MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE......any one else have problems with it?

I made a stir fry on Saturday with Soya Sauce and within hours I developed a headache, tight chest and wheezing.. its never happened before and I don't know if it was caused by the monosodium glutamate in the sauce.

I now can't eat cheese, chocolate and wheat and now this...I can't understand how I these problems have started now after all these it age or my medication idea.

20 Replies

  • hi at the age of 50 i became allergic to alcohol and then asprin ,dont know why but now have to carry epi pen with me take care


  • Hi knitter, I was out for meal in a Sechwuan (sp?) restaurant recently. Ive never had problems with MSG though I've often read that its not meant to be very good for you and can cause people problems (headaches are common). I havent had a Chinese meal for years but i could immediately tell there was a lot of MSG in this food. When i left i could hardly walk and although my oxygen always goes down after eating, ive never experienced anything like this.

    It is well established that MSG can cause difficulties but there are organic versions of soya sauce (tamari) which you can get in wholefood/healthfood shops - though of course more expensive than the standard ones :(

    Just keep checking the labels. All best, jean

  • Really useful to know Jean, thanks . Worth it as we don't need to use too much at a time

  • Hi knitter, Pete also suffers from the effects of MSG so we don't often go out for a chinese meal. He becomes generally unwell and cannot sleep too well either. We put it down to the msg but have never discussed it with our GP. It could be a mixture of things but I cannot pinpoint why this happened. wishing you well anyway. Carole xx

  • You can ask not to have MSG added to your food in Chinese restaurants. When I was in San Francisco mid-90s in Chinatown there were many notices outside say "No MSG".

    Chinese people here often think we are a bit mad if we do this as it is so much part of their culture but its worth it not to be deprived of lovely food. I imagine they have adapted to be able to digest and tolerate it.

  • Yes you can request no MSG here too .Janexx

  • I know but we were the despair of the lady in our takeaway when we were living in london who would shake her head and mutter!! And i wonder if Chinese people don't cook with salt as the food was strangely tasteless without the MSG unless we put loads of our own soya sauce on it. jean x

  • It may be that with age the natural anti allergy systems technical term) within us wears out. Body too busy doing other more vital functions.

    Not saying you're old or anything Knitter but bits seem to fall off in 50's then get worse over time.

    I know that a friend of mine (52) buys ready meals because he says it's cheaper than buying ingredients . He has a joint condition - when he buys from Tesco , Morrisons, He has joint pain within hours but he'll normally get from M&S and have no ill effects from additives because they use fewer.

    I think manufacturers are finally catching on about MSG so perhaps there is a Soy Sauce out there without it. I'm going to M&S later so will have a look for you xx

    btw it was a geriatrician who told me about our allergy systems many years ago re my father in laws itches! I never forgot.

  • Love the bit about bits falling off in 50's peeg .When I was 49 I had a hysterectomy & my son commented " As you get older everything wears out ,falls out or drops out -or in my mother's case she has it surgically removed "

  • Just a little thought you could me gluten intolerant ,which is in soya sauce,and chocolate and of course wheat.Janexx


    [Quote] MSG has a widespread reputation for eliciting a variety of symptoms, ranging from headache to dry mouth to flushing. Since the first report of the so-called Chinese restaurant syndrome 40 years ago, clinical trials have failed to identify a consistent relationship between the consumption of MSG and the constellation of symptoms that comprise the syndrome. Furthermore, MSG has been described as a trigger for asthma and migraine headache exacerbations, but there are no consistent data to support this relationship. Although there have been reports of an MSG-sensitive subset of the population, this has not been demonstrated in placebo-controlled trials. [/quote]

  • Its news to me any one is still using it. Way back over 30 years ago it was known to cause health issues including high blood pressure. When I was living in Australian and often frequented Asian restaurants, those restaurants made a point of saying they do not use monosodium glutamate. Good food shouldn't need flavour enhancers, for thickening purposes cornflour works just as well in Chinese recipes. Where it occurs naturally all well and good but when it is added to a sauces or gravy in food, this is where health issues may occur, especially if someone is consuming a lot of food where mono glut has been added.

    For myself there is no way I would willing consume it (where it has been added to a meal) and definitely would not use it in my own cooking. Leave out all the unnecessary additives I would, especially as you already have food intolerance.

  • Thanks for all the replies, I made another stir fry without soy sauce and I was fine.

    I am still wheezing but managed to go out today after taking my medication.

    I will be reading all labels more carefully now.

  • Dear Knitter some times are bodies just reach saturation point and say enough is enough.

    MSG is known to cause problems but so can soya. it would be wise to mention this to your doctor as some of the medication has soya lethicin in them.

    stay off products with Msg for at least a month ( thats a lot of label reading in the supermarket) then try the soya sauce again to see if you react. Good luck happy stir frys

  • Hi Knitter, I found some Tamari Soy Sauce in Sainsbury's, in their Free From section. £1.49 and it's free from all additives including gluten. Hope that helps & hope your head ache's better.

    peeg xx

  • My father was very allergic to MSG and in fact wrote about once. We never had MSG and I still try to avoid it - which can be quite difficult. Allergies are very common. It is added to food to give it more flavour.


  • I have been allergic to MSG for many years and people who are allergic to MSG are usually allergic to aspirin and sodium benzoate. It doesn't affect my COPD but it brings the sole of my foot out in blisters. When you are buying something be careful if it includes flavour enhancers for that usually means MSG.

  • I used to have problems with MSG, headaches, feeling hyper, trouble sleeping. I check for its absence. alison

  • Monosodium glutamate is simply glutamate bound to sodium. It breaks down into these two things on the tongue. It has about a third of the amount of sodium found in table salt.

    Glutamate is one of the most common amino acids found in nature. When we eat a meal the amount of glutamate from any added MSG would be a tiny fraction of the glutamate in the food itself.

    Glutamate is commonly bound to protein, but digestive processes release it into the body as free glutamate. Free glutamate is also found in many foods, formed as vegetables ripen. Our own bodies produce about 50 grams of free glutamate a day.

    MSG is simply a free glutamate, made by fermenting foods such as sugar beets, sugar cane or corn.. It adds flavour only when added in tiny quantities. Adding too much would make food taste worse, not better.

    Japan has one of the highest daily intakes of MSG in the world. It also has the highest life expectancy.

    Finally . . .

  • If you are allergic to aspirin you are likely to be allergic to msg and sodium benzoate. When I first became allergic to msg we missed going to Chinese restaurants so I tried one and asked them to leave out the msg. Unfortunately they use msg instead of salt and without it the meal was tasteless.

    My asthma started as an allergic reaction to African violets and once that was discovered I thought I had only one thing to avoid but once you start getting allergies it doesn't stop at one thing and now I am also allergic to alcohol, msg, aspirin and paracetamol.

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