What is MSG Allergy, Symptoms and Treatment

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a food additive that’s used nearly in all types of foods as preservative or flavor enhancer. However, many people believe that it causes allergy-like symptoms and side effects, hence not considered good for health.

What is MSG Allergy, Symptoms and Treatment

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MSG is glutamic acid, which is produced from the fermentation of molasses and starchy foods. Glutamic acid is an amino acid that’s present in human body. Tongue receptors simulate MSG like the taste of meat. In moderate amounts, it is considered safe, but if used in uncontrolled amounts, it’s potentially dangerous to health.

MSG Side Effects

People who are sensitive to MSG generally experience side effects like a headache, nausea, rapid heart rate, chest pain, and sleepiness. If you have high tolerance levels, these side effects will occur for one hour – that too taking at least three grams of MSG on an empty stomach. This means there will be signs of minute side effects. However, people with low tolerance levels are likely to suffer from MSG allergic reaction. 

Symptoms and diagnosis

People who have MSG allergy may experience:

  • headache
  • hives
  • mild chest pain
  • runny nose or congestion
  • flushing
  • sweating
  • numbness or burning sensation around the mouth
  • facial swelling
  • Nausea
  • digestive upset
  • depression and mood swings
  • fatigue

Some of the serious symptoms of MSG include:

  • heart palpitations
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the throat
  • anaphylaxis

Diagnosis – Your doctor will ask you whether you’ve eaten any food containing MSG within the last two hours if they suspect MSG allergy. Furthermore, abnormal heart rhythm, rapid heart rate, or a reduction of airflow to the lungs are some of the signs that confirm an MSG allergy.


Usually, MSG allergic reactions are mild and go away on their own. But for more serious symptoms like anaphylaxis, you need immediate medical attention in form of an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot. Here are certain ways to treat and prevent MSG allergy:

1. If you’re sensitive to MSG, you need to avoid foods containing MSG as a component. MSG is used widely in Chinese cuisines, so you must not avoid eating Chinese food. Even when purchasing processed food items from supermarkets, make sure to read the label and it should not contain MSG. 

2. Cream of Tartar – People with MSG allergy must keep a small container of cream of tartar with them. Cream of tartar when mixed with water works instantly to neutralize MSG poisoning, and relieving most symptoms. When ingested, it raises the blood pH level and stabilizes the system.

3. Homeopathic MSG – This is a good remedy that’s made from MSG itself. It is useful to antidote the effects of toxin and further relieves most symptoms of MSG allergy. To prepare this medicament, you need to place one or two tiny pellets in a 1 oz. brown dropper bottle. Now, fill half of the bottle with distilled water and top it up with vodka. The mixture is ready now, and you have to sniff it every time your experience symptoms from consuming MSG.

4. Drink plenty of water after consuming MSG food to flush out excess MSG from your body. 

5. While minor symptoms such as a headache and skin rashes may reduce within 2-3 hours and do not require any specific treatment, serious MSG allergy does need immediate medical attention. If you suffer from breathing difficulty or chest pain, you need medical assistance.

6. Usually, antihistamine medicines are prescribed to treat MSG allergy – as these medicines have the ability to counter the effect of histamines that are released during the allergic reaction.


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