MSG and the Blood Vessels
The glutamate in MSG has a vasoconstrictive
effect on blood vessels due to its action as a calcium channel
Unfortunately, most doctors are not aware that MSG acts in this way.
Those patients taking calcium channel blockers may want to reconsider eating
large amounts of an unnecessary food additive that may interfere with their
Even product literature put out by Ajinomoto nearly ten
years ago admits that certain animal studies found vasoconstiction in animals
Here are two studies that show MSG linked to Blood
Sodium-high blood pressure link?
Recently, some scientists are reporting that sodium in
the diet is not as important as other minerals in the diet for preventing high
blood pressure. Minerals like Magnesium - known for its calcium channel
Why sodium may be taking the blame for
the glutamate in MSG
It is well known in the food science community that MSG
is used to enhance the flavor of salty foods, rather than sweets. It should be
noted that most of the studies done on salt and blood pressure did not account
for the fact that foods low in sodium are also low in the business end of MSG
- blood-vessel-constricting glutamate.
The heart of the sodium-blood-pressure link theory, the
belief that sodium would cause a retention of fluid, which may eventually
cause a rise in pressure in the blood vessels, does not account for the fact
that blood vessels are not rigid, but flexible. Vasoactivity - or the
ability of the body to actively cause the blood vessels to constrict or open
wider to adjust the pressure is not considered. The fact that foods
containing vasoactive amino acids like tyramine and glutamate which are found
in large amounts in salty foods (like aged cheese) was not considered nor
accounted for in the most widely cited of these studies.
It is interesting to note that many scientists over the
years, including a former U.S. Surgeon General have been skeptical of the
sodium-high blood pressure link.
Consequences of "Conventional Wisdom"
Even though Ajinomoto admitted over a decade ago that
there were studies linking MSG to vasoconstriction, even though stroke is on
the rise in Asian countries - striking young adults now, and even though
taurine, (an amino acid whose formation in the body is disrupted by MSG in the
diet) is used in Japan now to treat high blood pressure, the company that
makes MSG is urging its use in nursing homes as well as in low-sodium foods
specifically targeted toward those patients who already have high blood
Are the executives at these companies truly interested
in prolonging and improving the lives of people, or do they want to get rid of
hypertensive patients to make room in hospitals for other patients with