This is an interview with a Mother of 5 children with a PhD in biochemistry cured her daughter of Autism by finding and eliminating all sources of unbound glutamate. She has started a website called, unblindmymind (links are at bottom of article)
“I really didn’t focus on the food and associations to health really until my youngest child was diagnosed with autism
I found a lot of parents, parenting children with autism, saying that they saw some improvements with the gluten free, casein free diet. Gluten free is obviously very familiar with your audience, and then casein is the protein found in milks.
so I went down that road of removing all the gluten and casein products in the diet. I also went on this journey with my daughter so that she would feel that there was company, she wasn’t isolated. I did see improvements in her behavior. While she is still considered autistic, I became really curious what’s the connection between gluten and casein that so many are starting to see improvements.
I discovered that the amino acid glutamate seemed to be critical. (amino acids are the building blocks of proteins) In gluten and casein glutamate comprises over 25% of the protein, which is unusually high. Typically, it’s about 5% to 10% glutamate amino acid in a protein.
When I started to really dive in to the food manufacturing processes, I realized that there is an entire science behind trying to enrich these gluten/casein foods for free glutamate- breaking apart the protein peptide bonds and creating free glutamate, which we know in our foods as monosodium glutamate or MSG.
Wow! I wondered if the removal of gluten and casein is more about reducing the MSG load, and that’s why people are seeing some improvements. But because those aren’t the only source of MSG in the diet, people were just seeing improvements rather than more drastic reduction in symptoms.
And so I started to scientifically search this literature about whether or not there was an association between autism and MSG or glutamate. And I honestly felt like I hit the mother lode.
from Alzheimer’s to early onset diseases like autoimmune diseases, ADHD, autism, a lot of mood disorders I found a connection.
And so, I really started diving in to the science and decided, “Okay, I’m going to try an experiment here. I’m going to try to remove all the enriched and fortified sources of free glutamate and determine whether or not that would benefit my daughter’s condition.”
And again I went on this experiment with her. Now, at first I received strong protests from my husband because I was about to remove all comfort foods from the house.
Food labels are extremely inadequate with providing the consumer enough information to determine what contains free glutamate. And so you really have to go one step removed and actually look at how is the food processed to make that ingredient that then goes in the food.
I decided to try the experiment and determine what would happen if we removed all this enriched and fortified sources of free glutamate that were so pervasive in our supplies….. And my daughter is no longer considered autistic. She went from moderate on the spectrum requiring special needs to normal! She is now the most social child out of the entire family. She no longer requires any assistance for learning. She’s in mainstream second grade right now and doing great health wise.
And myself, I got rid of 40 years of pollen allergies that I suffered with for years. Two months out of every single year, it seemed like I was just sick. I just constantly had headaches and runny nose, all from these pollen allergies, and that completely went away.
Paleo, GAPS and Atkins, and even gluten and casein free or gluten-free, remove significant sources of MSG.
The challenge is trying to find the free glutamates and THEN remove them. Guess how they used to make MSG before they found cheaper ways? They used to take gluten and hydrolyze it or break apart that protein to free the glutamate. Now they add it to these gluten-free products so that people are still getting addicted to these products.
It really is like helping them wean off the addiction and opening up their palates to real whole foods, nutrient-rich foods so they can start to restore health.
The big offenders are the processed proteins. Any time you see a soy protein concentrate or rice bran protein, any of these isolated proteins, I would start to be suspicious right there. When you start to isolate and enrich for protein, you think, “Now they have the opportunity through their manufacturing processes to enrich the free glutamate.”
It is funny when, like you said, you go to a Chinese restaurant and they say we don’t have MSG and yet they have soy sauce on the table. “Oh yeah, sure you have no MSG.”
Fermented soy, the reason why it tastes so good in our palate is it has free glutamate. It’s a fermented soy product. Even vegans, when they think they’re being so healthy, they’ve got all these processed soy products like tofu and tempeh and fermented soy sauce in their diet that are really high in MSG.
the casein (milk) protein has 30% glutamate as part of its protein structure. Raw milk is fine and has very low levels of free glutamate. That low level of free glutamate serves to signal, neurologically signal the body to prepare for protein coming down the digestive tract and the brain receives signals to expect protein, which is a required nutrient and energy source in our body.
But when you start to process it through the de-fattening process, and the fermentations used in yogurt – I mean, when I started looking into the cheese manufacturing processes and what degree of effort they put to enrich and fortify for free glutamate, I was like, “Oh, my goodness! No wonder why cheese tastes so fantastic.”
Jennifer: Cheese is usually the hardest thing for vegans to give up. We talked a little bit about xanthan gum and carrageenan. So is it pretty much a guarantee, if we see either of those two, which tend to being gluten products, if you see either of those two should you think, “Uh-oh, this product probably has MSG in it.”?
Katherine: Yeah, the xanthan gum is funny because I have received a couple of emails from food manufacturers saying, “Where is the evidence that xanthan gum contains free glutamate?” And so, I sent them a 37-page manufacturing protocol…the only nitrogen source was glutamate. And so all of that nitrogen is equal to that glutamate content in that food. So while it may be one to two percent of xanthan gum and the xanthan gum itself is only added one to two percent, what happens is it’s developed a total load in your diet.
So, if you had one single cheat food that had xanthan gum in it, it likely wouldn’t cause too much of an issue if you’re not that sensitive, but if you’ve got – citric acid is another one on the list. Citric acid and xanthan gum are pretty pervasive across the medicines and beverages, and foods that the total load starts to add up until the small amounts in each particular food just creates a high MSG load. But like I said, the biggest offenders are definitely the processed proteins.
Jennifer: My audience for sure is really interested in supplements and herbs. So for you to mention that there can be MSG in supplements I think is probably going to shock everyone.
Is there a way to know aside from looking at these labels that just say vitamin A, vitamin D? They don’t always tell you what is in your supplements. How do you know how to find an MSG free supplement?”
Katherine: Yeah, particularly foods that say “enriched with vitamin D.” That’s a red flag because they are not required to label where they got their vitamins. They’re probably supplementing it or enriching it with the cheapest source and it’s bound to be containing free glutamate.
Jennifer: I was just going to ask those too. In addition to that, what about with our gut flora, does this have an effect on that? I’m thinking to myself, “We’re ingesting all these chemicals and these weird engineered proteins, does this affect the digestive system at all?”
Katherine: Oh, absolutely! In fact, I definitely probably have spent the last year and a half on microflora metabolism and exactly how their metabolism changes with respect to environment, the foods we’re feeding them, so absolutely. You can actually have an overgrowth of a particular species and supplements could actually be feeding that microflora to more overgrowth.
But the whole glutamate story with the micro flora is actually fascinating. The microflora are adaptive. And so whatever the environment is in your gut, the microflora going to adapt to that environment. And if you have a bunch of engineered processed foods that have simple sugars and simple amino acids widely available for them to consume in their metabolism, they will. And they have the ability to keep you addicted to those foods because they can release signals to our neurological system that keeps us feeding that addiction. So they contribute to addictions too.
Jennifer: And what I was going to say then, because this sounds like anyone, in a sense, can be sensitive to MSG then. It just would vary to what degree? Am I wrong in that assumption or headed in the right direction?
Katherine: Oh, absolutely. I do think it’s ironic. When I’m working with people saying, “I’m not sensitive to MSG,” and then the next statement, they’ll say, “I’ve been having a lot of anxiety and sleeplessness,” I’m just like, “That’s MSG.”
Katherine: Yeah, the more that I just went to whole foods, it wasn’t so time consuming. It really is about establishing a routine, making fresh foods out of whole food ingredients and really starting to appreciate the taste of real whole foods.
And it isn’t much more time. I think that’s a myth where people think, “Oh, I just don’t have the time.” Honestly, some of my easiest meals, when I pack my daughters snack, it’s like cashews, carrots, sliced apples. And I can make it all raw foods and she loves it. And so that’s really easy.
once you’ve establish the habits and the routine, it actually is fairly easy to adapt to. It’s just daunting potentially at first.
Katherine’s website – https://unblindmymind.org/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/UnblindMyMind
Twitter – https://twitter.com/UnblindMyMind
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/unblindmymind/
Various Ingredients Containing Free Glutamate (MSG) They often contain MSG or create MSG during processing
Auxi grow sprayed on conventional fruits and vegetables
Bouillon and broth
Brown rice syrup
Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate
Calcium glutamate (E 623)
Carrageenan (E 407)
Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
Enzyme modified (anything)
Fermented protein (any)
Flavors or flavoring [i.e. natural flavors, raspberry flavor, vanilla flavor,]
Glutamic acid (E 620), Glutamate (E 620)
Hydrolyzed protein (any)
Lipolyzed butter fat
Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
Milk powder, reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2% most things low fat or no fat
Modified food starch
Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
Pectin (E 440)
Protein fortified (anything)
Seasonings / spices
Soy protein isolate
Soy protein, soy protein concentrate
Soy sauce extract
Ultra-¬‐pasteurized any protein
Whey protein isolate
Whey protein, whey protein concentrate
Yeast food, yeast nut
1. I threw away whey protein that I used in smoothies!
2. I threw away nutritional yeast that I used in smoothies.
3. I threw away all artificial sweeteners except stevia and truvia
4. I threw away all my packages of hidden valley salad dressing mix, gravy mix etc.
5. I threw away one type of lemon juice with citric acid and kept another that is just lemon juice and lemon oil or fresh lemons
6. use oil and vinegar for salad.
7. Eliminate cheese
8. NO soy sauce
9. NO sandwich meat.
I made an appointment with Dr Katie Reid to go over all my vitamins and supplements and discuss questions.