Category Archives: Glutamate

Glutamate Food List

Good Grief… Glutamates!

Think of your brain as a race car, with neurotransmitters being the gas and brake for the race car. Following so far?

In this scenario, GABA would be your brakes, calming the brain and promoting relaxation. Too much GABA would cause lethargy and fatigue.

Glutamate would be like the gas pedal, acting as your major excitatory neurotransmitter, keeping the brain focused and alert. Too much glutamate/excitation causes anxiety and sleeplessness, among other symptoms, depending on the person. Over time, excessive levels of glutamate cause neurological inflammation and damage.

Keeping glutamate and GABA balanced in the brain can be extremely impactful for a range of neurodegenerative conditions:

  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Autism
  • Huntington’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s
  • Stroke
  • Those with atrial fibrillation, seizures and panic attacks also seem to benefit from achieving this balance.

Glutamate is a VERY common amino acid found NATURALLY in many foods to varying degrees. Remember, even the human body produces some and uses it to produce body proteins, and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).  Over-consumption of MSG, glutamic acid, or other forms of glutamate can cause sensitivity in some people. Avoiding it is close to impossible. The key is knowing food sources so you can limit your exposure if needed.

The first step in balancing glutamate and GABA is to avoid foods and nutritional supplements that contain or prompt the body to create glutamate or other excitatory neurochemicals that can enter via the glutamate receptors such as aspartate, aspartame, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine (mostly a problem with children), homocysteine and monosodium glutamate (MSG).  Then, if you feel better when restricting glutamates, it’s best to modify/limit the amount of food sources you consume.

All of these act as neurotoxins when present in excess.

Sources of MSG

  • Hydrolyzed protein or hydrolyzed oat flour
  • Sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate
  • Autolyzed yeast or yeast extract
  • Gelatin
  • Glutamic acid
  • Monosodium glutamate

Excitotoxic Food Ingredients

  • Ajinomoto
  • Autolyzed anything
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Autolyzed yeast extract
  • Bouillon
  • Broth
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Carrageenan (or vegetable gum)
  • Caseinate
  • Chicken/pork/beef “base”
  • Chicken/pork/beef “flavoring”
  • Disodium caseinate
  • Disodium guanylate
  • Disodium inosinate
  • Dough conditioner(s)
  • Gelatin
  • Glutamate
  • Guar gum
  • Hydrolyzed anything
  • Hydrolyzed oat flour
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Kombu extract
  • Malt extract
  • Malt flavoring(s)
  • Malted anything
  • Malted barely flour
  • Malted barley/barley malt
  • Maltodextrin
  • Meat flavorings (chicken, beef etc.)
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Natural flavor(s)
  • Natural flavoring(s)
  • Nutrasweet/aspartame
  • Plant protein extract 1-cysteine
  • Seasoned salt
  • Seasoning(s) or spices
  • Smoke flavoring(s)
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Soup base
  • Soy extract
  • Soy protein
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Soy sauce
  • Spice mixes that contain glutamate or MSG as an ingredient
  • Stock
  • Textured protein
  • Vegetable gum
  • Whey protein
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Yeast extract

Foods High in Glutamates:

  • Anything enzyme modified
  • Anything fermented
  • Anything protein fortified
  • Anything ultra-pasteurized
  • Anything vitamin enriched
  • Anything with corn syrup added
  • Anything with milk solids
  • Baked goods from bakeries
  • Barbeque sauce
  • Certain brands of cold cuts/hot dogs
  • Body builder protein mixes
  • Bottled spaghetti sauce
  • Boullion (any kind)
  • Broccoli
  • Canned and smoked tuna, oysters, clams
  • Canned soups (certain brands)
  • Canned refried beans
  • Canned, frozen, or dry entrees and potpies
  • Caramel flavoring/coloring
  • Catsup
  • Cereals
  • Chili sauce
  • Chocolates/Candy bars
  • Citric acid (when processed from corn)
  • Corn
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn chips (certain brands)
  • Dough conditioners
  • Dry milk or whey powder
  • Egg substitutes
  • Flavored chips (certain brands)
  • Flavored teas, sodas
  • Flour
  • Flowing agents
  • Fresh and frozen pizza
  • Fresh produce sprayed with
  • Auxigro—instead choose organically grown produce
  • Fried chicken from fast food sources
  • Frostings and fillings
  • Gelatin
  • Grapes
  • Gravy Master
  • Instant soup mixes/Stocks
  • Kombu extract
  • L-cysteine
  • Low-fat/Diet foods
  • Many salad dressings/Croutons
  • Mayonnaise
  • Molasses
  • Most salty, powdered dry food mixes
  • Mushrooms, especially shiitake and enokitake
  • Mustards
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Peas
  • Pectin
  • Pickles
  • Salted peanuts (certain brands)
  • Potatoes
  • Powdered soup and sauce mixes certain brands)
  • Prawns
  • Processed cheese spread
  • Ramen noodles
  • Restaurant gravy from food service cans
  • Restaurant soups made from food service Soup base
  • Sausages/Processed meats/Cold cuts
  • Seasoned anything
  • Skim, 1%, 2%, non-fat, or dry milk
  • Some bagged salads and vegetables
  • Some peanut butters
  • Some spices
  • Soy sauce
  • Supermarket turkey & chicken (injected)
  • Table salts
  • Tofu and other fermented soy products
  • Tomato sauce/Stewed tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Whipped cream topping substitutes
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Xanthan gum/other “gums”

Addendum: for additional information of hidden glutamate in foods http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.htm