Talk:Monosodium glutamate/Archive 4

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5

Health Effects Concern (merge section/article discussion)

This was a comment added to the article by that I reverted and moved here:

Someone needs to review this information. THe MSG industry has created a non-profit NGO called International Food Information Council (IFIC)to support studies that show that MSG has no side effects. I am not an expert on this, but I suffer strong side effects from MSG. THe web is full of data on harmful responses to MSG. I think this data is inaccurate and produce by this MSG supporting industry.

Moved by ChemGardener (talk) 01:15, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Actually, if you do some research you'll see that all of the 'harmful responses' are anecdotal, and when proper placebo controlled trials are done there are no more effects from the placebo than from MSG. It is very easy to start believing that some substance such as MSG is causing your health problems when that is not actually the case - this happens to virtually everyone, and it doesn't mean you are nuts or anything. The human mind is just very good at trying to figure out explanations for phenomena - like believing that your midwinter rituals cause the sun to appear again next year. --sciencewatcher (talk) 01:59, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Actually this should pose some concern. I did a little bit of digging, and in the list of "Partners and Supporters" from the IFIC site ( ) you can find, that amongst them is the largest MSG producer Ajinomoto, as well as more infamous companies like Monsanto. This seems like a great source for conflict of interests. Wiki article also has an external link to EUFIC organization (same mission as IFIC), which supposedly tells facts about MSG, but the organization is supported by a major food companies, which also raises concerns about conflict of interests. (talk) 13:58, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

As I said at Aspartame, the possibility of lying/COI/etc, or the motive therein, does not GUARANTEE lying/COI/etc, nor should it cause you to ASSUME lying/COI/etc. Companies defend their products- and they aren't evil for doing so. Show me some evidence Ajinomoto is HIDING information a la the tobacco companies, and you have something. But advocacy for your main source of revenue isn't underhanded. It's just good business. I'd be more worried about them if they DIDN'T spend time and money refuting the claims leveled against them. --King Öomie 15:11, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

It is a waste of time trying to prove more evidence. We have already shown a huge amount of evidence but a few select users have blocked it vehemently(e.g., Sciencewatcher, Cacycle). It is not clear whether they are blocking the evidence because they receive some sort of compensation, they work for the industry or because of sheer hubris but it is clear that these users are preventing this Wikipedia entry from functioning properly. For those people interested in articles linking MSG to adverse symptoms, some of the articles are posted on the discussion section of my page. We have the full debate in the archived section of the discussion. Also, the health section on Glumate is not bad. For those of you interested in improving the MSG page, I am sorry, but you will waste your time here. I certainly wasted a lot of hours!FFN001 (talk) 12:42, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

One last thing I forgot to mention. When I tried to work together with others (you know, majority opinion), we were all investigated for being sock-puppets and we were temporarily banned from Wikipedia. It turns out that Cacycle is an administrator with a lot of authority.FFN001 (talk) 13:06, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
FFN001: you commented above "Okay, that makes sense. The current set up is satisfactory but I think merging them would be better". So how come now you're coming up with a conspiracy theory saying we are blocking changes to the article? If you think anything should be added to the page, why don't you give some details of what should be added? --sciencewatcher (talk) 02:45, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, given that Cacycle and other active watchers are acting as gate-keepers, this article is probably as good as it can be. It is a lot better than it was originally and I appreciate the improvement we were able to make. There is a long history of our discussions and the discussions made by others--I tried hard to get both sides of evidence included on the MSG section but I failed.

FFN001: We have already discussed this ad nauseum, the whole interaction has been archived to Talk:Monosodium_glutamate/Archive_3 (warning: 300 kB!). Those blocks were 1. not by me and 2. for disruptive behaviour, edit warring, and personal attacks. If you are not willing to contribute in a rational and civil manner and, once again, have to resort to absurd allegations and wild conspiracy theories, then better leave this project. Cacycle (talk) 23:03, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

About conspiracy theories, you did put out a call to arms on that insider forum--technically, that means you did conspire to get help in shooting down my changes.FFN001 (talk) 02:21, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
You also initiated the sock-puppet investigation.FFN001 (talk) 18:38, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I had a quick look at the references that you provided in the previous discussion. The only point we don't address in the article is a possible link between diabetes and MSG. However I failed to find any revews discussing the link, and I couldn't find any human studies - just a rat model.--sciencewatcher (talk) 21:03, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
There is a bit about migraines and glutamates acting as a neuro-toxin too (but before we disagreed and I don't want to push the issue again). I had a thought that might make everyone satisfied. Can we delete the entire paragraph and instead say "Because MSG is a free glutamate, the health concerns of MSG are discussed in detail on the main glutamate page: Regional issues relating to MSG are discussed below." (or something to this effect). This is basically what Cacycle wanted all along (my disagreement with him/her was saying there were no health effects here and then saying something different on the glutamate page), and this way we aren't making a judgement here about what concerns deserve to be discussed and which results are strong enough to include. What do you think?FFN001 (talk) 02:24, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
That would be redundant because we have another article for additive use. At the top of the page it says "For its use in food flavouring and health concerns, see glutamic acid (flavor)." For the record, I'm still not wild about the number of articles we have in this area (see my comments above from last year—I would support combining glutamic acid (flavor) with glutamic acid or this article), but I think it's pretty clear how they are currently divided up. Cool Hand Luke 02:57, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Going back to the issue of migraines and MSG, I think FFN001 might have a point. [Tarasoff] says that while large (3g-5g) of MSG produces symptoms on an empty stomach, taking the MSG with food seems to remove the effects. I thought we mentioned this in the article, but it seems we don't. Obviously if taking the MSG with food removes the effect them there isn't likely to be any negative effect from the MSG itself - perhaps it is an ineffective placebo, or just the effects of such a large amount of sodium. Think what effect eating 5g of salt would have on you! Tarasoff concludes "rigorous and realistic scientific evidence linking the syndrome to MSG could not be found." So if you want to add this, go ahead, but make sure you do it in a NPOV way - the evidence still points to MSG not causing any health effects. Let me know if you need the full-text of Tarasoff. --sciencewatcher (talk) 03:39, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

My preference would be to do what Cool Hand Luke suggested and combine all of the articles. Since MSG is simply a form of free glutamate, and should not have any more health effects, it seems redundant to include everything twice. If we keep them separate, I do believe that we need to point out in the article that MSG can't have more health effects than any other free glutamate; otherwise, most people coming to this site will think the article is incomplete. If we would like to keep them separate, I can add the discussion of migraines as Sciencewatcher suggested. As only last issue, MSG has been the subject some outlandish health claims (e.g., causing autism) and many reputable medical sites make claims to which there is mixed or little scientific evidence. Should we address this? Again, if we don't the article will seem incomplete.FFN001 (talk) 23:53, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
If they're separate, the migraine bit belongs in glutamic acid (flavor). I favor merge, however—any content specific to MSG (as opposed to X-glutamate flavoring in general) would be a subheading of the merged article. Cool Hand Luke 02:06, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree--how do you feel Sciencewatcher (and others who might be interested)?FFN001 (talk) 23:36, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I think it makes sense to merge. If you look at the glutamic acid (flavor) article you'll see it mostly talks about MSG anyway. I think it would just be better to merge the articles and maybe redirect MSG to glutamic acid (flavor). --sciencewatcher (talk) 15:00, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with that. To be clear, MSG is a disambiguation page, but I agree with Sciencewatcher that monosodium glutamate should probably redirect to the broader term glutamic acid (flavor) rather than vice versa.
That said, we might still want a stub for the CAS number, weight, and structure of actual monosodium glutamate, like potassium glutamate. It would seem strange to include this in glutamic acid (flavor). At the same time, would it be sensible to trim this article down to that point, and then simply link to glutamic acid (flavor) for information on health and food use? I could go either way, but both of these articles are covering the same ground IMO. Cool Hand Luke 16:45, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with your ideas. Can we put all of the glutamic acid articles together? It would be long but at least it would be consolidated. It might be easier to group them than to keep them separated, as well, because there is such a strong mistrust of MSG in many Western cultures (such as the USA). If we do leave the technical bits about MSG as separate article and link to the health effects we run the risk of people continually demanding a health section. To separate them, we must very clearly articulate that MSG has the exact same health effects as other free glutamates--even though many people think they are sensitive specifically to MSG and only MSG. It is a "hot-button" article. However, there is validity in talking about the cultural mistrust of MSG, even in situations where the beliefs are not backed up by research, as long as we do not mix it with the health section and we keep it NPOV (i.e., we don't judge or put people down).FFN001 (talk) 13:20, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, the content currently at glutamic acid is of little interest to people who want to know about food use and health concerns, and I imagine that most of our readers are in that camp. I would prefer to keep that separate. Perhaps that article can be the repository of all the technical information on these salts, while either this article or glutamic acid (flavor) contains all the health/food/medical information.
It might just be best to merge all that information back to monosodium glutamate. While many commercially-used free glutamates are not MSG, this is by far the most common and familiar name for the family of flavor enhancers. My copy of Kirk-Othmer Concise Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology puts everything under MSG—there's a heading for "monosodium glutamate," but much of the article is about glutamates generally in food applications. If using this name is sensible enough for chemists, there's no reason we can't also include all the information under the most common name for the family of flavor enhancers—the name our readers are most likely to search. Cool Hand Luke 17:46, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
I think this is a very good solution. Shall we wait a day or so to let others have a chance to voice their opinions and, if there is no disagreement, go ahead and merge them?FFN001 (talk) 01:33, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, lets merge them. Cool Hand Luke, would you mind merging them when you get a chance--I have never merged an article before.FFN001 (talk) 01:20, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

i came upon this article in search for some information about msg. had i stayed with the information given here i would have thought that Accent is pretty safe to use but further googling brought me to very alarming information. i feel that as i have found the article today it supports the manufacturers' interests and not the consumers'- meaning everyone (including the company stockholders.... they eat too....they have kids..) i am new at wikipedia as a user but i've come to rely upon it very much in the past years. today's experience has shaken my credibility. hope the plans for merging will help. wikipedia holds a lot of power we got to make sure it's for the better of all of us. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yazmin.cakmak (talkcontribs) 05:23, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

That's the problem with google - you can get lots of dubious information. MSG is safe. You need to research using google scholar and look for high quality reviews to get good information. That is what this article does. If you think anything is missing from the article or there is any incorrect information, feel free to discuss here (or go ahead and change it - but make sure you follow WP:MEDRS and other policies). --sciencewatcher (talk) 15:37, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

As SW says, it is indeed generally recognized as safe. We can certainly address and discuss any specific concerns though. Cool Hand Luke 15:46, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Dear people you can go on and sprinkle your meals with this "safe" flavour enhancer. As far as taking the responsibility of informing the world about it... it seems that you feel very confident.

in your knowledge. or your interests. I would just appreciate if you do not add headings to my comments. thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yazmin.cakmak (talkcontribs) 07:27, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Well I suspect you are ingesting it too. Pretty much every bit of food you eat has sodium and glutamate in it. That is (one of the reasons) why it is perfectly safe - the other being that it has been extensively tested. And what did you mean about 'add headings to my comments'? Oh, and please sign your comments in future, thanks. --sciencewatcher (talk) 14:45, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Given that I have seen people complain that all "E Numbers" give them headaches, and when asked whether that included E941 being used with pre-packed salads and the like they said it did, it is fairly safe to assume the argument you are using won't work on anyone convinced that there is some ill-defined and arbitrary boundary between "natural" and "artificial" food stuffs, and everything on one side is good and everything on the other is bad. -- (talk) 15:58, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Neutrality issues

The issue of health risks for humans based on MSG, in my view, is highly downplayed in this article and the related article Glutamic acid (flavor). There is much discussion above, here on this 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 section of the main article Monosodium glutamate (3000 readers/day) doesn't even mention health risks -- the only clue that readers might get would be to look at the hatnote, and here the wording is "health concerns", or look significantly down in the article where there is talk about health issues, but mostly the verbiage suggests there's no cause for worry. There is more discussion, again buried fairly well down in the article Glutamic acid (flavor). The issue of health concerns needs to be more prominent in both articles.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 16:48, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

The info you added was already covered better in the flavor article - I assume that's why it was reverted. Note that all the health concerns info is all in the flavor article. This is simply because the concerns aren't related to MSG per se, but to free glutamate in general. So it's really just a layout issue rather than a POV issue. Oh, and as for your other comment: I've been watching this article for quite a while and I've never seen any 'pro-MSG' people here, or any attempt to downplay the risks. I have seen a lot of anti-MSG people though, many of whom don't understand the science. There IS a big myth surrounding MSG - lots of people believe that the MSG restaurant syndrome is a fact when in fact it has been thoroughly debunked. Please don't confuse risks with urban myths! --sciencewatcher (talk) 17:28, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree that this article needs to mention health concerns in the lead section, but it isn't balanced to simply put one mention of one view of one of the health aspects in the lead section without it being in the more detailed subsection the lead is supposed to summarize, nor in the main article about glutamate/glutamic acid (which is where the bulk of discussion of glutamate-related health concerns is, because they aren't specific to MSG). That is why I reverted your edit, as I mentioned on your talk page. Sakkura (talk) 23:37, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
I've done some reference checking about MSG on my own using newspapers and journals and JAMA. I just wanted to find out for myself. Like, can I keep eating Chinese food? Based on a Teaching Company neurologist who I was listening to, and then looking at these articles, I saw a disconnect -- why was a prominent scientist voicing concerns about MSG while the issue wasn't addressed here? What I learned was: not to worry too much about MSG, so I'm kind of agreeing that worries are possibly overblown. If there was a strong and clear or present danger to the public, there would have been a definitive study saying so; there isn't, at least, not yet at this point. My sense is the consensus among the medical community and doctors and such is that while they don't fully know everything yet, not to worry about it much, particularly in low amounts. Of course eating high concentrations of anything can be a problem. The US FDA approved it. At the same time, the area is still under investigation. Regarding these articles, I think the issue needs to be addressed more prominently in the lead paragraphs of both articles, particularly the more heavily read "monosodium glutamate" article; that is, avoiding the subject seems suspect. I think it's best to confront the worries with more information.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 00:03, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Removed POV tag. Added references plus a few more lines in health section.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 00:28, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing when reading this; there ARE studies with rats, lots of them, where the rats don't do so good beyond the simple LD50 - this article goes out of its way to be positive and upbeat about MSG, to the point of, in my mind, being clearly biased. "Sodium substitute?" *It has sodium in it*. (Seriously; anyone same would use KCl) Who in the heck do you think you're fooling?

A lot of these journal articles flat-out call it a neurotoxin. "Meister, B. (07/01/1989). "Neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and binding sites in the rat mediobasal hypothalamus: effects of monosodium glutamate (MSG) lesions". Experimental brain research" is one, for anyone who's more motivated than I am. (talk) 06:11, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Ubiquitousnewt

Please review our guideline on reliable sources for medical claims; 23 year old primary rat studies clearly do not qualify. Yobol (talk) 03:00, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Article Tone

I think the way this article is phrased is...very weird. Specifically, everything under the "Usage" section. I wish I could be more clear on this, but I cant find the words. It just doesn't feel right, the wrong tone for a wiki article. I can try to explain better but if anyone else can see it and find the words, that would be a lot easier. (talk) 17:30, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps you mean the usage section reads like something out of a cookbook?
If you want to know why the article is phrased the way it is, just read through the talk archives (including this page). Lots of people believe MSG is harmful, but there's no industry to sponsor them as full time WP editors (as far as I know). Zip-x (talk) 18:30, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and no good science supporting any problems with it. If you have evidence of any COI produce it, or move on. Dbrodbeck (talk) 23:54, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
User:, I agree the wording could be improved; I have made some small improvements, maybe you can do better.
User:Zip-x, please assume good faith and don't accuse your fellow-editors of corruption with no evidence (or do you have evidence?). As for "Lots of people believe MSG is harmful", yes, that is an interesting phenomenon in the dynamics of science and of popular belief (cf. The Panic Virus), but as far as I can tell, the best current science does not support that belief. If you have reliable sources to the contrary, please contribute them. Thanks, --Macrakis (talk) 01:43, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
User:Macrakis, please assume good faith and don't accuse me of not assuming good faith. I don't have a sponsor and therefore don't have time to police this article, and if you look through the archives you will see that the article remains more or less the same for the simple reason that there are people policing it. Some editors mention in their profiles that they have sponsorship. That's a fact. I didn't say anyone was corrupted by industry links. It's always possible that people who push a particular POV to the detriment of an article's neutrality and to the financial benefit of someone else don't even realize they're doing it because they honestly believe their POV is correct, in other words they're "biased in good faith" (or "useful idiots" if you prefer, though I don't want to insult anyone). But I do believe that if there were enough full time editors supporting NPOV, it could be maintained, and I do believe that if opposing MSG were profitable (on the same scale as the profitability of MSG itself), then there would be potential sponsors proverbially lining up at my door, and at the doors of many others.
As for the science, I think it's been abundantly demonstrated over the last few years that (1) though they constitute a minority, there are reliable sources that disagree with the industry's POV (which is basically the POV of this article, whether by accident or design), (2) it's not a fringe view, and (3) many editors detect strong bias in this article and would love to help balance it but don't have the time (and patience) required.
If you're genuinely interested, look through the archives. Zip-x (talk) 18:47, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
YOu know, this is getting beyond tiresome. Yes, there could be paid shills, and it could be the case that everyone here arguing about including fringe sources is a paid shill of some other industry. This gets us nowhere, produce sources or move on. Dbrodbeck (talk) 23:40, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Same modifications on EN/DE/FR/ES by a japanese IP address

Possibly vandalism/advertisement ? --Ghilt (talk) 11:17, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

It added three brand names by only one producer. --Ghilt (talk) 19:12, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

History section is partially inaccurate

This sentence:

"Suzuki brothers started the commercial production of MSG in 1909 as Aji-no-moto, meaning "essence of taste" in Japanese, the first time that monosodium glutamate was produced in the world." inaccurate about this being the first time MSG was produced, though it's probably the first time it was intentionally produced in the absence of other substances (i.e. as a "reagent-grade" product). The Romans' most popular food additive, a sauce called "garum" (see Wikipedia's article on it) was so prized because it contained large amounts of MSG--which gave it a strongly "umami" flavor. The process of fermenting fish organs in large amounts of salt evidently produced MSG long before the Suzuki brothers existed (perhaps as far back as 8th century BC). Dmutters (talk) 15:11, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

While garum contains both sodium and glutamic acid in solution, it is not monosodium glutamate, a specific compound.Novangelis (talk) 16:06, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that's right. Here's another article in support of actual MSG being in garum:
Also, the Roman process of making MSG is chemically almost identical to what we now use: break down protein chains from food waste using bacteria, acid, and enzymes (we now use genetically-engineered bacteria, and have access to reagent-grade acids; they used stomach acid from fish and non-engineered bacteria); provide sodium to react with; apply heat. Since NaCl can, indeed, un-bind and "latch onto" other substances if heat is properly applied (in the presence of digestive acid, enzymes, and other reagents, etc.), I find it entirely feasible--and likely--that NaCl in the barrels of heated fish guts managed to separate and create MSG. The article I just linked to states explicitly that sodium and glutamic acid co-mingled to create MSG in garum. Can you provide a rationale for why this /couldn't have/ or /didn't/ happen (with links, of course)? Dmutters (talk) 13:34, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Sodium ions and glutamate ions in solution are not "latched". Find a reliable source that shows it a distinct chemical compound written by someone who knows rudimentary chemistry, such as the law of definite proportions and properties of ions in solution. Garum contains water, the chloride from the salt, and the mixture of amino acids derived from fish. That is not monosodium glutamate.Novangelis (talk) 14:35, 3 June 2012 (UTC)


Search results for "MSG" in major engines point here. A link from here to get to other uses is useful. --Zfish118 (talk) 03:06, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Ah, okay. If you make the edit again, I won't revert it. Thanks for explaining. Looie496 (talk) 05:17, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Mentioning the negative effects of MSG

Ok, I wanted to add a few sentences to mention the controversy around MSG, here is what I attempted to add:

"MSG has been the subject of controversy with anecdotal reports of mild adverse health effects such as nausea and headaches, but the Food and Drug Administration was "never able to confirm that the MSG caused the reported effects"[1]. Some claims have been made regarding a link between MSG and obesity [2], but these claims have not found mainstream acceptance in the medical community.

The Food and Drug Administration requires food containing pure MSG to explicitly mention it on the packaging [3]. However, food manufacturares can use other ingredients that are heavy on MSG but do not have to be listed on the package as MSG. Such ingredients include yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolized oat flour, natural beef falvor, natural chicken flavor, and many more.[4][5] [6]"

(I had an earlier edit mentioning experiments from 1957 and 1969 showing destructive impact on mice neurons. I now see this wasn't inline with guidlines).

Now, what are the claims I am making here:

1.that there are anecdotal reports of mild health effects such as nausea. This is backed by the FDA's website and by MayoClinic's website.

2.That there are claims of link to obesity. That such claims exist is a fact, that they haven't found mainstream acceptance is also a fact. citing banMSGnow is a backup to the existence of groups making the anti-MSG claim. But I concede that this is not the best source, since it is not a secondary source. Would having a secondary source remove the objection?

3.The fact that FDA requires mention of MSG when it is added as a pure ingredient, but that many ingredients contain MSG under different names. This is backed by a New York Times article, and a Bastyr University webpage.

Do we have things from secondary sources that meet WP:MEDRS ? Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:17, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I am using 5 sources in the section I wanted to add: FDA, Bayster Uni, NYT,, banMSGnow. It seems to me -and I could be wrong- that all of these except the last one are secondary sources. As for the last one (banMSGnow): I am using it as a primary source for the fact that there are claims being made about link to obesity. This -I think- is consistent with WP guidlines on when it is approperiate to use primary source --MostlyListening (talk) 19:30, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Given that we don't mention the health effects at all in the lede at the moment, that clearly needs to be fixed. Check out the refs we already use in the article for this stuff, and maybe you can use those refs. Basically the lede should be a summary of the rest of the article. --sciencewatcher (talk) 15:19, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree. However, examining what I wanted to add by that criterion: Claim 1 is already talked about in the Safety section. Claim 3 is also talked about in section on safety in #united states. Claim 2 is nowhere in the article, but it should be added as this is one source of controversy around MSG. --MostlyListening (talk) 19:30, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • This is the wrong article. That information belongs in the glutamic acid (flavor) article. I personally am somewhat dubious about our article naming here, but with the current arrangement, this article is about chemistry, not about food. Looie496 (talk) 15:24, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Correct, but we do mention the health effects in the safety section of this article, so the lede should touch on that. To summarise(!): the main health effects are the in 'Glutamic_acid_(flavor)#Safety_as_a_flavor_enhancer' of the other article, then we summarise that in the safety section of this article. We should then be summarising that summary in the lede of this article. Anyway, I think the OP might have overcooked his edits - probably a single sentence is in order. I'm thinking he/she might not understand how the articles are laid out and that we already have all the health info in there. --sciencewatcher (talk) 17:19, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
But the article talks extensively about MSG as a food ingredient: 3 of the 4 sections (History, Usage, Safety) are primarily about the food-ingredient aspect. Only the 4th section is primarily about the chemical compound. Further more, the controversy in the media is linked to MSG and people searching for info on that would likely use that phrase, rather than "gluatmic acid" --MostlyListening (talk) 19:30, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Your last point is the thing that makes me dubious about the current article name/topic arrangement. Looie496 (talk) 03:15, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Misleading statement?

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)

Safety section

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)


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)

Alternate names

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)
Sounds good to me. There are terminology sections in other articles. I'll add one here. Alrich44 (talk) 17:46, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Uncited sentences/paragraphs

This topic is written about a lot. We should not be lacking for citations. I'm proposing and plan to soon remove any sentences/paragraphs that are not cited. Alrich44 (talk) 01:15, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Move MSG to Glutamate flavoring or pull MSG info here

Glutamate flavoring is about Glutamic acid and its ions and salts. The sodium salt of glutamic acid is monosodium glutamate (MSG). In the flavoring article there are 32 refs to monosodium glutamate and 18 refs to MSG--significant redundancy. So, do we pull the MSG info here, or dedicate a section to MSG there? Alrich44 (talk) 01:30, 14 August 2014 (UTC)


I'm starting to clean up references. Alrich44 (talk) 17:27, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Reference groups

Because this is a controversial topic. I want to be clear about the source of each cite, so I've created three groups: government, manufacturer/supplier, and other. I will start working my way through them. Any other groups? Alrich44 (talk) 01:15, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

I finished the first pass: 8 government, 13 manufacturing & suppliers, 17 other. Alrich44 (talk) 07:11, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Gov. sources need to originate from the government, not just be posted on a government site, such as the PMID articles. Alrich44 (talk) 14:52, 13 August 2014 (UTC)


Why are we citing a nurse who read a bunch of docs to draw a scientific research conclusion when we have doctors doing double blind studies? Alrich44 (talk) 07:13, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Lost Ships of Rome

Who is using a movie about Romans using a fish sauce in a technical article about MSG? Asians have used fish sauces too. Does anyone else see this as a stretch? We have a long history of eating savory food. Okay. I believe the topic is a derived chemical. We already know MSG is naturally occurring. Science reference? Alrich44 (talk) 01:53, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

I added this edit because the program in question explicitly states that garum contains monosodium glutamate. If there is some other source refuting this, then the edit should be removed for inaccuracy. As is, it seems relevant in the history section. If this substance also exists in other food items in antiquity, I see no reason why those shouldn't also be included in a history section, especially when people in antiquity explicitly manufactured food to produce this substance, which is described in the video. "History of usage" seems as valid a point of history as "history of technical identification" and it doesn't seem like a hard science reference is necessary for a historical observation. If I don't get a response of this in ten days or so, I will assume it's fair game to put the information back in. Ontarah (talk) 22 August 2014. — Preceding undated comment added 14:00, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
I think it is fair game to put it back in. Dbrodbeck (talk) 14:16, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Copy edit and NPOV

I've added copy edit to this page for NPOV. Having about ten citation from manufacturers, suppliers, or those associated with them to reinforce key statements is not a good sign. Considering how much corporation influence governments and controversy around this product, I consider it extra difficult/challenging to find reliable sources. I've also invited four previous editors on this page to review my edits. Alrich44 (talk) 15:10, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Are these articles published in peer reviewed journals? If so I don't actually see a problem. Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:17, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

There are clear POV problems in this article that industry shills are maintaining. MSG is a known trigger for those who suffer from migraine headaches, and when I put that in, it gets edited out. I am using government and other highly respected, independent sources. Who is it that doesn't want that known? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bluemoonsoon (talkcontribs) 01:21, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

I see you have never edited this article, or are you admitting that you use sockpuppets? Talking about 'industry shills' makes you sound like a nutbar. If you want to seriously discuss research, please post it rather than discussing ridiculous conspiracy theories. --sciencewatcher (talk) 02:05, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

I am learning about how to sign my name. But that does not change the merit of what I am saying. This article has serious POV problems, going to far as to claim: It has been suggested that a fear of MSG may reflect anti-Asian racism, with MSG being seen as an 'Oriental'... What on Earth is this? Slinging charges of racism to protect a product's image? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bluemoonsoon (talkcontribs) 02:21, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

My comment has nothing to do with you signing your name. You said you had made changes to this article, but you haven't. You have only made a few edits to this talk page.
The racism comment seems well referenced. There isn't any actual evidence that MSG is bad...have a look at the studies in this article. You said you had other research...please post it! --sciencewatcher (talk) 02:42, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Actually, I have posted it. You undid what I wrote. On October 9th. Three sources, showing how MSG is commonly discussed in mainstream media as triggering migraines, including the New York Times and NPR. So you find them not appropriate but a Buzzfeed article suggesting that migraine suffers are really just racist is? Right. Whether I call you a shill or not doesn't change the fact that you have been working hard to maintain this article's bias. Bluemoonsoon (talk) 03:13, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Ok, I see you added it using your ip address rather than your username. The issue is that any medical statements must adhere to WP:MEDRS. MEDRS doesn't apply to non-medical statements, such as the racism issue. All the research shows that MSG doesn't cause health issues. That isn't bias - it is what is known as "following wikipedia policies". You seem to be inserting bias by trying to push unreliable science into the article. Why are you doing that? Please post a single peer-reviewed, double-blind study that shows that MSG causes headaches or migraines. --sciencewatcher (talk) 04:08, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Broken code

In the infobox, the "Jmol-3D images" is broken for me. It shows up as {{#if:Na+.O=C(O-)[C@@H](N)CCC(=O)O|Image 1. This does not appear to be due to my extensions or browser. --SnorlaxMonster 06:28, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

I got this on Firefox, but not IE or Chrome. Alrich44 (talk) 01:29, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
This has now been fixed. Thanks! --SnorlaxMonster 12:20, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Effects in animals

Two primary studies from the 1970s have been added with this edit [2] which I previously reverted I won't now because I won't get into an edit war, but this seems to me to be a case of WP:UNDUE. Dbrodbeck (talk) 16:18, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree. One study also uses extremely high doses (3 orders of magnitude higher than what humans eat, and injected rather than by diet), has no data to support its claim of increased cannibalism in MSG-treated vs. saline-treated (cannibalism of dead pups is normal in mice and rats), and itself makes no claim that the data is relevant in humans. I'm going to remove the discussion of this study. Mjd15 (talk) 16:38, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

cognitive function when combined with aspartame

There is a floating concern that msg is unhealthy and the article does not address the controversy regarding brain function when msg is combined with aspartame. See: [[3]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2607:F278:410E:5:40AD:5985:CF67:792E (talk) 07:01, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

That is a primary study, in mice. Please see WP:MEDRS. Dbrodbeck (talk) 11:23, 25 May 2016 (UTC)


I feel like this article doesn't home in enough on the key point about the Chinese restaurant syndrome symptoms: that getting weird symptoms in physiologically normal people from MSG is simply pretty unlikely, since so many foods are high in salt and glutamate (or at least in proteins which are broken down into glutamate) anyway. Is there a good way of putting this? I've sort of headed in this direction in my recent edits, but I'm far from an expert on amino acid metabolism so I thought I'd put it out there for discussion. I should probably know this, but also: isn't quite a bit of the glutamate in the zwitterion state? Blythwood (talk) 21:08, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Agreed, that said we need a reference or two that specially says that. Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:53, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I assume you mean "specifically". If we can't find any, perhaps there's an RS that says that MSG breaks down in the gut into something plentiful in many unprocessed foods? Would be a valuable addition, Blythwood. --Elvey(tc) 18:26, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Packaging snafu - Del Monte Spaghetti sauce labeled MSG-free full of MSG so relabeled.

What brought me to the article (see my comments above) was coming across an interesting packaging snafu. I came across some Del Monte Spaghetti sauce manufactured and packed in the Philippines in containers prominently labeled MSG-free that were relabeled as containing MSG, and then sold. The original label, which seems aimed at a domestic (Philippines) market did not include several ingredients on the revised label: garlic powder, dehydrated onion, butter, glutamic acid, tricalcium phosphate, and monosodium glutamate. The revised label is for the US market. I wonder what the story is. Couldn't find a story on it by searching the news using google. Perhaps in the Philippines, those ingredients don't need to be listed individually, but rather can be hidden under the "selected spices" ingredient? Investigating...--Elvey(tc) 03:48, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Del Monte has done it before - labeled a product containing MSG as containing no MSG.--Elvey(tc) 20:22, 5 June 2016 (UTC)


I understand MSG is addictive. Why not add that info? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21 November 2014

Because you understand incorrectly. MSG is not addictive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21 November 2014
Glutamates are a neurochemical stimulant, like sugars. You may find self-proclaimed sugar-addicts, but sugar doesn't of itself cause a chemical dependency. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter (unlike sugars), but when you eat it it doesn't enter the brain. --sciencewatcher (talk) 23:41, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Do you have any cite-able evidence for that claim, sciencewatcher? It's hypocritical to make claims without evidence. --Elvey(tc) 17:48, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
Well, Geha, such as it is, claims "This amino acid [L-Glutamic acid, the amino acid component of MSG] is a major constituent of food proteins (in some foods comprising 20% of the total amino acid content)" and adds, "Regardless of dietary source (protein, protein hydrolysates or salts of free glutamic acid, including the monosodium salt MSG), all glu- tamate molecules entering the circulation from the gastroin- testinal tract are structurally identical." But I now question its status as meeting RS. In contrast, per [4], MSG "is metabolized after ingestion to glutamate, a major excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter." --Elvey(tc) 02:41, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
If you have a look at the glutamic acid article, it explains about the blood-brain barrier. --sciencewatcher (talk) 18:27, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, but that's 'cite-able evidence'? Its reference is another paper, Smith, published in a supplement to The Journal of Nutrition, which has the peer review problem noted a few sections above. --Elvey(tc) 21:39, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
This is all pretty well proven science AFAIK. I didn't look at the ref myself, but I'm guessing there are lots of good MEDRS sources for that info. If not then obviously that page needs changed. Have you actually delved into the science yourself? --sciencewatcher (talk) 22:53, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Not interested in your guesses or unsubstantiated say-so!!! I've asked you for cite-able evidence several times and you keep not providing it.
"MSG is not a nutritive substance" per PMC4153311, and if I'm not mistaken, it can't be non-nutritive and protein at the same time. Which implies it or Geha is providing invalid information! --Elvey(tc) 04:44, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
"Non-nutritive" doesn't necessarily mean completely devoid of nutrition. A "non-nutritive" sweetener like aspartame is metabolized and provides a small (sometimes fractional) number of calories.--tronvillain (talk) 18:22, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
The assertion that MSG "is metabolized after ingestion to glutamate" is complete nonsense - it isn't metabolized to glutamate, it is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Dissolve MSG in water and you'll have a solution of sodium and glutamate ions. No metabolism required. And on the blood brain barrier... this seems to apply: "This organization does not allow net glutamate entry to the brain; rather, it promotes the removal of glutamate and the maintenance of low glutamate concentrations in the ECF. This explains studies that show that the BBB is impermeable to glutamate, even at high concentrations, except in a few small areas that have fenestrated capillaries (circumventricular organs)." --tronvillain (talk) 18:13, 25 July 2016 (UTC)


Why is there not a clear list of symptoms that sensitive people experience, like what NIH list?


Alrich44 (talk) 18:25, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

As someone who has a family member with allergy to MSG, I am really offended by the use of the phrase "urban myth". The migraines and nausea leave people with this sensitivity incapacitated, hiding in dark rooms for days. It's insulting to use the phrase 'urban myth', any more than you would refer to a gluten allergy that way. Just because you don't have one doesn't mean it doesn't exist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Why do you think it is the MSG? And why do you say 'allergy'? --sciencewatcher (talk) 16:17, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Responding to above: 40+ years of logging EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE TRIGGER and countless doctors over the years. It's not actually a mystery. It's a sure bet. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bluemoonsoon (talkcontribs) 01:24, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Please read WP:MEDRS. Dbrodbeck (talk) 03:14, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
I concur with the folks who report adverse affects from MSG consumption. The studies mentioned in the article are highly cherry-picked and obviously slanted towards a pro-MSG point of view. As for whoever wrote the "Please read..." comment above, I'd much rather read peer-reviewed medical journals than this clear advertising hack by the MSG industry, thank you very much. Here's one such example: Is PubMed, at the US National Library of Medicine, maintained by the National Institutes of Health, a "reliable enough source(medical)" for you? Gee, I hope so! I have a B.S., an M.S., and a PhD (also in science, as are the other two), so when it comes to science, Mr. "Sciencewatcher," I really do NOT appreciate the condescending tone, and I'm quite certain the tens of millions of other people worldwide who report adverse MSG symptoms do not appreciate the lies, either. Good day.2601:281:C200:656B:313A:B8D0:4F:7801 (talk) 04:14, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
Do you realize you are commenting in a thread that's nearly a year old? Your comment also violates our talk page guidelines. Complaining is not constructive. This is not a forum. PubMed is not itself a reliable source. It lists RS. There is a difference. Even then, peer reviewed research of the highest quality is still not enough to meet our WP:MEDRS guideline. We demand an even higher standard, and prefer quality reviews of multiple high quality peer review research sources. That's a very high standard. It's also the only way we can prevent editors from OR cherry picking of the sources they feel are best, according to their POV. That's a recipe for disaster, so we have policies and guidelines to prevent it. -- BullRangifer (talk) 06:01, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
That would be a good reason not to claim that marijuana cures brain cancer. That is a stupid reason to use wikipedia to discredit health concerns over a food additive -- a neurotransmitter. As though the studies from PubMed are just made up or something. This is why the sun is setting on Wikipedia right now. You are why. 2001:558:600A:63:3D7C:621F:A970:18D2 (talk) 21:11, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
No one said that the study was made up. But for starters, there's no such thing as PubMed study. PubMed is primarily a search service for the MEDLINE database. They are maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine who are part of National Institutes of Health. While the NLM is selective in the journals they add to MEDLINE, but that doesn't mean the NIH is in any way responsible for all the studies nor that they endorsing them. That's simply not how science works. In other words, bringing PubMed/MEDLINE/NLM/NIH in to it, is a red herring. The study linked above was a peer reviewed study published in Sheng Li Xue Ba by a team at the Nanjing University. Nothing wrong with that, but the other names seem to be added just to try and given greater authority (which frankly shouldn't be how you assess the study anyway). More importantly, and I presume the IP who provide the source would understand this given they have an PhD, it was only one study, in mice. If you're worried about the effect of injecting your maternal mice with very high concentrations of msg (as I think someone pointed out somewhere, in human terms the higher dose is the equivalent of giving a 80 kg person a 200 g dose of msg and the lower dose a 80g dose of msg), then yes, the study may be of concern. If you're wondering about the effects of msg consumption from food in humans, it's better to look at the research in humans, particularly the MEDRS sources (review articles and the like), rather than single studies with extreme conditions. Unless you're a researcher, then perhaps you will look at whether the studies suggest a possibly useful area of research. If we relied on single studies, we would have for a time suggested vaccine cause autism, and would still claim a lot of stuff not widely accepted. Nil Einne (talk) 06:34, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Also (in response to Bluemonsoon) try actually reading the science. I think further discussion is pointless. --sciencewatcher (talk) 04:12, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Anyone can read the science regarding glutamic acid right on this very website, *Sciencewatcher*. 2001:558:600A:63:3D7C:621F:A970:18D2 (talk) 21:11, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't disagree with the science, but I can state from experience that the studies seriously understate the reactions experienced by those few with a genuine sensitivity to MSG. I've never had to hide for days, but I have experienced the extreme photosensitivity, suffering migranes from even seeing indirect sunlight, and being confined toilet-side due to the nausea and vomiting. But reactions this severe have been rare, more often I experience the milder symptoms described by Kwok. This isn't necessarily from Chinese meals, though -- one of my worst was from Hard Rock Cafe. (talk) 02:56, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
And the science in the article makes clear that when scientists, concerned about anecdotal reports like yours, deployed DBPC to get to the bottom of it, the results were that among 130 people claiming a genuine sensitivity to MSG like you, they found no evidence of a real problem that could be blamed on MSG. [struck by Elvey because the claim was made based on falsehoods reported in the article that I believed.] If you're not convinced, do some double blind tests on yourself. If you find that you have a reproducible reaction, come let us know. If you do, then the scientists may have falsified the data. I'm not holding my breath. But such things have happened. ...and your Hard Rock Cafe comment suggests you don't grok that correlation does not imply causation. --Elvey(tc) 02:45, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
Apropos my previous comment: Actually, there does seem to be quite a whitewash - DBPC studies have reached conflicting results - details (with some spin) are at Headache, muscle tightness, numbness/tingling, general weakness, and flushing are indeed not "persistent" or medically "serious" (that is, life-threatening) but since confirmed w/ DBPC they are hardly worthy of the term hypochondriac - headaches, general weakness, etc. can be quite debilitating and have a major impact on quality of life. sciencewatcher, are we inconsistently applying WP:MEDRS by excluding the DBPC-confirmed effects from the article while including other DBPC results that aren't from a review either? Thoughts, User:Dbrodbeck? --Elvey(tc) 03:15, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
Are you talking about Yang 2007? We use the Geha review, which references Yang. It might be worth mentioning Yang in the text. Yang didn't use food, whereas Geha did, and Geha's study was larger. So they're not necesarily conflicing...MSG doesn't appear to cause any symptoms in food, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't include Yang. In fact we probably should include it, as we mention Geha's study. --sciencewatcher (talk) 19:43, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes. Yang 2007. No! Yang 1997. Our article calls Geha a study, not a review. The term 'review' only appears in the title. I started reading Geha but got distracted by which says is peer reviewed. [update: confirmed.] Geha is "Supported by a grant from the International Glutamate Technical Committee". EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS! --Elvey(tc) 17:45, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
Geha is a study and a review, and mostly didn't use food either. They present their own study, and review other studies. Just because it's industry funded doesn't mean it's biased. There are a lot of other studies out there, many of them not funded by industry AFAIK. I would recommend looking through all the relevant studies if you're interested. The article does need some tweaks as noted above, so if you can do that it would be great. --sciencewatcher (talk) 19:31, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
Umm, sciencewatcher - I can't believe you're claiming Geha is a review in the WP:MEDRS sense. Seriously? Please clarify. I disagree. It even reports new, original experimental work and there's no evidence of a systemic approach, and I see evidence of misconduct (see new section below). Perhaps User:Doc James can weigh in on this or on this area in general. The domain name and tone set off warning bells, but the peer-reviewed claims are strong and well argued.
Is there proof Geha is even peer-reviewed? It was NOT published IN The Journal of Nutrition, but rather in a supplement to The Journal of Nutrition. (And the supplement's two editors were the symposium's sponsor and host, respectively.)--Elvey(tc) 02:41, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

A couple of things:

  • This is not the NIH[5] but an organization called ADAM as it says at the bottom. The NIH simply bought a license to use it.
  • This is an article in Chinese on mice[6]
  • This 1999 source is a case report[7]

Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:01, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Geha is listed as a review by pubmed [8]. The impact factor of the journal is 3.9 which is not bad. It has been published since 1928 and states it is peer reviewed.[9]
But we are not actually using there paper but are using a 2009 review article [10]. Maybe it is a little detailed but not too bad. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:12, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
User:Doc James, thanks for the input. I can find no evidence at the URL that something published in a supplement to The Journal of Nutrition is peer reviewed. Just that the supplements go to all subscribers. Obviously the journal itself is peer reviewed. (Your first 3 bullet points address old posts; the thread shifted when I posted to a 8-month old thread and my post ended up kicking off a bunch of discussion.) And I see Geha is listed as a review, but I see MEDRS doesn't allows something that reports new, original experimental work to be considered a review for MEDRS purposes, due to the definitions of review that it relies on. ----Elvey(tc) 20:48, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
So replace it then. It's a bit old, so we should be using a newer review. I see there are lots of reviews of Geha, including Freeman 2006 ("Reconsidering the effects of monosodium glutamate: A literature review"). --sciencewatcher (talk) 18:31, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Supplements to The Journal of Nutrition are in fact peer reviewed, as can be seen here:" After submission to the editorial office, the Journal editor will appoint a Supplement Editor and all supplement manuscripts will undergo peer review." --tronvillain (talk) 20:37, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

falsehoods in peer-reviewed research

It seems pretty clear that Geha et. al. are not being above board: They say in the paper, "Challenges in subjects who reported adverse reactions to MSG have included relatively few subjects and have failed to show significant reactions to MSG". Yet their paper references Yang 2007 Yang 1997, and includes their own experimental results, both of which clearly evidence statistically significant reactions. Again, headache/migraine, muscle tightness, numbness/tingling, general weakness, and flushing are indeed not "persistent" or medically "serious" (that is, life-threatening) but since confirmed w/ DBPC they are hardly worthy of the term hypochondriac - migraine headaches, general weakness, etc. can be quite debilitating and have a major impact on quality of life. I see it as more likely to be academic misconduct than pathological science.--Elvey(tc) 02:41, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

typo discussion
Which paper are you referring to? Geha was in 2000 no? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:17, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Doc James: Geha 2000 and Yang 1997. I missed that User:sciencewatcher got the wrong decade. Corrected.--Elvey(tc) 20:56, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Did you read the summary in Geha? They say temporary symptoms occur with large doses of MSG, but only when taken without food. This is also what we say in the article. I'm not entirely sure what your point is. --sciencewatcher (talk) 15:49, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
The article lede currently says: "A popular belief in the Anglosphere is that large doses of MSG can cause headaches [...] but scientists have been unable to trigger such reactions in controlled studies." We're lying to our readers when we say that. And you seem to be defending that. Again: the proof is in multiple papers: "their paper references Yang 1997, and includes their own experimental results, both of which clearly evidence statistically significant reactions [including headache]." The reversion of this edit is a crude attempt to silence me that would have a conspiracy nut screaming about a cover-up. Those are my points. Look, I'm skeptical about whether MSG causes headaches too. But I'm willing to listen to the evidence and think we should be reporting the evidence. Not preconceived notions of what we think the evidence should be. That's bad science. That's how you get billions of people ingesting vast quantities of trans fats, after being told they're good for their health. Are you and Doc James and User:Dbrodbeck down with following the evidence? Let's see! Thus far, my attempts to improve the article to address this have been met with reversion. I reiterate and clarify the basis for my concern that Geha is not peer reviewed and has other major issues and receive no response. Therefore, I open the RFC which follows. --Elvey(tc) 03:31, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
It's sometimes hard to follow the thread of your conversation. In your comment about you accuse Geha of lying, which I responded to. Now you're saying there's a problem with the lede. Go ahead and fix it then. I already told you in my June 8 comment that you should update the article if there are any errors, and you just attacked me for it. I'm not really interested in further discussion with you. If there are any issues with the article, just go ahead and update it. Geha is PubMed referenced, which is good enough for wikipedia (in terms of being "peer reviewed"). There are a few other criteria for MEDRS, but it appears to satisfy that as well. You say you've been met with "reversion" but the only reversion I see is for you adding some (possibly invalid) tags. --sciencewatcher (talk) 15:05, 19 July 2016 (UTC)


There is a weak consensus to use phrasing similar to: Scientists have been unable to reliably trigger such reactions in controlled studies." in the article with appropriate citations. Tazerdadog (talk) 06:42, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The MSG article lede currently says: "A popular belief in the Anglosphere is that large doses of MSG can cause headaches [...] but scientists have been unable to trigger such reactions in controlled studies." Are we misinforming our readers when we say that? Multiple papers: "the Geha paper references Yang 1997, and includes their own experimental results; both papers clearly evidence statistically significant reactions [including headache]." But the evidence is The reversion of this edit is a crude attempt to silence me that would have a conspiracy nut screaming about a cover-up. Look, I'm skeptical about whether MSG causes headaches too. But I'm willing to listen to the evidence and think we should be reporting the evidence, not preconceived notions of what we think the evidence should be. That's bad science. Who's down with reporting the evidence? Let's see! I reiterate and clarify* the basis for my concern that Geha is not peer reviewed and has other major issues. Yet, thus far, my attempts to improve the article to address this have been met with reversion*. (*See section above the RFC on the talk page.) I think the article should discuss the issues with Yang and Geha, but not use them as medical sources, especially if we can't establish that Geha is peer reviewed, and should include a newer review, --Elvey(tc) 03:31, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

This is an excellent source [11]
Published in 2016
Pubmed indexed
Journal has an impact factor of 3.5
And it is open access even Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:40, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
So the paper basically says it is unclear if MSG is related to headaches "we conclude that further studies are required to evaluate whether or not a causal relationship exists between MSG ingestion and headache" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:41, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment. I was called to this via WP:feedback request service. My first impression is oy vey. The point of an RfC is to clearly state an issue to get comments; it shouldn't involve accusations of accusations between the editors. I'll do my best to ignore the distractions and address the issue. --A D Monroe III (talk) 14:50, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment 2. I think it will be hard to balance the quality of the sources with the different results of the studies/reviews. It will take a lot of exact verbiage to explain all this, made harder by us having decide if the sources can actually be cited and combined at all. In short, I don't see much chance for a clear consensus. Where there's no consensus, we have to back off; reword this towards something like "current scientific studies are not conclusive"? --A D Monroe III (talk) 14:50, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: I too am here because of the feedback request service, but I thought "oh noes" rather than oy vey. It's not a well-formed RfC because it is not in the form of a direct question about the article; "Are we misinforming our readers?" is rather a charged question. But my advice is to use the newer source, and state that that source made the conclusion stated above. Roches (talk) 10:36, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: The open access article you are touting as "an excellent source" itself says "Of five papers including six studies with food, none showed a significant difference in the incidence of headache except for the female group in one study", which seems to be the most relevant finding to human consumption, and consistent with the earlier studies. Of course, it also says that four out of seven non-food studies showed a significant difference, but that "Since the distinctive MSG is readily identified at such concentrations, these studies were thought not to be properly blinded." And Geha (2000) was peer reviewed (see sections above).
  • Supplements to The Journal of Nutrition are in fact peer reviewed. See here: "After submission to the editorial office, the Journal editor will appoint a Supplement Editor and all supplement manuscripts will undergo peer review." Will you change that section of your RFC? --tronvillain (talk) 22:08, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
  • We could make a more neutral statement, for example "...but scientists have been unable to reliably trigger such reactions in controlled studies" or "...but scientists have largely been unable to trigger such reactions in controlled studies". Or we could add a sentence: "Some studies have reported results indicating MSG-caused headaches, but no relationship was found in most cases." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mooseandbruce1 (talkcontribs) 05:18, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
I prefer the first of these suggestions ("unable to reliably trigger"), but any of these would be okay by me (including my "not conclusive" suggestion above). --A D Monroe III (talk) 20:59, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Current opening

In regards to the first line of this article: What is the relevance of the commonality of the natural occurring acid? What is "one of the most" if not mush-mouth? (talk) 19:43, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Some amino acids are more abundant in proteins than other amino acids. Cysteine, tryptophan, and methionine are rare amino acids; together they constitute approximately 5 percent of the amino acids in a protein. Four amino acids—leucine, serine, lysine, and glutamic acid—are the most abundant amino acids, totaling 32 percent of all the amino acid residues in a typical protein. From here. --tronvillain (talk) 13:28, 21 November 2016 (UTC)