MSG and High Blood Pressure

MSG and the Blood Vessels

The glutamate in MSG has a vasoconstrictive effect on blood vessels due to its action as a calcium channel OPENER

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 medication. 

Even product literature put out by Ajinomoto nearly ten years ago admits that certain animal studies found vasoconstiction in animals fed MSG.

Here are two studies that show MSG linked to Blood Pressure Increase:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21372742

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19438927

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 BLOCKING ability.

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 pressure. 

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 MSG-related illnesses?

 

 

 

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