Mono Sodium Glutamate or MSG as it is more popularly known is a salt of Glutamic Acid which is an amino acid. This amino acid is required and used by the body.Processed MSG is being extensively used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese foods and many processed foods. A lot of controversy has however been created in today’s times about the potential health hazard caused by the consumption of processed MSG.
Synthetic Manipulation of MSG
As said above, the human body requires the naturally occurring glutamate in some quantities. But the artificial processing and manipulation of glutamate produces a form which is not the same as the naturally occurring form. As seen from other examples of hormone medications, any effort to replicate a natural product does not give the same effects and results. In fact, the possibilities of causing harm to the body can be multiplied. Same is the case of the synthetically manufactured MSG. Though advocates of MSG argue that the glutamate used in food additives is equally good, the presence of contaminants in processed MSG cannot be ruled out.
Results of Studies in this regard
Several studies have been conducted over the years to determine the harm if any caused to the body by the consumption of processed MSG. But the results obtained have not been able to give generalizations of any form on the safety aspect of consuming processed MSG. Some individuals experience no problems on consumption while some may face the side-effects over a period of time or there are some who may be affected by the consumption, right away. Moreover, small quantities in a single food item ingested after long intervals may not cause much harm than if small quantities are consumed in several food items on regular basis. The uncertainty of the effects on the body due to its consumption is a frightening issue.
Potential Adverse Effects
MSG is being used in several food items over the past many years. Several reports of the adverse reactions faced due to consumption of foods containing MSG have been received by the FDA. Some of the symptoms that have been notified are listed below:
· Facial tightness
· Chest pain
At the same time, no conclusive evidence suggesting that the symptoms can be linked to MSG alone has been found. The best way therefore, to avoid the incidence of any reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG and switch to natural flavors.
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