Glutamate: Effects on Child Development
Welcome to my continuing series on the chemicals that we are exposed to in our foods and on our skin. This is the next article on glutamates.
Many studies have shown that glutamates play a major role in how the brain is formed during our early development. We know that the fetus, infant and small child are four times more sensitive to MSG toxicity than the adult.
If you were to eat several foods containing MSG, like corn chips, a frozen dinner and commercial soup your blood glutamate levels will rise 20 times. Add a diet soda to the meal it now rises 40 times, that’s 4,000 percent. And these numbers only account for the glutamate from our food sources, we absorb even more from skin exposure to glutamates in many of the personal care products found on the market today and these numbers have not been factored into this equation. Many Americans including pregnant ladies have diets like this and use glutamate filled personal care products all the time.
It has been shown that during pregnancy a diet high in MSG increases the developing babies level to twice the level of it’s mother. This significantly can alter the way the babies brain develops (see MSG’s “Effects on Sexual Function“). High intake can cause abnormal learning, increased addiction risk, and behavioral, emotional control, and endocrine problems later in the baby’s life.
It has been shown that when animals were fed MSG early in their life they developed abnormalities including short stature, small endocrine organs, and high risk of seizures and impaired learning. Glutamate is the main control neurotransmitter for the hypothalamus. Over stimulation causes dysfunction of most of the hormones, eating behavior, temperature control, pain regulation and sleep habits. Over stimulation also causes dysfunction in the autonomic control areas which include the heart, GI tract, lungs, and bladder.
Lets step back now and take a look at the increasing numbers of medical problems seen in our youth today. Childhood asthma has increased over 200 percent. Childhood obesity has risen over 400 percent. Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD and autism have also gone through the roof. In addition 60 percent of children have at least one cardiovascular risk factor today and 30 percent of children have two or more risk factors. Overall chronic illnesses in young people have increased almost 500 percent in the last 40 years. Children with chronic illnesses were three times more likely to develop acute conditions requiring hospitalization, and many would die.
So, what can you do. obviously we need to be more careful with our diets and avoid glutamates whenever possible (see my post “Glutamates, What Are They“). Since we can’t avoid glutamates completely we need to increase our consumption of things that act as glutamate receptor blockers. magnesium is very important because it’s natural function is to significantly reduce the toxicity of glutamate by blocking the receptors.
Most flavonoids from high antioxidant value fruits also reduce excitotoxicity. We get those from fruits like acai berry, raspberry, pomegranate, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, mangosteen, noni, goji, papaya and more.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I hope you keep following future posts as I continue this discussion.
Keith Abell, RPh CIP MI