Hydrolysis is a chemical process for breaking down protein into amino acids.

Proteins that have been subjected to hydrolysis are called "hydrolyzed".

At the end of the process, 17 of the 20 common amino acids are separated.

Of the other three, Tryptophan (Trp) is destroyed while Asparagine (Asn) and Glutamine (Gln) get converted into Aspartic acid and Glutamic acid.

Hydrolyzed proteins always result in aspartic acid and glutamic acid which in turn act as excitotoxins.

(The rare exception would be when the protein does not contain Asparagine and/or Glutamine. Bovine Insulin (protein hormone) is one of those rare examples.)

Asparagine and glutamine are non-essential amino acids.

The liver generates just as much as is needed and the metabolic process is tightly regulated.

Anything above this amount acts as an excitotoxin.

Here's an example illustrating how easy it is to consume excitotoxins in the quest to be healthy.

Benefiber is sold primarily to "promote regularity".

It is "partially hydrolyzed guar gum".

According to this amino profile of guar gum, "Data presented for 11 bulk commercial samples show that the most abundant amino acids are glycine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, serine and alanine, but that their relative proportions vary considerably."

The amount of overall protein ranges from 2.5% to 4.5%.

While this may not seem like much, keep in mind that Benefiber is 4 grams per Tbsp (1 serving).

That means there is 100mg to 180mg of protein that has been hydrolyzed per serving.

Hydrolyzed guar gum definitely contains a substantial amount of free glutamic and aspartic acids — and 10's of mg per day is not trivial exposure.

What about Benefiber's label stating it is made from "partially hydrolyzed guar gum" and not just "hydrolyzed guar gum"?

Does that mean it is less potent concerning its role as an excitotoxin?

Unfortunately, it is just as potent.

According to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) Q&A,

"FDA has established a common or usual name for hydrolyzed (source) proteins, viz., hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, regardless of the degree to which the proteins in such ingredients have been broken down.

According to FDA, appropriate standards exist to allow distinction between commercially available "highly" hydrolyzed protein hydrolysates and those variously termed "partially," “mildly,” or "lightly" hydrolyzed that are not used for flavor-related purposes.

According to FDA, "highly" hydrolyzed proteins are declared as "hydrolyzed (source) protein" and can be defined as those whose ratio of alpha-amino nitrogen (AN) to total nitrogen (TN) is greater than 0.62 (AN:TN>0.62).

Proteins that are not highly hydrolyzed would have AN:TN of less than 0.62 (AN:TN<0.62) and may be termed "partially," "mildly," or "lightly," e.g., “partially hydrolyzed (source) protein.""

The FDA's method for determining whether or not something is "lightly" or "highly" or "partially" hydrolyzed doesn't measure the level of aspartate or glutamate in the product.

It just measures the level of hydrolysis that occurs as it pertains to flavoring.

"Partially" and "highly" hydrolyzed proteins are chemically and metabolically similar.

IN OTHER WORDS, "partially hydrolyzed" protein has still undergone acid hydrolysis, it's just labelled differently because it hasn't been added to enhance flavor.

Bottom line: Benefiber — made of 100% partially hydrolyzed guar gum — is a source of the excitotoxins aspartic acid and glutamic acid.

Excitotoxins destroy brain cells over time.

It's reasonable to conclude Benefiber is not entirely harmless.