FOOD IS LIFE| Can you have an MSG ALLERGY? What is CHINESE RESTAURANT SYNDROME?


In this video we’ll discuss if we can be
allergic to ve-tsin or MSG. Someone once mentioned to me they have an MSG allergy. This was frankly the first time I have ever heard of such a thing so I was
quite incredulous, especially since the symptoms that were described to me
sounded like they just had too much salt. But I didn’t want to dismiss their claim
and so I wanted to see if there was any validity to this quote-unquote “condition”.
MSG or monosodium glutamate was created in Japan in 1908 by scientist and
professor Kikunae Ikeda. He was curious as to what it was in the soup that his
wife prepared for him that made it extra delicious. When she explained that she
made the broth using a base of dried kombu or kelp, he came up with the idea
to extract that flavor and produce it. As we now know, he was able to successfully
do so and went on to commercially produce and distribute his product with
the creation of Ajinomoto, which literally means “essence of flavor”.
Professor Ikeda called this 5th flavor as UMAMI, a combination of two Japanese words – “umai”, meaning “delicious” and “mi”, meaning “taste”. The industrialization of
America paved the way for the popularity of MSG in the US, as the country
moved towards mass food production. In the mid 1930s to 1940s, the United States
was the biggest consumer of MSG second only to Japan; with Campbell’s Soup Company as one of its biggest importer. The key ingredient to their soup – is you guessed
it – MSG. MSG these days though are made from molasses and tapioca starch,derived from sugar cane and not from seaweed. What makes food so yummy when we add MSG to it is that the glutamate intensifies the umami taste and enhances
the complex flavors of meats, poultry, seafood and vegetables. The glutamate or glutamic acid that we find in MSG can also be found to be naturally
occurring in such food such as meats, ripe tomatoes, grapes, asparagus, cheeses such as Parmesan and Roquefort, sausages and mushrooms. Even humans produce glutamates and our body uses it for different organ functions. This idea of being
allergic to MSG started in the 1960s to what was then called Chinese Restaurant
Syndrome, after an American doctor wrote a letter to the New England Journal of
Medicine claiming to have experienced symptoms of numbness in the back of neck, and a feeling of pressure in the face and upper chest muscles. He pointed to
MSG as the culprit of these symptoms as they only seem to occur after eating
at Chinese restaurants. Nowadays, scientists and medical professionals
have come to view Chinese restaurant syndrome as a pejorative term. They have
renamed it as MSG symptom complex, with symptoms that include headaches, sweating, flushing, numbness of the face and neck,
palpitations, nausea, chest pain and sleeplessness. So, is there any truth to
this demonization of MSG? The bottom line is that no large-scale
double-blind placebo-controlled research has shown any link to these symptoms
with MSG. Clinicians and scientists though still warn against consuming
large quantities of MSG as high concentrations of it may still affect
people for a short period of time, especially as the stabilizing agent in MSG is salt. And those who feel the symptoms described above might have “food intolerances” rather than food allergies. Thankfully a food intolerance is less
serious and often limited to digestive problems. And so it’s highly suggested
that they try to avoid those food that they ingested prior to the occurrence of the symptoms. If you liked this video, please
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