Excitotoxins, Prescription Drugs, and Obesity


We have talked a lot about the Childhood Obesity Perfect Storm, Dr. Pretlow’s term for the concurrence of events that might not have been enough, by themselves, to start an epidemic, but which have a devastating effect when they pile up. Other medical professionals who treat and write about childhood obesity also point to a multiplicity of causes. Dr. Russell Blaylock creates controversy because of the three elements he sees as most dangerous.

Dr. Blaylock practiced for many years as a neurosurgeon before moving into nutritional research and studies. He published a book called Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, and is an editor of the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (JANA). He is also something of a maverick, espousing views about vaccinations, for instance, that are contrary to current mainstream belief. According to Dr. Blaylock,

… [E]xtensive research has shown that too many vaccinations results in immune over-stimulation in the pancreas, causing diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, a series of risk factors such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol.

In science, only time can sort out the crackpots from the visionary prophets. In the past, doomsayers were no doubt scorned by their colleagues for predicting that the overuse of antibiotics would end in disaster. Today, those dark forebodings have come true, and some of organisms most dangerous to human survival have blithely learned to resist the strongest antibiotics.

Dr. Blaylock believes that the “Let’s Move!” campaign, started and promoted by presidential wife Michelle Obama, is futile because it distracts the national attention from the real causes of childhood obesity. This article describes his viewpoint:

While a high-sugar, high-fat diet, and a lack of physical exercise contribute to the problem, the three main causes of widespread obesity are: consumption of massive amounts of excitotoxic food additives, such as MSG; low vitamin D3 levels; and the over-vaccination of children, says Blaylock…

As we have seen, many other health professionals and laypeople are now alarmed about MSG. Monosodium glutamate is the addictive chemical that gives food a more-ish taste. It’s sold under a variety of brand names, and the people who don’t fear it call it by the cute name of “umami.” It is made by the Ajinomoto corporation, which, coincidentally, also manufactures the very questionable sweetener called aspartame, also an excitotoxin. Here is a definition from the website Biology Online (links removed):


(Science: protein) class of substances that damage neurons through paroxysmal overactivity. They are toxins that bind to certain receptors (e.g., certain glutamate receptors) and may cause neuronal cell death. The best known excitotoxins are the excitatory amino acids, that can produce lesions in the cNS similar to those of Huntingdon’s chorea or alzheimers disease. Excitotoxicity is thought to contribute to neuronal cell death associated with stroke.

Dr. Blaylock supports the idea that excitotoxins cause obesity by “damaging the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that regulates weight, and the pancreas, which regulates blood-sugar levels.” Aside from blowing the whistle on excitotoxins and their connection with obesity and other medical problems, he is also leery of the cozy relationships between the government and the corporations that the government is supposed to regulate, and protect us from. Such partnerships have a tendency to lead to conflicts of interest, and sometimes to shameless corruption.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Dr. Blaylock: First Lady’s Plan Ignores Real Obesity Issues,” Kiowa County Signal, 02/20/11
Image by colros (Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose), used under its Creative Commons license.

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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