How much free glutamate is in Soylent?


#1

Free glutamate, like MSG, can cause gastrointestinal and neurological problems. Maltodextrin and any hydrolyzed protein can have a lot of free glutamate depending on the processing, Does anyone know the amount of free glutamate in Soylent?

-m


#2

References please? Papers or it doesn’t matter.


#3

You’re right, there’s a lot of heresay.
Glutamate & Inflammation "Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors in Peripheral and Non-Neural Tissues"
http://pharmrev.aspetjournals.org/content/63/1/35.full

Largest-ever Search for Autism Genes Reveals New Clues:
"Clues emerged adding to evidence that implicates components of the brain’s glutamate neurotransmitter system in autism."
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2007/largest-ever-search-for-autism-genes-reveals-new-clues.shtml

Schizophrenia Gene Variant Linked to Risk Traits:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2004/schizophrenia-gene-variant-linked-to-risk-traits.shtml

Experimental Medication Kicks Depression in Hours Instead of Weeks:
"Studies indicate that dysregulation in glutamate could be among the culprits in depression."
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2006/experimental-medication-kicks-depression-in-hours-instead-of-weeks.shtml

http://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/9/1/275
"…high concentrations of L-Glu cause excessive stimulation of L-Glu receptors and lead to neurotoxicity"


#4

Glutamat is one of the “extras”, found in ramen noodles and other junk food, right? I think it’s a flavour enhancer. Your papers say, it’s bad. They don’t say we can expect lots of it in Soylent.


#5

I moved 19 posts to a new topic: Processed ingredients and synthetic vitamins/minerals in Soylent


#6

*cough*
Er… that’s sort of what he’s asking about - whether Soylent has any. I think you may have misread something.

But yeah. As far as I recall, @mikelebien, there wouldn’t really be any reason for it to be in Soylent. All the nutrition facts have been posted now, so you can go through on blog.soylent.me and look through the posts to confirm.


#7

It won’t be listed as an ingredient. It’s going to be in the maltodextrin and may be in the rice protein, especially if it’s hydrolyzed. So I just wondered how much total.


#8

ah, missed that part of the original post, sorry. Well, as is often the case, I’d say tag in @rob or @JulioMiles and see if they have some numbers.


#9

[quote=“mikelebien, post:3, topic:11115”]
You’re right, there’s a lot of heresay. [/quote]
I first read that as “heresy”. I didn’t realise the effect of glutamate was contentious in such broad circles as organised churches.


#10

And people wonder why it has taken Soylent so long to bring this product to market. So many variables.


#11

I’m a lurker and never posted before. But I have to respond to this.

Not one of the articles linked says “glutamate is bad”. I have no clue as to mikelebien’s background, but all of the articles are discussing the neurotransmitter glutamate, not dietary glutamate. They are not the same thing.

Glutamate (Glutamic acid) is the most prominent neurotransmitter in the body, being present in over 50% of nervous tissue. Is it required for your body to function. If you don’t get free glutamate (i.e., not bound to a polypeptide) from stuff such as MSG, your body will create neurotransmitter glutamate from dietary proteins in the small intestine.

I’ll make extreme summarization of each article that mikelebien seems to be focusing on.

Glutamate & Inflammation “Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors in Peripheral and Non-Neural Tissues”

What it says: Inflamed tissue has lots of neurotransmitter glutamate in it. When you block neurotransmitter glutamate receptors in people and research animals, gastroesophageal reflux disease and chemically induced colitis are reduced. If you block too many receptors, liver damgage occurs.

What it doesn’t say: Excessive dietary glutamate causes inflammation or intestinal issues.

Largest-ever Search for Autism Genes Reveals New Clues:
“Clues emerged adding to evidence that implicates components of the brain’s glutamate neurotransmitter system in autism.”

What it says: Researchers found evidence that implicates components of the brain’s glutamate neurotransmitter system in autism. Some key genes associated with the glutamate system are located in chromosome regions previously associated with autism. A site on chromosome 11 most strongly linked to autism in this study harbors genes for proteins that shuttle glutamate across the synapse.

What it doesn’t say: Excessive dietary glutamate causes autism.

Schizophrenia Gene Variant Linked to Risk Traits:

What it says: Researchers have identified a relationship between a small section of one gene, the brain chemical messenger glutamate, and a collection of traits known to be associated with schizophrenia. The gene GRM3 alters glutamate transmission, brain physiology and cognition, increasing the risk for schizophrenia.

What it doesn’t say: Excessive dietary glutamate causes Schizophrenia.

Experimental Medication Kicks Depression in Hours Instead of Weeks:
“Studies indicate that dysregulation in glutamate could be among the culprits in depression.”

What it says: A single dose of Ketamine has shown to help people with treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine blocks NMDA receptors. NMDA receptors are critical for receiving the signals of glutamate, a brain chemical that enhances the electrical flow among brain cells that is required for normal function. Studies indicate that dysregulation in glutamate could be among the culprits in depression.

What it doesn’t say: Excessive dietary glutamate causes depression.

…high concentrations of L-Glu cause excessive stimulation of L-Glu receptors and lead to neurotoxicity"

What it says: In a laboratory setting with mixed culture composed of astrocytes, microglia, and neurons created from cerebral cortices surgically removed from brains of 2-day-old Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats. Chemicals including bovine, horse, mouse, donkey, and goat serums were used to create and control inflammation. Results: An early event of neuroinflammation is elevation of extracellular glutamate which taken to extremes can lead to cell death (in the lab).

What it doesn’t say: Excessive dietary glutamate causes neurotoxicity.


#12

YOU. ARE. AWESOME!

Way to bring down the educational thunder!
Which was the aftershock from the lightning of SCIENCE!
By following the stepped leader of REFERENCES!

And… no… I’m done torturing this metaphor.

But seriously, good job.


#14

Thank you! This is why I love this forum. People with diverse viewpoints can bring up troubling information, and we have educated and insightful folks who can teach break the best available information down into teachable nuggets.

While this breakdown is not definitive, it does address the studies under discussion admirably. Every contingency in Soylent needs to be addressed, and its discussions like this which will help Rosa Labs and the diy community succeed in a nutrition revolution.


#15

As someone with Crohn’s, I can say that I have observed significant flareups with direct relations to the amount of MSG consumed. As a college student I sometimes I ate a lot of top ramen and such which contains large amounts of it, but obviously lots of other products do as well. The more MSG I consume, the more my intestines hurt. It’s not a placebo effect as I was one of the those who were against the condemnation of it in the first place. I can’t really add more to the conversation than this, but it’s definitely an issue for me at least.


#16

Just as a point of clarification, glutamate != MSG.

It’s a square/rectangle thing. MSG is a type of glutamate (mono-sodium), but that doesn’t mean any reference to any glutamate is a reference to MSG. Soylent doesn’t (to my knowledge) have MSG.


#17

I think the point might be that glutamate is what’s in question here, which MSG is a source of.


#18

I have no problem with the idea that the free glutamate in MSG can have detrimental effects with individuals with Chron’s or other types of inflammatory bowel disease. The neurotransmitter glutamate and dietary glutamate while not exactly the same - dietary glutamate is broken down in the intestinal tract into the pure amino acids including glutamate and that is definitely present in inflamed neural tissue.

Of course each individual’s reaction to free glutamate in foods will be different. Free glutamate is what needs to be focused on since the body will break down all proteins and create glutamate regardless. The question is how much free glutamate will be present. Anything with “glutamate”, “hydrolyzed”, “enzymes”, will definitely contain free glutamate. The Soylent ingredient list includes (but may not be limited to) the following that can contain some level of free glutamate:
maltodextrin, rice protein, potassium glutamate, copper gluconate, and soybean lecithin.

Also of interest: Some ingredients are shown to interact with either free glutamate or glutamate receptors and reduce reaction: choline bitartrate and palmitate (there may be others, I’ve run out of research time).

An ingredient I listed may have an extremely small amount of free glutamate - it totally depends on the source and exactly how it was processed. Specialized laboratory testing for amino acids that goes beyond normal testing would be needed to pick it up. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, but if you can tolerate the free glutamate in your current diet, protein shake, diet shake, soft drink that contains corn syrup, no fat milk, soy sauce or chicken pox vaccine; you can probably use Soylent without issue.


#19

sal9000 was correct about my references not providing any proof, and I appreciate his/her summaries. And although I found studies showing autistic adults, autistic children, and depressed people have higher glutamate serum levels (see below), that doesn’t mean eating free glutamate causes anything.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584606002697
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0025340
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00345492

Although I don’t have autism, my post in this forum was motivated by this TEDx talk (link below) from a PhD biochemist with an autistic daughter, and how eliminating free glutamate is what made the difference. So it just made me curious about Soylent free glutamate levels.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL4SD5f2toQ

-m


#20

Dr Reid is showing what we call Anecdotal Evidence and Confirmation Bias. She modified the child’s diet and symptoms of autism were reduced to a point the child could be mainstreamed. She assumes, based on little factual data that it was free glutamate. She eliminated free glutamate, therefore it was the source of the problem. But she also eliminated the entirety of the old diet. We also do not know what the old diet was.

Who knows exactly what was eliminated from the diet that caused the dramatic improvement. Don’t get me wrong, it could be the free glutamate and I think it’s wonderful that her child has improved. I have an autistic niece and my sister is trying lots and lots of things to reduce the symptoms and behavior issues. I’m going to recommend this to her as I don’t think she’s tried a total diet change to raw/organic foods.

Note supposedly Dr. Reid’s company “Unblind My Mind” is marketed as a non-profit, but I can’t find it listed on the IRS’s web site for such organizations. That makes me a bit uneasy. Of course it could be registered under a different name… Also, just because someone is on a TED or TEDx (not official TED talks, just a brand name they allow anyone to use with approval) talk doesn’t mean what they are saying is fact; they are just “ideas worth spreading” and a few have been shown to be impracticable or just outright wrong (and videos of the talks have been removed).

But back to the free glutamate discussion: This probably isn’t the product for you if you have issues - at least not until a very precise scientific laboratory can analyze the completed product’s amino acids since it’s not something the FDA normally requires for this type of product. You could gage your reaction by making one of the DIY recipes that contain the products with trace amounts of free glutamate: maltodextrin, rice protein, potassium glutamate, copper gluconate, and soybean lecithin.


#21

Not to rain on a pretty amazing story and video. But… My anecdotal story is that I have seen amazing improvements in my own child due to aging. In the same age range, 3-7.