Monosodium Glutamate

by Vinh Tran

Monosodium Glutamate - Nutrition for the World
1. What is Monosodium Glutamate: Monosodium glutamate (MSG), is a salt made up of sodium and glutamic acid (an amino acid), and it is used as food additive and flavor enhancer. MSG is produced through the fermentation of carbohydrates. MSG was originally used in Japan in the 1900s, and its first manufacturer was Ajinomoto, which mean “essence of taste.” In 1947, it was introduced in America, and was first widely used in Chinese restaurants, but later its use spread to fast foods restaurants and processed foods. MSG appears everywhere from the foods and products we buy in grocery store and supermarket to restaurants

2. Lists of serious problems such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure related to MSG. MSG consumption is believed to contribute to many dangerous health problems such as diabetes, Monosodium Glutamate - Nutrition for the Worldincreased asthma, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure as well as some adverse effects on the nervous system: For example, there have been reports of people who have collapsed or experienced abnormal heart rate while eating foods high in MSG which is absorbed through their glutamate receptor, which controls heart rhythm. MSG contributes to heart problems. High blood pressure Increased Heart rate. Because MSG stimulates nerve cells high amounts of MSG consumption can cause an over stimulation resulting in the death of these cells. MSG may contribute to some chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. There are many claims that MSG is addictive and may cause aggression and hyperactivity in children.

[Editor's Note: The above section implies that there are serious health risks associated with MSG. There are many negative health claims about the effects of eating MSG, but no scientifically conducted double-blind studies support that this is actually the case. Most people can eat the amount of MSG found use in commonly consumed foods with no health effects, and even in studies where test subjects were give large amounts of MSG, there were no serious health effects. There is a sensitivity to MSG that seems to produce symptoms in some individuals---this syndrome is called MSG symptom complex. The symptoms most commonly reported can include headache, flushing and sweating, heart palpitations, weakness. You can read more about this at this link from the Mayo Clinic's website. ----Judy Learn]

3. Foods with MSG: Glutamic acid is an amino acid found naturally in many proteins. If a food label contains the phrase "hydrolyzed protein" it probably contains glutamate. If you have concerns check your food labels. The FDA requires that foods with MSG have to say so on the package (check the list of ingredients). Mostly, MSG as a food additive is found in these types of products:
◦ Some canned, frozen, and dried foods.
◦ Snack foods.
◦ Barbecue sauce and salad dressing.
◦ Bouillon cubes.
◦ Seasoning mixtures.

4. If you have concerns about the MSG content of fast food, restaurants are supposed to provide the nutrition facts about their products, and you can request this information.

Resources link:

More pages