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Key Tones 08-13-2013 09:15 PM

Wow - Artificial Sweeteners - Time to Revisit
I think we need some fresh information here on this board. Here is a reason to look for stevia without maltrodextrin....

Jack Kruse, Low Carb/Paleo Neurosurgeon

MSG, your GUT, and your BRAIN, Post-Trauma

September 17, 2011 by Jack Kruse Comments (65)


1. How does MSG and aspartame affect you and your brain and your fat loss?
2. What do artificial sweeteners do to a human?
3. How does neuronal injury from diet, trauma, and energy depletion all tie together?
4. What about young humans?
5. What about young humans with injured brains?

In part 2 of this series, we will explore how excitatory amino acids in foods and introduced to our GI tract could cause us some problems with normal functioning causing weight plateaus. We will discuss how MSG and aspartame (Nutrasweet), could wreak havoc with the human brain. This is especially true if that brain already has been concussed many times or is afflicted with some neurodegenerative disorder or is connected to an already leaky gut (low HDL level).

Many people don’t seem to understand how MSG and artificial sweeteners cause damage to neurons. The experimental data on this area is documented quite well by Dr. John Olney. His work began in 1969. He studied the endocrine effects of MSG on the hypothalamus. Most of my blog readers know that leptin signaling in the hypothalamus is critical for developing obesity and controlling weight among other things. You might be surprised to also find out that MSG and aspartame destroys the neurons in the hypothalamus that use the leptin receptor in the arcuate nucleus and in the hypocretin neuron bundle. The arcuate nucleus has the job in the hypothalamus of regulating the amount of hormone releasing factors secreted by the hypothalamus and pituitary. So if these neurons become damaged or rendered non functional your hormones will never be optimal with diet alone. This will cause you to remain fat and/or hypothyroid even if you are doing everything totally primal or paleo. It can also destroy the secretion of growth hormone that effects your body composition and the sex steroid hormones that control bone density and energy levels and radically can effect your HDL levels. This is a cause of “primary pregnenolone steal syndrome” because it is knocking out the “main pharmacy” in your brain. Many cases of primary amenorrhea are due to toxic insidious damage to this part of the brain.

Many women often notice weight gain after menopause. Often this is caused by a real loss of prolactin secretion in the hypothalamus, which controls the releasing hormone proteins. This simultaneously occurs as a woman is losing two of her main brain antioxidants (protectors), namely estrogen and progesterone. The loss of these protective hormones makes the brain even more susceptible to excitotoxic damage at the leptin receptor by MSG and aspartame. These chemicals create cell damage slowly over time by increasing free radical damage and using up the main antioxidants of the brain. This is often why menopausal women with big stalls will respond tremendously to low dose prolactin analogue drugs. These must be given under a physicians care. This offsets the loss of prolactin and norepinephrine (NE) secretion that regulates the releasing proteins that dictates ultimate brain hormonal balance and the circadian rythmns. MSG, aspartame, BPA, phenylalanine are just a few of these endocrine blockers. Acute BPA toxicity actually can be seen directly on an MRI scan by causing swelling of the pituitary gland. So if you are using these products knowingly or unknowingly, you might want to stop them if you are trying to lose weight or recover from a neurodegenerative disease. MSG has multiple “slick nicknames” designed to confuse you. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is by far the most common. Here is a list of the others.

We already know that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a brain disease that cause energy depletion in the brain too. Diabetic patients have a 147 fold increased risk of developing AD because diabetes contributes to an energy deficient state in neurons and depletes magnesium. Magnesium is used as a co-factor in ATP generation for energy. We saw in the last blog, that neurons become much more susceptible to excitotoxin damage when they are magnesium or energy depleted. This clearly explains why T2D’s become demented by AD so often. Nutrasweet and aspartame are very commonly used in low carb and diabetic foods and are known excitotoxin drugs that cause hypothalamic damage as well. These drugs are even advocated by the American Diabetic Association for weight loss (ADA). On the surface this seems to make no sense when one considers the science behind them. But when you look in this deeper, you find that the ADA is given millions of dollars a year by the manufactures of these products. It becomes crystal clear why this is a national policy to the their members. I tell all my diabetic patients to avoid all products with MSG, artificial sweeteners and BPA for this reason. If you are going to use a sweetener, I think using liquid Stevia without maltodextrin in it is best and safest based upon what we know now. If you feed a mouse MSG right after its born, it has loss of hormonal control, low prolactin levels, high leptin levels, with neuron death in the hypothalamus as a result. All theses mice grow up obese, small, and have reproductive difficulties. This syndrome parallels the human clinical syndrome of PCOS quite well. In PCOS women secrete higher levels of LH and this stimulates earlier onset of puberty and higher levels of testosterone that throw off the balance of oocyte maturation and causes menstrual irregularities. This effect has also been shown to effect the developing mouse because MSG and aspartame readily cross the placenta. This unfortunately is also true in humans as well. In fact the placenta in humans is even more permeable to these chemicals than mice and human brains concentrate the chemicals more readily in areas where the brain is not protected by a blood brain barrier. When you read the data on animals and realize that our species is 5-7 times more likely than a mouse to be sensitized to these effects it makes you stop and wonder what these chemicals are doing to kid’s epigenetic switches of their hypothalamus.

It may also help explain some of the amazing new epidemiological trends for obesity that have shown up over the last 50 years. I am referring to the cumulative effect wheat, grains, PUFA’s, high fructose corn syrup, BPA, MSG and aspartame use. I don’t think any one in particular is a smoking gun. I think each one compounds one another in our western diet and creates the massive effects we see in neolithic diseases.

What about young kids and adults with injured brains from various causes? Well, as a species you maybe unnerved to learn that humans absorb MSG and aspartame 5-7 times more aggressively than any species ever tested. This effect is more dramatic when the human is younger with a developing immune system in the gut. The younger the the gut and brain are, the more aggressive is the uptake and the more sensitive the developing nervous system is to its cumulative effects. MSG manufactures always do studies that show effects within 48 hrs for human safety. Since these drugs collect around neurons and disable its clearance the effects are long term. This is why the data on these drugs are so tough to interpret sometimes. They are not when you know the biochemistry around a neuron. In adults, the effect is not as significant unless you have a leaky gut (low HDL level) or have a damaged brain blood barrier. This means that the younger you are the more at risk you are for excitotoxic damage from trauma or concussions. This has huge implications for HS and college athletes.

Low levels of HDL occurs in many pathologies and signals lowered endotoxin clearance in the portal circulation. This commonly occurs in infection, trauma, migraines, concussions, neurodegenerative diseases, and especially strokes. In all these people, I advocate complete avoidance of these food additives. It has been shown in many animal studies that MSG and aspartame concentrate in neurons that are energy depleted or damaged in parts of the brain with no adequate blood brain barrier. Moreover, in humans the effect of these drugs is not always immediate and takes 72 hours to 144 hours to render its effect. The most worrisome issue to me as a neurosurgeon is the cumulative concentrating effects of these additives over a life time. I believe this is a major causative factor in the increasing incidence of ALS, brain tumors, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases. The injured brain is even more at risk over time to these chemicals because of constant free radical generation in the brain. The developing brain is more adversely impacted because its wiring and neurotransmitter connections are not mature during early life. My belief is that this is also true of adults who are recovering from trauma and concussions as well. I believe their brains are more at risk than normal and I advise strict avoidance in these cases.

After reading the latest concussion data results if your child plays sports you need to have a plan in place to combat neuron cell death. If you’re a professional client you better make sure your team doctor and your agent have a plan for you outside the regular medical panel. Your cognition and life span might depend upon it. There are many things we can do to suggest to you to offset the excitotoxic damage. The choice is yours as it always is. the next part of the series will focus on CTE and athletes.


1. Gay et al. “N-methyl-D-L-aspartate elicits hypothalamic gonadotrophin releasing hormone in prepubertal male rhesus monkeys” Endocrinology 120 (1987) 2289-96.
2. Dawson et al. “Age related and dose dependent effects of neonatal MSG administration to female rats.” Neurotoxicology and Teratology 2(1989): 331-337
3. Stegink L.D. Et al. “Glutamic Acid: Advances in Biochemistry Physiology.” NY: raven Press, 1979.
4. Stegink, L.D. Et al. “Comparative Metabolism of glutamate in mouse and Man.” In Glutamic Acid: Advances in biochemistry and physiology.” Edited by L.J. Filner, et al. 85-112. Raven press: NY, 1979.
5. Olney, J. W. “Excitatory Neurotoxins as food additives: an Evaluation of the risk.” Neurotox. 2(1980): 163-192

Jack's avatar
Jack · 99 weeks ago

@ Julianne in case i was not clear enough......no artificial sweetener is fit for humans....... but stevia without maltodextrin is OK for now. If a human wants to delude themselves......... Im ok with it......but they won't be my patient. I take no quarter because of the effect of the leptin receptors on the tongue. They fool the brain by forteling the brain some sugar is a comin and then they destroy the hypocretin neurons. This all happens before any reward tracts mind you as well............



Jack's avatar
Jack · 99 weeks ago

@Shijin migraines are probably the most common manifestation of MSG/aspartame symptoms. And the younger you were the more powerful the effect. This seems to be case in your example too. The exposure likely occurred remotely a few hours to days before the headache



Jack's avatar
Jack · 99 weeks ago

@Steve Go re read my post on Peripheral Neuropathy. Realize that xylitol is a polyol (FODMAP). And they say it is safe because the people making xylitol made sure that was the case in studies they supported and pushed. I don't advocate for any dietary polyol. I like only raw Stevia with no fillers like Maltodextrin. Usually the liquid is the only one that fits that bill.

Natalia 08-13-2013 09:20 PM

I read that this guy was proven to be a fraud.
Did anyone else hear that?

Key Tones 08-13-2013 10:20 PM

I saw Richard Nikoley post that he is a fraud, and if you click the link that Richard put up, it was stupid. Jack or someone put up an obvious joke that a body builder pic was him, no one would believe. It's like something you would see in an advertisement with fancy lighting and such. It's facebook.

I can see why the paleo sphere would not like him. I've heard him say a bunch of stuff where he is stealing thunder (stuff others had already put out).

Still, I think this is fascinating to look at his leptin discussion. just believing what I used to believe, that everything is about insulin resistance, only got me half way to where I need to go. There is more to this. What is it? I must know and explore it. The funny thing is, I don't see much of this discussed around here, yet there are some people here that have seen this stuff. Let's talk! Help me!

He is talking about using cold therapy to reverse diabetes. I am so curious because all my weight loss has not killed my insulin resistance. I swear, I'm starting the cold therapy to see what happens.

I read Ray Cronise talk about cold therapy causing weight loss, but he didn't explain what is actually happening. Jack does. It is motivating. I'm going to start the protocol.

When some is right about something radical, people tend to call it BS. I'm looking for answers. He lost a massive amount of weight down to normal without exercise in his 40s. This is unusual.

Anyway, the point of this is something I heard Stephan Guyenet say as well - overstimulating the reward systems with artificial sweeteners, what it does to your brain.

I am finally off the sweeteners.

Natalia 08-13-2013 10:35 PM

I know I should really taper off them, but I sure do love Coke Zero, diet grape crush, and diet Dew.
I could implement the oil/ butter protocol, though. See if it makes a difference.
I wonder if coconut oil would be ok?
The thought of slamming a liquid oil is unpleasant, but chipping at a pat of butter or CO is ok.

Key Tones 08-13-2013 10:39 PM

I love Coke Zero. It took a lot of reading for me to walk away.

I tried to get my daughter to do the Seth Roberts protocol with butter (she's 19). She found it revolting. She couldn't stand the olive oil. The MCT oil is light and flavorless, so she is doing that.

Coconut oil would need to be nose clipped for the flavorless window per Shangri-La Diet/Seth Roberts. As would butter (I do the butter as well).

I am much more willing to try anything. I want desperately to be healthy. Life is so short.

Natalia 08-13-2013 10:50 PM

So, a T of butter twice a day, while holding my nose, and no eating on either side of the butter for an hour?

Written down, it sounds so random and funny.

Remember when people were buying that appetite suppressant? It was basically coconut oil in a creamer cup and lots of people were swearing by it.
Sounds the same , whatever the reasoning.

The issue becomes though, is all flavourful food detrimental ? Life is also too short for nothing but bland food! Never having butter chicken again gives me the sads.

Key Tones 08-13-2013 10:59 PM

Meh, I doubt most people need totally flavorless life. Most were not over 300 pounds, diabetic, and trying starting at age 40! A dietitian told me I would never make it and just to get the gastric surgery. No way...I keep it flavorless now except to get my veggies down and I need my 85% dark chocolate squares, a few a day.


Yep, the one hour flavorless on each side after a few days I found to start to kick in, and after a few weeks, it is like, wow. It kills cravings like nothing else can, and I have been doing this a looooong time. I started in 2005. This is the stuff.

I don't know, was that slim shots? I heard some company like that approached Seth Roberts, but he just wanted to tell people to take the oil.

Girlieschmoo 08-13-2013 11:53 PM

I don't see the info on what the oil/butter protocol is...did I miss it?

Key Tones 08-14-2013 12:05 AM

Sorry - Here is the thread. I'll have to rename it the Stephan Guyenet/Seth Roberts Leptin Hack at some point


Key Tones 08-14-2013 12:06 AM

I've started one on cold therapy.


Key Tones 08-14-2013 12:17 AM

Oh, and we discussed the oil regimen here too:


Girlieschmoo 08-14-2013 08:19 AM

Key Tones, thank you...been reading up on all these things this morning :)

Natalia 08-14-2013 08:59 AM

Thank you KeyTones! It's obvious the protocol works for you! I can hear the passion for the technique in your voice!

I'm going to try the butter thing this week, perhaps today even.
Where should I update? The guyunet thread?
Not ready to pitch the sweeteners yet, though.

cleochatra 08-14-2013 09:21 AM

Artificial sweeteners in certain applications are my one vice, and since I can keep them under control and know the risks, I'm not kicking them out quite yet. I've had good results with the ones I favor and have used the ones that work for me (and not against me) for the last 118 pounds. At some point, if they start working against me, I'll kick them out, too.

Key Tones 08-14-2013 09:53 AM


Originally Posted by Natalia (Post 16559004)
Thank you KeyTones! It's obvious the protocol works for you! I can hear the passion for the technique in your voice!

I'm going to try the butter thing this week, perhaps today even.
Where should I update? The guyunet thread?
Not ready to pitch the sweeteners yet, though.

Yes, come on over! If I find any more leptin hacks, that is where I will post it.

Key Tones 08-14-2013 09:54 AM

Glad to share...thanks for your support!

5kids 08-14-2013 10:32 AM

2 months of no diet soda or any soda of any kind for me.

Emily-D 08-14-2013 06:39 PM

He has some good points, but I'm really wary of Jack Kruse.

Key Tones 08-14-2013 10:08 PM

I know he's controversial. I am impressed at how good he looks and he achieved it in middle age.

I'm glad I found him. He is charismatic enough to get me excited to actually change what I am doing. That is what I need.

I need more ways to hack the system. I haven't been able to get any further with low carb or paleo until I started reading the leptin angle with Guyenet and Seth Roberts and found another way to hack the system.

Adding Kruse, I am hoping to benefit from cold therapy and to be wowed by his explanations enough to change my few remaining vices (what little there is left for me to give as far as I can tell). if I can just make it to goal now.

The interesting thing is Kruse talks about things that work and don't work depending upon where you are. I haven't heard this stuff before.

I tried intermittent fasting until I scared everyone around me from being so crabby it almost killed me. Kruse says this does not work when you are not insulin sensitive. If I had only known. I threw myself over a cliff trying to make that work, eating only every other day. I was probably in my 240s to 250s then. I needed hope. I still do. I can't give up yet.

It also tells me that there are things that work for people that I am just on the boarder of making work for me, once I become more leptin sensitive. It had not occurred to me that things I tried in the past and wrote off might work now, or in the future.

cfine 08-17-2013 07:43 AM

So glad I found this thread. I have been reading Jack Kruse and have been wanting to try the cold therapy. I have enjoyed his writings and don't find him wacky at all. He sounds like a compassionate, caring doctor to me.

Key Tones 08-17-2013 09:23 AM


I am reading his book now. His chapter on osteoporosis is really great. He talks about how he is finding young people with this problem when he has to operate on their spines and he cannot believe it. He diiscusses how our bones are yet another big casualty of our horrible western diet! It is amazing.

I am now going to have to figure out how to get more vitamin K2. A deficiency in magnesium, K2, and vitamin D3 is like the trifecta formula for getting osteoporosis!

Apparently, the K2 gets eliminated from our diet through modern food handling techniques. It sounds like our best chance at getting it is through dairy but the pasteurization kills it. I already buy KerryGold butter, so I am getting some there, but can't eat cheese because I go crazy with it, but it is in the raw cheese which I have seen at regular grocery stores like QFC.

I had heard of taking the D3 and the magnesium, but not the K2. I just read in the paper the other day that k2 deficiency has been implicated in parkinsons disease.

It is amazing how well we are shooting ourselves with modern industrial food.

cfine 08-17-2013 08:41 PM

I have started supplementing with vitamin k2. I also use raw cream and kerrygold butter. I take my vitamin D through cod liver oil and magnesium through supplementation.

Key Tones 08-17-2013 08:55 PM

I'll look into that, thank you!

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