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What are some side effects of monosodium glutamate?

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Quick Answer

Side effects of monosodium glutamate, or MSG, include headache, nausea, chest pain, sweating, and pressure or tightness in the face, according to Mayo Clinic. Other reactions include flushes, heart palpitations, weakness, and numbness or burning in the neck, face and other sections in the body.

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Full Answer

The reactions associated with MSG are referred to as MSG symptom complex. Researchers have found no conclusive connection between these side effects and MSG, notes Mayo Clinic. They, however, acknowledge that a few people experience temporary reactions to MSG. These side effects are normally minor and require no treatment.

MSG is a food additive that is mostly used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese food, soups, processed meat and canned vegetables, states Mayo Clinic. The Food and Drug Administration classifies MSG as a harmless food ingredient, although its safety is still in contention. As a result of this controversy, the FDA requires that each product containing MSG as an ingredient should have it listed on the label.

MSG is a form of sodium; therefore, people with high blood pressure and those with high sodium levels in the body must be careful about the quantity of MSG that they take, explains Healthline. Certain research indicates a high intake of MSG can react with hypertension medication.

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