Talk:Glutamate flavoring

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Merge with umami?[edit]

I like your improvement to the text from the MSG article, but I wonder whether this wouldn't make more sense at Umami. I realize that the umami is somewhat conceptually different (and I believe that couple of other dissolved amino acids produce a similar though less intense umami sensations, though that's not currently reflected in the article), but it seems like the topics of these articles overlap extensively. Cool Hand Luke 21:06, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I think we should keep them separate. There are more compounds that taste umami and the main content on this page is specifically about glutamate as a food additive and constituent. Сасусlе 21:53, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Merge with Glutamic acid and create a chapter about food use. To merge with Umami (other compound elicits umami taste) or with monosodium glutamante (it's a different chemical) is irrelevant. Sensonet (talk) 12:48, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

General public[edit]

However, monosodium glutamate is still thought of as suspect by a large proportion of the general public, and many foods continue to be labeled "MSG free".

This is a general claim and is properly misleading without proper wording. The general public in most Asian countries probably don't consider msg suspect, and it wouldn't surprise me if the same is ture in most African, Eastern European and South American countries don't consider it suspect either. The source used partially supports the claim but doesn't really provide proper context as to what areas the author is referring to although one suspects its the the Western world Nil Einne (talk) 08:30, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

MSG overdose[edit]

Here is what I read in Japanese wikipedia. The syndrome may be due to a simple case of MSG overdose. Unlike salt, one can add large dose of MSG to food and food remain edible. Vapour (talk) 17:42, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

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Need to add[edit]

The glutamate levels of nutritional yeast. Badagnani (talk) 05:39, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

CBS 60 minutes about MSG health hazards[edit]

CBS 60 minutes [1] produced a 13 minute news segment in 1991 about the risks with MSG and the politics behind MSG with interviews with the leading figures in this controversy. 60 minutes should be considered a WP:RS and the contents should therefore be integrated in the article. MaxPont (talk) 09:11, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure that report is relevant, given the breadth of evidence produced in the 18 years since then that MSG has essentially NO health risks.
60 minutes still thinks video games turns kids into killing machines, right? --Kingoomieiii ♣ Talk 16:07, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
ABC 60 minutes is a WP:RS for the political controversy around MSG and regulatory decision process. MaxPont (talk) 09:25, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
60 Minutes is a fine source in general, though we should keep in mind caveats on popular press in medical matters. The date is also important context; as Kingoomieiii mentions, a 1991 report obviously ignores a substantial amount of susbsequent data, and should not be represented as if it reflected current state-of-the-evidence. MastCell Talk 18:02, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Kingoomieiii. What is the "evidence produced in the 18 years since then" (the 60 Minutes program), "that MSG has essentially NO health risks"? The research that I know of that makes that claim was double-blind done by Yang, and Geha et al, and Tarasoff and Kelly. And they all used aspartame in what they called "placebos."Truthinlabeling (talk) 05:24, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Marketing controversy about MSG[edit]

Adding MSG is more and more becoming a liability for the food industry. One example is the marketing controversy between the two soup makers Campell and Progresso. RS that could be included in the article are here: "Mm-Mm Militant: Campbell Goes After Progresso"[2] and "Soup War Continues, Progresso Strikes Back"[3] MaxPont (talk) 07:01, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Health effects section[edit]

I would like to discuss the section on "Research into health effects" that has just been edited, as well as the sections on "time line" and "excitotoxicity" that are clearly industry driven and need to be rewritten. Can you tell me how to start a new topic for discussion? I am new to Wikipedia. Truthinlabeling (talk) 03:22, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I've moved this to the bottom to create a new topic. I've also reverted your edit; while I think the section can certainly stand to be improved, please take a look at Wikipedia's guidelines on sourcing, original synthesis, and neutrality. It is obviously inappropriate, not to mention incorrect, to say that "the harms of MSG became undeniable". Whatever you may believe, there is certainly debate, not an "undeniable" truth. Similarly, the edit suffered from severe editorial slanting and framing. You write that "independent studies" proved MSG harmful, while dismissing "industry-sponsored research" failed to replicate those findings. Problem: the "independent" research you're citing is hosted at a partisan website, while the research you dismiss was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. That doesn't make one "right" and the other "wrong", but it does have major implications for how these views are presented on Wikipedia. MastCell Talk 03:35, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Did someone edit my submission to make it unacceptable before you saw it? I have a copy of what I wrote, and the words were “By that time, the fact of MSG-induced brain lesions and subsequent endocrine disorders had became undeniable, and glutamate was being used as an ablative or provocative tool to facilitate study of brain damage and endocrine disorders.” I did not say, nor would I ever say, that “the harms of MSG became undeniable” because that isn’t true. The people who profit from the manufacture and sale of MSG-containing products deny that there is harm done by MSG all the time. Next point: I did not write that independent studies proved MSG harmful. The words “prove” or “proved” were never used in my submission. And tell me please, what is wrong with saying that industry-sponsored research failed to replicate those findings when the statement is a statement of fact? I said, “There were also glutamate-industry-sponsored studies that failed to replicate Olney’s findings.” And I cited published peer reviewed journals written by those who failed to replicate Olney’s findings. I also cited a published peer-reviewed review: “In 1981, Nemeroff stated in a review of the literature that "...not one single [glutamate-industry primate] study has truly replicated the methods utilized by Olney, making evaluation of the available data impossible." Another question: What research published in the New England Journal of Medicine did I dismiss? I don’t remember dismissing any research. Dr. Kwok wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. Filer and Stegink, had an article and so did Olney et al. Please tell me what it means to “dismiss” research, and please point to the words in my submission that cause you to say I dismissed research. Last question: What is wrong with providing a list of peer-reviewed published studies for Wikipedia readers to access instead of referencing those studies individually on Wikipedia? What is the “partisan website” that you mentioned? Everything on the web cite that I referenced is grounded in fact. Every statement made there is verifiable. I can think of no research cited there hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal. I am new to Wikipedia and I think I have something to contribute. I’m sure that my submission could be improved, but there is little or nothing in it that is either inappropriate or incorrect. I would like some serious answers to my questions.Truthinlabeling (talk) 22:00, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
OK, here are the edits in question, for reference. I'll start with one issue. You immediately, and editorially, break down all research on MSG into two categories: "studies done by independent scientists" confirmed that glutamate was bad (reference:, which, incidentally, appears to be your username). Then there were "glutamate-industry-sponsored studies" which failed to replicate these harms (reference: multiple peer-reviewed journals, including NEJM). It's a problem with undue weight to juxtapose information from an apparently partisan website with information published in respected peer-reviewed scholarly literature. It might be a first step to cite the actual publications from these "independent scientists", rather than linking to

As a separate but related issue, your heavy insertion of links to is problematic, particularly as you appear to be associated directly with that website. Please take a look at our guidelines on conflicts of interest and promoting one's ventures on Wikipedia. In most or all of these cases, the relevant points should instead be illustrated (if possible) with recourse to the scholarly literature, as described here and here. MastCell Talk 22:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I appreciate the time and effort you have put into helping me work within Wikipedia. You have made the guidelines much clearer.Truthinlabeling (talk) 04:22, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I find the anecdotal reference to one chef with a Ph.D. (stating no proven toxicology) severely industry slanted and biased. This is a secondary source, at best, and mere say-so at worst. It also seems to flatly contradict the excitotoxicity section, in this same article, stating that brain lesions are proven to occur in primates. Wikipedia should not take part in smoothing over health dangers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:43, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

You're right - I've just deleted this. The FDA is a much better source for this kind of statement, and we already mention they say it is generally recognised as safe. --sciencewatcher (talk) 14:05, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Good call. But a 1959 statement by the FDA that it is generally recognized as safe should not put anyone at ease to consume it, especially in light of the later reports in the Timeline section. Speaking of which, on the 2002 FDA report, why do we use the jargon "order of magnitude" to describe the difference between the amount fed to the rats and ordinary human dietary consumption? It again gives the impression of trying to smooth over the dangers by making the amounts seem way out of the ballpark. An order of magnitude is just 10 times the amount, but sounds huge to the layman. It should not make anyone feel at ease that they are having 1/10th the dosage causing nerve degeneration in rats. I recommend saying "less than 1/10th the amount" rather than an "order of magnitude" different to discuss ordinary amounts vis a vis the amount fed to the rats in that study. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

And also nix the use of "extreme amounts" in that same section to describe the study, for the same reason. Ten times more than ordinary diet is not an "extreme amount" different. Have a whole bag of Doritos at once, and you're right there. This again is unbalanced editorializing, probably by someone tied to industry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:31, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Regarding GRAS: the FDA still considers MSG as GRAS. Just because they first classified it as GRAS in 1959 doesn't mean it isn't safe now. No research has come out since then to say it is unsafe.
Regarding "order of magnitide": I believe the study used the equivalent of a human eating 500g of additional MSG per day. That is actually more than 100 times (2 orders of magnitude) more than you'd get in a bag of doritos or a chinese meal, and the sodium alone from that amount would likely kill you! Also I don't think we should be including that study on the timeline anyway - it is a single study (not a review), and also this was first discovered in 1969 by Olney (so putting it in the timeline at 2002 is completely wrong). --sciencewatcher (talk) 22:23, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually I just checked, and the fatal dose of sodium chloride is 1-3g/kg in humans[1]. So apparently MSG is less dangerous than salt, as it just fries your retinas rather than killing you when you ingest a huge amount of it :) --sciencewatcher (talk) 22:40, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Safe at 500g of MSG per day? I can only assume they mean "non-fatal", because that's crazy. That would be a brick of the stuff weighing over a pound. Imagine the heft of a tall can of beer. And yeah, an equivalent amount of salt would certainly kill you. --King Öomie 15:18, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

FDA link[edit]

The FDA link in external links points to a 404 page.

Chinese restaurant syndrome testing procedure[edit]

I'm somewhat skeptical about the testing procedure for Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, which has supposedly ruled out MSG as the cause.

The article currently states: "Adequately controlling for experimental bias includes a placebo-controlled double-blinded experimental design and the application in capsules because of the strong and unique after-taste of glutamates."

It sounds plausible, but perhaps they've overlooked the possibility that the syndrome is actually caused by the MSG coming into localized contact with the mouth and throat? Swallowing capsules of MSG would negate this effect in the same way that swallowing capsules of underarm deodorant would be markedly less effective than rubbing the deodorant under the arms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ian Fieggen (talkcontribs) 21:59, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

But the symptoms aren't in the mouth or throat. They are neurological symptoms such as headaches. I can't think of any plausible reason how MSG being absorbed through the mouth could cause neurological symptoms where digestion doesn't. --sciencewatcher (talk) 22:46, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
True, not all of the symptoms are in the mouth or throat. However, they may be triggered. For example, suppose the MSG contacting the throat triggers nasal congestion, which in turn triggers general discomfort, nausea, headache, etc.?
Note that I don't have any particular knowledge of the subject, nor of nasal congestion for that matter. I'm only questioning the validity of the testing, in that by eliminating one source of bias (the distinctive taste), they have perhaps removed an important trigger (the localized contact, or maybe even the taste itself). Ian Fieggen (talk) 23:05, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
The only potential issue with MSG coming into contact with the mucous tissue in the mouth is that it enters the bloodstream faster. Ingesting it in capsules will have the same short-term health effects- they'll just take longer to manifest (several hours, as compared to several minutes with direct contact). --King Öomie 15:35, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Neutrality issues[edit]

The issue of health risks for humans based on MSG, in my view, is highly downplayed in this article and the related article Monosodium glutamate. There is much discussion on the MSG talk page about the possibility of pro-MSG people being involved in a consistent campaign to downplay the risks, and my sense is that this is a serious possibility. For example, when I added a well-referenced piece of information from a respected scientist (Robert Sapolsky of Stanford) about MSG concerns, my addition was reverted. The lead sections of both articles don't even mention health risks -- the only clue that readers might get would be to look at the hatnote at the top of the MSG article with the mild-sounding wording "health concerns", but mostly the verbiage suggests there's no cause for worry. Both articles in my view are not addressing the issue of health concerns in a fair manner; it needs more attention, more prominence in the lead paragraphs, and more references.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 16:54, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Also, this appears as a redirect for Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, but entirely fails to elucidate what that syndrome might have been. I accept that the weight of evidence is on the side of MSG being safe, but I followed a link to it to find out what it was so I would recognize it's description and be familiar with the claims people make about it. Ideas that have been disproved by science must be recorded as well as ones that have been shown to be correct. This way if someone else duplicates the incorrect idea it can be recognized and discarded. In fact, science mainly proceeds by proving explanations wrong. (You may recall a science teacher or two talking about "disproving the Null hypothesis") — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Scroll down to "Safety as a flavor enhancer" and you'll see it. I think maybe the redirect needs fixed so that it redirects to that section. --sciencewatcher (talk) 02:50, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

In Squid Ink[edit]

I just came across an article and paper discussing squid ink. Apparently glutamic acid is one of the free amino acids with highest concentration in it. Should anyone care to dig deeper and add this to the page, here are the links: Vitriolum (talk) 14:49, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Glutamic acid needs to be ionized to function as an umami compound[edit]

Glutamic acid tastes sour not umami.The molecules that have umami properties are the salts of glutamate like calcium, sodium or potasium glutamate, not glutamic acid itself. This is the foundation of Professor Ikeda's discovery [2]. A recent study has described that glutamic acid is percieved as a sour compound by humans [3]. It is not scientifically correct to describe glutamic acid as a compound that gives umami flavor. I would consider to cancel this page, keep it as 'glutamate' or merge with monosodium glutamate.

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) 21:15, 22 August 2013 (UTC)


I don't think that MSG qualifies as an excitotoxin. It seems to me that the extended entry here and the "see also" link back to this article from the excitotoxin article are an attempt to state that MSG is dangerous without saying so directly. My question is, is the large section on excitotoxins appropriate for an article like this on the face of it (whether MSG is an excitotoxin or not), and should it be noted here that the excitotoxin article is itself in dispute?

Requested move 03 January 2014[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved. (non-admin closure) Red Slash 03:56, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Glutamic acid (flavor)Glutamate flavoring (or optionally Glutamic flavoring ) – seems to be a better name than "glutamic acid (flavor)", as it is a flavoring compound, and most of the compounds are glutamates. -- (talk) 13:39, 3 January 2014 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.


Any additional comments:

Note related policy at WP:NATURAL, i.e. natural disambiguation is preferred over parenthetical disambiguation. —  AjaxSmack  21:42, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Move MSG info to MSG article or combine MSG here[edit]

At the top of this article, we have "For the chemical compound monosodium glutamate (MSG), see monosodium glutamate." And then there is a large section in here about MSG. There are 32 refs to monosodium glutamate and 18 refs to MSG here. Since this is a slightly broader topic, including both the acid and its salts, I propose/plan to move MSG here or move the MSG info there. Alrich44 (talk) 00:06, 14 August 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ikeda K (2002). "New seasonings". Chem Senses. 27 (9): 847–849. doi:10.1093/chemse/27.9.847. PMID 12438213.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. ^ Kawai M, Sekine-Hayakawa Y, Okiyama A, Ninomiya Y (2012). "Gustatory sensation of (L)- and (D)-amino acids in humans". Amino Acids. 43 (6): 2349–2358. PMID 22588481.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

Excitotoxicity section[edit]

Most of the sources in this section are decades old, and it seems to focus extensively on the relatively fringe views of a single scientist, John Olney, who has been outspoken in his campaign for greater regulation of MSG. Are there any other sources we can cite, or any more recent papers we can reference? --Aquillion (talk) 08:15, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

"Timeline" section[edit]

Did that big blue notice seriously have to be there? It is bothersome and has no good reason to be there except to show (all so loudly) that the editor directly quoted a whole book portion in that specific section. I thought a simple ref + paraphrasing would do fine, and would flow with the Wikipedia tone better. Hill Crest's WikiLaser! (BOOM!) 05:25, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Blanked as copyvio. 04:36, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

I've removed the copyvio notice, as there wasn't actually a copyright violation. The section WAS actually paraphrased (have a look at that section of the book on amazon and you'll see). I think the person who added that notice didn't quite understand the difference between "copyright violation" and paraphrasing! --sciencewatcher (talk) 15:33, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I was the one who added that copyvio notice. The blue notice seemed to indicate he pulled it directly from a source, instead of paraphrasing from it (which a ref does MUCH MUCH better job at). Maybe we can turn that notice into a ref after all. Hill Crest's WikiLaser! (BOOM!) 21:54, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

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