MSG and Autism
By John Erb
His name was Bruce. He was always ready to greet me with a smile whenever I came in to work with him at the residential facility he called home. Bruce was my first experience getting to know someone with Autism. Even though he was forty, and had lived all his life with the symptoms, he had never been formally diagnosed. But even without the paperwork from a psychiatrist to back it up, Bruce had all of the standard signs: the problems with social interaction, the obsessions, the repetitive physical movement. He also had one more thing: he was fluent in French. It was those many years ago when I first met Bruce that I realized, in some ways, he was smarter than me.
This experience twenty years ago shaped my view of Autism and the direction of the research journey I have taken. In 2003 I finally put my ideas to paper. In the book called The Slow Poisoning of America, I theorized that something was actually causing the brains of those with ASD to grow too much. The culprit: Monosodium Glutamate. Introduced to the America diet in 1950 it is an amino acid added to food to make it taste better and to vaccines to stabilize the active ingredients. At the time I published this idea I had little scientific evidence to support it, more of a “hunch” than hard core science. But over the last 5 years I have gathered enough published medical studies to validate a highly probable link between this excitotoxin and the Autism epidemic.
In 2004 I personally met with Dr. Wakefield, author of the MMR theory, and Dr. Rimland of Defeat Autism Now. They thought my theory was interesting, taking my book and copies of my research, but were disappointed that I did not have the title of Dr. behind me. They also said I lacked the “smoking gun”: scientific evidence that glutamate caused brain growth. Undaunted I journeyed on speaking to many top media people, politicians and finally spoke to Dr. Jorgen Schlundt, Director of Food Safety for the World Health Organization. He told me that I could send him my report on the dangers of Monosodium Glutamate and that if I wrote it well enough that he would call a meeting of his committee. I immediately gathered all my research together to create a report and, as luck would have it, found the smoking gun: a report by K. Schlett done in June of 2006 proving that glutamate causes a proliferation and differentiation of brain cells. Not only does it make the brain grow abnormally, but alters the kind of brain cells created.
Suddenly the pieces of the puzzle began to take shape. The studies I had gathered that showed people with ASD had larger brains and the ones that revealed an odd difference in white and gray brain matter made sense when glutamate was considered. The main reason mercury has been pushed has been due to the abnormal deposits of it found in people with Autism. But in studies mercury has always been shown to reduce the growth of the brain, not increase it. Carol Hornlien, food scientist and creator of www.msgtruth.com revealed the reason: High levels of MSG reduces the liver’s production of Cysteine. This leads to a reduction in Glutathione which aids in the removal of heavy metals in the body. With less Glutathione, the metals collect in the body. High Mercury would then be a symptom of Autism, and not the cause.
I had hoped that the Autism community would embrace such a phenomenal revelation as this but after meeting with and speaking to many of the elite in the research and funding organizations I found that they had put too much effort into the mercury connection to even consider glutamate. When the Autism Genome Project was finished the main finding of the research scientists was that there was a connection with the genes dealing with Glutamate transport. Yet still the theory that MSG in vaccines and food is causing Autism has gotten little attention from the Autism organizations.
In spite of the lack of funding to explore the connection, recent studies have supported the possibility. Page and Daly et al in 2006 concluded that “Abnormalities in glutamate/glutamine may partially underpin the pathophysiology of autistic spectrum disorders. Shinohe, Hashimoto et al in 2007 determined that their “study suggests that an abnormality in glutamatergic neurotransmission may play a role in the pathophysiology of autism. Even in 2001 Glutamate was being scientifically connected with Autism. Purcell, Jeon et al. concluded that “subjects with autism may have specific abnormalities in the AMPA-type glutamate receptors and glutamate transporters in the cerebellum. These abnormalities may be directly involved in the pathogenesis of the disorder.”
Yet why is there so little follow up on what shows to be a fruitful direction for Autism research? I think a recent reporter from the Chicago Tribune explained it best in her email. After 4 hours of interviews with me, the story about MSG that appeared in the November 27th, 2008 newspaper did not reflect her original copy. In an apologetic email she said “another editor read it and kept insisting that MSG is totally safe and that we should not talk about any theories people in the MSG or autism communities are sharing with each other. I was sure that somehow the hand of the glutamate industry was at work but it could just demonstrate the industry's success at convincing people that it’s totally safe.”
What is everyone so afraid of?
Are they avoiding the fall out on the fast food and processed food industry like KFC, Campbell’s, Heinz and all the other companies that use MSG as an addictive substance to make people eat more of their product?
Whatever the issue, on November 30th, 2007, the inaugural meeting of the Interagency Autism Committee was held in the Ronald Reagan building in Washington D.C. Before a veritable who’s who of the Autism community from the Presidents of parent groups to the directors of the top research branches, Secretary of Health Michael Leavitt opened the session. But very little attention was paid to the final speaker of the day.
I stood at the microphone, the Director of NIMH sitting beside me and said “Thirty years ago Autism was 1 in 10,000. Today it is 1 in 140. At this growth rate in thirty years Autism will be 1 in 2. We have more to worry about than global warming.” After explaining to those present the connections between MSG in food and Vaccines and the aberrant brain growth it can trigger I ended my speech by saying “I am not here to ask for funding, I am not here to ask for more research. I am here to tell you that I am going to get Monosodium Glutamate removed from the food and vaccine supply. Then, five years from now, when there are no more children born with Autism, you will know I was right.”
Unfortunately my friend Bruce has passed away, but somehow I know he’d be proud.
Please visit John's site at Slow Poisoning of America.
Research excepients in vaccines many have MSG as a stabilizer! The scientists who eliminated all MSG from her autistic daughters diet found she remind symptom free.
Posted by: Dr Howard | August 21, 2016 at 12:31 PM
John I am very opened to it all;
As well as others, Dr. Wakefield even mentioned recombiant DNA might be the problem.
Some are talking about the aborted fetus used in vaccines - Mother has psychologica problems and even this go around in the IACC meeting a doctor/father brought this up.
Several thoughts of mine on MSGs, John.
First the IACC will not allow the word immunizations or vaccines in the written wording to anything they put out.
Even if you want them to look at just one ingredient.
Even if it is MSG- the federal government is still up to their guilty little eyeballs in not doing the research and allowing the money and pharama and all that ----influence them.
It might interest you watch the video of Jan 2014 IACC meeting -- second thing they do after talking about what they should do about the Congress telling them they are duplicating too much research ----was going over their final written report they were turning in -- and Tom Insel calls for a vote as they go through their work -- on a proposal that Lyn Redwood asked for one word to be put in - "Immunizations" on only one part of the paper.
HE did not call for a vote on the other many words changes and phrases just that one.
This vote also showed me -- that he has his own guys on the committee to vote against any such word. These memebers voted no, and did not ask one question. They know the game.
So since MSG is in the vaccines it is not going to get studied by the IACC.
But thanks for going to the IACC and speaking out, and putting it in their faces - again.
Other thoughts on this;
IF you read the "Peanut Allergies" By Heather Fraser - you have to wonder at the allergy connection - of common foods such as MSGs as well as gluten, peanuts, DNA, egg yolks, milk - endless amounts of food products - attached to metals such as aluminum and mercury. Metals call the attention of the immune system and to the proteins that these metal are attached to, plus all coated in oils so it stays around in the body longer.
I have a strong suspicion that mercury and aluminum acts as a synergy even-- there is some really good science on that one. One metal will kill only a certain percentage of rats, but add two and it kills 100 percent of rats.
Some more thoughts I have on what you are saying John and it is this ; MSG was discovered by a Japanese scientist and it is used a WHOLE LOT in Asian cooking. I noticed that Kawasaki disease was first noted in Japan - and Kawasaki -seems to occur more in Japan and in the Asian population more than other ethnic groups. It could be that the Japanese diet higher in MSGs could be the reason.
I also noticed that Japan unlike the rest of the world seems to be a bit more worried about vaccines. Japan alone has put MMR vaccine in separate dosages. Japan also seems to be a lone nation that decided after so many girls were hurt by the HPV vaccine that they alone really researched the HPV vaccine and did NOT MAKE IT MANDATORY.
Another thought on MSGs; John, you probably already know, but information for others - All of the mitochondria websites or most of them --- warn to eliminate MSGS from the diet if you do have a mitochondria disorder -- esp the "Acquired Type"
Posted by: Benedetta | April 13, 2014 at 01:54 PM
Posted by: John Erb | April 13, 2014 at 09:22 AM
Spoke to Carol, as of today, Feb 19, there is still no sign of John. I will be re-spreading the word on Myspace, and please post anywhere you can, and tell everyone you can. The mighty "elite" are trying to stop him from opening the Autism center. They don't want him to open people's eyes, and yank the veil off what our government has done.
Posted by: Lisa | February 19, 2009 at 04:39 PM
Is there any update on John Erb?
I thought this would be the best place to post. I saw the initial alert that he had been arrested *without charges* in another thread, but wanted to move here for follow-up.
Carol Hoernlein, thank you for bringing to light what has happened.
There are plenty of people who will see this.
To those who missed the original post: John Erb has been arrested, and they are trumping up charges of a psychiatric nature due to his announcement last week that he will be opening a center in Virginia for *independent* research on autism.
This violent act has been committed against a man simply because he is perceived to be a threat to Big Pharma, and to The Vaccination Program specifically.
Urgent action is needed.
Posted by: Terri Lewis | February 14, 2009 at 10:03 PM
Stranger than fiction
1953 book Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, pg 49-50
He said it they followed it like a recipe
probably not knowing why, just thinking it was a preservitive for multi dose vials. The real reason was DARKER! maybe a step ford society.
But they were warned that it thimerosal was ineffective in 1948 and 1982 by a AMA grant study; The blue ribbon panel findings:
Dr. Engleys teams findings
"We found thimerosal is toxic down to a level that is almost unbelievable. Down to 1.10, maybe 100 nanograms...a millionth of a gram and that is about as toxic as you can get," he said." It seems the CDC doe's not comprehend, danger or warnings very well. For all the teams warning were ignored.
Also Thimerosal is neither efficacious nor safe, and should be removed as a preservative in prescription biologics and pharmaceutical products, as well as from topical over-the-counter products such as Butt-Balm that have Thimerosal present in their formulations as an active ingredient.
The blue ribbon panel said.
This mans last quote should be enough to send all the child poisoning rats to prison
for you cannot get any clearer than this.
Dr. Engley "if they had followed through on our 82 report the vaccines would have been freed of thimerosal and all this autism they tell me would not have occurred"
Somebody apparently wanted it kept in the vaccines and they succeeded, and even today they are fighting to keep in flu shots a preservitive that does not work!and according to the MSDS of Thimerosal pregnant woman should not be exposed to their product. Makes you wonder why the CDC knowing this, allows and suggest at all trimesters of pregnancy a flu shot with no mention of a preference for thimerosal free. Also(Remember the Chiron debacle when over half the flu vaccines had to be destroyed as toxic waste. Thimerosal could not do the job, It seems Dr. Engley was right)It also shows they were desperate to keep it in children's vaccines to a point they introduced senate bill 3 protecting America from terrorism 2005 It was worded that any states that had gone no mercury would have their rights rolled back. And all the litigation against the pharma co's would be dismissed through Thompson HHS DIR and the Attorney. gen Ashcroft they would be given full control over all litigation.
I believe this was done by the CDC and other vaccine minded people trying to save the program. i'm sure they thinking there might be a major drop in all chronic diseases and it would become very apparent what the culpret was.
The roos was the solders fallen in battle would get 100,000 retroactive for their family's when we began the first Bush war.
Who wouldn't sign and support that ,the DARKER side was they would get what they wanted complete safety net from all autism thimerosal litigation. what criminals! organized crime could not have planed it any better. Thats why you cannot trust the IACC to do the right thing when it comes to our kids because the FIX is in and always has been. From the president to the senate to the congress to the Media. They all know and don't care or give a damn.
Are the other compounds Russell talks about MSG?
"Russell being quoted as saying we would put mercury in vaccines, and other compounds to produce a partial lobotomized state" If this was done, they did not anticipate the mercury from other sources AKA as coal fired plants and mothers body burden,also forest fires that produce mercury.
In the next statement that Russell makes keep in mind the every child by two organization. they were probably instrumental in getting the vaccine safety studies canceled from the IACC congressional mandate They have vaccine makers on their board CBS recently brought this to light, And we wonder what happened to the kids. With all that we are seeing in greed on the regular pharma scandals. We think that the leopard changes it's spots when it comes to children's vaccines, but may I remind you that every vaccine that is put in the children's schedule represents Billions, so now you can see why me being 50 yr's had only 2 shots that it's now 66 by the time a child is 18 that is $$$66 Billion reasons. And there has never been any research on multiple vaccines interacting to see if we are damaging our own kids. The system is truly out of control. I do not recall any add, adhd, speech delay, or autism, bipolar, anorexia, or explosive disorders, in children when I went to school.
Russell who advocated the use of vaccines to induce partial chemical lobotomies and create a servile zombie population,"Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible." - Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50 1953. Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society: "...the subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology.... The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen. As yet there is only one country which has succeeded in creating this politician’s paradise.”11
Who knows, maybe it's just a coincidence He said it they did it and our kids are partial lobotomized. sort of like We vaccinated a perfectly normal children and end up with a biological mess with labs proving mercury poisoning. coincidence ?
Posted by: Joe | February 05, 2009 at 02:05 AM
Remember hannah, and mito-disorders the most damaging to the mitochondria is inorganic mercury 1# thimerosal turns into inorganic mercury after it enters the brain primate Burbacher study. 2# MSG it deplete the glutathione as does the inorganic mercury. It does appear that the puzzle of autism is complete. with no help from the IACC Demons.
Posted by: Joe | February 04, 2009 at 11:39 PM
Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for your marvelous comments, both for, and against this article and my research. Just to be allowed to share it and create a debate is wonderful after five years in the dark. Kudos to Kim and Dan for allowing it to happen. I see that I must dig deeper to bring more people to understand the scope of MSG and its terrible history. Here are a few of the studies which exist in a library somewhere but I have not yet found the abstracts for, please note that Glutamic Acid was the early name for MSG.
The role of glutamic acid in cognitive behaviors; Vogel et. al. 1966.
Glutamic acid and human intelligence; Astin AW, Ross S. 1960
Effects of glutamic acid on behavior, intelligence and physiology. Pallister PD, Stevens RR. 1957
Experimental studies of the effect of glutamic acid-multivitamin combination on the mental efficiency of mentally normal adults. Lienert GA, Matthaei FK. 1956
Effects of prolonged glutamic acid administration on various aspects of personality. Mehl J. 1956
The effects of glutamic acid upon the intelligence, social maturity and adjustment of mentally retarded children. Lombard JP et al. 1955
Glutamic acid therapy in intelligence deficiency. Pabst E, Wurst F. 1952
Improving mental performance with glutamic acid. Kuhne, P. 1951
Glutamic Acid and Intelligence Quotient. Delay J. Pichot P. 1951
An investigation into the effects of glutamic acid on human intelligence. Milliken JR, Standen JL. 1951.
The influence of glutamic acid on test performance. Elson DG et al. 1950.
Effect of glutamic acid on mental function. Kerr W, Szurek S. 1950
Effect of glutamic acid on the intelligence of patients with mongolism. Zimmerman FT et al. 1949.
Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, as you can see scientists have known since 1949 that MSG could affect the brain. I met with Margaret Giannini, Director of the Office of Disabilities, Board member of the Interagency Autism Committee, and the founder of the first children's institution for mental retardation in the United States. When I mentioned these studies to her she responded that she remembered feeding MSG to the children, but that it did not have much of an affect.
Please bare in mind that before human studies are done, rat studies were completed that must have shown reason to test these hypotheses on humans.
How much clearer a connection between MSG and brain alterations do we need than studies like these?
To the person who said that MSG is being taken out of the food supply. China has increased its export to 9 billion pounds of it a year. Autism has seen a steady growth since MSG's introduction by the Colonel with his Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1950.
For those of you who commented in support of my research, thank you very much, especially to the one who's daughter may be a perfect example of what such a super brain drug like MSG can do.
Carol Hornlien, a food scientist, has done a remarkable job showing how Glutamate triggers many of the chemical cascades in the body explaining ASD symptoms, and I encourage you to look at it before just naysaying.
If we could just take one percent of the effort and funding that has been put towards the mercury theory, and consider MSG as Dr. Olney and Dr. Blaylock have also done, we could truly open some doors.
As for me, I am not a scientist, I have no lab and no funding. What I am is an Advocate. My intention is to get rid of MSG. I have seen enough to know that it shouldn't be in vaccines or food.
In one year, 20,000 more children will be stricken in the US with Autism. It may take 5 years to prove my MSG theory in a laboratory. That is 100,000 children afflicted who don't have to be.
I want to End Autism now.
My petition to remove MSG from the food supply is at the FDA at
Your comments to the FDA are most welcome.
I will be working on removing Glutamate from the vaccines as well.
My 28 page report on the dangers of MSG, and the science supporting a link to Autism is available for free distribution, just email me and I will send it to you.
For those of you who want to cling to the Mercury idea, I understand.
But for those who are ready to move on to the next probable culprit, feel free to email me and I will keep you informed of new developments and the bold campaign being launched to end this Slow Poisoning of America.
Posted by: John Erb | January 05, 2009 at 07:49 AM
to me, There's no doubt that you're on the right track. But I think that's only part of it. We're all poisoned because of the foods, vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, cleaning products etc. Another real problem is the GMO foods with the pesticides in the cellular structure of the plant. Our bodies are going to end up one big toxic dump if things continue as they are. The toxicity screws up the immune system that allows the virus' to really wreak havoc. There's little doubt that this all adds up, but when you consider the problems we're having with insects (particularly the bees) the GMO plants are definately something that we have to also throw into the mix.
I also concur that we have to get off of this Mercury causes autism kick, it's simply a factor.
Posted by: c. linderman sr | January 04, 2009 at 11:01 PM
I agree with you that MSG is bad stuff and shouldn't be added to our foods or vaccines. I also think msg and other glutamates may indeed be a part of the picture in explaining what is going wrong with so many kids (and adults). The parallels between autism and Alzheimer's are striking.
However, I disagree with you that mercury does not ever cause brain swelling or enlargement. Mady Hornig reported that it (or at least thimerosal) did cause brain enlargement in at least one strain of mice (see abstract below). Perhaps it would be worth investigating exactly what Hornig was feeding her mice during the trials and if by any chance their food contained msg or some other glutamate. I recall that some other researcher claimed to have repeated Hornig's study and not gotten the same results. It seems possible to me that there was an inadvertant difference in the experimental conditions of the two studies that caused the differing results.
I also agree with the poster regarding the dangers of tylenol. Fluoride probably ought to be on the list of contributive factors too, along with nutrient and mineral deficient diets, and over-use of antibiotics.
IMO we are seeing the cumulative and synergistic effects of multiple factors. I think our current medical system fails because it attempts to identify single factors as causative, or curative, of illness/malfunction, when in reality the causes, and potential cures, of many illnesses/malfunctions (not just autism) are most likely multifactorial.
Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent
M Hornig1, D Chian1 and W I Lipkin1,2
We introduced thimerosal beginning at P7, a time critical for synaptogenesis and maturation of glutamatergic and other neural pathways,57 yet after migrational events are largely concluded.21 In humans, this period of synaptic plasticity extends from the 6th month of gestation to several years after birth and parallels the sensitivity of the developing brain to xenobiotics;58 NMDA receptors play a key role in these developmental events.59 Whereas in mature rodents excessive glutamate is neurotoxic, neuronal survival is promoted by glutamate during brain development.59 Conversely, blockade of NMDA receptors during the postnatal brain growth spurt (approximately P7-14 in rats) is associated with enhanced neuronal apoptosis.58, 59 It is intriguing to consider that in the context of synaptogenesis, abnormal activation of NMDA receptors may result in the persistence of neurons that might otherwise be selected for developmentally appropriate pruning. Such alterations could explain both our findings of increased numbers of hyperchromic, tightly packed but TUNEL-negative pyramidal neurons in CA1 and CA2, as well as the generalized enlargement of hippocampal structures. These findings are reminiscent of Rett syndrome, a disorder with clinical features overlapping with those of autism but caused by mutations in the X-linked methyl-CpG-binding protein 2,60 where CA1 pyramidal neurons of increased cell packing density, without evidence of active degeneration61 and with hyperchromic appearance,62 are reported. Age-associated brain overgrowth is also noted in autism.63 Our findings in SJL Thim mice not only of significant, selective brain enlargement but also of close, inverse correlations between these histopathologic measures and measures of disinhibition or exploratory drive (center ambulatory distance and exploratory rearing) underscore the relevance of this model for understanding the mechanisms underlying the strain dependent vulnerability of developing neurobehavioral circuitry to neurotoxic insults. The relatively greater increase in sr of CA3 than in that of CA1 in SJL Thim mice is particularly intriguing. In addition to more general findings of macrocephaly, http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=macrocephaly eurycephaly http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=eurycephalic is reported in children with autism.64 Of further interest, the infrapyramidal mossy fiber bundle, pruned from up to two-thirds the length of CA3 to its shorter adult length between PN days 20 and 30 in mice,65 varies genetically and its size is linked to exploratory behaviors.66 The finding here of a correlation between enlargement of specific regional hippocampal fields and decreased levels of exploration (i.e., reduced center ambulatory distance and rearing counts, consistent with increased anxiety levels) in thimerosal-treated SJL mice suggests that pruning mechanisms may be selectively disrupted by this postnatal challenge. Partial deafferentation effects, with enhanced activity, may also contribute to interrelated abnormalities of DG and region CA1/CA2 abnormalities through incomplete damage to perforant path afferents or Schaffer collaterals. This investigation focused on brain regions that undergo postnatal maturation and are known to be susceptible to organic mercury exposures during development, hippocampus and cerebellum.8 Potential contributions from thimerosal-related damage in other brain areas, including entorhinal cortex, frontal cortex, cingulate cortex, thalamus, amygdala, and brainstem, need to be considered.
Posted by: Sue | January 04, 2009 at 03:13 PM
Personally, I think Tylenol is behind the huge increase in autism, since Tylenol is known to deplete glutathione. Parents are often told to give Tylenol before and after every round of vaccines to ward off fever and irritability. However, doing so will strip their bodies of glutathione when they need it the most-to filter out the toxins in the vaccines. Look at when the autism spike started...it was after they linked aspirin to Reye's Syndrome. Tylenol became much more widely used in the late 80's and early 90's, and I don't believe it's a coincidence that autism cases began increasing as well.
Posted by: Jen | January 04, 2009 at 11:54 AM
I agree with Heidi's point that the individual factors alone don't explain autism. It probably is some combination. To sum up my theory (for the 2 cents it's worth):
I think that either a vitamin D deficiency, a metal efflux disorder (such as a mutation to ATP7B), or being vaccinated while ill, and/or being vaccinated with too many shots at once leads to both increased absorption of heavy metals and low levels of intracellular glutathione. Low glutathione levels also result in an impaired ability to excrete toxic metals and causes a reduced ability to fight pathogens like the live measles virus in the MMR or even lyme disease).
The metals cause brain damage and brain injury can interfere with glutathione production (mercury has been found to cause immunosuppression). On the flip-side, abnormalities in glutamate receptors and glutamate transporters can also impair the body's ability to make glutathione and low glutathione would result in reduced metal efflux. Personally, I think the metals are the cause, but regardless of which factor is the cause and which is the effect:
"Glutamate receptors, such as the NMDA receptor, bind glutamate"
"Glutamate transporters are supposed to remove glutamate from the extracellular space, but In brain injury or disease they can work in reverse and excess glutamate can accumulate outside cells. This process causes calcium ions to enter cells via NMDA receptor channels, leading to neuronal damage and eventual cell death, and is called excitotoxicity." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutathione
So a person with the condition above probably would be severely susceptible to additional glutamate received from MSG.
That same webpage goes on to say:
"Excitotoxicity due to glutamate occurs as part of the ischemic cascade and is associated with stroke and diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, lathyrism, autism, some forms of mental retardation and Alzheimer's disease. Glutamic acid has been implicated in epileptic seizures."
"Excess glutamate at synapses, which may be released in conditions such as traumatic brain injury, can prevent the uptake of cysteine, a necessary building block of glutathione. Without the protection from oxidative injury afforded by glutathione, cells may be damaged or killed."
So it sounds to me that whatever the cause is, the low glutathione levels seem to be at the root of autism, and therefore it seems to me that increasing intracellular glutathione (either through supplements or by fixing whatever is causing the low glutathione levels) would probably be beneficial.
(But I'm not a doctor. Always consult with a doctor before making any medical decision.)
Posted by: CM | January 04, 2009 at 12:50 AM
Dr. Blaylock was in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Autism Expo when David Kirby was there and spoke a great deal about MSG.
Posted by: Angela S. | January 04, 2009 at 12:49 AM
People can have mercury and not autism, people can have infections like lyme and not have autism, and people can eat things like MSG and not have autism. So what is the caus? I say it's the combination of things. The body probably does all kinds of compensation for infections and toxins, but if too many infections and toxins are in us, then things go amiss in a big way, and we call it autism. I say it's ok to have several causes to autism. Afterall, doesn't pneumonia have several causes? But, I must admit, the most common thing I see reversing symptoms of autism is treating for lyme whether the test shows positive or not. (My children are recovered, including a non-relative I adopted).
Posted by: Heidi N | January 03, 2009 at 06:43 PM
I think we are all getting away from that fixated-on-mercury-as-the-sole-cause idea and can agree that a number of toxins ubiquitous in our food, water, air and, of course, vaccines, are working together in various ways to produce unique negative responses in each individual (after all, the MMR shot doesn't contain mercury). Foremost among the offending substances are mercury, msg, aspartame, fluoride, and, in some cases GMO foods. Even if msg doesn't turn out to be the sole or main cause of autism (and I personally don't think it is), its presence in the body is surely doing much harm. I appreciate the forum that has been given to Mr. Erb to bring his ideas to our attention.
Posted by: M.R.N. Olenick | January 03, 2009 at 02:02 PM
It sounds like aberrations in the glutamates in the cerebral spinal fluid might be the cause of the headaches that mercury poisoned people have
I would also like to mention one of the sneaky ways that MSG is put into your food. It is in something called "Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein" Sounds like something good but infact there is MSG in it
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | January 03, 2009 at 01:17 PM
From Gatogorra -
"The fact that glutamate/glutamine is abnormal in the brains of autistic individuals could be from chemicals which, though they don't contain MSG, still impact naturally occuring glutamate in the brain."
It seems like a lot of the kids suffer from hyperinsulism/ hyperammonemia. I found this study here below.
"The hyperinsulinism/hyperammonemia (HI/HA) syndrome is a form of congenital hyperinsulinism in which affected children have recurrent symptomatic hypoglycemia together with asymptomatic, persistent elevations of plasma ammonium levels. We have shown that the disorder is caused by dominant mutations of the mitochondrial enzyme, glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), that impair sensitivity to the allosteric inhibitor, GTP."
Did the mercury cause mutations in the GDH that set off a hyperinsulin/ hyperammonemic response? Is this why dumping mercury helps the autism? Can we do anything to treat the symptoms of this whilst we continue to chelate?
Here's another study that shows how important this really is:
Posted by: Question for a DAN! doc | January 03, 2009 at 11:12 AM
I wasted 8 months with my son on just GFCF, and it wasn't until we ALSO removed soy and MSG that we really saw a difference. MSG is a definite culprit. Dr. Blaylock has written some great articles on autism, MSG, and aspartame.
What is really sad is how many GFCF products and supplements contain "natural flavors" which is one of the MANY hidden names of MSG.
I called Kirkman Labs one time and asked what the source of their "natural fruit punch" or "natural berry flavor" was but they couldn't tell me, so I will not buy the products - and yes, it is that important to me and I believe it should be very important to all of us.
We should make it known that we WILL NOT tolerate this garbage in our foods/drinks/supplements/vaccines and the only way I can think of making that known is by not buying the products. I would not even give my turtle food with MSG.
A very special person suggested that I make all our food at home from scratch and that has changed our lives.
Posted by: Elizabeth Soliday | January 03, 2009 at 07:35 AM
I'd love to see you continue to pursue your research into this, particularly as drug companies ramp up the marketing of the new "glutamate brain chemical imbalance" theory (cough) and start creating another nuclear brain holocaust as they did with the dopamine theory and it's justification for drugging the daylights out of autistic people with neuroleptics.
I do have doubts that MSG is the core cause of autism because of the history of the disorder, but it sounds like it might be a contributor to the perfect storm of environmental brain damage. I have no MD by my name either-- not that that ever stopped me from thinking things through.
The fact that glutamate/glutamine is abnormal in the brains of autistic individuals could be from chemicals which, though they don't contain MSG, still impact naturally occuring glutamate in the brain. For instance, there's evidence that valproic acid (the antiseizure drug Depakote) is one environmental cause of autism and, though the drug doesn't contain MSG, it disrupts glutamate/glutamine in the brain. Apparently the drug does so (effects glutamate) partly by raising serum ammonia, which seems to (someone correct me if I'm wrong) in turn reduce glial uptake of glutamate, increases glutamine and causes swelling in the brain akin to Alzheimer's type-II astrocytosis. http://tinyurl.com/99tnvb
The same elevated serum ammonia caused by valproate can be seen in carnitine deficiency:
And carnitine deficiency is seen in autism:
Carnitine deficiency can be caused by valproate and there's some evidence it can be caused by mercury as well.
Carnitine deficiency = "hyperammonenic encephalopathy" = effects on glial uptake of glutamate/increase in glutamine (+ a bit of help from MSG in food and vaccines?).
Add this to the list of things which valproic acid and thimerosal have in common in terms of their impact on the brain (destruction of/disruption of the assembley of tubulin cells; disruption of glutamate, "leukencephalopathy", demyelinization) and it seems as if the valproate model underscores mercury as a culprit.
From looking into what you suggested, it seem that messing with glutamate contributes to the brain swelling seen in autism. From my rank layperson's point of view, that can't be good.
Posted by: Gatogorra | January 02, 2009 at 06:47 PM
Thank you so much, John, for your work over these many years.
The glutamate theory is a hard one to explain to folks even though it resolves every single puzzle piece of autism into a complete (if horrifying) picture. Mercury IS involved, but these children have a lot more mercury in them than what they have been injected with. A lot of people don't realize that the body has a natural means of chelation. But in a child with low glutathione levels, they have inadequate means of getting rid of mercury from anywhere. And in some tissues it is really hard to remove without a blood brain barrier crossing substance like alpha-lipoic acid. These kids shouldn't just be avoiding thimerosal which is common sense - they should be avoiding fish and avoiding the air near coal burning power plants and heavy metals of any kind, anywhere - period.
The latest batch of autism genes include RNF8 which codes for glutamate-cysteine ligase and the formation of glutathione. Children with the autism genes, either obtained by genetics or spontaneously created by exposure to valproic acid or other chemicals, are done a grave disservice if we feed them foods or give the MMR vaccine containing excess glutamate. They already have a genetic mutation that will lead to heavy metal toxicity and then we make it worse by feeding them free glutamate or injecting it into them.
In researching this topic, folks should type in glutamate and cystine, or cystiene, or glutathione, or glutamate-cystine transport. RNF8 gene. It will make a lot more sense how these items are truly connected. I have a flowchart that I just finished at msgtruth.org that shows how all of this is connected. The seemingly disparate symptoms of ASD also resolve when you see the chart.
In NJ the rate of autism is even higher than in the rest of the country. We have had specific cluster areas. One particular cluster just sticks out: a school where the teachers have autistic children. What do these kids and teachers have in common besides living in a state where the medical industry is pervasive and vaccinations mandatory? The same cafeteria.
We HAVE to look at the everything and leave nothing out: AIR, WATER, FOOD, VACCINES, MEDICATIONS. Anything that goes into a child should be examined. If we worry about brain damage in children with PKU and use diet to treat it while the brain is being hard-wired, why is it so hard for researchers to look at another amino acid which neuroscientists like Dr. Blaylock, or Dr. John Olney have been telling us for years causes brain cell death in babies.
Lets keep looking for answers. Science is about the truth. We can find it together, but only if we all want the same thing. A better life for our children.
John, thanks again for putting your entire career and reputation on the line for the truth. You are an angel.
Posted by: carol hoernlein | January 02, 2009 at 05:11 PM
Our child's gluathione levels were normal (as was everything else - including genetics tests' results) but the mercury level was 10 times heigher than it should have been. Our child has regressive autism, is severely intellectually delayed, and suffers from an intractible seizure disorder.
It is outrageous to us that although the food industry has pretty much removed MSG from food products, some pharmaceutical companies continue to manufacture it so that it is injected into humans - pregnant women and children. Mercury - removed from OTC products, thermometers, make-up, pregnant women warned not to ingest it - but some pharmaceutical companies continue to manufacture it so that it is injected into humans - pregnant women and children. And formaldehyde - people living in FEMA trailers were forced to evacuate but some pharmaceutical companies continue to manufacture it so that it is injected into humans - pregnant women and children.
This issue will not go away unless and until ALL toxins are removed from vaccines and all unnecessary vaccines are removed from the schedule. Those who profit from them would like everyone to believe it's not that simple. They have used and continue to use a myriad of techniques and approaches to muddle the issue. But it is just that simple. We have to keep reminding everyone of that.
The fault lies with the product (vaccines) and the manufacturers who refuse to address and correct the defects in them. Continuing to manufacture defective product is arrogant lunacy. The pharmaceutical companies guilty of this should be held to the same standards as other industries. Perhaps moreso because of the nature of their industry.
It is time for our government and healthcare officials to stand up to these insidious bullies on behalf of our children and our families.
Posted by: biomedmom | January 02, 2009 at 04:26 PM
I have a very affected daughter so I do appreciate all research on autism. While there is much evidence to the harm of MSG, to see it as a cause of autism, and possibly a #1 cause for autism, might be a bit of a reach. The mentioning that mercury might be a downstream effect of MSG begs a different stream of thought.
If we were to look at the inverse of that comment, that mercury can cause the haywire effect of the glutamate system, then MSG's havoc would be the downstream effect. This study kind of does that:
Mercury compounds disrupt neuronal glutamate transport in cultured mouse cerebellar granule cells
Elena Fonfría 1, M. Teresa Vilaró 1 2, Zoila Babot 1, Eduard Rodríguez-Farré 1, Cristina Suñol 1 *
Cerebellar granule cells are targeted selectively by mercury compounds in vivo. Despite the affinity of mercury for thiol groups present in all cells, the molecular determinant(s) of selective cerebellar degeneration remain to be elucidated fully. We studied the effect of mercury compounds on neuronal glutamate transport in primary cultures of mouse cerebellar granule cells. Immunoblots probed with an antibody against the excitatory amino acid transporter (EAAT) neuronal glutamate transporter, EAAT3, revealed the presence of a specific band in control and mercury-treated cultures. Micromolar concentrations of both methylmercury and mercuric chloride increased the release of endogenous glutamate, inhibited glutamate uptake, reduced mitochondrial activity, and decreased ATP levels. All these effects were completely prevented by the nonpermeant reducing agent Tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine (TCEP). Reduction of mitochondrial activity by mercuric chloride, but not by methylmercury, was inhibited significantly by 4,4-diisothiocyanato-stilbene-2,2-disulfonic acid (DIDS) and by reduced extracellular Cl- ion concentration. In addition, DIDS and low extracellular Cl- completely inhibited the release of glutamate induced by mercuric chloride, and produced a partial although significant reduction of that induced by methylmercury. We suggest that a direct inhibition of glutamate uptake triggers an imbalance in cell homeostasis, leading to neuronal failure and Cl--regulated cellular glutamate efflux. Our results demonstrate that neuronal glutamate transport is a novel target to be taken into account when assessing mercury-induced neurotoxicity. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
I bring this up not to deny the effects MSG has -- it is a nasty thing for the body -- but to look at how puzzle pieces directly influence how we perceive the picture.
Also, the original Kanner children (originally reported in 1943) were born/diagnosed before the introduction of MSG -- "The Ajinomoto company was formed to manufacture and market MSG in Japan; the name 'Ajinomoto' means "essence of taste". It was introduced to the United States in 1947 as Ac'cent flavor enhancer." WIKI
Just some additional food for thought.
Posted by: Teresa | January 02, 2009 at 03:10 PM
How odd is it.... and it is odd.... that pretty much everyone in any health debate in this country, whole heartedly agrees that the western lifestyle and diet is ruining the health of Americans and is doing the most damage to American children.
Yet when you start to parcel out what specific substances might actually be doing the damage, big obvious compounds known and sometimes even specifically used to have neurological and immunological impacts, (mercury, aluminum, glutamate, etc.) suddenly no one wants to investigate?
I have a very clear memory of watching tv with my mother around 1976 when we saw a commercial for Accent Flavor Enhancer - "Brings Out The Flavor Of Food!". I must have said something to the effect of, 'hey mom... lets get that." (apparently I was a foodie from quite a young age). She explained that Accent was not a spice mix that actually makes the food taste better, but a chemical called monosodium glutamate that acts on your brain to make it think the food tastes better, and that we couldn't buy it because it gave her those horrible migraines that sent her to bed for days.
So I have known since I was seven that glutamate was a psychoactive substance that was my super mom's kryptonite, but even after 30 plus years of full knowledge that this stuff does things to people's brains, and even though it is ubiquitous in our society, we want to avoid looking at the actually damage it is doing in the brains of our beautiful babies?
I am all about the mercury theory, but just as we don't know what these vaccines are doing in combination, we don't know what these vaccine ingredients are doing in combination.
We cannot ignore logical lines of causation inquiry to promote another. We need to know the whole truth.
I will be interested to know Mr. Erb's plan of attack against MSG and how we can be of service.
I think this might be a fight my mom is interested in too.
Posted by: Ginger Taylor | January 02, 2009 at 01:45 PM
Here, here. I've been waiting for a theory that makes more sense to our situation. My son is not mercury poisoned, he was not affected by the MMR, he does not have gut issues, bowel issues, allergies, leaky anything - he is a healthy horse, physically. (It took thousands of dollars worth of DAN-ordered testing to put all of that to rest and an end to the cookie-cutter biomed treatment madness).
However, there is definitely something wrong with his brain and nervous system. He has a large brain, he suffers from over-excitability (like his system is constantly on overdrive) -and underneath it all is very intelligent. Well above average, I'd say.
Would love to hear more about this theory and possible remedies. Hopefully, it doesn't mean irreparable brain damage.
Keep up the fight! The mystery has yet to be solved and NO ONE has all of the answers yet.
Posted by: Sara | January 02, 2009 at 01:33 PM
"...I theorized that something was actually causing the brains of those with ASD to grow too much. The culprit: Monosodium Glutamate. Introduced to the America diet in 1950 it is an amino acid added to food to make it taste better and to vaccines to stabilize the active ingredients."
Mr. Erb, whilst I agree that MSG should be removed from vaccines and the food supply I seriously doubt it is the main culprit for ASD. If it were, we would have seen an explosion in autism in the 1950s.
The explosion occurred in the 1990s after the vaccine load on infants quadrupled and they got mercury in their veins in unprecedented quantities. The Hep B virus is mito depleting, as is the influenza virus. Our kids' mitochondria is seriously damaged thanks to the mercury and autism symtoms resemble mercury poisoning symptoms. Chelation is the number one intervention for ASD kids as per the ARI poll.
MSG is an excitotoxin and furthers the damage caused by the mercury and the vaccines. There are multiple factors at play here which is why this condition is so hard to treat. Which is why we the parents of injured kids are blowing our already stressed brains out, trying to prevent further damage to future generations of kids that a bankrupt economy is ill-equipped to handle. Or will find out soon enough.
Posted by: Holy Ghost | January 02, 2009 at 01:33 PM
My daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. She was reading everything she could put her hands on by 18 months although she had no functional language. She has perfect pitch, perfect spelling, grammar, and punctuation...none of it actually taught to her. She can listen to a song and reproduce it on the piano. She taught herself to speak fluent Japanese through the computer in a matter of months....and she is highly addicted to MSG. She can type 130 words per minute. She has amazing skills, an amazing brain, but still lacks so many of the basic functional skills. This MSG theory plays out beautifully in this little girl. Parts of her brain are highly developed and her neurotransmitters are completely disrupted. She is now 10, we restrict her MSG but the damage has been done...we are bio-medically doing all we can to fill the gaps. You would think the medical establishment would be interested in studying this amazing brain and the effects of MSG on it. You would be wrong...we have been to Kennedy Krieger, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins, George Washington University, Pfeifer, and they all find her "interesting"...isn't that swell.
Posted by: Sonja Lopez | January 02, 2009 at 10:30 AM
I think that you should approach the vaccine makers with your theory. As much pressure as they are getting they would love a way out. I think we embrace your thought process. One of the first things the DAN doctor told me was to remove preservatives from Tanners Diet. I feel we should be open to any and all theories until a cause or causes are known. Just like we do not know what is in our vaccines... What is MSG?
I think a theory has made into the culture when they start making jokes about it.
Why are ingredients listed on potato chips and not vaccines? Formula to make your own flu vaccine... Would be funny if it were not so scary and sad...
Whats in your shot?
Posted by: Tanners Dad | January 02, 2009 at 07:52 AM
Please keep up your research. MSG and aspartame needs to be out of the food (it's even in baby formula) and vaccines. Dr. Blaylock has excellent informaiton on his website regarding the dangers of MSG. Thanks for all your hard work.
Posted by: Maggie | January 02, 2009 at 07:52 AM