MSG Food Side Effects

MSG Food Side Effects

In the following article, we will deal with MSG food side effects. In order to do that we will answer the questions…

What is MSG, how does it get into our food and finally what are the effects of MSG on the human body?

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What is MSG?

MSG is the compound with the chemical name monosodium glutamate. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is safe.

How and Why is MSG Found in Food?

MSG is used widely as a food additive because it enhances the flavor of food. Common users of this method include restaurants and food packagers.

MSG In Food

What Are The Effects of MSG on The Human Body?

Finally, we will look at a brief historical perspective and summary of reported scientific evidence on the interactions of MSG with the functions and wholeness of the human body.

Some people have reported their experiences of negative repercussions from the consumption of foods with this food additive. This is all in spite of the “safe labeling” by the FDA.

The earliest such negative experiences, brought into the light in an official context, date back all the way to 1968.

The main ones recorded were heart palpitations, loss of physical strength as well numbness of the arms and the back of the neck.

Almost three decades later, in 1995, a compilation of negative effects from the food addictive monosodium glutamate was released.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology was behind this work under the instruction of the FDA.

The content of the compilation was a list of suspected negative effects from eating foods enhanced with the food additive MSG. These listed symptoms were very extensive.

They included everything from headaches and nausea to drowsiness and weakness as well as issues like burning sensations in the upper body, numbness in the back and shoulder areas, discomfort of the face and other discomfort and pain of the upper body including the heart and chest specifically.

The combined group of negative effects from MSG consumption was termed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, or FASEB, the MSG symptom complex.

The consumption of foods with the additive MSG has been linked to the occurrence of asthma attacks. The above referenced report by FASEB in 1995 inferred that MSG may induce asthmatic attacks in a small portion of asthma sufferers.

MSG and asthma

This stemmed from two research efforts previously conducted which looked at the MSG intake of individuals with asthma.

It should be noted that the FASEB writers cited some shortcomings in the study methods.

Studies that have followed have not provided conclusive evidence for this link.

A May 2009 review in “Clinical and Experimental Allergy” used evidence to judge that the reality of MSG-activated asthma is yet to be confirmed beyond doubt and further study is needed to ascertain a possible connection between MSG and asthma.

We will now look at the issues of swelling and nasal complications…

Additional reported negative effects of MSG are, among others, external rashes and swelling, blockage of the nose, itching and sneezing.

The writers of the May 2009 study in “Clinical and Experimental Allergy” assented with previous results and reached a deduction that MSG may infrequently cause hives and epidermal swelling in individuals responsive to the food enhancer.

Additionally, the writers observed that a fraction of the occurrences of nasal manifestations perhaps connected to MSG intake have been detailed.

For the small group of people concerned, nasal manifestations vanished when they observed a dietary regime that did not include additives.

Finally, we will discuss the start time and overall time period that people have been known to experience the negative effects of MSG consumption.

The potential negative effects within MSG symptom complex reportedly come into effect from 15 to 30 minutes of ingesting MSG, eventually dissipating naturally before 2 hours has passed.

For the infrequent occurrences when asthma attacks could have been associated with ingesting meals that carry MSG, symptoms were observed within an hour to 12 of ingesting the food.

In a small number of studies conducted with individuals suffering from chronic hives, the ingestion of MSG activated epidermal responses within an hour to 24 in a fractional group of individuals with noticeable responsiveness to the MSG additive.

And so, we now have a summary of the historical background and scientific research behind MSG food side effects.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here today, please leave them in the comment section below.

10 thoughts on “MSG Food Side Effects

  1. Based on the findings on MSG it’s clearly not suppose to be in our food and to think that it has been used for over 100 for improving taste, is not a good enough reason. This seems like a classic case of huge companies doing whatever it takes to increase profits regardless of the consequences. Knowing that it’s a part of most of the snacks that children eat and in the restaurants we go to, consuming it almost seems unavoidable.

    If you ask me this is another reason why we should cook most of our meals ourselves with fresh ingredients

    1. Hi Aldane,

      Well I couldn’t agree more with you really. There are just too many grey areas when it comes to MSG….and there’s no smoke without fire at the end of the day!!!!

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your opinion with us – stay healthy! 🙂

  2. Hello Chris 😉
    Very informative & detailed article.

    I didn’t know what MSG is before reading Your article.
    After reading it I feel very well informed about MSG & what it does to human body.

    Honestly, some scary stuff this MSG is! I was very surprised to discover that MSG has such bad effects on human body. The worst thing is that MSG is used daily in so many products. It is a very sad truth unfortunately.

    I recently became vegetarian & plan to become vegan one day so I am very excited to cook & use all natural ingredients without any MSG.

    Thank You Chris & keep up the good work! 😉

    1. Hi there Evald – well it’s nice to hear that the article managed to be informative for you (glad you learned something!). 

      Yeah it’s a pretty scary subject isn’t it? And bear in mind that a lot of foods don’t even admit to using MSG yet…

  3. Wow, I had always heard MSG wasn’t great for you, but I had no idea it had such extensive side effects and could be so dangerous for you in the long term! Obviously I should stop eating MSG and ensure it isn’t in any of the food I order from restaurants etc. Are there any things I can take (like a charcoal tablet etc.) to help remove or minimize the effects it might have on me?

  4. Wow, I knew MSG was bad for us, but was not fully aware of all its side effects.

    Almost all African and Chinese packaged food contains this and people need to be made aware of it.  You have done a good job detailing the list of problems that occur when this flavour enhancer is ingested.  

    I remember this year being given a sample set of 3 packets of spices I could put in my stews and soups.  I had used most of one packet, then decided to read the ingredient list.  MSG was included.  I threw away the remainder of the spice packets..

    We live to learn!

    1. Hi Stella, 

      I was also amazed with the side effects of MSG when I was researching info for the article – I’d never given it too much attention before (but I do now!!!). 

  5. I really can’t stress enough how angry it makes me when II think about all the hazardous thing that are added to our food, in spite of all the evidence pointing towards heath issues. And MSG is certainly no exception! And the fact that it’s been suspected to have all these negative side effects for so many years, it’s STILL allowed… 

    It seems to me the burden of evidence is upside down in a way. Like, it would have to be proven that MSG DOES indeed cause all these effects before it is banned from food products. And it should be the other way around! It should be proven that MSG DOES NOT cause these effects before it is ALLOWED in food products! Just another example of how profit is regarded higher than basic human health.

    I actually read somewhere that MSG could go under several other names. Is this something you have heard about?

    Thanks for a great article.

    Best wishes,


    1. That’s a really good angle there Michael – It should be proven that MSG DOES NOT cause these effects before it is ALLOWED in food products! 

      Really well said, and I agree with you 100%. 

      I have heard that MSG goes under many different names, but I’m not clued up on them I’m afraid! 

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