MSG allergy symptoms

November 12, 2012

MSG allergy symptoms

MSG is a flavouring that is regularly added to food to enhance the taste. MSG allergy symptoms although rarely heard about are fairly common.

What is MSG?

MSG is added to a great range of foods and also occurs naturally in seaweed. Not many people feel the need to report allergic reactions to food additives, especially if the reaction was reasonably mild and short term. Therefore there is a lack of data available as to the number of people who have either an MSG allergy or problems with other kinds of additives. Studies have put the figures at approximately 1% of adults and around 2% of children, although it may well be higher.

MSG allergy symptoms

MSG is found very commonly in Asian-style foods and when reactions or MSG allergy symptoms began to be reported the condition was dubbed Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. MSG allergy symptoms typically occur quite soon after having consumed food containing the additive.

Symptoms can and do vary from person to person but some of the more commonly reported ones include:

  • A numbing sensation in the back of the neck, shoulders and arms

  • A generally feeling of weakness

  • Heart palpitations

  • Headaches

  • Pressure in the face

  • Nausea

  • Drowsiness

  • Chest pain

Studies into MSG allergy reactions have produced inconclusive results. Whilst its true that a reaction was observed when MSG was taken in large quantities without food, there was no significant reaction when it was taken with food. Of course this is strange as MSG would normally only be digested when consumed with food. Additionally, the reaction that occurs is not strictly an allergy but is in fact the nervous system of the individual reacting badly to the presence of toxicities or alternatively the oesophagus being irritated by the additive. Never the less anyone who is aware that they react badly to MSG should take action to avoid consuming it whenever possible.

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