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Too Much MSG Could Cause Blindness
New Scientists ^ | 10-26-2002 | Duncan Graham-Rowe

Posted on 10/26/2002 12:18:03 PM PDT by blam

Too much MSG could cause blindness

15:32 26 October 02

Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition

Eating too much monosodium glutamate - the flavour enhancer common in oriental and processed foods - could make you go blind.

Easy on the tongue, hard on the eyes (Image: CARL DE KEYSER/MAGNUM) Researchers at Hirosaki University in Japan have found that rats fed on diets high in MSG suffer vision loss and have thinner retinas. Glutamate is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter. It has already been shown to cause nerve damage in experiments where it is injected directly into the eye.

But according to lead researcher Hiroshi Ohguro, his is the first study to show that eye damage can be caused by eating food containing MSG.

In the study, rats were fed three different diets for six months, containing either high or moderate amounts of MSG, or none. In rats on the high-MSG diet, some retinal nerve layers thinned by as much as 75 per cent. And tests that measured retinal response to light showed they could not see as well. Rats on the moderate diet also had damage, to a lesser extent.

Borderline unknown

The researchers found high concentrations of MSG in the vitreous fluid, which bathes the retina. MSG binds to receptors on retinal cells, destroying them and causing secondary reactions that reduce the ability of the remaining cells to relay electrical signals.

Ohguro acknowledges that large amounts of MSG were used, 20 per cent of the total diet in the highest group. "Lesser amounts should be OK," he says. "But the precise borderline amount is still unknown."

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Converted iris cells could restore damaged retinas 12 November 2001

For more related stories search the print edition Archive

Weblinks

School of Medicine, Hirosaki University

Monosodium glutamate, FDA

How MSG enhances food flavour, New Scientist

Glaucoma, Wills Eye Hospital

Experimental Eye Research

He says the findings might explain why, in eastern Asia, there is a high rate of normal-tension glaucoma, a form of the eye disease that leads to blindness without the usual increase in pressure inside the eyeball. The higher rate, however, could also be due to genetics.

Peng Tee Khaw, a glaucoma specialist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, says the amounts of MSG in the highest diet are "a lot, lot higher than you'd eat. But if you're a sodium glutamate junky, then you could potentially run into problems with your retina."

And while the amount of glutamate in the rats' diets was extremely high, lower dietary intakes could produce the same effects over several decades. This may be why people tend not to develop normal-tension glaucoma until they are in their forties.

Journal reference: Experimental Eye Research (vol 75, p 307)

Duncan Graham-Rowe


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: blindness; cause; msg
Boy, I love Chinese food. I eat it at least three times a week. (I can't see poop either, hmmmm)
1 posted on 10/26/2002 12:18:03 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
You'll grow hair on your palms too.
2 posted on 10/26/2002 12:20:57 PM PDT by billorites
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To: blam
Can I just eat MSG till I need glasses?

Ohguro acknowledges that large amounts of MSG were used, 20 per cent of the total diet in the highest group. "Lesser amounts should be OK," he says.

3 posted on 10/26/2002 12:21:30 PM PDT by jimtorr
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To: Goldustwoman
bump!
4 posted on 10/26/2002 12:21:48 PM PDT by Ff--150
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To: blam
Next time you post an article, could you please use some larger fonts? I can hardly read that fine print. Jeez.

I'm going downstairs now to reheat some chinese food from last night.

5 posted on 10/26/2002 12:23:58 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: jimtorr
Ohguro acknowledges that large amounts of MSG were used, 20 per cent of the total diet in the highest group.

Which Chinese restaurant is that?

6 posted on 10/26/2002 12:24:40 PM PDT by Bon mots
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To: blam
Rats on the moderate diet also had damage, to a lesser extent.

democRATs have always been blind, politically.

7 posted on 10/26/2002 12:25:15 PM PDT by South40
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To: SamAdams76
"I'm going downstairs now to reheat some chinese food from last night."

LOL. I just got back from an 'all you can eat' Chinese lunch.

8 posted on 10/26/2002 12:25:52 PM PDT by blam
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To: Bon mots
True. Maybe in China. In California, I haven't seen a Chinese joint that uses MSG for decades. I DO know that it gives me a semi-migrane headache. Nobody uses it anymore. I don't even know why they wasted their time on this study.
9 posted on 10/26/2002 12:27:55 PM PDT by EggsAckley
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To: blam

10 posted on 10/26/2002 12:29:05 PM PDT by South40
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To: blam
I agree. I've overdosed on Madison Square Garden. :-}
11 posted on 10/26/2002 12:31:40 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
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To: blam
What a load of ... hey, wait...

Oh NO! I can't see the other side of my head...!
12 posted on 10/26/2002 12:32:02 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: blam
"I hardly see you"

13 posted on 10/26/2002 12:33:06 PM PDT by ErnBatavia
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To: blam
Big deal. As if everyone didn't know that

M anual

S timulation of

Genitals

caused blindness!

14 posted on 10/26/2002 12:34:50 PM PDT by Young Werther
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To: ErnBatavia
Southern Chinese?
15 posted on 10/26/2002 12:34:50 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
That's a relief...my high school health teacher told us it was that other activity that caused blindness.
16 posted on 10/26/2002 12:38:04 PM PDT by Drango
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To: blam
Too much MSNBC can cause blindness too. But, since nobody watches, it is no big deal.
17 posted on 10/26/2002 12:54:26 PM PDT by Andyman
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To: ErnBatavia
Now that should be an add for socialized health care... See what'll happen to your teeth folks, if Hitlery had her way?
18 posted on 10/26/2002 12:57:26 PM PDT by Welsh Rabbit
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To: Welsh Rabbit
Now that should be an add for socialized health care

I meant "ad".
19 posted on 10/26/2002 1:00:05 PM PDT by Welsh Rabbit
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To: billorites
MSG is not a sin.
20 posted on 10/26/2002 1:07:41 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: blam
It has already been shown to cause nerve damage in experiments where it is injected directly into the eye.

Well, I guess I'd better stop doing that then...
21 posted on 10/26/2002 1:09:00 PM PDT by July 4th
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To: Rebelbase
Well that's just great. First I have to put away my nudie magz now no more General Taos Chicken. Can life get any worse?????????? Blindness doen't sound so bad. Mmmmmmmmmmm,,, gotta go.
22 posted on 10/26/2002 1:09:57 PM PDT by mlbford2
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To: mlbford2
now no more General Taos Chicken

Taos? Is that a new Chinese/Mex dish?

Maybe you meant General Tsao's Chicken?

23 posted on 10/26/2002 1:17:33 PM PDT by Cagey
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To: blam
One way to avoid MSG is to make your own chinese food.
24 posted on 10/26/2002 3:15:39 PM PDT by Goldustwoman
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To: Goldustwoman
"One way to avoid MSG is to make your own chinese food."

...or, ask them to put a lot of carrots in it.

25 posted on 10/26/2002 4:12:11 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

And deafness! (Hats off to whoever gets the photo reference, unless of cause you're Roy Harper).

26 posted on 10/26/2002 4:17:08 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
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To: EggsAckley
You are mistaken if you think no one uses MSG any more. Read the labels when you grocery shop. Canned soup, canned broth, bouillion cubes, salad dressings, various snack foods to name a few things. I always ask when I eat out if there is MSG in the food. Many times I have been told that it is in every thing they cook & I am talking about Mexican food, cajun food etc.. Its not just in Chinese food anymore.
27 posted on 10/26/2002 4:22:04 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Cagey
"General Taos Chicken"

It's a Georgia O'Keefe sort of thing.

Sweet and spicy,
with a certain Lesbian insouciance.

28 posted on 10/26/2002 6:08:43 PM PDT by billorites
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To: blam
MSG does a lot more than just harm your eyesight (if it does that). There are many many reactions people have to it. Headache is a common one, as is heart arrythmias & facial swelling. I have read that as much as 30% of the population may have allergic reactions, but most don't know what is causing their strange reactions.
29 posted on 10/27/2002 9:52:44 AM PST by Ditter
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