Do You Have Insomnia? It Might Be Excitotoxins : The Renegade Health Show Episode #591

Tuesday Jun 15 | BY |
| Comments (50)

Today is the first of a three part interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock on excitotoxins…

In this interview, he gives a quick primer on excitotoxins, what they do to the body and how they can cause insomnia.

Check this out…

Your question of the day: What has been your experience with excitotoxins? Do you have a reaction to MSG?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments here!

If you want to learn more about Dr. Russell Blaylock and excitotoxins, please visit his site here:

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. I sleep like a rock and always have, for the most part. But this is really interesting info! It’s amazing how many products contain MSG.

  2. Bev says:

    Noticed the stimulation from MSG in take out Chinese food and even though I liked the taste and convenience I stopped buying it quite awhile ago because it felt addictive and dangerous. It is!

  3. Kelly says:

    Does anyone know if nutritional yeast is a neurotoxin? If it is, then I have had much experience. I have read conflicting articles on this topic.

  4. Lynn says:

    Dr Blaylock is one of my heroes!!!

  5. Paula says:

    From my observations – people eating food laced with MSG are able to put away a freakish amount.

    For instance – I remember in college eating an entire bag of popular triangular corn chips.

    I still like corn chips occasionally, but when I eat organic, I can maybe eat a handful before I am STUFFED.

    I’ve noticed that my family will eat less gourmet home made pizza then the local pizza parlor. I make fantastic pizza with real ingredients and they simply can’t put it away the way they can the MSG pizza – everyone gets full and satisfied.

    I have heart issues so MSG was never big with me, it gives me palpitations, racing heart and nausea. I guess with the racing heart, and the indigestion that goes with eating too much, I can see the insomnia link.

  6. Michael T. says:

    Glutamate is in almost all foods naturally. It is an amino acid, and it occurs in everything that has protein, including fruits and veggies as well as fermented foods such as soy sauce and miso.

    I believe the problem is taking too much at any one time. I’ve noticed some stimulating effects from taking too much soy sauce.

    I’ve cut back on eating soy sauce and other fermented soy products, and that has helped a lot. I don’t have problems with insomnia.

    I don’t believe that yeast flakes have msg, because the protein is not in the form of free amino acids. However, if you see the term “yeast extract” or “hydrolyzed protein” in a product, it would have free amino acids including glutamate.

    Interesting to note that glutamate is one of the things that make food taste good. That’s one reason why Thai food tastes so good, the fermented ingredients they use provide a lot of glutamate.

  7. Barbara says:

    I get itchy and wheeze if I have too much MSG. I try to keep away from it altogether. Great show by the way, can’t wait for Part II.

  8. nicole says:

    Why do the videos sometime have a spinny circle and stop and start off and on? It happens a lot and wonder if it’s my computer?

  9. kathleen says:

    I try to stay away from all forms of MSG. Is maltodextrin a form of MSG?

  10. Sarah says:

    I haven’t noticed any effects from msg, but I try to stay away from it, knowing that it is an excitotoxin. Before seeing this interview, I didn’t really know what that meant. Very eye opening interview. Thanks! Can’t wait for part 2.
    Nicole(#6), the spinny thing sounds like your computer trying to load the video. Mine is slow sometimes too. Press pause, go get a snack, and by the time you come back it should be loaded, ready to go! ;o)

  11. Andrea says:

    Horrible reactions to MSG (from Chinese food, when we forgot to ask about it): brain feels like it’s being crushed in a vice, perception changed (hard to explain how – it was just weird). Fortunately, walking in fresh air for about 20 minutes seemed to clear it up pretty much.

  12. john says:

    Kevin top marks -excellent show with Dr.Blaylock a true intelligent and humanitarian who speaks the truth in a world full of lies, like the controlled medical cartel and the shadow government we now live in.

  13. JoAnne says:

    oxygen takes care of soooo many allergen effects its amazing

  14. KB says:

    I wasn’t feeling well for a long time, only to discover my body was reacting negatively to MSG. I have a horrible reaction to MSG–heart rate drops into the 40’s for maybe an hour or so, I sweat and my breathing changes like I can’t take a full breath, then my heart rate goes back to normal but then my heart goes out of rhythm. The whole episode is an uncomfortable feeling while this is happening and it takes about 4-5 hours for my body to get back to normal. It has been a learning experience and I’ve educated myself about MSG as much as possible so I know what I can and cannot consume. I’m appalled to learn that some crops (even organic) are getting sprayed with a form of MSG! When it first started happening, it was downright scary–it seemed the healthier I got, the more severe the reaction. If it is even questionable if something might have MSG, I don’t consume it. I feel great every day now for over a year as long as I stay away from MSG.

  15. Nicole says:

    I don’t think I get headaches or allergic reactions to MSG, but there are some foods that when I eat them my brain just pulses, “more, more, more” and I end up overeating, and I assume there are excitotoxins in the foods (chips, store-bought pastry, popcorn)…or maybe I just have a problem with overeating salty-fatty-sweet food.

  16. Connie says:

    Oh yeah! I recently tried to do a 6 week 100% raw vegan diet, but fell off the wagon at 4.5 weeks. Having done so, I decided to enjoy all the things I had been craving and did so for a week. The last 3 days I had Hawkins Cheezies (my favorite treat in all the world). Boy did I feel terrible. Couldn’t wait to get back on raw! Today was the first day I’ve felt good in a week and a half! Now I APPRECIATE the raw food I was forcing myself to eat so I guess it was worth it. 🙂


  17. Shanon says:

    Can you post a list of the “secret” ingredient names for glutamate? It would really help to know what to look for.


  18. Christine S. says:

    A friend of mine has extreme reactions to MSG. He gets an anger-irritable-antsie episode that can sometimes last 24 hours or more.

    I would urge everyone to go to Dr. Blaylock’s website to get more information… the hidden names that “they” use on our food labels, if nothing else. He has quite an interesting story too (in more detail).

    It is doubtful that many of us who follow a healthy diet find ourselves in any type of fast food establishment anymore, but one that we thought was relatively safe, El Polo Loco,(for the rice and beans only, plus the pico de gallo, onions, cilantro and lemon) has turned up to have MSG in several of their menu items. Basically, anything with a sauce, dressing, soup base, or gravy, bought commercially, has MSG in it! You are going to be surprised when you start investigating it for yourself. My friend had to spend half an hour on the phone with corporate headquarters before they would admit that MSG is put into the seasonings that they use to broil their chickens.

    Seriously scarey stuff!

  19. amy says:

    #6 spin thingys… the browser using foxfire or something other than explorer. It does it sometimes to me too! But if I close explorer and open with foxfire all is fine!

  20. Elaine says:

    I’ve been doing raw food for 2 years now and this is the first I’ve heard about excitotoxins or glutemate, fascinating, thank you for doing this interview, it makes so much sense.

  21. Kathryn says:

    MSG may be one of the hardest things to avoid along with wheat when dining out or buying any type of pre-made food.

    I usually don’t like to eat out too much anymore because of the MSG problem – even health foods stores put this into food they prepare that’s suppose to be healthy!

    If I do eat out and shortly after my brain ceases to work – that’s a “Big” sign of MSG poisoning.

    By the way, fermented food has MSG which is created by the process of fermentation.

  22. Evelina says:

    I experience a sticky feeling in the mouth, as if the taste is glued at the back of my tongue. When I ate a lot – I got used to it, when I don’t I’m repelled.

    I have never commented before, but I think your show is skitbra (funny swedish word) – and your approach and attitude is to admire. Loved your book High Raw.

    Still I’m in confusion mode, thinking about what the next steps for me are. I’ve got a big fight to fight with the malicous thief candida.

    Can I become free from candida still eating fruits? (one health practioner told me that I might have to fight it for TWO years?!) There are so many different answers and I don’t know what to believe. Kevin, how did you overcome your candida? Maybe you’ve addressed this question before, but I would love to get your point of view.

    Thanks for filling out your space here in the world!!

  23. Taylor says:

    I get terrible anxiety when I eat MSG.

    So what are some of the other names that labels will call Glutamate?
    There’s also other names for aspartame now too, some even include it in so called “natural flavors” so beware!

  24. Page says:

    Wow! I was aware of the MSG issue, but never really understood the science. I snacked on some oriental-style rice crackers yesterday – no MSG was blatantly listed on the ingredients, but I ended up having a raging headache yesterday afternoon. Soy sauce extract and maltodextrin were listed. I’ve really learned my lesson. Organic, crunchie veggies from now on!

  25. Marie-Line says:

    I’m 53 and I was very young when I discovered I had really bad reactions(monstreous headaches and nausea)to MSG, mostly from Chinese food (Chinese restaurant syndrome). Ever since I’been reading the labels of eveything I buy.

    Is anyone other than me experiencing not being able to open the videos??? I was able to do so only once in 3 months.

    A great day to all.

  26. Mary Moore says:

    Hi Kevin, Thanks for this! Along the same line: I heard of a study where a psychology student asked to research criminal behaviour. She was allowed to observe a prison inmate who had perpetrated several grizzly murders. He was a raging, volatile man. The very first day, she watched him consume 51 (fifty one) cups of coffee! She asked that they secretly switch his coffee to decaffeinated, gradually over a month. He became quiet, relaxed, and even somewhat congenial! MY OBSERVATION: We can GREATLY REDUCE CRIME by having ALL BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES get rid of the CAFFEINE! Street people are given a sandwich and coffee at 10 p.m.and many give free coffee all day! PLEASE KEVIN! You have contacts and influence. The very people whose hearts are big, warm fuzzies are pouring fuel to the fires of rage, violence, and the personal discomfort of the very people they are trying to help. They are inciting behavioural disorders, involuntary insomnia, agitation, and all manner of illness. THANK YOU! Mary Moore

  27. Moira says:

    Thanks Kevin for a very informative interview. I am really looking forward to the next segments. But what I am wondering is if I am not eating any processed food (on a primal diet) for several months now, why do I still have pressure in my head and insomnia along with a measure of anxiety and irritability? Is it probable that damage from glutamates is permanent? Is there anything that is known to correct this?

  28. Dee says:

    I guess my question is what other forms does MSG appear on labels as now? And what are other excitotoxins that we should look out for?

  29. Toni Vandyke says:

    After almost 40 years of suffering headaches and migraines. Trying all different “cures”, having lots of different tests, no one had been able to help me.
    Even when I began my raw diet 15 years ago, I was initially helped but then they (the headaches and migraines) came back.

    Then I saw a You Tube presentation by a young man (who’s name I can’t remember) who’d been in jail and had read excitotoxins. . .

    Also, I bought a handbook from the Prince of Wales Hotpital in Australia.

    With the help of these two books I discovered that just about all glutamates give me the headaches and migraines.
    (I CAN eat tomatoes and broccoli in moderation)
    If I leave them all out of my diet I am pain free.
    How amazing is THAT – and so easy ! !

  30. Teri says:

    So what other “names” are they using for this since they’re disguising it?

  31. Jack says:

    MSG Synonyms

    Sodium glutamate,
    L-glutamic acid, monosodium salt
    Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
    Autolyzed yeast
    Whey protein

  32. I think Dr. Blaylock is just *amazing*, and has done such an extraordinary risk – and humanitarian service – by releasing his book in ’94.

    If you want to really dig into his work a little more, you can see his ~1hour long talk on Google Videos:

    (One of the things I liked from this talk was slides reveals the other ‘names’ that these Glutamates go by in food labels….)

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of these interviews. Thanks, Kevin!

  33. Diana(Ohio) says:

    I have had SEVERE migraines all my life, so bad that they would put me in the hospital, and it wasn’t just the pain, it affected my entire body like it was short circuiting or something!!! Speech and motor skills would be so messed up like I was having a stroke, my heart rate would speed up and I couldn’t breath like I was having a heart attack! My brain would be so confused it would have a hard time answering basic questions. I thought I was going crazy!!!

    Then a few years back it happened after a big family celebration at a chinese restaurant and I ended up in the hospital, but this time the Doctor there actually said it was MSG poisoning!! He told me not to even touch the stuff let alone eat it.

    I went on an MSG free diet (not without a few mistakes, because it is in almost everything) and have never had this happen since. If I slip and have a few potato chips or something, boy do I feel it, but not to the extent of when my body was saturated with it.

    Knowing the reactions first hand, I can see it in others, especially kids! But the sad part is that when you try to share this kind of thing with parents, they still say that it is not the foods, that the kids have something “wrong” with them like ADD or ADHD and that they “need” medication, its SO SAD TO WATCH !!!!

    Kevin, THANK YOU for getting this info out.

    Sorry for the long post, but this really struck a cord with me, as will the topic of glutin intolerance if you care to bring that up and the reactions it is causing in so many children.

    Keep up the good work, you guys are awesome!

    Diana (Ohio)

  34. Diana(Ohio) says:

    Mary Moore
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I would like to point out also that the foods they are feeding them is also fueling the fire with all of it chemicals, artificial flavoring, coloring and god only knows what else. I get so confused by all of the food drives to “help” feed the poor, when I know that the processed foods are actually hurting them. It just doesn’t make any sense to add bad health to their situations. If we want to help these people, lets give them real food and also teach them how to grow it too. A lot of healing comes from tending a garden 🙂

  35. Casey and Mateo says:

    I have known that MSG effects me very strongly for a long time. Then when my son was 2yr’s old some how we ate some food with MSG in it and he went all red in the face, splotchie and got over excited. So my husband finally saw the reaction that can happen and how it effects our son. For me in the past I felt the MSG effects like I was on drugs, bad ones, then some time last year I went out for Chinese Food and spent the night in the hospital cause no one believed me that they should not put MSG in my food. All the better for my health any how no more Chinese Food ever.

  36. Randy says:

    Taylor, post 16, and Dee 20:

    In the movie the Beautiful Truth, it gets into the MSG issue. Monopotassium glutamate, glutamate, and glutamic acid were 3 that they showed from a list very briefly that are in products that companies might label “No MSG”.

    The documentary makers then talk to Dr. Blaylock and a Dr. John Olney briefly.

  37. steph says:

    Been off excitotoxins for a while though I wonder what it is in chewing gum like trident and all the sugar free gums out there that when SOMEONE ELSE chews it near me I get a headache! They’ve become so powerful in flavor that the smell of it just pierces my nose and i get nautious and a headache. Anyone else?

  38. Jacquie says:

    Excellent show, Kevin! I’m an avid follower of Dr. Blaylock, too. I get headaches from MSG, and I work very hard to stay away from it. It is so wrong that the government/powers that be who should be protecting us allow the games that manufacturers play with labeling and wording. It’s even sadder that they allow all of these chemicals. Just another reason I’m going to go make a smoothie for dinner. 😉

  39. Kuru says:

    Right on, Mary Moore #26 re caffeine and reducing crime. We could also reduce road rage, spouse abuse, patriarchal dominance (by males and females), loud talking, all-about-me attitudes, impatience, rudeness, unconsciousness, ad finitum!! I’m so glad I quit coffee. Starbuck’s really did us in.

    Can’t wait for the next interview with Dr. Blaylock; love his knowledge and his accent! (Virginia?)

  40. Elisabeth says:

    Depending on the dose I ingest I get anywhere from a headache to a migraine that lasts for about three days, and yes insomnia. Also feel like being run over by a truck. And it really affects me emotionally as well, feeling really bad and depressed. An excellent website listing all the hidden names is
    The really sad part is, as previously mentioned, that they also spray produce with auxigro which has msg in it, and yes also organic produce. I do get a headache when I eat organic lettuce (romaine, red leaf, green leaf, spinach). It’s very frustrating to eat healthy and I can’t. I’m mostly eating iceberg lettuce where I can take the outer leaf off and I’ll be fine since it is tightly packed and no spray get’s to it. Not very nutriouses 🙁

  41. Darshana says:

    My joints were sore and my legs itchy…. My chiropractor recognized the symptoms, called the restaurant, and got the answer that they had used MSG in the food a friend had brought to our party the night before. It was a Chinese New Year’s Party and the dish was so tasty I finished it for breakfast the next day, so I really had plenty of symptoms to not miss the reaction! Now I am very careful to ask when I eat out, and avoid restaurants who aren’t very clear what I’m talking about. And I avoid all processed food for this, and all the other reasons!

  42. Mike says:

    Getting away from the subject, I received my order today. Thnak you. But while opening the spirulina crunchies package and shaking out some crunchies to try and taste, a tiny small clear plastic bag (about 1/2 inch) fell out, containing a small round purple pill. What was that for?


  43. Genevieve says:

    Oh yes … I have been sensitive to MSG for over 20 years, and also sulphites. Generally if you are sensitive to one, you are sensitive to the other. I have to be very careful eating out and always read food labels, eating very little processed foods.

    MSG first makes my face flush, then my stomach bloats, blood pressure goes sky high, heart palpitations begin, followed by chest pains that mimic a heart attack, often lasting 6 hours.

    If I have ingested MSG or sulphites, I immediately drink a lot of spring water. Ginger seems to help with the bloating and magnesium with the chest pain. Eating celery helps too, or taking a greens drink. All of this I have discovered through a mixture of trial and error and desperation. Sky high blood pressure and chest pains/palpitations can be very scary indeed.

    The natural glutamate found in healthy whole foods and natural sulphites don’t bother me — it’s the additives that cause problems.

  44. Sharon says:

    I’ve never noticed any symptoms but I also haven’t consumed anything with it for years. I really don’t like the taste. Pure food is just so much tastier once the taste buds are detoxified.

  45. Christine S. says:

    Randy… #36

    THANK YOU for the information about The Beautiful Truth. I investigated that movie a little bit, and it is going to be a “must see” for me. The trailers on YouTube were extremely moving! I was fortunate enough to meet Charlotte Gerson (featured in the movie)in person last summer after her lecture at a Mike Adams (Natural News) event in Orange County, CA. What an incredible woman, and, as her father proved over and over again, there IS a cure for cancer. “WE” will eventually win the struggle to be free from the pharmaceutical monopolies and the chemical killer companies.

  46. Gary Benton says:

    For over 15 years I’ve known that MSG causes me many problems. Sleep disturbed by wild dreams, waking up at 2 or 3 AM and not being able to sleep after that, spacey, foggy head, slow thinking, sleepy, drugged feeling… Can’t stay awake in the day, can’t sleep at night, feeling very hungry at the end of a meal or waking up in the night feeling ravenously hungry.

    Those are some of my symptoms. Almost anything in a package, bottle, or box causes me problems due to glutamate (MSG).

    I can eat many dishes at raw food restaurants but I can NOT eat those that have nama shoyu, miso, tamari, Braggs, or coconut aminos (we call them the BLACK SAUCES). These all cause me in the symptoms mentioned above.

  47. Ribbons says:

    I just looked in my cabinet and I have Solgar brand Whey protein powder “processed at low temperatures, lactose free, no sweeteners” and I did a quick web search and found that in a phone conversation noted in the article “Clarification on How to Avoid MSG” on OSA, Solgar responded that it is a binding of the glutamate with the salt that causes msg, and they said there is no salt in their product. Yet on the label there is 75 mg sodium from whey. The whey protein isolate that is the protein, what’s it all about? Is this msg? Holy cow. Could someone get back to me on this or reply with their Solgar info? I had a scoop every morning for the past 3 days for health, but if it’s not helping health then I would rather toss it.

  48. When I ingest MSG it causes me to experience disorienting irritating… almost numbing weird feelings. I don’t trust any of the labels anymore and am very cautious when it comes to selecting foods especially eating out…which is becoming more of a rarity than not. Kev…are you aware of the 105degreesacademy? go to academy for raw food chefs located in Oklahoma City…one of a kind …discover the art of living cuisine……………………………Edgar Dean

    P.S. Surviver of the big C without chemo or radiation …Kev, you and Annmarie …thank you for what you’re doing…but you’re having too much fun…LOL!!

  49. I’ve always felt good after eating chinese food with msg…

  50. Patricia Spano says:

    I just came across this interview (from 2010?) and I believe I now have an explanation of the symptoms I was suffering after lunch yesterday. Yup, Chinese take out. Though I typically eat only steamed foods from Chinese restaurants, such as steamed vegetables, and steamed chicken/shrimp with broccoli, etc, yesterday I ordered a lunch special which came with wonton soup and fried rice. The friend rice looks like white wild rice fried up in soy sauce to give it it’s color and flavor. I had trouble breathing, and aches and pains and the worst fatigue on top of my insomnia and fatigue problem. And from reading the article I now know that other foods I consume contain the chemicals/ingredients Kevin listed for us. Wow, eye opener. Thank you Kevin for providing this information.


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