Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 August, 2011, 12:00am


Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills
by Russell Blaylock
Blackstone Audio (audiobook)

His conclusions are controversial but they seem sensible enough to make you wary of the 'excitotoxins' added to foods and drinks simply to make them taste better. Dr Russell Blaylock takes aim at monosodium glutamate, aspartic acid, aspartame and other flavour enhancers, asking: 'What if someone were to tell you that a chemical added to your food could cause brain damage in your children ...?' His explanation, recorded in authoritative tones by Tom Weiner, is that these substances overstimulate neurons, which 'fire their impulses very rapidly until they reach a state of extreme exhaustion' so they die from excess excitement. Not all excitotoxins are man-made: MSG, derived from seaweed, is a form of glutamic acid, so a 'natural flavouring' label may indicate the food in question contains up to 60 per cent MSG. These substances, he claims, can also lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease. Although there are probably as many disbelievers as supporters, Blaylock's convictions may put you off that next diet drink.