This week we’re talking about a class of chemicals called excitotoxins.
Excitotoxins, usually amino acids, are added to foods to make them taste better. Well, more like taste buds on steroids! In case you missed this week’s Facebook Live, you can catch the replay here.
Excitotoxins fire impulses from neurons to the brain at such a rapid rate they become exhausted and burn out. Once you lose those neurons, they are gone for good. Damage caused by excitotoxins cannot be repaired.
The most common excitotoxins are aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Despite what I’m about to tell you about excitotoxins, let me remind you that they are FDA approved.
They’re not very friendly. There’s research to show their role in increasing one’s susceptibility to neurodegenerative damage such as in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, and seizures.
Today, MSG shows up in virtually all prepared foods, including soups, sauces, gravy mixes, frozen dinners, diet foods, beverages, chips, fast foods, medications, and fertilizers. It’s added to soil causing plants to increase their water intake from thirst, which is one reason they grow so large.
Then you have aspartame, the blue, artificial sweetener packet. It’s derived from the amino acid aspartate and is used to sweeten diet sodas, coffee, sugarless candies, and gum. Aspartame is formulated to be 200 times sweeter than sugar. Go figure.
Excitotoxins lurk in foods disguised on labels as ‘spice,’ ‘natural flavoring,’ ‘hydrolyzed,’ and ‘extracts.’ So, what can you do to decrease your consumption of excitotoxins?
There’s evidence for some protection against excitotoxins by including magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, red clover, and antioxidants in your diet.
But by far, the most important thing you can do to avoid excitotoxins is to avoid processed foods.
How often are you consuming excitotoxins?