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MSG Facts

  • Glutamate is everywhere in nature. It is naturally present in the organs and tissues of the human body, in our digestive system, brain, and blood.
  • Virtually everyone consumes glutamate each and every day. Glutamate occurs naturally in many foods we eat, including: proteins, ripe tomatoes, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, peas, and corn.
  • The amount of MSG that is ingested as a food additive is approximately 1/1000th of the total glutamate already present in our body.
  • In the U.S., we consume, on average, about one-half to one gram of MSG per day. In Taiwan, nearly 3 grams of glutamate is consumed per person per day.
  • Individuals consume about 20 to 40 times more naturally occurring glutamate (primarily from protein sources) than they do MSG.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a purified form of glutamate obtained from sugar or corn.
  • A recent report stated unequivocally that there is no difference between the MSG added to foods and the glutamate that occurs naturally in foods.
  • There is no evidence that glutamate, when consumed orally, has neurotoxic effects in humans (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology).
  • Blood glutamate levels increase following consumption of MSG in the same way they do after consuming natural glutamate.
  • There is a small subgroup of otherwise healthy persons who may develop short-term reactions after ingesting large amounts (three or more grams) of MSG, or other sources of free glutamate, in a simple solution without food.
  • While research indicates that people differ widely in their perceived sensitivity to MSG, many of the symptoms also occur when people drink orange juice, coffee, or spiced tomato juice.
  • People who are concerned that they may be sensitive to MSG should consult their physician for “challenge” tests under controlled conditions to determine if MSG is in fact the cause.
  • Most reports of adverse reactions to MSG in the medical and scientific literature are case reports and not experimental studies, with most symptoms being transient and not life-threatening.
  • MSG is one of the most extensively researched food additives in the world. Scientific research continues to support the finding that MSG is safe for the general population.