Exciting Toxins

According to a new study in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, monosodium glutamate (MSG) in food may exacerbate our symptoms.

It was only a small study of 37 people: it included women with FM and IBS. Participants first avoided MSG and other excitotoxins (see below,) such as aspartame. Thirty one of the participants said that their symptom load was reduced by more than 30%.


Next, participants were given either orange juice with added MSG or plain juice (as a placebo,) three days a week, for two weeks. Those getting the MSG had a significant return of symptoms when compared to those who didn’t.

MSG also appeared to decrease quality of life when it came to IBS symptoms, and symptoms such as watery stools and abdominal bloating were higher in the MSG group.

Researchers recommend further exploration of what could be a relatively simple and low-cost, non-drug method of alleviating symptoms.

Avoiding Excitotoxins

It can be tough to avoid excitotoxins in your diet. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in a wealth of products. It goes by the brand names Equal, NutraSweet, AminoSweet, etc. but should always be listed as aspartame in the ingredients list. Check your ‘diet’ products closely.

MSG is harder to identify and avoid, as it lurks in dozens of ingredients. The organization Truth in Labelling has a list of ingredients that do or may contain MSG: List of Ingredients Containing MSG.