MSG and cancer  (includes aspartame and other excitotoxins)

Dr. Russell Blaylock "Health and Nutrition Secrets": page 187
(Health Press)


With the widespread effects of MSG on numerous tissues, is it possible
that high consumption could trigger the development of a cancer?

It is known that MSG does have an effect on selective gene activation,
but it has not bee determined to be mutagenic. (Substances that are
mutagenic are frequently carcinogenic as well.)

I am unaware of any studies looking for mutagenicity, yet numerous
studies have shown that MSG, free glutamate and other excitotoxins
produce enormous amounts of free radicals in tissues... which are a
major cause of cancer induction in tissues and organs.  By consuming
foods on a daily basis that are high in excitotoxic additives, we would
certainly expect high levels of free radicals and lipid peroxidation in
numerous tissues.  Again, no one has looked at the possible association.

We know that the constant bombardment of the DNA by free radicals leads
to the eventual activation of cancer genes (oncogenes). Once these genes
are activated, cancer is inevitable.  As with nervous system disease,
cancer risk in the face of high MSG and aspartame consumption would be
highest in persons possessing a genetic propensity for cancer.  For
example, a woman with a strong family history of breast cancer or
ovarian cancer would be at much greater risk than a woman with no such
history. (Interestingly, the ovaries also contain glutamate receptors.)

MSG consumption, then, would pose a special danger to the cancer
patient, since increased inflammation and free-radical production can
promote tumor growth as well as invasiveness and metastasis of cancerous
tumors.  This is well-demonstrated in the experiments using carrageenan,
a very powerful inflammatory substance and food additive (used as a
thickener).  When even small amounts of carrageenan are injected near
developing tumors in animals, tumor growth, and eventual metastasis,
increases dramatically.  Carrageenan is usually found in baked goods,
some breads, and ice cream. (and soymilks).

The scientific evidence that free radicals play a major role in cancer
induction and growth is so powerful it would be foolhardy to encourage
millions of at-risk people to consume a substance that we know does just
that... produce free radicals.  But I suppose it is hardly surprising
that no one is advising cancer patients to avoid excitotoxic food
additives, since health care professionals and the media are telling
them little else about cancer and diet, anyway.

A significant number of cancer patients suffer from intractable pain.
It is known that glutamates receptors in the spinal cord play a major
role in pain perception, an there is some evidence that drugs that block
glutamate receptors also reduce pain.  Conversely, a diet high in MSG
and other excitotoxins could certainly be expected to greatly increase
pain.  Despite the scientific evidence making this connection to pain,
cancer patients are not being informed of this risk, and no work is
being done by medical researchers to see if patients improve on
excitotoxin-free diets.

ONe recent study provides very strong evidence that even mildly elevated
levels of glutamate in the brain can cause tumors in experimental
animals to develop more aggressively and become more malignant.
Blocking the glutamate receptors on these tumors has shown to reduce
their growth.  Excess brain glutamate levels will also increase brain
swelling around the tumor and increase the risk and severity of seizures
(frequently associated with brain tumors). For these reasons alone,
anyone with a brain tumor should avoid all foods containing MSG. (or

Immunity is one of our most important weapons against cancer.  It is
widely known in the oncology world that immunosuppressed transplant
patients have a significantly higher cancer rate than those with normal
immune systems.  This is thought to be secondary to a loss of the body's
normal immune surveillance system, which seeks out cells transforming
into cancer cells and destroys them.

Over fifteen years ago scientist found that exposing animals to MSG
could produce a significant loss of delayed type immunity, and this
immune defect could persist for a lifetime.  This inhibition involved
both hormoral and cellular immunity, the most important for fighting
tumors.  While it is known that lesions to the hypothalamus can cause
immune suppression, in this experiment, the effect was unexplained.  It
maybe that glutamate also directly affects white blood cells
(lymphocytes and macrophages).

At this point, you must be asking yourself: Why are the medical
profession and scientific world not pursuing this idea?  In most cases,
it is because there is little money available for research... and most
researches are afraid of being attacked by the glutamate industry if
they do.  I find it amazing that so much research can point to the
connection between human diseases and excitotoxic foods additives, but
scientists seem unwilling to take that final step.  Fear of professional
ridicule and criticism renders impotent so many good researchers.