The Side Effects Dangers Associated with MSG


MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer often added to foods to help boost the flavor. It’s typically added to canned, frozen or processed foods. MSG is taken from a protein called glutamic acid which is plentiful in many foods, even fruits and vegetables. It is produced via fermentation.

What makes it so controversial?

The controversy surrounds this highly concentrated form of glutamic acid because the body processes it differently and it can raise glutamate levels in the blood rapidly. This is what is thought to cause several possible side effects.

7 Side Effects and Dangers Associated with MSG

  1. MSG can cause reactions in some people. There are a few negative side effects common to those who may have a sensitivity to MSG. It’s even got its own name, “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” In one study, individuals who had a sensitivity to the substance reported experiencing symptoms like weakness, headache, muscle tightness, and numbness.
  2. May cause formation of free radicals. A few studies have indicated that consuming large amounts of MSG might cause oxidative damage to cells. This can contribute to the formation of free radicals. One study involving rats demonstrated that high doses of monosodium glutamate increased levels of many markers that indicated oxidative stress in heart tissues. Free radical formation has been linked with developing chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Remember though, that research studies do use more MSG than what the average individual might consume.
  3. Might cause unwanted weight gain. There are not any conclusive studies directly linking the consumption of MSG to weight gain. However, some research has shown its consumption can enhance satiety which might help you feel full. Other studies, though, have shown it might cause weight gain. Although inconclusive, MSG may increase the risk of being overweight in some populations.
  4. Could cause an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure can put extra strain on the heart which causes the muscle to weaken over time. It is one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease. Some research has indicated that consuming large amounts of MSG resulted in higher blood pressure readings.
  5. May be linked to asthma attacks. There have been a few studies linking the consumption of MSG to higher risks of having asthma attacks in some people. One study involved testing 40 people by giving them 500 milligrams of monosodium glutamate. 32 of the 40 experienced worsening asthma symptoms within 12 hours of consuming the substance. About half of those also reported other side effects including flushing, headaches, and numbness.
  6. Might be associated with Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of several conditions that increase the risk of developing chronic problems like stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Risk factors of developing metabolic syndrome include things like high blood sugar, high blood pressure, extra belly fat, and cholesterol levels that are abnormal. MSG has demonstrated a direct association between its consumption and putting individuals at a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  7. MSG is usually found in foods that are unhealthy. Whether or not a person has a sensitivity to MSG it doesn’t need to be a regular part of your diet. It’s found mostly in foods that are highly processed and offer very little nutrition, refined carbohydrates, sodium, fat, and extra empty calories.