As Natural As You Can Possibly Get Because

Ineffable EssenceTM
Is Flavor Replacement

...for Food

ay back in the early and mid-1980s, when research-partner scientists Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw® entered the media's spotlight, countless profiles and articles about them drew attention to their habitual salt shaker filled with a white and light powdery substance that they sprinkled on their gourmet food. Following each forkful, they would sigh in satisfaction. In response to questions about what it was, Pearson & Shaw would typically laugh and explain that this was not something that was life extension, per se, but a means to enhance their enjoyment of food. They called it Scarf.

This interviewer tried it and grew attached to Scarf. Persuaded by the power of their arguments about dietary supplements in their runaway bestseller Life Extension, A Practical Scientific Approach, I decided to conduct a taste experiment by mixing together, according to the authors' specifications, various ratios of the ingredients known to the Japanese as Umami. The mixtures consisted of various amounts of the nucleotides, disodium guanosine 5'-monophosphate, (GMP), disodium inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP) and monosodium glutamate (MSG). As Durk, Sandy and I tasted our way through a wide variety of foods on which the different Umami mixtures were sprinkled, much to my delight, a winner appeared. And I've never gone back to salt (which contains twice the amount of sodium) or been long without what came to be renamed Ineffable Essence.

WILL: Ineffable Essence is something that I've used since I found out about it from you. What is it?

DURK: Ineffable Essence is flavor-replacement therapy for food. I grew up on a small farm in Northern Illinois, so I know what it's like to pick a tomato off a vine and pop it into your mouth, right then and there. I know what it's like to catch a fish out of a creek and to cook it up and eat it a couple of hours later. And anyone who has picked a tomato off the vine or a peach off a tree or caught a fish and then eaten it within a few hours knows that there's an ineffable freshness to these foods that's absent the next day. Which isn't to say the food spoils the next day. If you put your fish on ice, it's not going to spoil or rot. It will still be very healthful and give you those polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids . . .

SANDY: But your taste buds know the difference. You can taste when the food is not as fresh, simply because it doesn't have that fresh flavor. It doesn't have as much of the flavor molecules that the food had when it was very fresh.

DURK: And one of these flavor molecules is IMP (disodium inosine monophosphate), a breakdown product of the universal energy molecule ATP. IMP breaks down rather rapidly. If you catch that fish and immediately put it into a deep freeze, right then and there, every six hours it loses approximately half of its IMP. So even if you immediately refrigerate fresh fish, even deep freeze it - unless you put it in something extreme like liquid nitrogen, which most fishing boats aren't equipped with - you're going to lose most of that IMP within 24 hours, and as time goes on, you lose even more of it - until it is practically undectable. Similarly with glutamate. Glutamate amd IMP are natural flavor constituents of fresh food, part of the flavor that the Japanese call Umami. Like IMP, glutamate breaks down quite rapidly also. When you pick a tomato off the vine, that glutamate begins disappearing remarkably fast.

SANDY: Right. We're talking about the relatively small amounts that are found in fresh meats, vegetables and dairy products; glutamate provides an important part of natural flavor. When we sprinkle Ineffable Essence flavor molecules (IMP and MSG) back on the food, it is in fact food replacement therapy. We're simply restoring the molecules that provided flavor that were in the food when it was very fresh picked or caught.

DURK: Unfortunately, MSG (monosodium glutamate) has gotten a bit of a bad reputation because a small percentage of the population - anywhere from less than 1% to perhaps 2 or 3% - depending upon who you listen to - have an adverse reaction to it. However, some scientific research has been done to find out under what conditions MSG sensitivity occurs. It's frequently called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, and for a good reason. Some scientists went into a selected group of Chinese restaurants, ordered some wonton soup, put it in a sample bottle and left. Then they analyzed it. They found that in one of these little cups of wonton soup - depending upon the Chinese restaurant - you had anywhere from 5 to 25 grams of MSG. This is grossly excessive. This is not flavor replacement therapy; this is something else. At those extremely high levels, I'm not surprised that some people have problems.

When we sprinkle Ineffable Essence flavor
molecules (IMP and MSG) back on the
food, it is in fact food replacement therapy.

SANDY: You've probably never heard of anybody having Chinese Restaurant Syndrome after eating a fresh tomato or a fresh piece of meat or fresh fish. Of course not, because the amounts that naturally occur in fresh foods are relatively small. They're nowhere near the amounts that might be found in the foods in some Chinese restaurants, where they may be adding heaping tablespoons of MSG to the food.

DURK: Another group of scientists did another experiment. They had the hypothesis that some people - a very small percentage of the population, well under 1% - but, nevertheless, some people, were having problems with even a few hundred milligrams of MSG. They took a look at the biochemical pathways (how your body deals with glutamate) and came up with the hypothesis that these people were unable to decarboxylate MSG. The enzyme that's used in decarboxylation in the body depends on both copper and vitamin B6. And guess what; 80% of the population in the United States is not even getting the FDA's meager RDA of vitamin B6. These scientists thought they could test this hypothesis by giving people either vitamin B6 or a placebo and then seeing the effect on MSG sensitivity. The group receiving B6 lost their adverse reaction to MSG. With adequate B6, the subjects previously identified as sensitive to MSG couldn't tell when they got MSG or when they didn't.

In fact, the authors of the study concluded that sensitivity to MSG should be considered a diagnostic criteria for probable vitamin B6 deficiency. I would also add that this might be a criterion for a possible copper deficiency as well, since about 40% of the population doesn't get the RDA of copper (which is a pretty reasonable amount unlike the far too low RDA for vitamin B6). Since copper and B6 are both involved in the decarboxylation reaction that's involved in metabolizing glutamate, a deficiency in either or both can cause a problem. So if you are MSG sensitive, make sure you're getting an RDA of copper and several RDAs of vitamin B6 before you decide that it's impossible for you to ever again eat anything with small amounts of glutamate in it. (If a person has a certain genetic defect, even adequate amounts of copper and B6 will not clear up their sensitivity to MSG. However, this is rare. People can be sensitive to anything you can imagine if they have the right genetic defect.)

SANDY: Ineffable Essence is the only formulation we've developed for a purpose other than improving health. The two of us are gourmets. We love to eat and really enjoy food. And these flavor molecules, if you add them back to food, are not going to make bad food taste great; it's probably not going to do a whole lot for bad food at all. But if you eat good food, it's absolutely fantastic. The taste boost that you will get simply by restoring the natural quantities of these molecules back into the food to approximate freshness is fantastic.

DURK: Anybody who has a vegetable garden knows how much fresher those vegetables taste than those you get in the supermarket. The disappearance of the IMP and the MSG play a major role in that loss of freshness.

SANDY: Absolutely. And the amount of glutamate in a freshly picked vegetable can decline by half overnight. It really makes a significant difference in the taste.

DURK: When you consider how many overnights have elapsed since that head of lettuce was picked in the San Joaquin Valley in California and shipped to you in New York or wherever you're living, you can lose the majority of both the IMP and glutamate in transit.

With adequate B6, the subjects previously
identified as sensitive to MSG
couldn't tell when they got MSG.

SANDY: We wouldn't travel without Ineffable Essence - especially when we're traveling and we know we're going to be going to fine restaurants. Occasionally we have forgotten to bring it along, and we've really been disappointed. While the food tastes good, we know it could have been exceptional.

WILL: Moreover, my own subjective experience is that, if food really tastes great, Ineffable Essence makes it taste better - I tend to be satisfied a lot more readily and do not overeat.

DURK: One consumption effect of Umami, found by researchers in double-blind placebo control experiments, is how much less salt people use. The Ineffable Essence flavor molecules have been found to intensify the salty flavor in food. As a result - even though it does contain sodium - the total amount of sodium consumed by most people is actually reduced.

SANDY: The amount of sodium can be reduced up to a third, actually.

DURK: You use less salt and still have the equivalent experience of salty flavor. This is particularly important in the elderly. The elderly often complain about food flavor changing. They think sometimes that their food is poisoned or that it's gone bad . . .

SANDY: The foods taste bitter to them.

The disappearance of the IMP and the MSG
play a major role in that loss of freshness.

DURK: Age tends to increase sensitivity to bitterness. Thus, the elderly tend to pile on a lot more salt than they need to counteract the bitterness. As a result, they also tend to stop eating foods like vegetables which they should eat. And the mixture of the IMP and the MSG in Ineffable Essence suppresses bitterness and enhances saltiness. So even though Ineffable Essence contains sodium itself, you can end up with a net reduction in the total amount of sodium that a person eats in order to satisfy themselves.

SANDY: Ineffable Essence enhances the salty taste that you get from using a minor amount of salt, thereby reducing the amount of salt that you use and food will still taste agreeable.

DURK: Incidentally, if you just put a pinch of Ineffable Essence on your tongue, you're going to taste very little. It is an enhancer for the flavors in foods and not like a spice that you add to a food for its own flavor.

WILL: Isn't Umami a separate taste sensation, different from sweet, sour, salty or bitter?

DURK: Yes it is. There are actually more than the classic four flavors and Umami is one of them. It has been described as having a brothy, savory taste. A metallic taste is another entirely separate flavor, although it's not what a person wants to taste in their foods. It's rather unpleasant.

SANDY: Glutamate and IMP found in meats, dairy products and vegetables is not an evolutionary advantage to the plants and animals containing it, because it makes them taste good. Glutamate and IMP molecules have physiological functions in the plant or animal.

DURK: And because they dissipate very rapidly after the plant or animal dies, it becomes an index of how fresh that food is. And over hundreds of millions of years, critters like ourselves have evolved to favor that fresh flavor.

So even though Ineffable Essence contains
sodium itself, you can end up with a net
reduction in the total amount of sodium
that a person eats in order
to satisfy themselves.

SANDY: In the area of proper nutrition for the elderly, I think the ingredients of Ineffable Essence, glutamate and IMP, can make a positive contribution because it can help improve this bitter taste that tends to be perceived as you get older. Which, in turn, can help increase interest in eating again.

WILL: I've seen studies finding that loss of taste is really a downturn signal for people as they age. When things don't taste good, it's really disastrous for many people. This may be associated with depressive states.

DURK: I'd really like to see Ineffable Essence used in nursing homes. I believe the elderly would be more likely to eat a better and more varied diet rather than picking at this and picking at that and using too much salt.

WILL: A lot of people are turned off by MSG . . .

DURK: Well, with just about everything it's the dose that makes the poison. If you take too much helium - even though it is completely chemically inert - you die in convulsions.

SANDY: Even food is bad for you if you eat too much. Glutamate and the other Umamis are not any different than anything else in that respect.

DURK: You don't use it by the tablespoon.

Ineffable Essence simply restores the
molecules that provide flavor that were
in the food when it was very fresh.

SANDY: (Laughs) Right!

WILL: Back East, in New Jersey, the "health police" have ceded to the popular misconceptions about MSG and have ordered the placement of little stickers in the windows of restaurants warning that they use MSG.

DURK: Remember the quantities of glutamate the scientists discovered when they analyzed the wonton soup - between 5 and 25 grams in a small cup of hot water. Which you eat at the beginning of the meal on an empty stomach.

SANDY: It may be - I'm just guessing - but possibly some restaurants use MSG as a substitute for using actual ingredients.


WILL: In a way, that's just what the health police do. They substitute rules for reasoning. Ineffable Essence is a reasonable way to increase pleasure, help compensate for age-related taste decline, generally decrease salt use, and add an element of nature back into your food. It makes being a gourmet easier!

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