Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Last Updated: February 22, 2019

Definition - What does Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) mean?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a biochemical agent that consists of sodium and an amino acid called glutamate, also called glutamic acid, serving as a natural catalyst in regulating physiological functions and processes in conjunction with being a common food additive. While MSG is a component of many staple food items, polarizing views exist surrounding its health benefits given that there are reports linking excessive consumption of MSG to neurological defects, obesity, and metabolic disorders.

WorkplaceTesting explains Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is an excitotoxin, a specific neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in the bioelectric transmission of signals between neurons in the brain. However, whether the ingestion of glutamate correlates to cases of neurological defects is questionable. The basis for this discrepancy stems from the fact that regular glutamate intake cannot disrupt otherwise normal brain activity, as opposed to an excess of MSG-concentrated foods that can cause blood pressure elevation and headaches. Moreover, laboratory experiments remain inconclusive in their findings to support neurological deficits associated with ample doses of MSG in human subjects.

MSG is a distinctive flavor known as umami, a subset of taste that also includes bitter, salty, sour and sweet, underscoring its popularity in many processed foods. However, many people have concerns about the purported health implications of glutamic acid (MSG) contributing to the obesity epidemic. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers MSG safe.

The health consequences of MSG remain controversial, but moderate doses of glutamate that coincide with an individual’s dietary plan are acceptable. In the workplace, proper diet and nutrition is a critical aspect in streamlining productivity where employees receive the necessary energy to meet job demands. Since MSG is a natural enzyme of the body, employers can cover the rudimentary facts of glutamate intake while making available different food items to give employees autonomy over their health.

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