By Dr. Russell Blaylock
I am convinced that one of the leading causes of obesity is being totally ignored by both by public officials and the media, despite the fact that there is tremendous scientific evidence confirming its role.
In 1969, neuroscientist Dr. John Olney discovered that feeding newborn rats MSG (monosodium glutamate) caused them to become grossly obese.
Each time he repeated the experiment, he saw the same thing. Subsequent studies have shown that this phenomenon occurred in most animal species, indicating that it wasn't something peculiar to the rat.
The effects of MSG are now so well established that the substance is routinely used in experimental obesity studies on animals.
In fact, scientists have also discovered how it was producing the obesity.
For over fifty years, researchers knew that a pinpoint injury to certain parts of the hypothalamus portion of the brain would cause an animal to become grossly obese. What they would later discover was that MSG itself actually destroys the same area in the hypothalamus.
An intensive 1995 review of MSG toxicity by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) concluded that infant formula contained a dose of glutamate (the toxic ingredient in MSG) in the form of caseinate (cow's milk protein) that would sufficiently produce the very same brain injury seen in experimental animals.
Disturbingly humans are five times more susceptible to MSG toxicity than even the most sensitive lab animal. And babies are four times more sensitive than adults. It is this early exposure to MSG and other excitotoxins that leads to gross obesity.
Actually, the problem is much worse than that.
Recent studies have shown that obese animals actually have the metabolic syndrome, which is now seen in 50 million adults in the United States. You will remember from my previous newsletter "The Diabetes Solution" that the metabolic syndrome is the cause of type-2 diabetes as well as hypertension and atherosclerosis.
Essentially, science proves that excitotoxins can trigger the metabolic syndrome and obesity.
And we know that the level of excitotoxins added to our food is at least equal to (and sometimes exceeds) the amount needed to produce the metabolic syndrome in animals. Yet only a handful of scientists are addressing this alarming association.
Recent studies have shown that glutamate (MSG and other excitotoxins) can powerfully stimulate the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
Excess insulin can cause atherosclerosis, hypertension and the type-2 diabetes - by stimulating chronic inflammation. And remember that insulin resistance can also lead to high insulin levels. Of course, the obese MSG animals experience all this as well.
It all fits in with what we are seeing in human beings. And one other part of the obesity puzzle has recently been pieced together.
In discussions about obesity, you may have heard about something called leptin. This enigmatic chemical is produced in the fat cells and controls many things, including fat accumulation.
Normally, when leptin surges into the blood, it enters the brain and acts within a specific group of neurons inside the hypothalamus to powerfully suppress the appetite and increase fat burning, thereby making us thinner.
But MSG and other excitotoxins damage the very nucleus of brain cells needed to do this. Those cells are known as the arcuate nucleus.
In fact, this vital collection of neurons is the area of the brain most sensitive to excitotoxins. In experiments, MSG rendered leptin ineffective, causing the animals to become grossly obese. Scientists call this leptin resistance, an occurrence linked to obesity in both children and adults.
Also, excitotoxins like MSG cause more glucose to enter fat cells, preventing it from being burned in muscle cells as it should. As a result, more fat accumulates - especially around organs and within the abdomen (visceral fat).
You may recall from the diabetes newsletter that this visceral fat is the root of all the of the metabolic syndrome's bad effects. The bottom line:
We see that the excitotoxins added to our food can induce gross obesity through a number of mechanisms.
And we must remember that while it is soon after birth that a child is first exposed to foods containing MSG and other excitotoxins, the effects persist for a lifetime.
Unbelievably, dietitians, medical doctors and many public institutions are promoting the use of "diet" soft drinks and other foods sweetened with aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, etc) as the answer to the problem of obesity.
Aspartame is made up of three components: phenylalanine, methanol and aspartic acid. Aspartic acid (aspartate), like glutamate, is an excitotoxin.
It is just as capable as glutamate of doing damage to cells and brain nuclei.
In fact, one of the acknowledged effects of aspartame is weight gain.
The FDA even lists increased weight as one result of using the sweetener. Like glutamate, aspartame stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, making you hungry - especially for sweets. And the more you drink, the hungrier you get. Just like glutamate, aspartame destroys the arcuate nucleus, which in turn produces leptin resistance. As a result, you get fat.
Dr. Blaylock is author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, and other books and tapes: www.russellblaylockmd.com He also has a newsletter - www.blaylockreport.co
Betty Martini, D.Hum, Founder
Mission Possible International
9270 River club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097
www.mpwhi.com, www.dorway.com, www.wnho.net
Aspartame Toxicity Center, www.holisticmed.com/aspartame
www.mpwhi.com - Aspartame Information List