From: "Paul Ernsberger, Ph.D." <>

Subject: Glutamate/aspartate


>I don't believe there is any data, or any other compelling reason at

>present, to suggest that MSG headaches and other hypersensitivities and the

>neurotoxicity associated with high doses of excitatory amino acids are

>correlated or are on the same continuum.


> - Jerry



>Jerry Cott, Ph.D. Tel: 301/443-4527 Fax: 443-6000

>Chief, Pharmacologic Treatment Research Program

>Director, Psychotherapeutic Medication Development Program

>National Institute of Mental Health, NIH e-mail:






Jerry, you are asking for a very high level of proof here. How exactly

could you prove this? You would have to record electrical activity from

individual brain cells (or maybe run continuous PET scans) on someone for

several hours after a dose of MSG or aspartate and monitor for changes in

activity. This would be very tough and very expensive.


We DO know that glutamate and aspartate excite neurons and that some brain

areas (such as the circumventricular areas) are not fully protected by the

blood brain barrier. We DO know that high doses of these excitatory amino

acids can cause obvious brain damage in animals, especially juveniles. So I

don't think we are talking about much of a leap here. Especially compared

to leaps of faith made in popular nutrition about the unproven benefits of

megavitamins: compared to those speculations, the harmful effects of

excitatory amino acids are on very strong ground.


Paul Ernsberger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and


Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH


Email: FAX: (216) 368-4752

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