Now, in case you're wondering, yes, glutamate is that glutamate, as in mono-sodium-glutamate (MSG). The glutamate that you don't put in food is called glutamic acid, but really MSG is just one form of glutamic acid. As you can see from the chemical structures, the only "difference" between MSG and glutamic acid is that MSG has an Na ion instead of an H ion. But as all good nursing students know from Chem271 Organic and Biochemistry, the Na or H come off in solution, meaning they provide same anion in the body.
Now, apparently this whole business about the "brain," or whatever, must be complicated stuff, otherwise they would have figured out a long time ago that Chinese food could cure psychosis. But they didn't. What I really found interesting reading about all this is that MSG really is excitotoxic and that the FDA has identified a grouping of symptoms that some people display after consuming glutamic acid... and I have some of them! Whenever I have eaten food from some unnamed restaurants in my town that advertise no MSG, I get extremely drowsy and weak (like falling asleep at my desk at work while I'm entering MD orders drowsy!), I sweat profusely, I get a warm, swollen face with a headache, and I seem to have palpitations. Lo and behold, here are the symptoms from Glutamate Symptom Complex (GSC):
- Burning sensation in the back of the neck, forearms and chest
- Numbness in the back of the neck, radiating to the arms and back
- Tingling, warmth and weakness in the face, temples, upper back, neck and arms
- Facial pressure or tightness
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat