Nutrition: Simple Diet Change to Reduce Chronic Pain

Does it seem too simple that you might be able to reduce chronic pain just by modifying what you include in your diet? A very interesting study conducted in Africa seems to indicate just that.

You may be familiar with a food additive called monosodium glutamate or MSG. It is commonly found in just about every packaged, processed food. It sometimes goes by “yeast extract,” “natural flavor” or “hydrolyzed protein” on food labels and is often a cause of headaches and other digestive distress when eating out at Chinese restaurants.

You may think it is a harmless additive that just boosts the flavors in foods. It is the main ingredient in the flavor enhancing product, Accent. It is anything but harmless. MSG is what is known as an excitotoxin. It excites brain cells to death.

What this African study found was that people who regularly use MSG or products that contain it found relief from symptoms of chronic pain when they eliminated it from their diets. The 30 study participants had chronic pain symptoms as well as headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue and sleep issues. In this village in Kenya, where 60% of the people complain of chronic pain, MSG is used in daily cooking in a mixed seasoning spice called Mchuzi Mix.

The study participants were divided into 4 groups. The group that regularly used that spice mix and reported low water intake were given a spice substitute without MSG and increased their water intake as dehydration can exacerbate pain and headaches. The group that did not use the seasoning but reported low water intake just increased water intake. One group was given Tylenol and the last was the control group.

The group that removed MSG from their diet and drank more water enjoyed greater improvement in their chronic pain symptoms. Whether you experience headaches or chronic pain for any reason, it is a good idea to avoid MSG and be sure you do not let yourself get dehydrated. My basic formula is one-half your body weight in ounces of water and include ¼ tsp. of natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan Crystal for every 32 oz. you drink. The easiest way to avoid MSG is to limit the amount of packaged, processed food you eat as it is hidden in almost everything. Stick to fresh, whole, one-ingredient foods instead.

Would you be willing to try avoiding MSG to see how it affects your pain issues?

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About amusico

I am a holistic health coach and independent nutritional consultant. All my coaching plans are based on my 3-D Living program and a big part of that are the Youngevity Products and Supplements I proudly offer! Visit my website at and learn more about the products and my coaching plans!
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6 Responses to Nutrition: Simple Diet Change to Reduce Chronic Pain

  1. Holly Scherer says:

    You always find the best studies, Ann! Here’s something I noticed that I’m sure you noticed too. The label on the accent salt says 60% less sodium. If I didn’t pay attention to nutrition and saw that in the store, I would assume that was a healthier choice. It’s scary what food manufacturers can get by with in their labeling and advertising.

    • amusico says:

      Thanks Holly and yes! We have to read labels carefully and understand that much of what is on there is to get us to purchase. Salt and sodium have been demonized for years and studies now show that not to be true. We have to become our own advocates and it’s great there are people like you out there who are so aware. Thank you – I always appreciate your comments!

  2. marcytravis says:

    Ann, This is such a great article! Thanks for writing it. I do have chronic pain that keeps me up at night from RLS (restless leg syndrome). I’m going to be on the lookout for MSG from now on!

    • amusico says:

      Oh Marcy I’m glad you found the information interesting and I do hope it is helpful to you. For RLS from what I know it is suggested you avoid all stimulants of any kind (caffeine, teas, even some herbal ones, coffee, soda, chocolate) even stimulating supplements and medicines like decongestants and antihistamines; if you know you are iron deficient, bringing that up can help (I wouldn’t supplement with iron unless you know your levels are low), same with folate and one case study found that magnesium supplements were able to relieve symptoms of RLS and improve sleep. They used Magnesium Threonate since it accesses the brain most easily. Valerian root is an herb that was found to help those with RLS. I hope something there may be helpful to you my friend.

      • marcytravis says:

        Thank you, Ann. I have been suspecting there are foods that exacerbate the symptoms, because some nights the pain is off the chart, and others the medication I’ve been prescribed works just fine. I’ve been watching what I eat, in particular, spices we use that have additives in them. I will definitely watch for the MSG now. Allergies run in my family and my dad had asthmatic symptoms after ingesting MSG, so that may well be the culprit. Thanks for your additional ideas.

      • amusico says:

        Ok Marcy well that makes sense and it definitely could be foods that are triggering it at times. I hope you find the culprit and some good resolution! Glad to help.

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