The Biochemistry Of MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

MSG is the sodium salt of glutamate and glutamate is a non essential amino acid abundantly occurs in nature. Due to its taste, it is added in many edibles as a flavor. It is found in many fruits and vegetables like tomato, potato, mushrooms etc. It is used as a type of salt “ajinomoto” which is used as a flavor enhancer in food industry. MSG is approved by FDA as a food additive and is named as food additive E621 in European Union. Human body also produces its own MSG but usually it is taken from fruits and vegetables. Now it is also prepared artificially in industries by the process of fermentation.

MSG is made up of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and sodium if we look at its chemistry. The formula of MSG is C5H8NO4Na which shows that it has 5 carbons, 8 hydrogen, nitrogen, 4 oxygen and sodium atom. The flavor of MSG is enhanced by its binding with 5-ribonucleotide and makes a delicious taste. As mentioned before that MSG is sodium salt of non essential amino acid glutamate, it is important to understand the chemistry of glutamate. Glutamate also found in human body and forms the protein chain as like other amino acids but some amino acids also float in the body. Glutamate plays a very important role in human nervous system and act as neurotransmitters and transfer messages from one nerve cell to another nerve cell.

It was believed that MSG improves appetite but according to a recent study, it was proved that MSG may delay hunger recovery especially when it is taken with a food rich in protein. Many studies proved that monosodium glutamate controls appetite in man, and enhances the flavor of food. In human body, MSG plays a vital role to activate many processes. Appetite control means to maintain hunger level of man, but this system is disrupted if extra proteins have been taken. The role of MSG in neurotransmission is very important because if it does not perform its role, there may the disruption of nervous system.

Studies revealed that sometimes the excessive amounts of MSG cause severe disorders in the body usually brain disorders. Extra production of MSG should be controlled at early stages otherwise it may cause severe syndromes like Chinese restaurant syndrome and some others. Only a little known about Biochemical properties of MSG, therefore the researchers are still trying to find the myths of MSG.