A biochemist located in the San Francisco Bay Area believes that she has drastically improved, if not cured, her daughter’s autism through eliminating monosodium glutamate, or MSG, from her diet.
Katherine Reid, Ph.D., says her daughter Brooke began exhibiting symptoms of autism at age two. Brooke’s communication capabilities were far below average, and she failed to develop normal human connections. She also suffered from tantrums and digestive complications including constipation.
Dr. Reid’s husband, a cellular biologist, became suspicious of his daughter’s symptoms and began researching, only to find that Brooke was showing nearly every characteristic of autism. After seeing their pediatrician, who also agreed that something was wrong, the family hired a psychologist to test Brooke’s learning abilities. The results were devastating in that they showed that she suffered immensely from severe learning disabilities, ultimately diagnosing her with moderate autism.
“She was in her own world,” Dr. Reid said. “Her actions were repetitive, like doing a puzzle over and over again for hours. And she exhibited signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder. She couldn’t stand going home in the stroller on a different route without having a screaming tantrum.”
Soon, most of Dr. Reid’s free time was dedicated to researching autism and the struggles that other families were experiencing. Through her research, she learned that many children suffering from the disorder had improved symptoms after altering their diets to exclude MSG, gluten and dairy products.
Natural versus man-made
While glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid, is produced by our bodies and found in many protein-rich foods, including, meat, vegetables, dairy, eggs, fish and poultry, MSG is derived from the synthetic processing of glutamate. In 1908, MSG was developed by a Japanese man for the purpose of enhancing flavor in food. He later went on to form Ajinomoto, the world’s leading MSG producer and, ironically, also a drug company.
Our bodies require glutamate for learning and developmental processes. The amino acids in glutamate are the building blocks of proteins, subsequently responsible for metabolism and brain function.
Alarmingly, today the rate of autism found in American children is 1 in 50, a number that’s increased 200-fold since the 1940s. Autism is typically described as a developmental disability that can be mild or severe and is caused by genes that impact the nervous system. Children suffering from this disorder fail to develop adequate social skills required to function normally in the world.
After Dr. Reid learned that naturally occurring glutamate was responsible for transmitting signals between neurons and other cells, she felt that an imbalanced diet filled with MSG could be worsening her daughter’s symptoms, and potentially even the cause of them.
Despite a lack of studies for various reasons, it seems plausible that consuming large amounts of a genetically altered version of the amino acid responsible for our speech and communication abilities could be tied to autism.
With MSG in nearly 95 percent of processed foods, and often unlabeled, Dr. Reid knew that it wouldn’t be easy eliminating it from Brooke’s diet; however, she was willing to try.
Despite skepticism from the medical community regarding the link between autism and MSG, Dr. Reid withdrew MSG from her daughter’s diet and began seeing improvements in just five weeks.
“I tried the experiment on her and myself, and she started to develop better speech and communication. She became more social, her repetitive behaviors never occurred again after we introduced the diet. She just became a little more physically coordinated,” Dr. Reid explained to Fox News. “I was also feeling much healthier myself. I had less sinus pressure headaches, less allergies. So I could see how this could have an effect on her brain.”
Moved by her daughter’s transformation, Dr. Reid created a non-profit organization called Unblind My Mind, dedicated to raising awareness regarding the link between foods we eat and growing health ailments. She is now an advocate for treating medical complications with diet first and is focused on educating others regarding the impacts of proper nutrition and eliminating toxins like MSG.