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Part II: GOOD News about MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)? Believe It.

By July 24, 2013May 20th, 2022Featured, MSG
MSG answers, MSG facts

The initial post of this two-part series entitled GOOD News about MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)? Believe It., went into great detail about the safety of monosodium glutamate (MSG). In part two, we review some of the common myths about MSG:

  • MSG does not have negative effects on the central nervous system of the brain.  The brain produces plenty of its own glutamate – so much that it even sends it out to other parts of the body.
  • MSG is not allergenic.  Good thing, since our bodies NEED glutamate and it’s naturally produced anyway.
  • MSG does not trigger headaches.  Some foods have been linked to migraines, but neither glutamate nor MSG has been shown to be a direct cause, even after extensive research with huge oral doses of glutamate.
  • MSG is safe for pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants.  In fact, breast milk contains about 10 times the amount of glutamate as cow’s milk and this level stays stable, regardless of the mother’s intake of glutamate or MSG.

Dr. Keith Ayoob is an internationally known nutritionist and an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where he has maintained a clinical practice for more than 20 years. Keith also is Director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Einstein. He has appeared on many national news programs and is a highly sought after speaker for his practical, consumer-friendly advice on a variety of timely nutrition issues. Keith contributes expert opinion pieces to ABCNews.com and USAToday.com. Read more about his background on the About page.

2 Comments

  • David Wimble says:

    Keith

    I don’t know where you’re getting your info that MSG is safe. There are hundreds of studies that say it’s inflammatory at the very least.

    Here are excerpts from 3 studies…

    (MSG) in ICR mice leads to the development of significant inflammation, central obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

    Y. Nakanishi, K. Tsuneyama, M. Fujimoto, TL Salunga, K. Nomoto, JL An, Y. Takano, S. Iizuka, M. Nagata, W. Suzuki, T. Shimada, M. Aburada, M. Nakano, C. Selmi and ME Gershwin. “Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): A Villain and Promoter of Liver Inflammation and Dysplasia.” Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan. 2011 Feb-Mar;30(1-2):42-50.

    “One theory holds that bacteria and viruses may cause this inflammation but clearly we know that lead, mercury, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and fluoride and other toxic chemicals can also cause inflammatory reactions in blood vessels.”

    Staff. “Inflammation and Systemic Stress: Inflammation and Pain Management with Magnesium.” International Medical Veritas Association, magnesiumforlife.com/medical-application/inflammation-and-systemic-stress

    “Both adrenalectomized rats and adrenalectomized, MSG-treated rats showed an increased response to carrageenin relative to controls. These results suggest that glucocorticoids are important modulators of inflammation in this phase of the process.”

    EA Limaos, VL Silveira and MS Dolnikoff. “Inflammatory Edema Induced by Carrageenin in Monosodium Glutamate-Treated Rats.” Braz-J-Med-Biol-Res. (1988) 21(4): 837-9

    • MSGdishTeam says:

      David, thanks for your comment, but if you look at the huge totality of the scientific evidence, not just a single study or two, it’s very clear: MSG is safe. MSG is safe and there’s a reason: there just isn’t much in it that isn’t in our food in much larger quantities. It’s sodium and it’s glutamate. All foods have at least some sodium and there’s a ton of glutamate in healthful foods like tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers. The glutamate in MSG is actually no different — the body recognizes it and processes it the same. Does sodium increase blood pressure in some people? Yes, but even on that note, only about 1 in 4 people is even salt-sensitive and gram for gram, MSG has about 65% less sodium.

      As for the 2 studies you cite, one involves injecting MSG into the blood streams of mice. Injecting ANYTHING into the bloodstream can cause a reaction, let alone something that was never meant to be injected. Imagine injecting pure vitamin C into the bloodstream, for example. That’s not exactly how we take in glutamate which, is actually the most common amino acid in our bodies. As for the other reference, it indicates the mice were “treated” with MSG. Not clear what “treated” means in this study, but it sounds like they were injected.

      Actually, because of its lower sodium content, judicious use of MSG may be able to play a role in lowering our total dietary sodium intake while preserving flavor. If it’s not your thing, that’s fine, but please don’t demonize MSG because of what sounds like philosophical or ideological reasons when there’s a huge body of science to the contrary.

      Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA

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