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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