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MSG and Autism

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by slobake, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Saw this in my local newspaper today:


    It is just a theory for one Katherine Reid but removing MSG from her daughter Brooke's diet may have cured her Autism.
    The woman has started a not profit called "Unblind my mind."
    Here is and interesting quote from the article:

    But Reid said she has her own proof. She sees it every day with her Unblind My Mind foundation "Out of the 75 cases of diagnosed autism I've worked on, 74 drastically improved within five weeks," she said. And then there is Brooke.

    I recently made some changes in my own diet and I discovered that MSG is in almost all processed foods. The tricky part is all the different things it is calle on food labels. Here is another quote:

    Actually, Reid said, the chemical is in nearly every processed food imaginable, but it only appears on food labels as MSG about 1 percent of the time. Instead, MSG is sometimes labeled as flavor or flavoring, soy protein, barley malt, pectin, corn starch or yeast extract, Reid said.

    It may turn out to be a dead end but it is a hope.
  2. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Correlation does not equal causation.
  3. paste


    Oct 3, 2011
  4. Interesting. While I would not totally say it couldn't be true, I'd be hard pressed to buy into it. My son is autistic, and while I will say that certain diets and introduction/removal of some chemicals do influence his behavior, ultimately they are only "treatments". My belief, based on observing him his entire life, is that his autism is a neurological, possibly genetic condition that he was born with. It's part of how he's made, not a disease or affliction that can be "cured". For lack of a better term, it's "how he's wired". I do believe that autism is a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but I think the condition is becomes part of the person during gestation, and therefore cannot actually be "cured". I'm not a scientist, but logically...we have two children, both raised the same, both fed the same diet, one is autistic and one is not. I do have a theory why one child is autistic and the other is not, but I will only share it if asked because it may sound crazy to some. Ultimately, I think it's a result of genetics, so I can't see a "cure" without identifying the genetic components and altering it.

    Certain diets do seem to help him, though. We have found that limiting his gluten seems to have positive results. One of the biggest things we discovered is that caffeine, while typically agitating or excited most people, often does just the opposite for people with autism; it actually calms him and helps him focus.
  5. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Thanks for your input BayState. For me it is an interesting discussion for you it is reality.
    Do think there is a potential for harm to your son by taking MSG out of his diet?
  6. No. From what I've looked at, the stuff really has no redeeming qualities for any human, really. It would be worth a try, but to make it really happen would be extremely difficult. It would require putting him on a special diet, limiting anything he ate outside of our homes, eating at friends' houses would be off-limits, etc. All of those things would be difficult, if not impossible, to impose on a 13 year old boy.
  7. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    That's interesting.
    It's a man-made chemical that brings out flavor in food. So, I know it's used in Asian cooking and in Swedish meatballs. I don't cook with MSG, because I never thought of adding it to my cooking. Maybe that's for the better.
  8. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    My experience is very similar to BayStateBass, except that my sons are 2 1/2. They are identical twins. One is autistic; the other does not meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD. They have the same diet.
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I wonder if there's a higher incidence of autism amongst people who have higher levels of naturally occurring glutamate in their diets. Some of the sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and wheat.

  10. This is interesting. Admittedly, I do not know a lot about the genetics of identical twins, other than I understand that they are not "clones". I do understand, on a level, that they develop from a single embryo at some point, so their genetics must be almost the same but interestingly enough they often mature to be slightly different. Most identical twins I know are not truly "identical", often having minor (or significant) differences in appearance, mannerisms, and some physical characteristics.

    I would be interested to hear what you, as a parent, feel may or may not have influenced the difference between the two.
  11. I suppose anything is possible. It does not seem that researchers are any closer to identifying what, or what may not be the "trigger".

    And here I go on my trip to crazytown.

    We have the two kids. My oldest one, my son, is autistic. My younger one, my daughter, is not. Like most parents, I went over it again, again, again...what happened? What did we do? Did we cause this somehow? Both my wife and I are not smokers. No drugs. Neither of us has even smoked pot, ever. We're relatively healthy eaters, for the most part. She was 26 when Dan was born, I was 27. We are healthy people with decent diets and lifestyles.

    As a mechanical person, my mind tends to go over things from an objective perspective, like examining a machine. Over the years I have researched as much as I could and I've drawn some of my own conclusions.

    First of all, my wife was born and raised in Leominster, Mass. Back in the 1980's, the Boston Globe released a story about the abnormally high autism rate in this city when compared to the rest of the U.S. IIRC, it was something like 4X the national average, just located in this small city. Some suspected environmental waste left behind by a prominent company that pulled up stakes and moved out of the country. It seemed plausible. My wife's grandmother was an employee of that company for many years, and her mother grew up within 2 miles of the factory. Among my wife's friends, the ones she grew up with in Leominster, a large number of them who lived in the same area had children that were diagnosed with some form of autism. It seemed to be most prominent in male children, and especially prominent if they were first-borns.

    So I thought on it a lot more. I tried to examine all the variables and try to find the consistencies. Different mothers, different fathers, but the localities were consistent. Different diets, different lifestyles, but one thing kept coming back to me. When my wife became pregnant with my son and during most of his gestation, we lived in Fitchburg (next town over). Many of the women who had these autistic children either lived in Leominster or Fitchburg while they were pregnant. Twin cities. What could be the same?

    And I kept coming back to one thing. The one thing you use all of the time. The one thing you don't think about, you trust inherently, and you don't question because it's supposed to be safe.

    Water. Both of these cities are serviced by similar water systems treated the same way. You drink it, cook with it, bathe in it, and douse your body in it daily.

    One word came out in my research. "Teratogens". It's a term used by scientists to identify chemicals that they believe, or have proven, can alter human reproductive systems and have negative impact on human health. Scanning through the somewhat lengthy list, there are a few chemicals that are commonly used in municipal water treatment. Among them is Sodium Flouride. And others.

    When my wife became pregnant with my daughter, we had moved from the city and lived in a home quite a few towns away, serviced by a private well where our water quality was extremely high and unusually good.

    I truly believe that due to environmental factors, and genetics, my son was predisposed to autism. I also believe that the chemicals my wife and I ingested from our municipal water supply were the final pieces of the puzzle that made it happen. The chemicals alone won't cause it to happen, there has to be a genetic component, IMO. But something triggers it and I'll always be convinced it's what was in our water supply.

    I told you I'd sound crazy.
  12. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    ^doesn't sound crazy to me.
  13. paste


    Oct 3, 2011
    I didn't knew autism could be cured. I always thought the severity of autism could be altered but never cured.
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think tomatoes naturally contain MSG and its not simply a manmade chemical.