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Glutamate sodium: is harmful or not?Research results

Sodyum-elementi Glutamate sodium is the sodium salt of glutamic acid.It is a white powder or crystalline substance without any smell.Many people think that this substance has a taste of "minds"( meat), although in fact, in pure form, glutamate sodium is absolutely tasteless, but only until it is mixed with other flavors and flavors.

Until 2002, it was believed that this substance is capable of enhancing the receptors' perception of the language with four main flavors - salty, sour, bitter, sweet.At the moment it has been established that there are certain receptors( L-glutamate receptors) that are "tuned" to the perception of glutamate.The result of such research results was the official recognition of the fifth taste by "Umami" - in translation from the Japanese language it means "mouth-watering / pleasant taste".Umami - the taste of high protein substances, traditionally used as a seasoning in the Far East.Pay attention: the sensation of minds creates not only glutamate sodium, but also some amino acids.

Table of contents: How natural is sodium glutamate Sodium glutamate harmful - official versions Harm and benefit of sodium glutamate - rumors, speculation and information analysis Where sodium glutamate is used

How natural is sodium glutamate

The substance in question is not naturally found in nature,But there is glutamic acid - it is from it through simple chemical reactions that glutamate of sodium( calcium, potassium, magnesium) is synthesized.

It is considered that the taste enhancer E621 is a natural substance, but in fact it is completely artificial.And even the raw material for synthesis( glutamic acid) is now, as a rule, made in laboratory conditions by bacterial fermentation.

Please note: for the preparation of glutamic acid must be used sugar beet, molasses or starch of any kind.But many manufacturers actively use for the process of fermentation genetically modified bacteria.

All the information given applies only to the use of sodium glutamate in the food industry, but there are other important points to :

  1. Glutamic acid is a part of proteins( considered an amino acid) - any living organism, includinghuman.
  2. The presented amino acid is replaceable - it can be produced by the body itself.
  3. Glutamic acid enters the body with food.

Glutamic acid, as a taste enhancer, is classified only in the free form( in the bound it is a component of the protein).To natural products containing free glutamic acid, you can include only soy sauce, high-protein ferment products( for example, cow's milk, various kinds of cheeses, etc.).


The food industry in the production of products uses exactly glutamate sodium - it dissolves perfectly in water.In addition, glutamate sodium is very quickly converted back to glutamic acid, which enters the body during the absorption of food.So it should be ideal. .. But in this case, the question of the benefit or harm of the taste enhancer should not arise - after all, an amino acid is a priori necessary for the normal operation of the whole organism.Why is there so much debate around glutamate sodium?

Sodium glutamate is harmful - official versions of

No one gives an unambiguous answer to the question of the harm and / or benefit of the substance in question.The American organization FDA classified this product as a "generally safe additive", but in 2003 it obliged producers of products containing sodium glutamate to label each unit of the manufactured product in a special way.

Msg In 1987, the Joint Expert Council on Food Additives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations( FAO) and the World Health Organization( WHO) formally recognized sodium glutamate as safe for humans.But at the same time, none of the most well-known organizations and the World Health Organization proper introduced the considered taste enhancer into the NOAEL list - this includes absolutely safe food additives and those that can cause minimal harm to human health.

In accordance with the norms of the Code of Alimentarius, the maximum permissible level of glutamic acid and its salts in food products has not been established.In the case of these food additives, the Code lists the categories of food products in which they can be applied in accordance with technical documentation.

Note: in Annex 16 to the Technical Regulations of the Customs Union contains restrictions on the use of glutamic acid and its glutamate salts( including sodium glutamate) - no more than 10 grams per 1 kg of products.Similar restrictions apply in Europe( established by Regulation of the Regulation Commission of the EU dated 11.11.2011. and the European Parliament Directive of 20.02.1995. )

Harm and use of sodium glutamate - rumors, speculation and information analysis

MythsAnd rumors of glutamate sodium is spinning a lot - it is harmful or useful to eat it, how actively it acts in the body, whether it is possible to let it get into the body of children. We will try to discuss and justify some of the myths of :

  1. E-E-E There are persistent rumors among the population that the use of products with the taste enhancer in question leads to impaired vision and liver problems.According to the FAO / WHO Joint Committee of Experts on Food Additives, the administration of glutamic acid to rodents at a dose of 150 mg / ml caused convulsions.The introduction of 2% glutamate sodium into the arterial blood resulted in epileptic manifestations and clonic seizures.Intramuscular introduction to young rodents of monosodium glutamate for 10-11 days at a dose of 3.2 g per 1 kg of body weight caused irreversible disturbances in the retina of the eye.In adults of rodents, the influence of glutamic acid on the retina and the brain was less pronounced.With the administration of sodium glutamate at a dose of 0.25 g / kg, no effect was applied to the retina on the retina.

    The studies of the FAO / WHO committee echo the research of Hiroshi Oguro from the Japanese University of Hirosaki.The researcher fed rats with sodium glutamate, replacing 20% ​​of the daily ration of rodents.As a result, in 6 months, during which the experiment lasted, the loss of vision and thinning of the retina of the eyes was recorded in rats.Naturally, in such quantities a person can not consume glutamate.

Note: injected rodents with glutamate in doses substantially exceeding those permitted by the regulations of the EU and the EU. Consumption of the E621 flavor enhancer in the allowed quantities( 10 g per 1 kg of product per day for an adult, 3-4 g per kg for children over 3 years) is unlikely to lead to health problems in general, and liver / eyesight inParticular.

But it is worthwhile to know - no full-fledged studies of this issue( long-term use of glutamate in recommended doses) on laboratory mice or in humans have not been carried out - all of the above information is theoretical knowledge.

  1. With the use of sodium glutamate, so-called "Chinese restaurant syndrome" can develop - a person has dizziness, nausea, facial hyperemia( redness), headache.And scientists argue that such symptoms are nonspecific, can develop with various pathologies and have nothing to do with the use of glutamic acid( sodium glutamate). The absence of a "Chinese restaurant syndrome" when using products with sodium glutamate is confirmed by experiments with different groups of people.The research data can be found here, here, here and here.
  1. Overeating and uncontrolled body weight gain is the result of eating glutamate sodium.This version has the right to exist, as it was confirmed as a result of 3 independent studies.One study involved 752 people( men and women aged 40 to 59 years) and it was proven that taking sodium glutamate increases the risk of overweight.However, there is another version of the lack of a connection between the reception of glutamate and weight gain, also scientifically proven as a result of a number of studies( see the results here, here, here and here).All of the above studies are officially recorded, and who is right and was not solved - science does not know the exact data of the influence of the taste enhancer on the growth of body weight.
  1. Sodium glutamate negatively affects the nervous system.This myth was born not in an empty place - the townsfolk even have arguments: the taste enhancer is quickly absorbed by the walls of the intestine, then it spreads all over the body and settles on the cortex and the substance of the brain.As a consequence, a person develops lesions of the nervous system, the work of the brain is disrupted.It seems that these arguments sound very convincing.But it does not seem so to scientists: according to research, even if the body accumulates excess glutamine kilsota, it is excreted from the body without any health consequences.
  1. For people with diagnosed bronchial asthma and allergic reactions, sodium glutamate is categorically contraindicated. This myth was successfully debunked by scientists who conducted the following experiment :
  • gave people with similar diseases pure products, but informed patients that they contain glutamate sodium - the reaction was asthma attacks and the instant development of an allergic reaction;
  • when eating food with a flavor enhancer, patients did not talk about the presence of sodium glutamate in dishes - no attacks and exacerbations of chronic diseases were noted.

Official view: does not cause seizures of bronchial asthma and allergic reactions.This opinion is proved: the results of the research can be found here, here and here .

Where sodium glutamate is used

The E621 flavor enhancer is used in the following products:

  • any canned food - fish, meat, vegetable;
  • sausages of different kinds, pâtés and all meat semi-finished products;
  • all types of snacks( crackers, chips, potatoes in seasonings and so on);
  • ready-made salads sold by trade networks;
  • sauces and seasonings of industrial production.

The optimal dosage of sodium glutamate is 1% of the weight of the finished product.An increase in this proportion leads to a deterioration in the taste of the product, which is unprofitable for producers.Therefore, moderate use of the above products will not cause harm to human health.But children should not be given food that contains the E621 flavor enhancer.However, this is every person's business - no unequivocal harm or unconditional benefit of this additive has been established.

A detailed analysis of the effect of sodium glutamate on the human body is given in this video review:

Tsygankova Yana, medical reviewer, physician-therapist

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