Anyone trying to restrict MSG and limit free glutamates in their diets? Migraine related

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Posted 9/28/2013 by Ms. Liz in NSBR Board

Ms. Liz
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PeaNut 199,404
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Posted: 9/28/2013 9:08:00 AM
Disclaimer: I know glutamates are absolutely necessary! But my understanding is that a body will manufacture all it needs, so I don't see the harm in limiting the foods with the highest levels. We'll be trying this diet for about a month or so.
And I don't think anyone would argue that MSG is necessary to anyone's diet.

15yo DD and I are trying to adjust her diet to try to combat her chronic migraine. Her head pain and aura started in November of 2010 and never left her.

DD is already eating gluten and soy free based on the results of an IgG test that indicated she is sensitive to those foods. She has also begun limiting her dairy because she is fighting a recurrent sinus infection. We want her to continue to have at least a little dairy until we can find a better calcium substitution.

I looked up the foods containing the highest levels of glutamates and we have decided to take poultry out of her diet completely, and limit other meats and fish. Eggs are a good low glutamate source of protein and she'll likely be having at least one every day. We're also limiting seeds, nuts, and legumes. So, she'll have a sprinkling of protein over her mostly fruit and vegetable meals, just not a huge quantity, and every meal will have some protein. For example, instead of a serving of pork chop with a little baked apple, she'll have a serving of apples with a little bit of pork chop.

The only other changes that we made are to eliminate some plant foods including mushrooms and nightshades (tomatoes are very high in glutamates.)She's still having corn and rice, but in smaller quantities than she is used to having.

And, of course, we're trying to completely restrict MSG and are searching every label for the 40 other names it can legally be called so that manufacturers can put it in our foods and not be required to tell us that their food is full of MSG. I have reactions to large quantities of MSG, and youngest DD has had what she calls "hot-dog headaches." It only makes sense to me that glutamates might have something to do with older DD's chronic migraine issues.

So, while these changes aren't going to be drastic for us (like removing the gluten and soy was) we're hoping they'll help. Additionally, we've started seeing a Naturopathic doctor who has prescribed a magnesium supplement.

DD has been on amitriptyline and Topamax in the past, but neither helped. I think it's because they weren't addressing the root of the problem. She'll be seeing a new neurologist in November.

Sorry this post was so long. Thank you if you read all the way through. And thank you in advance for not panicking. The only things we're taking out of her diet are poultry and a couple of vegetables. With the other foods, we're just changing the proportions.

This video is old, and it's long, but I think it's helpful in explaining the effects of MSG to people like me with no scientific background.

Dr. Russell Blalock

The first 10 minutes is all introduction and you can just skip it. If you only have a few minutes, the part about the magnesium comes in around the 58 minute mark, and it addresses a process described at around the 34 to 38 minute mark.

So, have you changed your diet or your child's diet to address glutamates? What were your reasons? Did it help?

I eat my peas with honey. I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny, But it keeps them on the knife.


PeaNut 595,029
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Posted: 9/28/2013 9:53:15 AM
I was having horrible, awful headaches that lasted for days. I read somewhere (I think here actually) that some people have allergies to aspartame in diet drinks that can manifest as headaches. I completely deleted all products with aspartame and while it took a couple of weeks for it to work, I hardly have any headaches now.

In fact, when I do drink a diet coke (sometimes I just can't help it) I can definitely tell with in the next day or two with an awful headache.

Ms. Liz
Practically Perfect in Every Way

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April 2005
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Posted: 9/28/2013 10:32:16 AM

Yup, we got rid of aspartame and caffeine awhile ago too.

Forgot to mention it.

I'm glad you figured out the cause of your headaches.

I eat my peas with honey. I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny, But it keeps them on the knife.


PeaNut 519,829
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Posted: 9/28/2013 11:06:47 AM
YES! I did this nearly 20 years ago. I had an amazing doctor who handed me a list of my trigger foods: BINGO. The moment I removed those foods from my diet, my headaches became few and far between. Diet and Zomig have kept my migraines down to only a few a year. LIFE CHANGING for me.

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PeaNut 38,979
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Posted: 9/28/2013 11:20:15 AM
Me! Other triggers for me are artificial sweeteners.

I haven't knowingly had MSG or sweeteners in over 5 years and I've been almost headache free since I eliminated them. One major migraine in all those 5 years and a couple of relatively minor stress headaches.

Then last month we were at a party where I had some cabbage salad and within 30 minutes I was completely debilitated. DH had to practically carry me to the car.

Turns out the hostess is on a diet kick and made her salad dressing, which I've eaten many times before, with sweetener instead of sugar, and added the seasoning packet from the noodles to the dressing also for added flavor which she hasn't done before either. The combination knocked me out. It took two days to recover from that. Lesson learned. Whether eating in a restaurant or someone's home, ask or refrain.


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PeaNut 471,633
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Posted: 9/28/2013 11:42:02 AM
No for migraines but I have Hashimoto's thyroiditus which is an autoimmune disease.

I have researched and read a lot about it and there seems to be evidence that there is a relationship between Hashi's and celiac disease. I have been tested for celiac and it was negative. Have had IgG testing and nothing showed up.

I do know this, I feel much better when I am gluten free.

If I use artificial sweeteners it raises the inflammation in my body and I really feel crappy.

I am also sensitive to sulfites and break out in hives. Although it is naturally in some foods, it is amazing how much sulfites and nitrates are dumped into food.

The bottom line for me is that I eat very little processed food. I shop the walls in the grocery store and but organic and non-gmo food and cook and bake.

I think there is a lot of artificial, preserving, hormone crap in food theses days and some people are more sensitive to it or develop sensitivities. Allergies, intolerances over time.

Good luck in finding the right balance of nutrition and elimination of the things in her diet that trigger migraines!

Ms. Liz
Practically Perfect in Every Way

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April 2005
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Posted: 9/28/2013 8:17:38 PM
Thanks for all your replies. Free glutamate is such a weird thing to be avoiding in a diet; I didn't really expect that I'd have much company.

But the MSG and aspartame problems are another thing. MSG is in just about everything! Thanks for sharing your stories about getting clean.

One thing I want to caution you on is limiting how much food she can eat. My sister's nautropath had her follow a strict diet and she couldn't eat this or that (soy, eggs, dairy, wheat, red meat, fish, anything really) and she got down to about 90 pounds in the end.

Not to worry. For lunch she had a plate of leftover stir fry I made from bagged cole slaw mix, celery, and water chestnuts, and she threw in some nuts. Tonight she had sweet potatoes and spinach with a little bit of roast beef. And snacking all day long, besides. She's eating plenty!

I eat my peas with honey. I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny, But it keeps them on the knife.


PeaNut 54,671
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Posted: 9/28/2013 8:39:25 PM
My 16 yr old has had migraines every day for a few years - it's so frustrating. We had allergy testing done, and she's reactive (not enough to be classified allergic) to milk, wheat, tomatoes, egg whites and shrimp. We've been avoiding those just in case, and while it's solved stomach issues she was having, the headaches just continue.

She's been on Topomax for about a month. It helped for the first two days, then the headaches returned. The doctor doubled the dosage. Headaches disappeared for another two days, but returned again. Aaaaaagh.

She has an appointment Tuesday for a CT scan, and then she'll see a neurologist on Thursday.

I'm going to watch your video now, and will be watching this thread. I am willing to try anything at this point. It's so frustrating. I thought we were avoiding MSG just by staying away from Chinese food and pre-packaged meals. Guess I have a lot to learn.

Thanks for posting.


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