MSG AllergyMany people experience allergies to particular foods. This can be quite common especially for those who have developed resistance to natural food components or substances after going through long periods of medication.
However, sometimes allergies might not be from the food itself, but from food additives. For example, some people have allergies to the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG).
MSG is widely used in Asian foods as a flavor-enhancer. Allergic reactions to MSG are therefore sometimes called "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome".
MSG Allergy SymptomsWhen someone is allergic to MSG, it is the digestive system that causes a response which can lead to some of these common symptoms:
- Abdominal cramps
- Numbness on the back of the neck, shoulders or arms
- Weakening of the body
- Abnormal heartbeat or palpitations
- Chest pains
- Facial pains
- Burning sensation on different parts of the body (eg limbs, torso, shoulders or neck)
- Facial numbness
- Breathing problems
More Severe MSG Allergy SymptomsSome people may suffer more severe and serious symptoms such as slowed heartbeat or anaphylaxis, but this is rare. Severe symptoms only occur if you consume a large amount of MSG on an empty stomach.
If these symptoms are observed, it is a must to seek medical help immediately. No one really knows when MSG allergy can strike when eating out at an unfamiliar restaurant
Varying MSG Allergy SymptomsNote, however, that constant studies on the body's reaction to MSG have shown inconsistent results. Large amounts of MSG intake have sometimes only resulted in mild reactions such as itching of the throat. Some patients who were suspected to have intolerance to MSG showed no symptoms after they had eaten foods containing MSG.
This has led experts to conclude that MSG may also contain toxicities and can affect the nervous system and thus trigger other allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis. MSG may actually activate the neurological pathways and result in the body's excessive reaction to food components. Symptoms of MSG allergy may therefore vary.
MSG Allergy vs MSG IntoleranceWhile symptoms seem to be similar for food allergies and food intolerance, doctors have constantly emphasized the difference between the two. Technically, reaction to MSG is not an allergy but a form of food intolerance.
In cases of food allergy, it is the immune system that creates a response after the intake of a certain protein the person is allergic to. Thus, antibodies referred to as immunoglobulin E are released and can trigger a slew of chemicals that prevent the invasion of allergens. However, this does not occur during MSG "allergy".