Do you know the truth about MSG (Monosodium glutamate)?

MSG is widely used food additive that enhances taste and flavour. But are you aware of its health effects?

Monosodium GlutamateMonosodium glutamate (MSG), better known as ajinomoto is added to foods to enhance the flavour in addition to providing a unique taste to the dishes. This popular food additive is known to be excitotoxins that are excitatory amino acids, affecting the sensitive neurons in the brain. Although the FDA has recommended MSG as safe for human consumption, research studies claim the contrary. Here are a few facts about this controversial taste enhancer that everyone should be aware of

Neurological effects of MSG

Chemically termed as a sodium salt of glutamic acid, MSG is shown to slowly inhibit neurological functions like memory and learning. The long term use of this food additive causes neuronal death which in turn leads to panic attacks, seizures and dizziness. While behavioural problems are common in children, hyperactivity issues are observed in adults consuming 2.5 mg/g doses of MSG every alternate day.

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MSG induces liver inflammation

Research studies have proved that long-term use of MSG causes accumulation of fat in the liver (steatosis) which slowly progresses into inflammatory disease of the liver. The study also showed that some subjects experienced nodular lesions when MSG was consumed as a part of diet.

Relation of MSG and metabolic syndrome

Epidemiological studies have implied that dietary MSG puts you at a higher risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Consumption of MSG in higher amounts is found to cause health complications such as cardiovascular disorders, hypertension and diabetes irrespective of other factors responsible for the disease.

Does MSG have any impact on appetite?

MSG imparts a distinct flavour and taste to the food and hence, it is a widely used flavour enhancer. A slight increase in the concentration of MSG as found in the normal day-to-day food preparation causes significant damage to the hypothalamic region. It is this region of brain that regulates appetite and puts you at greater risk of obesity on consumption of food flavoured with MSG.

MSG intake associated with headache

Although consumption of food containing MSG doesn't cause any muscle pain, it causes significant increases in muscle tenderness and headaches in the subjects. Individuals consuming around 150 mg/kg body weight of MSG were found to report side effects such as headaches and cranial sensitivity.

Most of the studies conducted to examine the efficacy of MSG have been linked to various health complications. These results suggest that the safety profile of this taste enhancer should be re-examined and the widespread use of MSG in foods should be withdrawn.

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