The Chemical Maze logo

Food Additive of the Week E621 – MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

Although traditional Asian cuisine had often used seaweed extract, which contains high concentrations of glutamic acid, it was not until 1907 that MSG was isolated by Kikunae Ikeda. MSG was subsequently patented by Ajinomoto Corporation of Japan in 1909.

In its pure form, it appears as a white crystalline powder which rapidly dissociates into sodium cations and glutamate anions on contact with water (glutamate is the anionic form of glutamic acid). Ingestion of MSG is known to produce a variety of adverse reactions in some people. These reactions, although seemingly dissimilar, are no more diverse than reactions found as side effects of certain neurological drugs. We do not know why some people experience reactions and others do not.

Potential Effects: Headache, Nausea, Migraine, Dizziness, Heart palpitations, Heart arrhythmia, Hive, Neck Pain, Irritability, Pins and needles in upper limbs, Restlessness, Bronchospasm in asthmatics.

Possible Uses: The main use of food additive 621 MSG around the world is for a flavour enhancer. A flavour enhancer is a substance that is added to a food to supplement or enhance its original taste or flavor. Found in over 10,000 foods including yeast extract, malt extract, HVP, TVP, soy sauce, gelatin, seasonings, hydrolyzed protein . What are your thoughts? Is this a bad food additive for you?

If you found this article valuable, you can download the Chemical Maze App to your iPhone now.

Have easy-to-use information on thousands of potentially harmful ingredients at your fingertips.

View Desktop Site