The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Extreme sensitivity to MSG causing severe insomnia - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Hypersensitivity and Intolerance' started by Mary, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    Last night I made meat loaf and put mustard in it. I read the label carefully but did not realize that citric acid was a source of msg (http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html) So I got about 3-1/2 hours sleep, which I was lucky to be able to do.

    On the list I linked I seem to be sensitive to everything on it. I eat almost no processed foods at night, including mayonnaise! and now mustard. Everything seems to have msg sources in it.

    Does anyone have any ideas about how I might be able to reduce this sensitivity? My main symptom is extreme insomnia, not being able to go to sleep until after 3:30 a.m. I've read that low B6 may help alleviate this, but I already take 100 mg. a day (if I take if at night, IT causes insomnia for me! :bang-head:)
     
  2. Thinktank

    Thinktank Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes:
    1,582
    Europe
    Have you tried magnesium glycinate? That should antagonize the nmda receptors.

    I also react badly to MSG or high doses of glutamate, magnesium then really helps me get in a more relaxed state.
     
    Mary likes this.
  3. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    I've been taking magnesium glycinate for several years, I take 1 capsule (133 mg.) 4 times a day, including before bed. I haven't tried extra in the middle of the night when I can't sleep so perhaps that's worth trying - thanks! :)
     
  4. helen1

    helen1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    979
    Likes:
    1,383
    Canada
    I’m like you, any amount of free glutamate in any of its many forms keeps me awake twitching most of the night. Solution: memorize everything on the list below and don’t eat any! But oddly, don't see citric acid on it:

    http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html
     
    Carnation4000 and Mary like this.
  5. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    It's in the middle column, a little more than halfway down. I had never noticed it before either --
     
    helen1 likes this.
  6. halcyon

    halcyon Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes:
    5,498
    Citric acid is not a source of MSG. They are chemically completely different things. Let's put it this way, even if some free glutamic acid is created by the production process of citric acid and ends up in the final product, the amounts you would have ingested from the mustard are astronomically smaller than the likely 100s or 1000s of milligrams of glutamic acid that your gut created in the process of digesting the protein in the meat.

    Also, glutamate cannot cross the blood brain barrier, so it's unlikely that consumed glutamate could have any direct central effects.
     
    pamojja and Hip like this.
  7. halcyon

    halcyon Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes:
    5,498
    Also, are you able to sleep for 8 hours after you fall asleep at 3AM? If so, that's not insomnia, that's delayed sleep phase, which is a hallmark of ME. There's not a whole lot you can do about it.
     
  8. andyguitar

    andyguitar Senior Member

    Messages:
    622
    Likes:
    926
    South east England
    Suggest you consider the stimulant effect of mustard as being the trigger for your sleeping problem.
     
  9. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    Several years ago I developed an intolerance to anything that has MSG and just about anything on this list. It causes a particular kind of insomnia where I cannot fall asleep until after 3:30 in the morning, and then will sleep 3 to 4 hours and that's it. If I'm extremely careful and don't eat anything processed for dinner - nothing with any additives, then I generally fall asleep by 10:00 p.m. And then I'll sleep for 3 to 3-1/2 hours, and then be awake for 2 to 3 hours and then hopefully back to sleep, and if I'm lucky will get 7 hours altogether. That's my normal pattern.

    You can say what you like about glutamate not crossing the blood brain barrier, but that doesn't matter - I react very badly to anything with MSG or MSG sources as I said above. Before I developed this MSG intolerance, I had middle of the night insomnia. At one time it was related to high cortisol and now I don't know the cause. But I had it for years before I started reacting to MSG. It took me quite awhile to find out what was causing my newly developed sporadic inability to fall asleep- actually I would start to feel very revved up. And finally I began to associate it with what I had for dinner. I finally made the connection after having this newly developed insomnia after eating at a Thai restaurant. And this particular insomnia - getting revved up and unable to fall asleep until after 3:30 a.m. - does not happen if I eat nothing processed for dinner.
     
    Carnation4000 and Sundancer like this.
  10. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    Nope - only sleep for 3 or 4 hours if I'm lucky. See my post above. I don't have delayed sleep phase. If I eat no processed foods for dinner, I don't get this crazy revved up inability to fall asleep.
     
  11. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    That's possible, but I react to anything with MSG or sources of glutamate. Frigging mayonnaise has "natural flavors"! They put it in everything. This inability to fall asleep until after 3:00 or 3:30 (plus feeling revved up) only happens when I eat something that contains a substance on this list (which includes just about all processed foods): http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

    I really would like to get over this sensitivity - I used to have "just" middle of the night insomnia, which was bad enough, but this is in a league of its own.
     
  12. andyguitar

    andyguitar Senior Member

    Messages:
    622
    Likes:
    926
    South east England
    Bloody hell that's a lot of things you cant eat! But processed food ain't good and it's expensive.
     
  13. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    True! But I used to be able to eat a can of chili for dinner - not too expensive and the best part of course was no work was involved if I was crashed. Now I can't. In general I eat very little processed food anyways. I agree, in general it's not good for us. But now I have to cut out things like mustard and mayonnaise at night.

    There's a chile verde I used to make and one of the ingredients is green salsa verde - it's delicious. And I can't make that any more for dinner because they've added something to the canned green salsa verde (something like xanthan gum, can't remember exactly). technically I can make my own sauce but it's a lot of work, so it's not practical.

    I can eat a plain piece of protein, meat, chicken, fish, vegetables with salt and butter, very basic food, and I do okay.

    I love Thai food and now that's no longer possible to eat at night.
     
  14. caledonia

    caledonia

    Messages:
    4,404
    Likes:
    3,552
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    It's such a minefield, I don't eat any processed food and make all my own food from scratch. I can also react to citrates or citric acid, especially in supplements.

    There are also some naturally occurring glutamates - tomatoes (especially concentrated sources like tomato sauce or paste), mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and there's one more biggie I can never remember. Also anything with umami flavor like soy sauce or fish sauce.

    (The Thai could have fish sauce in it.)

    The reason for the sensitivity is your GABA/glutamate balance is probably off. Those two work together. GABA is calming, while glutamate is excitatory and stimulating. You should have more GABA than glutamate. Your ratio might be the opposite. It could make you prone to anxiety too.

    Anyway, besides avoidance, you might be able to get some relief with Pharma GABA or theanine supplementation.
     
  15. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,057
    Likes:
    4,929
    mustard has MSG?? does ketchup too? oh man
     
  16. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    Thanks @caledonia. I have read about those things (e.g., tomatoes, one of my favorite foods! :aghhh:) I do take l-theanine though it doesn't do a lot for me. I also take a ton of other stuff for sleep, but when I accidentally ingest something with msg at night, nothing will touch that insomnia.

    I haven't tried Pharma GABA and will look into that - thanks! :)
     
    Sundancer likes this.
  17. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    As you can see from halcyon's posts, there is dispute over whether citric acid is a source of glutamate sufficient to cause symptoms. However, I react to it and almost everything on the list I linked above. I have 2 different kinds of mustard. One has citric acid, and the other has "spices" - a euphemism for msg or glutamate source. I have to avoid both at dinner.

    Heinz ketchup has something called "natural flavoring", another euphemism for msg. You have to read every ingredient on the label. Unfortunately, almost every processed food has some type of msg or glutamate source.

    I do okay if I eat processed food at lunch (though obviously it's not the most nutritious thing and generally I avoid it), but if I have it with dinner I end up with nightmare insomnia.
     
  18. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,402
    Likes:
    2,033
    I don't eat much processed food, either, but did discover a mayo that's simply delicious. However, I don't know if any of the ingredients pose an MSG problem.

    The mayo is Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo, and here are the ingredients:

    Avocado Oil, Organic Cage-Free Eggs, Organic Cage-Free Egg Yolks, Organic Vinegar (from Non-GMO Beets), Sea Salt, Organic Rosemary Extract
     
    Carnation4000 and Mary like this.
  19. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Messages:
    3,312
    Likes:
    7,488
    Southern California
    I don't see any problem with those ingredients - thanks! :)
     
  20. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,402
    Likes:
    2,033
    @Mary, it is expensive, almost $10 a jar. However, it takes me a long time to go through a jar of mayo.

    I think the avocado oil is a large part of why this is so delicious. It tastes incredibly rich. If I want a neutral flavor in a cooking oil, I use avocado oil now.

    I get the Primal Kitchen mayo at Whole Foods. In Austin it's also stocked at some of the other grocery stores as well as one of the integrative pharmacies that sells food.
     
    Carnation4000 and Mary like this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page