5 Ingredients in Foods You Never Knew are Dangerous for Your Brain

Food

With processed and GMO-based foods already dominating our food supply, there are many concerns about the many ways these chemicals area damaging our brains. There are commonly found chemicals in foods that have a toxic and very negative effect on our bodies, especially the nerve centers of the brain. See Dr. Howell’s article, Be Wary of Excitotoxins in Foods to learn about the specific neurotoxins called Excitotoxins that are commonly found in processed foods today.

Here are more dangers from the commonly found in the foods we eat:

1. Gluten

Gluten is a protein molecule that is found in crops like wheat, rue, spelt, barley, and kamut. Gluten sensitivity is caused when the gluten enters the small intestine and causes inflammation and damage through an allergic-style response to the gluten. Of course people with gluten sensitivities suffer from gastrointestinal complaints. Since the primary response is inflammation of the small intestine, gluten-sensitivity sufferers will have bloating, inability to process fats (steatorrhea), abdominal cramping (colic), burning, abdominal spasms, diarrhea, spasmodic constipation, and will have nutritional deficiencies and weight loss. Among those with even a mild sensitivity to gluten, gluten causes reactions in the intestines and the brain. There is also non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, which is characterized by gastrointestinal or extra-intestinal symptoms which include IBS(irritable bowel syndrome).Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten sensitivity and is present in about one percent of the population.

2. Sugar Substitutes and Artificial Sweeteners

Though artificial sweeteners (NutraSweet, Amino Sweet), sucralose (Splenda), or saccharin (Equal, Sweet ‘N Low) are widely used in most confectionery and beverages—even more than regular sugar—most people are unaware of their long-term effects. Often found in sodas, yogurt, chewing gum, cooking sauces, tabletop sweeteners, flavored water, cereal, and sugar free products, nearly all artificial sweeteners are toxic with long-term use.

Studies suggest that aspartame in large doses can cause neurological dysfunction such as learning difficulties. Even earlier studies on aspartame revealed that consumption of this sugar substitute more than the recommended limit of 2500 mg per day can induce neurotoxic effects on the brain and can have a negative impact on seizure disorders. Though there has been an introduction of other artificial sweeteners that are hoped to be safer, there is much medical evidence which proves the use of sugar substitutes to cause headaches, migraines, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, depression, and other problems.

3. MSG or Monosodium Glutamate

The food additive MSG is a flavor enhancer that was first found in Kombu seaweed. It has been widely used in many prepared foods because of its tremendous, quick response in improving the flavor of the food. Researchers also found the MSG served to train consumers to eat more food and to prefer the food to the other food choices that were simultaneously offered. This helped to create brand loyalty. In the US, this is most easily seen by the consumers who prefer Coke or Pepsi, frequently refusing to drink the other brand. MSG helps to create that brand loyalty. Compulsively consuming MSG almost fulfills the criteria for addictive behavior. The scientific literature is full of articles about the benefits created for consumers by the appetite increasing effects of MSG.  The behavior-altering effects of the MSG can be seen by observing food patrons eating MSG-laden foods. They can be seen with glassy eyes, slack jaws, chewing thoughtlessly. Even families eating together will go quiet during the first full “rush” of MSG. Just watch patrons eating at a fast food vendor’s or a food stall.

MSG has been linked to cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’/s Disease, and many autoimmune disorders. Processed foods like “healthy” snacks, salad dressing, barbecue sauce, bouillon cubes, and most canned foods carry MSG. In blatant refusal of all evidence that has been brought forward implicating the dangers of MSG, food manufacturers still use this toxic substance in most processed food: they want to eat more and to create consumer brand loyalty with MSG. Studies done with MSG have shown that it causes the swelling and destruction of mature neuron cells in the brain. Excitotoxins like MSG have been linked to brain damage and other neurological diseases including Parkinson’s and Dementia.

4. Refined Sugar

Though sugar substitutes have been proven to be unhealthy and disastrous to the human body, sugar is a problem, too. Brain studies show that the diets that are high in starch, sugar, and bad fats reduce neuroplasticity, the ability of our brain to change when exposed to new information and skills.Sugar is also a highly addictive product which may be also linked to eating disorders and obesity problems that are worldwide problems. Diets high in sugar also trigger all of the problems that are created by insulin. Did you see Dr. Howells article about insulin yet?

5. Fluoride

Though used as a common additive to drinking water for 80 years, there has never been good research justifying this practice. Combined with that is the rising awareness of the harm it causes the brain over long-term administration, it makes it surprising that we continue to add this industrial waste product to our drinking water. Though harmless in small doses, with larger dosages fluorine shows confirmed problems. There are even studies which systematically prove how small amounts of fluoride diversely affect the processes of the human brain and are toxic to the brain. Specifically, fluoride causes irreparable damage to the developing brain of children and may also affect the nervous systems of adults. According to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), fluoride was linked to ADHD, learning and memory impairment, fetal brain damage, and altered neurobehavioral function. Excessive fluoride exposure has also causes osteoarthritis, arthritic symptoms, lowers the density of the bone mass, and effects many other tissues, including the brain and thyroid gland.

You may not be able to entirely avoid these 5 problems, but reduce them in all the ways that you can!

Science Says You Need to Be Wary of Excitotoxins in Foods: Here’s Why

Be wary of Excitotoxins in foods

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One of the most serious and largely unknown threats to our health today is the presence of excitotoxins in most packaged foods. This is something that negatively affects every person who lives and eats in “civilized” countries, even those of us who eat a so-called healthful diet. Therefore, it is imperative that we take action to protect ourselves and those around us. The first step is to boost awareness of this critical issue.

In his book, Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills (Health Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1997), Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., provides hundreds of pages of research (with 493 citations, mostly from medical journals) indicating the great danger these ingredients pose and where they are present in our food supply.

Excitotoxins stimulate neurons to death, causing varying degrees of brain damage. Hypothalamus cells can be destroyed after a single dose. Children are especially vulnerable as excitotoxins alter brain development, making them more susceptible to learning and emotional problems as well as to violent behavior.

The most famous excitotoxin is MSG. Many people know that MSG can cause headaches, nausea and a general sense of ill ease. This is sometimes called the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. MSG was discovered in Japan (derived from kombu, a seaweed) and has been widely used by American food manufacturers since World War II.

The amount of MSG added to foods has doubled every decade since the 1940’s, reaching over 250,000 metric tons by the early 1970’s. MSG was voluntarily removed from baby foods in 1969 after evidence of brain damage (children were found to be most vulnerable) was presented to Congress. But it continues in adult foods. However, since so many people know of MSG’s harmfulness, manufacturers have turned increasingly to other excitotoxins.

Excitotoxins have been linked through rigorous scientific studies to learning, behavioral and emotional problems, hormonal imbalances, brain defects, tumors and lesions. These chemicals contribute to or aggravate Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Strokes, Migraines, Seizures, Hypertension, Diabetes, Meningitis, Encephalitis and more. Excitotoxins typically cause a slow destruction of brain cells that are specifically sensitive to them, such as neurons that normally use small amounts of glutamate for a transmitter. Excitotoxins literally stimulate these neurons to death.

Excitotoxins are the food industry’s way of disguising and substituting for MSG. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals—like aspartame (NutraSweet), cysteine and hydrolyzed vegetable (or plant) protein—are even more dangerous than MSG. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, for instance, contains three known excitotoxins plus MSG. It is a mixture made from junk vegetables unfit for sale that are boiled in a vat of acid and then neutralized with caustic soda. The resulting sludge, which is very high in MSG, is scraped off and powdered. It is contained in a number of spice blends.

Why do food manufacturers use such chemicals? Because they taste good and this encourage consumers to keep buying their products. People can even become addicted to a certain kind of excitotoxin, insuring extreme brand loyalty. This occurs often with soft drinks, almost all of which contain excitotoxins. As a consumer, it is important to read labels carefully to avoid such brain damaging chemicals, but it would be even better if manufacturers would remove these ingredients from their products and thus from our food supply.

What food additives contain these chemicals? In his appendix, Dr. Blaylock lists many of them. Those that always contain excitotoxins include aspartate, L-cysteine, MSG (including glutamate or glutamic acid), hydrolyzed (vegetable or plant) protein, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, yeast extract, textured protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed oat flour and kombu.

Additives that frequently contain excitotoxins include malt extract, malt flavoring, bouillon, broth, stock, flavoring, natural flavoring, natural beef or chicken flavoring, seasoning and spices.

Additives that sometimes contain excitotoxins include carrageenan, enzymes, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. Also, protease enzymes of various sources can release excitotoxin amino acids from food proteins.

As I look at labels in even health food stores, the excitotoxin additives I find most frequently are natural flavors, spices, spice extract, (autolyzed) yeast extract, (natural) enzymes, and carrageenan. The majority of prepared foods both in health food and conventional grocery stores seem to contain one or more of these ingredients as flavor enhancers.

You owe it to the wonderful human body you’ve been given and to your health in general to eat foods that are healthful and nourishing to your body, mind, and emotions. Because excitotoxins can cause damage on all three of these levels, you will want to read labels carefully and to avoid them.

In general, the best foods to eat are organic (or biodynamic), fresh, and locally grown. Organic because not only do you avoid harmful chemicals this way, but you also get foods much higher in nutritional (especially mineral) content. Organic soil is regularly enriched instead of depleted and poisoned by mono-crops with chemical (trace mineral poor) fertilizers. Fresh foods are best because they still have the maximal life force present (nurturing you at a much higher level). Locally grown in important because not only do you support the farmers in your area (many of whom may be struggling to survive against big business), but you also balance your body for the environment you live in. Locally grown food has been shown to put people more in harmony with their environment, to help them to ground more, and to improve health in general.

So feast on the abundance of healthful meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and grains that nature provides, and your body will thank you. Leave most packaged foods and the excitotoxins in them alone, and you will be healthier, happier, and live a longer life.