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Posted by David Jahr

By Daniel G. Amen, MD

Many people know that food allergies can cause hives, itching, eczema, nausea, diarrhea, and in severe cases, shock or constriction of the airways, which can make it difficult to breathe and can be fatal. But can certain foods and food additives also cause emotional, behavioral, or learning problems? You bet. These types of reactions are called "hidden" food allergies, and they could be hampering your efforts for a better body.

My patient Mark had ADD and symptoms of anxiety and depression. He explained that whenever he ate foods with MSG, he became violent. To see why this was happening, we scanned his brain twice—once having avoided anything with MSG and once after he ate a Chinese dinner laced with MSG. The MSG scan showed a marked difference in activity in Mark's left temporal lobe, the area associated with temper control.

I told Mark he could either stay away from MSG or take medication to prevent the problem. To my surprise, he opted for the medication. He explained that if he lost his temper one more time, his wife was going to divorce him, and "you never know what has MSG in it. Sometimes it is listed on the label as natural flavorings." If you have problems with your temper, you might want to hold the MSG.

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Posted by Donna 4/16/2012 7:05:00 PM
I have a problem with MSG and all it's components. This is the first time that I have heard there is a medication that will prevent this problem. It would be wonderful to go out and eat again. What is the medication?
Posted by kaur singh 4/21/2012 5:07:00 AM
very good knowledge, helpful
Posted by Tjones 5/7/2012 10:54:00 AM
From Dr. Amen's Clinic:I think they are misinterpreting the information. He recommended either cutting out salt (ie MSG) or he would need to take a medication to regulate his temper problems. My guess is the medication would be some type of mood stabilizer like topamax, Gabapentin or lamictal. Dr.Amen was surprised he chose the medication as the easier and healthier option would be to remove the MSG from his diet. This person had recognized that MSG was a food additive that caused him to have temper problems. Another way food labels trick individuals into thinking their products do not contain MSG is to list the ingredient as "natural flavorings".
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