The Restless Legs Diet: Chapter Two – MSG

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of the naturally occurring non-essential amino acid glutamic acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavour enhancer. Trade names of monosodium glutamate include Ajinomoto, Vetsin, and Accent. It was once predominantly made from wheat gluten, but is now mostly made from bacterial fermentation; it is acceptable for celiacs following a gluten-free diet.

Modern commercial MSG is produced by fermentation of starch, sugar beets, sugar cane, or molasses. MSG is used commercially as a flavour enhancer. Although once associated with foods in Chinese restaurants, MSG is now used by most fast food chains and in many foodstuffs, particularly processed foods.

“Monosodium Glutamate” WikiPedia

“The foods most likely to give someone an MSG reaction at ANY restaurant are: chicken and Sausage products, ranch dressing, parmesan items, gravy & dipping sauces and fries with any kind of seasoning on them except plain salt. Flavored salty snack chips that are usually sold with sandwiches are a problem – espeically Doritos and Cheetos and items with cheese powder added. At regular restaurants, you want to avoid parmesan encrusted anything, soups, Ceasar salad, fish sauce or extract, soy sauce and anything that comes out of a can.”

Four good rules of thumb are:

1. The more salty a processed food is, the more likely it is to contain MSG or free glutamate.

2. The more processed food is, the more likely it is to contain MSG or free glutamate:  powdered stuff that used to be food is likely to have added MSG because the original flavor has been degraded, AND processing concentrates and frees glutamate already bound and present.

3. The more ingredients in a packaged food, the more likely MSG is present. Read labels carefully. Time is money.  If food has more than five ingredients and you don’t have half an hour to read one ingredient label – put it back on the shelf – you’ll be better off.

4. Do not trust something simply because it is in a health food store and the label states it is natural or even organic. The US allows “natural flavors” to include protein hydrolysates which can contain up to 20% MSG by weight. A distinction without a difference.

“What Foods To Avoid?” MSGTruth


The gluten situation, I can work around that. I don’t like it, but if it means having a calmer pair of legs, I’ll do what has to be done.

But by asking me to consume less MSG, you’re now asking me to make some serious sacrifices.

I LOVE Chinese food and Doritos and all that good stuff! Is there no other way?

Fortunately for you and I, once the inflammation goes down, we can sneak in some goodies now and then.

The reason the MSG, gluten, aspartame etc. affect your RLS so much now is because you’re still carrying around a big load of inflammation in your legs.

It’s like a hair-trigger reaction. As soon as you consume any of these inflammation stimulating food items, you’re creating a reaction in the areas of existing inflammation (plus you’re helping it to grow).

As I’ve stated before, it’s basically like standing outside with a sunburn. You have to get indoors for a bit.

From the Lab: The relationship of MSG with Inflammation

“The injection of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in ICR mice leads to the development of significant inflammation, central obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

Y. Nakanishi, K. Tsuneyama, M. Fujimoto, TL Salunga, K. Nomoto, JL An, Y. Takano, S. Iizuka, M. Nagata, W. Suzuki, T. Shimada, M. Aburada, M. Nakano, C. Selmi and ME Gershwin. “Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): A Villain and Promoter of Liver Inflammation and Dysplasia.” Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan. 2008 Feb-Mar;30(1-2):42-50.

“One theory holds that bacteria and viruses may cause this inflammation but clearly we know that lead, mercury, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and fluoride and other toxic chemicals can also cause inflammatory reactions in blood vessels.”

Staff. “Inflammation and Systemic Stress: Inflammation and Pain Management with Magnesium.” International Medical Veritas Association,

“Both adrenalectomized rats and adrenalectomized, MSG-treated rats showed an increased response to carrageenin relative to controls. These results suggest that glucocorticoids are important modulators of inflammation in this phase of the process.”

EA Limaos, VL Silveira and MS Dolnikoff. “Inflammatory Edema Induced by Carrageenin in Monosodium Glutamate-Treated Rats.” Braz-J-Med-Biol-Res. (1988) 21(4): 837-9

You can view information on how all the RLS supplements and antagonists have a relationship with inflammation here:

Word from the Street treatments_for_restless_leg_syndrome_t117930.html
Holistic and natural treatments for restless leg syndrome
Posted: 11/13/07 – 22:08
Topic: MSG
I have experienced RLS and have found that it occurs when I have had msg in my food. The more msg the worse the RLS.
Topic: MSG
posted January 26, 2010 10:37 PM
Here’s what I learned. There is a category of food additives called neurotoxins or excitotoxins. They are glutamates that affect the nervous system. The most well-known excitotoxin is MSG (monosodium glutamate), Other additives are converted by processing into glutamates. All excitotoxins should be eliminated from the diet. We need to eat unprocessed foods only. Even tiny amounts of excitotoxins will aggravate RLS. In addition to RLS, excitotoxins are involved in some of today’s maladies that we never heard of years ago, such as fibromyalgia. Also some conditions were around but not as prevalent, i.e. migraine headaches, joint pains etc.

Read all food labels. Do not buy anything with the following additives. It’s not as difficult as it sounds Give it a try for a month. When I first eliminated all these additives, I slept soundly for seven straight hours on the second night.
re: Bach Remedies
Next morning, I realized what triggers the attack. It is MSG. During the Chinese New Year celebration, I consumed a lot of food prepared by my relatives that contained heavy doses of MSG. Sam
Location: Plano, TX
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:20 pm
Post subject: MSG
I am a new member and joined because I wanted to share the information about my experience with MSG. I have been a lifetime sufferer of RLS and a worldwide traveler in my occupation so it has been miserable on planes for up to 18 hours at a time with nowhere to get relief aside from walking the aisles. My wife wanted to try to find something to give me relief before there was anyone really recognizing that RLS was a real medical problem and she began eliminating things in my diet until she stopped everything with MSG and that stopped my RLS. I won’t say it will work for anyone else, but if helps someone this posting is worth it. W. Arnold Taylor
PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 10:25 pm
Post subject: Finally Got Relief from Severe Symptoms – No Meds
First, I cut out aspartame. That did not help, but I read about the related excitotoxin, glutamate (glutamic acid), commonly known as MSG, which is found in many foods under many (at least 24) different names. In other words, the food industry hides it by deceptive food labeling, but we have doubled our consumption of it ever decade for the last 60+ years. It is a food-additive that is only used for taste-enhancement because it sells the product. It is usually made from grain and can come under “natural flavors.”

It is difficult, but I cut this out of my diet. See if you want to try this. It took about 2 months of a very restricted diet, and using anti-inflammatory supplements and anti-oxidants to rid my body of it enough to make a difference.

I have finally found out what causes my RLS problem, and I hope that the rest of you find out that yours is the same cause. It is entirely possible to get rid of this by diet alone. You just have to cook like you were living in 1940 instead of 2006 and stay out of restaurants. Elizabeth R.

From the Lab: MSG and Dopamine Levels

One of the more popular theories about Restless Legs Syndrome is that it is somehow connected to a lack of dopamine production.

I did some research and found that in several studies, mice torturers found that there was a correlation between the application of MSG and the lowering of dopamine levels.

Several drugs are on the market called dopamine agonists (Requip, Mirapex etc.) have been issued by doctors to patients in order to increase dopamine levels.

“Dopamine levels were significantly reduced (P < 0.01) in the arcuate nucleus of MSG-treated rats.”

Louis V. DePaolo and Andres Negro-Vilar, “Neonatal Monosodium Glutamate Treatment Alters the Response of Median Eminence Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone Nerve Terminals to Potassium and Prostaglandin E2*” Endocrinology Vol. 110, No. 3 835-841 (1982).

If MSG is involved with the lowering of dopamine levels, this could be a major breakthrough in RLS recovery. It could prove that diet is a powerful tool in the lessening of RLS, and would help those that suffer to avoid the horrible side effects of the dopamine agonists.

“Some of the common side effects of dopamine agonists include:

* Euphoria
* Hallucinations
* Causing or worsening psychosis
* Orthostatic hypotension
* Increased orgasmic intensity
* Weight loss
* Nausea
* Insomnia
* Unusual tiredness or weakness
* Dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, or fainting
* Twitching, twisting, or other unusual body movements
* Pathological addiction (gambling, shopping, internet pornography, hyper-sexuality)

“Dopamine Agonist” Wikipedia

“MedlinePlus Drug Information: Pramipexole (Systemic)”. United States National Library of Medicine. (Sep. 27, 2006).

Alan Boyd, “Bromocriptine and psychosis: A literature review”. Psychiatric Quarterly 66 (1): 87–95. doi:10.1007/BF02238717. (Sep. 9, 2008).

I’ll go into more detail about the MSG / dopamine connection in my next post. I found some very exciting stuff!

For free information about the cause and cure for Restless Legs Syndrome visit This remedy for RLS is completely natural and features NO side effects.

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