Wednesday, September 02, 2009


With a little sleuthing on my own plus assistance from the medical community I have discovered one key in the whole depression thing I have going on.


That’s right, monosodium glutamate, contributed to my latest downward spiral.

About a month ago (you know, shortly before descending into the depths of the black hole of depression) I found a Chinese restaurant near my workplace. They are basically a fast food place, everything already made and waiting to be ladled up for you, with a very convenient drive thru window. I began patronizing this place, not so much for the quality of the food but because I could get vegetables – actual vegetables not cooked to mush – quickly and cheaply. So I ate there a couple of times a week for about three weeks, and as you know, I suffered greatly from depression. Without a clue about a connection (yes I know MSG isn’t great for you but just wasn’t thinking about it being linked to depression of all things), I stopped eating there and started going home for lunch for economy’s sake. And the depression faded.

So I did some research, both on the internet, and by speaking to my therapist and a very friendly and helpful nurse at the adult medicine office where my doctor is located. It turns out there can be some neurological side effects, including depression, from eating MSG. While my therapist and I also identified situational causes for the bout of depression, he did not discount that a reaction to MSG may well have played a part in it. He also assured me it was fine to be feeling as good as I’m feeling now (I’m feeling loads better! Thanks for asking.) and relieved my anxieties that perhaps I am suffering from bipolar disorder rather than depression. Oh, and another thing the MSG (and overall sodium content) of my little Chinese fast food extravaganza contributed to was excessive bloating and water retention. Even as fat as I am, I can tell a significant difference when I’m bloated, and for a couple of weeks there I was extremely bloated. Of course getting rid of the bloat didn’t hurt my frame of mind either.

Three lessons learned:
  1. Avoid MSG.  No more Chinese food unless I can order it without MSG or, in the case of buffet style make sure no MSG is used. Also, I’m on the lookout for it in other foods. You’d be surprised how many packaged foods have it.
  2. When the depression starts to creep up I need to think about what kinds of changes I've made in my habits, my diet, etc. to see if there is a connection.
  3. When you hit rock bottom you find out who really cares about you and who only cares when you're not nuts.
Anyway, there’s another piece placed into the puzzle, and I continue on my quest to eventually become a fully functional adult.

(And yes, I know this is my second post today.  What of it?  You wanted to wait until tomorrow to have me share this with you?  No, I didn't think so.)

1 comment:

Val said...

An intriguing insight - glad that it is working out better for you!
Now if I could only break my Chick-Fil-A addiction; I know my GI tract doesn't like the soybean oil in their salad dressings, but DAMN it sure does sound good, & gives me more of an illusion of eating healthy...