Talk:Monosodium glutamate

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Safety section[edit]

The last two sentences of the first paragraph in the Safety section currently state, "The oral lethal dose rats and mice, five times greater than ...salt. Therefore, the intake of MSG not represent a toxicological concern in humans." Even ignoring the atrocious grammar, this sentence contains a glaring logical fallacy. Anyone know how to fix it? Otherwise, I propose to remove both sentences altogether.--Headlessplatter (talk) 14:22, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

It is referenced, what is the concern? Dbrodbeck (talk) 14:37, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The consequent, MSG does not cause health issues in humans, does not logically follow from the antecedent, it takes a lot of MSG to kill a mouse. The argument is weakened by drawing a conclusion that reflects bias not contained in the antecedent. It would be stronger if it simply stated that it takes a lot of MSG to kill a mouse, and left the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about what that means for humans. If these sentences accurately represent the referenced material, then the referenced material makes a logical fallacy.--Headlessplatter (talk) 14:56, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The reference supports the phrase relating to MSG not representing a toxicological concern in humans. However, the current phrasing suggests that the human toxicological assessment is based on the animal studies which are discussed immediately preceding it. The logical fallacy suggested is that a measurement of lethality in rats and mice correlates with a similar measurement in humans; it also falsely suggests that the measure of lethal dose is relevant to other non-lethal toxicological concerns. As far as I can tell, the facts are correct and the conclusions are correct, but the wording and placement indicate a correlation that does not exist. -- Ed (Edgar181) 15:00, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Another dubious statement in this article is, "The effect of wine or salt content was never studied". According to the referenced article, the primary symptom experienced by Kwok was headache. Yet, information about the effects of wine and salt on headaches is not at all difficult to find (Examples: I searched Wikipedia for "salt headache" and "alcohol headache" and immediately found:, Perhaps the statement is intended only to imply that the effect of wine or salt was never studied with Kwok's headaches?--Headlessplatter (talk) 19:21, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

The two studies cited both failed to find a reaction to MSG - but Yang et al (1997) did find a reaction - any reason this one should not be cited? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:05, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

We typically don't mention single primary studies, we wait for secondary reviews. Dbrodbeck (talk) 11:47, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Interesting statement. Who is “we”? Why “typically”? Is that a Wikipedia rule? Nicmart (talk) 02:07, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Please see WP:MEDRS Dbrodbeck (talk) 02:14, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Alternate names[edit]

There needs to more support for alternate names for this chemical. I myself don't like chemicals having alternate names, but there are many organic ones based around the food chain that still do.

MSG is known by other names on food products

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Textured Vegetable Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast, Yeast Extract, Yeast Food or Yeast Nutrient
  • Glutamic Acid (E 620), Glutamate (E 620)
  • Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
  • Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
  • Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
  • Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
  • Natrium Glutamate
  • Calcium Caseinate, Sodium Caseinate
  • Textured Protein
  • Soy Protein, Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein, Whey Protein Concentrate

Like with Caffiene, MSG can give some people headaches and the alternate names make it harder to track down. Eyreland (talk) 21:14, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

The second and the last four do not contain free glutamate. "Natrium Glutamate" is a funny mix between German and English, it simply translates to sodium glutamate. I have also fixed the list on Glutamic_acid_(flavor). Cacycle (talk) 09:45, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Misleading statement?[edit]

The glutamate of MSG confers the same umami taste of glutamate from other foods, being chemically identical.[4]

This statement seems a little misleading. MSG is not the only glutamate compound found in food. Thus it is not necessarily chemically identical nor does it necessarily taste the same as the glutamate naturally found in foods. Dforest (talk) 01:57, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

It is actually correct as is talks about the glutamate part of MSG, which is glutamic acid/glutamate, which is responsible for the taste, and which is identical in all the foods and additives. Cacycle (talk) 09:43, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
First, my understanding is that L-glutamate and D-glutamate are known to differ in taste. See this study: [1] Second, the L-glutamate component of MSG may be chemically identical to that naturally found in foods, but it is not tasted alone, it is tasted in the compounds in which it appears. Only free forms of glutamate contribute to umami taste. Also 'other foods' implies that MSG is itself a food. Dforest (talk) 18:05, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
We are talking here only about the natural L-isomer. It is indeed only the glutamate ion/glutamic acid that has the taste, sodium ions obviously do not have it (otherwise, table salt/sodium chloride would have umami taste). The sodium (or any of the other available salts) are used in order to make glutamic acid more soluble, more stable, or easier to purify. They are just inert and inactive "packaging materials". Please check Glutamic_acid_(flavor) for all these details. Cacycle (talk) 18:28, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
My point was the statement was not clear and could be misleading. If the statement is specific to the L-isomer, that should be indicated. Also the difference between free and bound glutamate is important. I revised the sentence to read:
The L-glutamate form of MSG confers the same umami taste of free L-glutamate naturally found in foods.[4]' Dforest (talk) 19:36, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
I still think there is some issue with the 'same umami taste' part. In regard to other glutamate salts, the article states:
Other salts of glutamate have been used in low-salt soups, but with a lower palatability than MSG.
Thus it is clear there is a difference in the taste of different salts; they are not just inert "packaging materials". Other glutamate salts may also have an umami taste, yet they do not taste the same. Likewise, glucose, fructose, sucrose, as well as aspartame, saccharin, etc. all taste sweet (a basic taste), but do not taste the same. Dforest (talk) 20:03, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Please read Glutamic_acid_(flavor) for a good description of what is going on! In salts, you essentially have a mixture of two types of substances. If you dissolve the salt, there will no longer be any connection whatsoever between the two parts, they will just split apart and swim away. So, the glutamate ion acts completely independent of the counter ion. In theory, the counter ion might or might not have its own properties (e.g. a soapy taste or whatever), but that would not change the (taste) properties of the glutamate in any way. And yes, the L-glutamate is exactly the same and identical in any of these salts or protein hydrolysates. This has nothing to do with different types of sugar, that are indeed different compounds with different chemical structures. Please take your time to familiarize yourself with this and feel free to ask any question you might have here. Cacycle (talk) 11:36, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I think I understand now what you meant. So by the time the salts are tasted, they are already dissolved into their component ions, correct? Are all glutamate salts found in food soluable in water? Dforest (talk) 19:05, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
You can only taste dissolved substances. With undissolved crystalline salts, the food would have a sandy texture. Therefore, all salts used as food additives probably have a good solubility. Cacycle (talk) 22:18, 11 October 2013 (UTC)


This article is a disgraceful ad for MSG, and grossly violates. NPOV. What a joke. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:06, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Really? In what way? Feel free to make changes if you see any problems. --sciencewatcher (talk) 16:11, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Not without discussing them here first. There are unfortunately lots of people who hold beliefs about MSG that are not supported by reliable sources. Looie496 (talk) 16:45, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

I have to say that this does read like a message from the MSG council. Even if all the evidence is on one side, I think the tone could be more temperate. It gives the impression of bias. Tpagester (talk) 09:41, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Do you have suggestions and sources to back them up? Dbrodbeck (talk) 10:53, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Just to say, I concur. The accelerated heartbeat, flushed face and dizziness I experienced at the local noodle soup place I just went to last week reminded me I'd forgotten to ask them to hold the MSG. Do NOT tell me that's not something to be avoided. Luckily I'm in pretty good shape so it was only a 1/2 hour's inconvenience, but for someone with tachycardia, or other heart rhythm issues, it's an important thing to be aware of. I don't have enough science myself to start editing, or I would. But I think the false division of the article to try to leave the "MSG Council" (as someone above so correctly puts it, to my mind) an ad space should be dropped and the articles conflated. It's a simple case of "divide and conquer." It's not as dangerous as putting chalk in baby formula, but it's along the same lines. (talk) 11:43, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

I think you have just demonstrated the problem in using your own experience to try and determine which foods cause health problems. It could have been something else entirely that caused your symptoms other than the MSG. Also, if it was the MSG it was likely the sodium that caused the issues (and the same thing would happen if you added an equivalent amount of salt rather than MSG to the soup). Anyway, none of that matters for the article. I'm just trying to help you out by pointing out your possible error. --sciencewatcher (talk) 15:15, 9 April 2014 (UTC)


This article is confused. It says in the lede:"The L-glutamate form of MSG confers the same umami taste of free L-glutamate naturally found in foods." ---Then further into the article it says:"Pure MSG is not reported to have a highly pleasant taste until it is combined with a savoury odor. The basic sensory function of MSG is attributed to its ability to enhance the presence of savoury taste-active compounds when included at the right concentration."---- Make up your mind!! Either the glutamate ion is the basic umami taste or it isn't. There is no current controversy as to whether umami IS a fundamental taste: it has specific receptors in our mouths. The second piece of quoted text, above, refers to, but does not seem to understand the following:"...glutamate presented alone as a taste stimulus is not highly pleasant and does not act synergistically with other tastes (sweet, salt, bitter, and sour). When glutamate is given in combination with a ... savory odor ... the resulting flavor... can be much more pleasant." NOWHERE does it talk about enhancement of "savory TASTE-active compounds". (my emphasis) The referenced article specifies odor compounds. The confusion between what is "pleasant" and what is a pure taste needs to be fixed. Most tastes are "more pleasant" when experienced with their "consonant" odor chemicals, so what is the point of even having this here?! Are pure sour, bitter, or salty tastes by themselves "pleasant"? Additionally, its just as 'correct' that the odors "enhance" the taste, rather than vice versa. (talk) 01:22, 2 July 2014 (UTC)