The Truth in Food Labeling – Food Additives to Avoid & Hidden Sources of MSG
Many people mistakenly think that flavor enhancers such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) are only in Chinese foods, and as long as they avoid Chinese foods, they are safe. Below you will see MSG in foods like Campbell’s soup, gravies and sauces. Taking a few minutes to scan food labels and make better choices in what you buy is the best investment you can make in your long-term health and longevity!
Some typical reactions that can occur from either MSG or the additives list below include: migraine headaches, insomnia, itchy rashes, asthma attacks, behavioral disorders, depression, heart irregularities, anxiety, arthritis, sinus problems and many digestive problems including diarrhea.
MSG, Ribonucleotides, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate are all flavor enhancers which add a salty, savory taste to foods.
They can be listed either by name or by additive number (sometimes called ‘E numbers’) as you will see below. Legally, these chemicals can also be ‘hidden’ in terms such as ‘spices,’ ‘yeast extract,’ ‘hydrolyzed vegetable protein,’ and ‘flavoring’ so I suggest avoiding products with any of these dodgy terms on the label.
MSG (E621) is known to cause migraine headaches and can also cause diarrhea. Ribonucleotide (E627, E635 or E631) is another salty food additive which can cause a itchy irritable rash, known as the ‘Ribo Rash.’ In my personal experience, I have seen Ribonucleotide (or Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate) cause a sudden rapid heart rate (up to 160 beats per minute) and also trigger anxiety attacks.
Let’s start looking at some labels.
Here we have a can of good ol’ fashioned Campbell’s Low Salt Chicken Soup. By all account it would appear to be healthy, in fact notice right on the label how it says ‘No MSG’ and ‘No Artificial Flavors.’ Well, I don’t know how they got away with that one, because if you look right on the ingredients list, you will see Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, both nasty chemical flavor enhancers.
You will also see Yeast Extract and Soy Protein Concentrate – legally MSG can be hidden in these ingredients and they do not have to report MSG as an additive.
Anytime you see a ‘yeast extract’ or ‘protein extract or concentrate,’ beware. In fact, put it back on the shelf. You see, this is where manufacturers are the masters of marketing. Everyone knows MSG is bad for you, and the companies know that, so they label their products as having ‘No MSG’ knowing that you will think it is a healthier choice, but of course they still have to add flavor to their artificial unnatural devitalized foods, so they add it in the form of other chemical additives which you have never heard of. Until now!!
And really, just look at this so-called ‘mechanically separated chicken’ – I mean, what is that?? That alone should have you running towards the hills!Next example.
Ok, here we have a Contintental Instant Cup of Beef Noodle Soup. They have done a good job of highlighting all the uses of wheat here, but they have not distracted me from seeing the truth.
The nasty hidden chemicals here will be in the yeast extract, herb extract, spice extract and flavor enhancer 635.
All spice, yeast, protein or even herb extracts can have MSG in them. Always watch for that term ‘extract,’ especially in salty foods.
And 635, well that is the mother of the Ribo Rash -in my opinion, it is the worst food additive of all time.
They are even nice enough to tell you that this product contains soy, wheat and milk, but they neglect to tell you about the cheap nasty chemicals in there too!
Be aware that the following additives contain MSG or free glutamate: hydrolysed vegetable protein, hydrolysed protein, hydrolsyed plant protein, yeast extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, hydrolysed oat flour. The following ingredients often contain MSG, even though it may not be declared on the label: malt extract, malt flavoring, stock, broth, natural beef or chicken flavoring, seasoning, spices.
– from the book ‘Avoid Chemicals in Your Food’, published by the Consumer’s Association of Penang
In this example, we are looking at a can of Old El’ Paso Refried Beans. If you didn’t know the truth in food labelling, this one would completely pass you by.
But by now I hope you noticed the ‘yeast extract’ right away and also the ‘natural flavor.’ Again, both are legal terms used to hide MSG and the other flavor enhancers as well.
So much for the Chinese food guys….we are not anywhere near Asian foods and look at all the hidden nasties! Yes, it’s true, even the mac and cheese is chemically altered. See for yourself – ‘natural flavors, yeast extract, spice extract and flavor enhancer 635.’ And somehow it is ‘National Heart Foundation Approved.’ Hmmm. I wonder how many people have experienced an increased heart rate due to that 635. Are you starting to recognize the difference between good marketing and truth in labeling?
Man, they were doing so good up until the very last ingredient – MSG (E621), otherwise known as Monosodium Glutamate. In your innocent lentil daal!!
MSG is a major excitotoxin and is known to damage the part of the brain that governs many other systems in the body. This damage may appear as symptoms of the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system. Thus it can manifest in disrupted sleep patterns, food cravings, and persistent hunger, which often leads to obesity. MSG also induces migraine headaches, asthma attacks, behavioral disorders, depression, heart irregularities, restless leg syndrome, arthritis, sinus problems and many digestive problems including diarrhea.
– from the book ‘Is MSG Safe?’, published by the Consumer’s Association of Penang
UPDATE: A recent study from John Hopkins researchers published in the journal Neurology (26 April, 2013) found that a neurotransmitter involved in arousal known as glutamate is abnormally high in people suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). They saw that the more glutamate found in the brains of people with RLS, the worse they slept.
Why do you think people have high concentrations of glutamate in their brain? From Monosodium Glutamate!!!
This is an epidemic, and in my opinion, a form of genocide, to kill people slowly without any smoking gun while making lots of money from prescribing them drugs along the way. There is really no more time to waste. We have to wake people up and show them the truth!
Here is a classic example of sneaky marketing used to hide what’s really in your food. Look at the Spaghettir Bolognese – they say right on the label that it has ‘No artificial flavors, No artificial preservatives, No Hydrogenated Fat and No Added MSG.’
Of course when you read the actual ingredients, you will see ‘yeast extract’ right there. And you know what that means by now, right? MSG!!
For a full list of terms that can have hidden MSG, go to the TruthinLabeling.org.
Again, the masters of marketing are luring us in with the simple photo and tag of 100% natural. Then you look at the ingredients, and what do you see? Yeast extract, natural flavors and spices. Hmmm.
Once again, the dreaded yeast extract and spice tells us that there are hidden dangers here – could be any of the flavor enhancers, but most likely MSG and ribonucleotides.
Finally, I wanted to show you an example of a label in a non-English language. As you can see, the food additive numbers are universal, meaning they are the same everywhere in the world. Here, in the oyster sauce, we have MSG which is written as ‘Monosodium Glutamate,’ and we also have yeast extract, oyster extract (yet another hidden source of MSG) and if that wasn’t enough we have ‘Flavor Enhancer 631,’ which in Malay is written as ‘Penambah Perisa 631.’ This is the Disodium Inosinate, a most definite nasty additive.
If you think you are having a reaction to ribonucleotides or you want to ask me specific questions about my rash, please do not hesitate to contact me. Also please be sure to read Sue Dengate’s site and educate yourself on the dangers of all of the nasty additives.
More on Food Additives:
- Think your Mediterranean Green Olives are a ‘safe, clean’ food? Think again!
- Hidden Sources of MSG on Food Labels: Video Guide
- Sea Salt with Chemical Additives?! Check for E535 & E536 Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS)
- Are you eating Processed Foods? Improve the quality of your food, your health & your life!
- Raw Food Diet for Detox and Cleansing – Success!
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I have noticed for several years now that I get a bad headache after I eat organic ground turkey with rosemary extract (as a preservative) and also raw walnuts that use rosemary extract as a preservative. I do not get any headaches when I eat fresh walnuts that do not have rosemary extract added. I have been researching this reaction on line and so far have found nothing about bad reactions to small amounts of rosemary extract. And I only eat 5 ounces at a time of the ground turkey and a fourth of a cup of the walnuts! Jennifer, have you heard of this yet? Thank you so much for any insight you might have.
I suffered from migraines since 6 yrs old. Never found out till I was 24 what was causing it. The nurse at work told me about Msg and to avoid it.I stopped eating any foods with msg and was 5 yrs free of migraines. After that once I awhile it had to occasional migraine and could not figure out why I still get the migraines. I am 65 now many years in between and finally I came across your article which makes completely sense in msg is being hidden in foods which I was not aware of. Many of the msg side affects i actually suffer from. It will be interesting to see if they go away after I eliminate all the potential msg culprits..Thanks at lot…
So glad you found the info, and wishing you many healthy, happy & pain-free days ahead! Thank you for sharing your story.
My question is, “are there Any packaged foods that don’t have one of the you mentioned above”?
Yes, there are many. Of course, in addition to avoiding these nasty additives, it’s best to choose either certified organic products or at least items with the Non-GMO label. It may seem overwhelming to start to look at food labels, but it gets much easier when you know what to look for and what to avoid. The best part is that you are increasing the quality of your food big-time….and that means you are also increasing the quality of your health and life. Well worth it to start reading those ingredients and knowing your food!
Thank you so much for this info. I’m sharing it with others.
I suspect that MSG, Disodium Guanylate, and/or Disodium Inosinate are causing me to have swallowing problems caused by a constriction of the esophagus. Doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is pretty severe. Has anyone else noticed this connection?
Yes, I have had this problem off and on for several years, but it seems to be occurring more often lately. In my case my esophagus closes completely, my breathing is affected and the only solution is to upchuck. This is not from the stomach but from the esophagus and possibly from the upper lungs. I agree that it seems to be a result of all three compounds. I’ve talked to several others who have experienced the same reaction, so it doesn’t appear to be just us.
heartburn, eating to fast or not chewing your food up.
I have had what they call toxic reactions to MSG since I was 17. I’m now 54. This has been one of the hardest ingredients to avoid. At 17 it was simple just don’t eat Chinese food. Now I can’t eat in 99% of restaurants everyone uses it and they don’t even know it’s in most of the food they serve. I wish this and products like it could be banned. Also I have done lots of research and was told by my neurologist that aspartame is also an exciting toxin and extremely harmful as well. I don’t go near it!! People just need to read how they make these chemicals and maybe then they will see how harmful they are. It makes me crazy watching loved ones ingest these horrible chemicals and thinking it’s ok because they don’t react like I do :(. Someone needs to put a stop to it all. Oh and a reaction to these chemicals has been classed as a toxic reaction. They will never class it as an allergic reaction because then they would have to seriously look at how much is being dumped into food every day :(. Think peanuts and the lengths companies have to go now to make sure people are very aware that peanuts may be in a product. No one making money from these chemicals wants to deal with that. It’s a sad situation when we have to be afraid of our food. And I can tell u unless I make it myself I’m afraid to eat anything. It’s not a fun way to live. Thanks for sharing this info
I can’t go back and edit my spelling mistakes. But it’s excitotoxins. Not exciting toxins. Thanks for a place to be heard 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing! My daughter has very scary migraines and they are triggered by MSG and also chocolate. I have been trying to research things to avoid and it is very hard. She feels only safe when I cook her food. It is so hard and frustrating. Of course with chocolate, she simply avoids it.
Thankfully you are on the right track and can help your daughter which is wonderful. There is a learning curve and it does take time. But eventually, when you know what to eat and what not to eat, there is a sense of freedom and relief. A lot of people say to me – oh it’s so sad you can’t eat that. But now, I feel that my food intolerances have done me a huge favor because I don’t even think about eating many bad foods. They are not even an option for me in my mind. In the long run, I know my health and well-being are much better as a result. And that is priceless!
If I do get “hit” by something, I find that having an infrared sauna helps greatly. Sweating out the bad stuff gives me almost immediate relief. Best to start with 20-30 minutes at a time, and slowly increase to 40-60 minutes. I have one in my house!
To your good health,
Thank you so much for sharing all the information you have! Every American needs to read this article but yet so many 1, don’t care; 2, could care less; 3 are uneducated about the many foods they consume and 4 think that’s there nothing that can be done so they eat what they have. I have so much I want to say on this subject. Here’s 3 things that way I’m limited to how much I post. First, I hardly believe that Campbell’s is removing anything from their soups. I honestly don’t believe a lot on food labels and for the most part eat fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Second, the reason I found this site is because I googled some ingredients off of my Boston Chowda container. Now that I’m about halfway through the bowl I’m feeling sick! This stuff was $9 freaking dollars so throwing it out isn’t an option. For my health and longer life maybe it is? Twice it mentions Disodium Isosinate and Guanylate,. It also has Sodium Tripolyphosphate. Another seriously bad ingredient which brings me to my third item. Three, I’ve been craving fish again an wanted to get some breaded fried shrimp. As I searched the label with my iPhone App called Fooducate I found out that all of the breaded fish had some form of chemical in it if not several. I went ahead and bout two packages as they were buy one get one free. A couple days later I fixed them and couldn’t eat them because I knew what I was putting in my body. I might as well become an alcoholic, smoke or do drugs for that matter. All of these chemicals aren’t supposed to be in our bodies and a great deal of them I’m sure cause cancers of some form. That’s also one reason why I don’t think Cancer will ever be cured. The cancer research industry is a multi billion dollar animal raking in so much money that to cure it would put millions out of work. That same theory applies to the food industry. If everyone were to be able to grow their own healthy food then the food industry would go bankrupt and again millions would be out of a job. So do you really think anything will ever happen or get done to prevent chemicals from being entered into our food supply? I’m guessing not because there is way too much at stake and way too much money involved. Educate your friends and family is the best we can do and if they chose to eat those foods then it’s just as if they chose to smoke or do drugs. My mother and father both have land for small farms and I hope I live long enough to get back there and start growing my own foods once again.
Amen! Another awakened soul! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story . I’m really happy that my site helped you find more real info on those nasty additives. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that their E number starts with a “6”. Just remember – avoid the 6’s if nothing else! For fish, your best bet is most likely to eat raw sashimi, that way you have no additives, breading, flavor enhancers or otherwise. Fish with fins and scales are considered to be cleaner and healthier than bottom-feeders like shrimp or crabs, which are best to avoid.
To your health,
Today (11/11/2015) Campbell’s announced it was removing both MSG and disodium inosinate from its flagship Chicken Noodle soup product.
Hi MSG Begone,
That’s interesting news! Let’s see if they add another hidden form of MSG instead, as mostly every company out there has done. If you see yeast extract, rosemary extract, natural flavors, onion powder, spices, proprietary spice blend, or natural chicken flavor then put the product down and run in the other direction!
Your best bet (if you are a chicken soup person that is): Make your own big pot of homemade chicken broth, let it cool and then transfer into jars and put in the freezer. Every time you want to make soup, you can take out a jar and add your own fresh ingredients to make a delicious, health and real natural soup.
The best foods to help make a natural tasting broth are: fresh celery, fresh leek, fresh onion, fresh garlic and fresh ginger juice.
Blessings to your health,
Its a good start to raise a question about food additives. Iam such a foodie(say that only cz I love to eat these kinda packed food). This is a such a breakthrough now. To add more to this situation Iam a vegetarian. Why doesn’t any government take a serious note on this. I know there may be cases of successive implementation but the sales of such goods is never low. So as a result we banned Maggi from our home grocerries. And also veg Pizzas in my country are also made with these enhancers. Thats is so bad. I love pizzas but. N now I’ll have to stop that too.:( This is gonna be boring too.:l
I am from India.Here there are many foods like yipee,maggi,lays and many.Is there any way to ban these????Many foods are containing high amounts of flavour enhancers(627,631).But no one is aware of these here.
Are you sure an increased heart rate isn’t just a result of being excited over eating something delicious? I know a lot of people who love food so much, they get excited to eat. Also, is there a correlation between rate of heart rate increase and size of the eater?
I can only speak for myself when I say that I am a lover of food and often get excited to eat, however I have never had heart palpitations BEFORE eating. After eating a food containing one of the “bad” flavor enhancers, I would often feel my heart racing anywhere from 1 hour to even 12 hours later. I now know that as I became more intolerant, the symptoms would start much sooner after ingesting the additives. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night with a racing heart.
I have never had anxiety in my life nor do I suffer from any psychological conditions.
Fast forward to present day now that I have removed these nasty additives from my diet: my heart rate sits at a cool and comfortable 110/70, both before and after eating and I never wake up with any racing heart, ever. I recently had a doctor tell me that I have the heart of a runner, even though I stopped running 2 years ago due to too much work! My “size” is normal.
These food additives are chemicals that the human body is not designed to process. They are excito-toxins that increase the flavor in food and the side effect to that is that they also overstimulate the central nervous system and brain. My life is 1000 times better in every possible way since I eliminated these nasty food additives from my diet. I hope my story helps at least one person find the same relief.
To your health,
This comment is the only acknowledgement I can find on the internet about heart palpitations. I had this same experience with salmon treated with sodium tripolyphosphate recently. And more so with dried apricots treated with sulphur dioxide for a year and a half that I only recently uncovered as the cause. I’ve gone through hell trying to determine that cause. Thank you for sharing.
What is substituent of monosodium gultamate – flavour enhancer ( INS 621) or what is percentage we can us for food preparation.
You can use plain Himalayan salt with no chemical additives and fresh spices for real natural flavors. There is no need for E621 aka Monosodium Glutamate; that means the best amount is 0%.
Wishing you many healthy clean meals ahead!
as excited I am to learn about MSG, it is pretty scary to see how easy the food company can fool us, no wonder people are so sick, it is scary to see what the food company is feeding our children
Excellent, whwt a blog it is! This website provides useful dara to us, keep it up.
I don’t usually comment but I gotta admit thanks for the post on this great one
i am in awe of the info i received suffered so long with anxiety and rapid heart beat this article will change my life to eat naturally with out the fast quick solutions in the frozen food isle or i thought to make a natural meal for hours in a crock pot using the so called natural ingredients such as the broths used thank you so much
Your comment has made my day, really! I’m so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when I see people “getting it” and benefiting from simple changes in food! Bless and be well! Jennifer
So I am currently looking at a box of College Inn bold rotisserie chicken stock. On the from it says “no msg added*(notice the asterisk). I looked at the ingredients and the ones that popped out to me were disodium Inosinate ( which led me here) and disodium guanylate. After reading your article, I found in the ingredients, autolyzed yeast extract. And to top it all off, at the bottom of the ingredients list, there is a disclaimer saying, “a small amount of GLUTAMATE occurs naturally in yeast extract”.
It is like they lie to your face, then admit to lying to you in such a way that you would not notice until you bought the product.
This definitely is a genocide. It is very important to read labels
Thanks for sharing your story..It really pleases me to see that people are starting to read labels and understand the food label trickery. Keep spreading the word!
To your health,
I am v. sensitive to MSG—headaches AND chills but with NO fever. Now, after too long unwitting exposure, I’m getting hand-shakey [try to get soup in your mouth? Bib time!]
The worst one yet is: “Spice Extract” WATCH OUT FOR THIS deceptive NASTY!
Thanks for sharing this great informations 🙂
I just want ask you one quistion..
Is E621 and E637 really made from pig extract?
Sorry for my bad english… -_-”
And thanks for your answer 🙂
These are flavor enhancers used to add salty, savory taste to foods (similar to Monosodium Glutamate). I have never heard or read that they were made from pig extract, but if you have a link or information to show this, please do share! There is great information on Ribo foods here: http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/635-msg-boosters-ribo-rash-ribonucleotides-627-631
Thank you so much for this information!! I suffer from indigestion, rapid heart rate, and anxiety. The past year I am starting to correlate my symptoms to what i’m eating. This article really explains a lot and is easy to understand. Thank you!
Thanks for the info. But I think you are bashing yeast extract prematurely. I researched MSG before, cause I eat vegemite. It is the G in MSG, called glutamate that makes food taste good. Commercially they just combine it with salt to create MSG to make it easier to sprinkle. But glutamate itself is naturally occurring in natural yeast and foods like tomatoes. Should we stop eating tomatoes, the answer would be no… it is natural glutamate. Same with yeast.
Also if you ever tried different salts, they all taste a bit different. When commercially combining glutamate with salt to create MSG, each MSG will taste different. Hence different side effects as well. If one has to consume MSG better buy from Asian, since 1 billion Asians can’t all have headaches.
Yeast is not yeast extract. Tomatoes are not tomato paste (only the paste had a high natural glutamate content). With all due respect, your over-generalization of Asians is not only racist but incorrect. MSG is used just as much (if not more) in the West than in the East (check your Doritos, KFC, tofu burger, wasabi covered peas and cheddar cheese flavored rice crackers). MSG is known to make people gain weight. Are the rates of obesity as high as they have ever been? What about anxiety, insomnia, depression, and yes..headaches? All epidemics now ALL OVER THE WORLD. Sadly, no country is exempt. Food manufacturers are very sneaky and do not want to list MSG on their product, so they will use several foods high in glutamate (like yeast extract, pea protein, rosemary extract, natural flavor, spices)…which, when added up have the SAME amount of glutamate as the single ingredient of MSG. That is why the food tastes so savory and delicious! It’s time we wake up to the food industry’s games, get out of our addictions and demand better food.
This is great information, but actually, if you simply avoid ALL pre-packaged and pre-manufactured foods, your body will get much healthier and you can skip ingesting virtually ALL dangerous chemical additives, even the ones that they’re not telling us about.
It’s actually cheaper, healthier and MORE FUN to eat food that you’ve made yourself from scratch with healthy, fresh ingredients than eating this cr*p that giant conglomerates are foisting off on humanity as “food”. It’s not food and it’s very cancer-causing, headache-causing, IBS-causing junk that should not be eaten by anyone.
Another great post.
Thank you once again for informing the public on these nasty additives that are so detrimental to good health.
I have learned a lot from this website and will be avoiding these additives like the plague.
I’m also of asian descent so eliminating MSG from my diet is tricky… but from here on out I will definately do my best 🙂 (i’ll also try to avoid the yeast extract foods too. Thanks so much for your help and advice)
In the Philippines, if they wanted to kill a dog, they would just pour MSG on top of a bowl of meat and the dog would die!!! MSG cannot be good for you if it can kill a dog in one bowlful!
Excuse me for swearing – but what the hell are we to purchase out of the grocery store? It seems to me that there is NOTHING left on the shelves without all those “nasties” you talk about here.
What about people who are to busy making ends meet (2 jobs, etc.)? They don’t have time to home-make everything from soups to nuts.
I am retired, but hate cooking! But I hate poor health more.
I do have a bread machine and a soy maker. I guess I will have to spend all my time in the kitchen, eh?
Hi Pat, Did you ever consider eating fruits and vegetables? They are not expensive and do not take a lot of time to clean and prepare. Your body will thank you for the health these natural food provide! Blessings, Jennifer
I have had horable allergys since I was born every problem it causes I have I have been to the ER many times and have had test after test. I have a rash over my entire body now. This is the last one of the side affects to happen. I finally got desperate and googled all of my problems and then I found this. It’s like my hole life being explained. I have notice my problems being worse as I have gotten older. I also now realize I am married to an Asian man and eat a lot of Asian dishes. I’m so happy I have found a cure for my problems. I can thank you enough I have been leaving in hell, and I finally have relief .
What about “spice extract” and “herb extract”? What do those terms actually mean. I’m fructose intolerant so have to avoid garlic and onion. Should I be avoiding these additives or not. The food labelling laws need a major overhaul.
I don’t trust any “spice extract” for sure…Herb extract is not a usual one to see on food. Where did you see it? I personally think everyone needs to avoid these additives! Is it any wonder why so many people suffer from insomnia, chronic pain, headaches, vertigo, anxiety and ADHD when their poor bodies are having to deal with these excito-toxins? Brain toxins make the brain toxic!
thank you very much for this article, I love it, its blunt and accurate.
Thanks! You have done a wonderful job here of showing just what to look for to avoid dangerous MSG. I have recently discovered that IT is what has been causing heart irregularities for me…racing heart and skipped beats. I will be much better able to avoid it now, after reading your page. This information should be MUCH more widely known, and I intend to spread it around. Again, thanks!
Please share this info as much as possible! Getting MSG out of the diet is so easy to do when you know what to look for!
Thank you for Educating everybody about MSG and other bad stuff in food. My son is MSG intolerant – very intolerant! – and it took us 3 years to figure out what is wrong with him and then another 6 months finding out about all the other ingredients containing MSG.
People here in South Africa still look at us with a blank look when we mention MSG. It is time for people to know the truth. I will recommend your website to my friends.
Thanks for sharing your experience from South Africa! Clearly, education is the key so let’s continue to spread the word. Many people who suffer from migraines have no idea that it could be related to MSG in their diet. I’m happy to hear you finally found the solution for you son.