Every day of every year, people across the fruited plain engage in do-it-yourself brain damage. Sadly, we have no idea what we’re doing.
How can this be? I’m so glad you asked.
First, some background: Along the bottom of the brain is a small, sort of pancake-shaped thingy called the hypothalamus. And although it’s considered part of the brain, it’s not protected by the blood-brain barrier that keeps most of the bad stuff out of our brains. So it’s vulnerable.
The hypothalamus controls the endocrine system
Small and vulnerable though it may be, the hypothalamus is mighty. It controls the endocrine system, our glands that manage metabolism, sex and reproduction, immunity and so on.
It also controls the nervous system, which is the rest of us. In short, the hypothalamus controls pretty much everything that happens in our bodies.
Getting it out of whack lets the bad times roll!
So what gets the hypothalamus out of whack?
Well, most of the problem comes from what we eat and drink, which we can control, so let’s talk about that.
Excitotoxins damage the hypothalamus and inflame the brain
One problem is excitotoxins. This isn’t a word that trips off too many tongues, so let me explain.
An excitotoxin is something that damages the hypothalamus and causes brain inflammation–and lets loose all kinds of chaos in our endocrine and nervous systems, usually slowly and silently.
Research ties excitotoxins to…
- neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s,
- autoimmune diseases, such as MS and lupus,
- cancers, such as lymphoma and leukemia,
- and thyroid damage.
Hypothalamic damage can also lead to obesity. And it’s tied to autism.
The dangers of monsodium glutamate & aspartame
Excitotoxins become part of our diet through glutamate, the basis for monosodium glutamate, and aspartate, the basis for aspartame. Ingesting both, as in a Diet Coke and some Doritos, multiplies the damage.
Children are more vulnerable than adults. Baby food companies took MSG out of baby food for a while, but it’s back.
Right after World War II, monosodium glutamate was isolated from the Japanese sea weed kombu, sea tangle, by stripping away all the enzymes, minerals and other pro-health parts.
Now, more than sixty years later, it’s hidden in most prepared foods, under a variety of names, at your local grocery store and also in most food served at chain restaurants.
Their packages of prepared food arrive from the home office with MSG already in them. Then their menus piously say, ‘We add no MSG to our food.’ They don’t have to add it; it’s already in there!
Beware these code words for MSG
Soy, a bad idea for a lot of reasons (read my “Evil Soy” article), is about 60 percent MSG by nature, so watch for that on the label. The word ‘hydrolized’ in the ingredient list is a MSG tip-off, too, as is ‘autolyzed.’ Even ‘spices,’ ‘artificial flavoring’ and ‘natural flavoring’ can be used as a cover-up. Sheesh!
MSG should be banned, regardless of what they call it, but until and unless that happens, you have to protect yourself by avoiding MSG as best you can.
Want a little more excitement? Glutamate is part of every injection given–to babies, to old folks trying to avoid the flu, to everybody who gets a shot. One statistic that’s bandied about says those getting an annual flu shot, starting at age fifty, double their risk of dementia in five years.
Aspartame comes from the amino acid aspartate. It arrives in our bodies via diet sodas and the little blue packet. Sodas are loaded with the stuff. It’s in sugar-free chewing gum, too.
Aspartame should also be banned, but don’t hold your breath.
Do MSG and aspartame damage everybody’s health? Well, they don’t do anybody any good, but, no, MSG and aspartame don’t guarantee a future of chronic health conditions.
But then, smoking doesn’t guarantee lung cancer, either. How lucky do YOU feel?