Monosodium Glutamate (Image by Racool_studio on Freepik)

Does MSG really cause migraines? This research says otherwise

MSG-Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), the umami-inducing flavor enhancer has always been a topic of controversy. There was a time when MSG was celebrated and highly used for its flavor but several claim health risks like migraine are attached to it.

However, recent research says that there is no direct connection between migraine and MSG. But what's the real story behind this ingredient? Let us take a look at it.


What is MSG?

MSG is a well-known additive in Asian culture (Image by jcomp on Freepik)

MSG stands for Monosodium Glutamate, it is a sodium salt of glutamic acid. It is basically an amino acid that is naturally produced by our bodies. It is an odorless crystalline white powder that can easily dissolve in water to form a saturated solution forming the free glutamate and sodium. It can be derived from sugar cane, sugar beet, etc. through the process of fermentation.

Mostly in Asian cuisines, MSG is a very popular additive. It enhances flavors by stimulating the salivary secretions, which in turn makes the food taste much better.


Another known benefit of the same is it reduces the overall sodium intake of the body by reducing the urge to add excessive salt.

Why the bad reputation?

The controversy related to MSG started back in the 1960s when a Chinese-American doctor linked his post-meal sickness to Chinese food. In turn, it gave rise to the infamous "Chinese restaurant syndrome."


Further studies about MSG raised concerns regarding its neurotoxicity, obesity, and metabolic function. These studies have also faced backlash for that same claiming the studies were conducted with a small sample size, flawed methods, and high dosage.

As per the research by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumption of MSG in moderation is safe and for the above claims to be true further research is required.

Can MSG cause Migraines?

Monosodium glutamate, often blamed for migraines and various health issues, has long been a topic of controversy. While reports of headaches and migraines after consuming MSG exist, scientific evidence supporting a direct link is lacking. Authorities have generally deemed MSG safe for consumption, despite concerns raised by a 1960 study that found high doses to be harmful.

According to the study, a causal relationship between MSG and headache has not been proven.

Monosodium Glutamate has been appraised as well as being a part of controversy for its health hazards. Current research suggests that for the majority of people, MSG consumption in moderation is unlikely to provide significant health risks. Thus, consumption of it should be moderated in order to avoid any health risks until further research.


Quick Links

Edited by
Ankush Das
See more
More from Sportskeeda