MSG as a "flavor enhancer" (salt) and "profit intensifier".
  • 2018-JAN-08: if the MSG does not break down into "sodium" and "glutamate" (aka "glutamic acid"), then it will be possible to detect.
  • 2018-JAN-05: the previous entry makes sense if MSG breaks down when exposed to heat. given that the wikipedia article on MSG contains a list of identifiers for MSG, it must be possible to detect it.
  • 2018-JAN-03:
    • the problem is not detecting MSG, the problem is detecting the source of the "sodium" and the "glutamic acid" which occurs naturally in just about everything.
    • glutamic acid occurs naturally. to make glutamate, a stablizer is needed. in MSG, this means "sodium".
  • 2017-DEC-13:
    • fixed typo "chemically similar"
    • neu·ro·tox·in - a poison that acts on the nervous system. -- google definition
    • glutamic acid occurs in all foods. the difference is that it is not normally found in a "free" state as in MSG. maybe the immune system is not set up to handle it, so it acts as a toxin.
  • 2017-NOV-29:
    • checked subway.com, and they have removed all traces of "msg" from their nutrition guide. I also updated the link to the nutrition guide.
    • chick-fil-a still has several blank pages in their "pdf nutrition guide".
    • added 'changelog.tmpl' back to index page of site
  • 2017-NOV-14: talked to ian regarding this project and added him to 'contributors' blurb.
  • 2017-JAN-23: "Instant noodles also contain high levels of monosodium glutamate, an excitotoxin that can cause damage or death to nerve cells by over-stimulating them. Damaged nerve cells are a factor in the development of debilitating neurological conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and ALS." -- opposingviews.com
  • 2016-DEC-25:
    • is msg a neurotoxin?
    • if MSG is determined to be Evil, what is stopping food manufacturers from being sneaky and making a chemically very similar product and thus dodge the FDA?
  • 2016-DEC-21:
    • how does MSG suppress the immune system (assuming it does)? (ty KG)
    • does eliminating gluten from the diet universally eliminate MSG? ("ottis")
    • MSG in "KFC Green Beans" (see KFC nutrition guide, filter for MSG)
    • restaurants are not required to disclose recipe info because it is a Trade Secret. this is different than grocery items which are regulated by the FDA
    • does MSG accumulate? if so, for how long before flushed?
    • is MSG soluable?
    • not many people are diagnosed w CRS. most times (imo), they are diagnosed with things like diabetes, MS, etc which are much more serious
    • glutamate occurs naturally in a few different places. MSG is manufactured. there is a difference.
    • MSG has been shown to be a neurotoxin (google msg neurotoxin)
    • maybe "MSG does not quickly break down" is the real problem here
  • 2016-DEC-19: in-depth discussion via phone regarding this project w dad including the revelation that there is an amount of MSG that the gov considers "safe"
  • 2016-DEC-18: dad contributed "first job is to find a statistically significant sample of people diagnosed with CFS" and, when I gave him a link to this page, a firm "I will get back to you... don't get your hopes up" when I proposed that MSG supresses the immune system.
  • 2016-DEC-07: "Glutamate" naturally occurs in the body which might explain why the immune system has a hard time dealing with the chemically similar "MSG"
  • 2016-SEP-12: added "randy h" to list of contributors
  • 2016-AUG-01: updated project goals
  • 2016-JUL-06: updated goals to include testing for quantity of MSG, since gov't has guidelines about how much is "safe"
  • 2016-MAR-14: updated keywords and title for this site; updated project goals; added note about 'subway' to the list of nutrition guides
  • 2016-FEB-12: started petition on whitehouse.gov and shared to fb
  • 2016-JAN-21: sent 2nd email to emich.edu chemistry dept contact. fixed "health links" page section.
  • 2016-JAN-13: sent feedback using webform to POTUS asking him to have a look at this site.
  • 2015-DEC-??: email problems fixed without reason-for-outage from the provider. mentioning IPv6 seemed to help them resolve my issues, but not until several emails related to this project had bounced.
  • 2015-DEC-11: sent email to chemistry !at! furman dot edu asking about use of MS
  • 2015-DEC-12: sent email to dsnyder *at* emich. edu (chemistry dept co-op contact)
  • 2015-NOV-25: within the last 7 days I emailed the address in charge of booking use of the "mass spectrometer" at umich. the mail bounced, but I made progress in the effort.
  • University Mass Spectrometer Facilities (most links dead)
  • MSG has a CAS Registration Number of 142-47-2, a ChemSpider number of 76943, an ECN of 205-538-1. These codes can be used by lab equipment to detect monosodium glutamate (MSG). Hidden ingredients have their own codes.
  • because MSG contains sodium (Na), it can be used as a preservative
  • Mono-sodium Glutamate (which is Manufactured Free Glutamic Acid and does not occur in nature) is a man-made ingredient used to alter our perception of taste in thousands of grocery store products. It tricks our brains into perceiving a more enhanced taste than actually exists in processed foods. More and more consumers are onto this deception and are looking to steer clear of Monosodium Glutamate and the other products that contain Manufactured Glutamic Acid. -- from food identity theft
  • Phil: "as far as I know, MSG puts the immune system on guard". Me: "ya, just like pearl harbor" Phil: oooooh
  • flavour enhancers page on wikipedia
  • some of the supposedly hidden names for monosodium glutamate (MSG) used to get a "clean label (German)" (English version by Google Translate). this list needs independent verification. list copy-pasted without explicit permission from Hidden Monosodium Glutamate
    • Autolyzed Plant Protein
    • Yeast Extract
    • Calcium Caseinate
    • Glutamate
    • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
    • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
    • Maltodextrin
    • Monopotassium Glutamate
    • Sodium Caseinate
    • Soy Protein Concentrate
    • Textured Protein
    • Yeast Food or Nutrient
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that it is okay to eat this stuff occasionally, because these ingredients can stick around in your body for a long time, leach nutrients from your system, and can make you really sick. As put by my pal Kristen Michaelis at FoodRenegade.com, “Not only is MSG not a traditional food, not only are many people immediately sensitive to it, but it can also interrupt the hormonal and biological development of children! Lest you think this is all fanciful, it’s important to remember that a number of studies have found that the effects of MSG can occur cumulatively over time with subsequent exposure. -- food babe
  • MSG does not make you sick directly; it lowers your body's ability to fight infection and disease.
  • Monosodium Glutamate exacerbates symptoms
  • Some people are on a restricted diet where they need to count every miligram of sodium. Sodium is one of the two components (the other being glutamate) in monosodium glutamate (thanks pmc).
  • "In 1908, Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda isolated and patented a manufacturing process for monosodium glutamate, more commonly known to English-speakers of the 21st century as the often-maligned MSG." -- from “Umami” Was Coined by the Inventor of MSG to Describe Its Taste
  • In You Only Live Twice James Bond "claims he's trying to steal the secret to making MSG" -- James Bond Declassified: File #5 - 'You Only Live Twice' rewrites Fleming completely
  • "MSG plays a role often in secret in products on almost every shelf of the supermarket." -- If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn't everyone in Asia have a headache? (the guardian)
  • If MSG is "safe", why does it have so many hidden names (like Disodium guanylate and Disodium-Inosinate amongst many others, see MSG Lurks As A Slow Poison In Common Food Items Without Your Knowledge for more) or is left off of the ingredient list entirely in clear violation of FDA regulations?
  • Why is it so difficult to find out which QSRs use MSG? The crews don't seem to know what MSG is much less if their employer uses it. most often they open a can of pizza sauce or a package of cold cuts and are not paid enough to care what is in it. also the packages rarely list ingredients so even if they do care, they do not know for sure.
  • in very small doses, the affect MSG has on the immune system is nothing much to worry about. the problem starts when just about everything in the typical American diet contains the stuff and the effects are cumulative. it adds up quick.
  • this project is worthy of a healthy grant. there is too much anecdotal evidence.
  • morally speaking I will no longer spend money on food items that I know contain MSG. I do not want to allow anyone to be poisoned on my dime.

49 links from "achilles" sig on teos