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Here’s Why Vegans Need To Lay Off The Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Yeast Vegan MSG Migraine Headache Diet Nutrition

Nutritional yeast is a popular condiment used among vegans. Described as having a nutty or cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is often used in place of cheese. Beloved among many vegans, it has long since been a point of contention that nutritional yeast contains MSG. In hopes of clearing up that rumor, it’s important to know this one truth: nutritional yeast doesn’t contain MSG, it is MSG.


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What is MSG?

“MSG is a salt that occurs naturally in glutamic acid (a non-essential amino acid). But there's nothing natural about the extreme damage it can do to you.” According to Anthony William, NY Times Best Selling Author of Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal.

“MSG typically builds up in your brain, going deep into your brain tissue. It can then cause inflammation and swelling, kill thousands of your brain cells, disrupt electrical impulses, weaken neurotransmitters, burn out neurons, make you feel confused and anxious, and even lead to micro-strokes. It also weakens and injures your central nervous system.”

There Are No Circumstances Where MSG Is Good For You

Researchers of a a 2009 study conducted by Oregon Health And Science University and published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine found that “MSG induces cell swelling or death, and whether any measure can be taken to prevent or reduce MSG effects. We demonstrated that treatment with MSG induces a dose-dependent swelling and death of mature neurons (12-14 days in culture) with little effect on young immature neurons.”

MSG Worsens Chronic Illness And More

MSG is particularly harmful if you are dealing chronic illness due to bacterial or viral conditions or any illness that has a neurological component. “Corn, wheat, soy and MSG (and nutritional yeast) feed pathogens in the body and can be found on nutritional labels as glutamate, carrageenan, hydrolyzed, autolyzed, protease, maltodextrin, sodium caseinate, balsamic vinegar, barley malt, malt extract, yeast extract, brewer’s yeast, corn starch, wheat starch, modified food starch, gelatin, textured protein, whey protein, soy protein, soy sauce, broth, bouillon, stock, and seasoning,” according to William.

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MSG Causes Headache

In other research published, in the Journal Cephalaigia, a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study investigated the occurrence of adverse effects such as headache after oral administration of monosodium glutamate (MSG).

In three sessions, 14 healthy men drank sugar-free soda that contained either MSG (75 or 150 mg/kg) or NaCl (24 mg/kg, placebo). Plasma glutamate level, pain, pressure pain thresholds and tolerance levels, blood pressure, heart rate and reported adverse effects were assessed for 2 hours.

No muscle pain or robust changes in mechanical sensitivity were detected, but there was a significant increase in reports of headache and subjectively reported pericranial muscle tenderness after MSG.

Systolic blood pressure was elevated in the high MSG session compared with low MSG and placebo. These findings add new information to the concept of MSG headache and facial pain sensitivity.

Its Best To Avoid MSG

Whether MSG is naturally occurring (think soy sauce) or, created chemically as a by-product of sugar fermentation for commercial use, it is best avoided to secure good health. If you find you are having headaches or any other enhanced neurological reactions such as neuropathy after eating nutritional yeast or any food containing MSG remove it from your diet and monitor your symptoms for improvement.

Always work closely with your practitioner or naturopath to monitor symptoms and consult with a Holistic Nutrition Professional if you feel you need to work on a vegan or vegetarian diet that is right for you.