November 13, 2009

Relation Between MSG Symptoms and Migraine Headaches

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Monosodium Glutamate and Migraines:

Monosodium glutamate is a food additive that serves as a flavor enhancer when added to foods. It is essentially a sodium salt of glutamic acid. Glutamate is a non-essential amino acid found in many foods such as meat, fish and vegetables. Monosodium glutamate or MSG has been the subject of a great deal of research and has had reasonable controversy surrounding it. The Food and Drug Administration has declared that monosodium glutamate is safe for consumption. However, studies have shown that some people tend to suffer from MSG symptom complex, also called Chinese restaurant syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome include anxiety, nausea, excessive thirst, hyperactivity, chest pain and increased rate of heartbeat among many others.

Migraine headaches are one of the symptoms of MSG symptom complex. Research does not prove a certifiable connection between MSG and migraines; however there are many studies that have linked certain food items with migraines. And MSG has been found to be present in all these foods. Migraine is also a symptom of Chinese restaurant syndrome, which is experienced by some individuals half an hour after eating at a Chinese restaurant. This is because MSG is used in large quantities in Chinese food and this also causes people to feel hungry very quickly after eating at Chinese restaurants. MSG is not always listed under its real name and remains hidden under many different names. Hence many a time, it becomes difficult for people suffering from MSG effects to be able to detect it and avoid it. The following ingredients are commonly listed on product labels and contain MSG; autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, gelatin, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, monopotassium glutamate, sodium or calcium caseinate, textured protein, yeast nutrient and yeast food. Natural flavorings, stock, broth, malt extracts, soy protein and anything protein fortified are all products that contain MSG or produce MSG while being processed.

The most important way to control the side effects caused by MSG is to avoid or restrict the intake of foods containing MSG. For this, you need to know the various products that use MSG as one of it ingredients. Besides, Chinese food, power drinks or sports beverages and some candy sweets and chewing gums also contain MSG in high quantities. Baked foods and bread products contain autolyzed yeast, a variation of MSG. Bakery foods that use fruits in it are also most likely to contain MSG. Canned foods most commonly have MSG in them, so it’s best to stay away from foods such as canned or tinned fish. Spices used in cold cuts also contain MSG. Dressings used for salads and soup powders may also use MSG. To prevent migraines that result from MSG consumption, the most essential way to ensure that your diet remains MSG-free. If you should inadvertently consume MSG, drink plenty of water as this will facilitate the flushing of this salt from your body and avert a migraine or at least reduce it drastically.