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Monosodium Glutamate

Alternate Names

Sodium Glutamate, MSG, Accent , Zest, Ajinomoto, Vetsin


Monosodium Glutamate, “MSG” is the salt of glutamic acid (an amino acid). It occurs naturally in seaweed, soybeans and sugar beets. It is used as an enhancer to intensify natural flavors. There are many forms of glutamate. Free glutamate is found in other additives such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein and hydrolyzed yeast. Certain foods, such as parmesan cheese and tomatoes, naturally contain glutamate. There is much debate as to if the reactions are the same for naturally-occurring versus added glutamate.

Monosodium Glutamate - Quick Stats

Sodium Glutamate, MSG, Accent , Zest, Ajinomoto, Vetsin

Allergy Information





Additional Information

Between 1980 and 1994 the FDA received 600 reports of problems due to MSG. The symptoms verified by the FDA included headache, weakness, muscle tightness, numbness or tingling, and flushing. Collectively, these symptoms have been termed the "MSG Symptom Complex." The FDA identified two groups of people who may develop complications from MSG. Those intolerant of MSG when the substance is eaten in large quantities, and develop the MSG symptom complex. The second group contains patients with severe, poorly controlled asthma, whose asthma may worsen after they eat foods containing MSG, in addition to being prone to MSG symptom complex. People with sensitivities may also experience similar reactions to the artificial sweetener, Aspartame. A study, published in 2008 in the Journal Obesity, indicated that MSG intake may be associated with increased risk of being overweight.

Found In

chips, canned fruits and vegetables, instant soup, bouillon cubes, instant foods, salad dressing, frozen foods, soy sauce, spices and flavorings, Asian foods, Asian restaurant food

Possible Health Effects

The MSG Symptom Complex includes the following symptoms: burning sensation of the back of head, facial pressure, chest pain, headache, nausea, upper body tingling, weakness, palpitations, numbness, muscle tightness, an drowsiness. Other reported effects include exacerbation of existing health conditions such as asthma and fibromyalgia, depression, and difficulty breathing. May also be associated with being overweight (see additional info).

Allergy Information

May cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals

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Copyright July 21, 2010 Be Food Smart

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