MSG and ME


We’ve picked on the poor Chinese restaurants for decades about their use of MSG in cooking. I believe a large majority of restaurants use MSG. My “MSG Headache” is a special kind of headache I only get from MSG. I have rarely had any kind of headache in my life, except the kind from colds, flu or the proverbial hangover headache.  They are nothing like the MSG headache.

An Australian/New Zealand joint study found that 1% of people have reaction to MSG. Headache is one reaction, numbness, tingling, and weakness are other reactions. I’ll have to check my bank statements, but I didn’t think I was in the dreaded 1%. Looks like I am, but for a different reason.

I am curious if any of you readers have an MSG reaction.  What is it?
man with headache
We have always thought we experience four main tastes-bitter, salty, sour and sweet. Many scientists are now including a fifth taste called “umami” which is the taste from MSG.

I don’t know if my taste buds experience a “umami” taste. I don’t recognize MSG when I taste it in foods…only the headache that starts about two hours later and continues for a few hours after waking in the morning.

I know a restaurant can make so-so food “come alive” with tastiness by adding MSG. It actually enhances the other four taste sensations.

MSG has been found “safe.” I don’t doubt it, we don’t seem to be dying or catching any MSG diseases. If get an MSG headache two hours after dining, I make a note to cross that restaurant off my list.

MSG also comes in most pre-packaged foods, so I try to stay away from them.

It took years for me to realize the cause of this strange “hollow-feeling head-ache.” When I did I started researching and reading.

I only remember to say “No MSG, please” when I go to a Chinese restaurant. The truth is I haven’t had an MSG headache from Asian food in many years. It usually comes from other mainstream places I don’t think about stating, “No MSG, please.”

What about you? Am I the only crazy one here?

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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5 Responses to MSG and ME

  1. fiddlrts says:

    Do you have reactions to those foods that naturally contain MSG too? (Tomatoes, aged cheeses, mushrooms, seaweed, for example.)

  2. joanraymondwriting says:

    You are not the only ‘crazy one’ out there.

    I’ve been sensitive to MSG for years. If I consume it I’ll get a headache, much like the one you described. My aunt was so sensitive she’d get a racing heart and think she was having a heart attack. I have to be careful not to purchase certain foods like soup and prepackaged foods.

  3. Tom Behler says:

    I also have a definite but weird reaction to MSG…My nose starts itching, intensely, for up to an hour after I’m exposed, depending on the dosage. I don’t itch anywhere else; just my nose.

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