· Monosodium glutamate, more commonly known as MSG, is a widely used flavor enhancer that is found in many different types of food. It is frequently associated with Chinese food, as this type of cuisine regularly uses MSG. An MSG allergy occurs when an individual is not able to consume MSG without suffering from a negative reaction to this substance, such as a food allergy rash. Generally, the immune system will recognize substances contained within the food enhancer to be dangerous or harmful foreign substances. In order to defend the body against these substances, the immune system will introduce chemicals into an individual's blood, causing an array of symptoms, ranging from a food allergy rash, to more severe health consequences. There has been a great deal of argument surrounding the existence of an MSG allergy. Many individuals and medical professionals argue that the symptoms that are associated with the MSG allergy are actually more characteristic of a food intolerance, indicating that the immune system is not involved in the reaction.
· MSG allergy symptoms can vary a great deal, though they are generally relatively minor. For example, consuming monosodium glutamate frequently causes an affected individual to suffer from a food allergy rash. This may include hives, or just red, warm skin. It may also cause an allergy sufferer to experience digestive complications, including abdominal cramping, pain, nausea, and vomiting. It may also cause constipation or diarrhea. Headaches are frequently associated with MSG allergies, as are breathing difficulties. In the most severe cases, an individual who has an MSG allergy will suffer from anaphylaxis, following the consumption of MSG. This may result in anaphylactic shock, a life threatening condition that can cause an individual to fall into a coma, and if not treated immediately, anaphylaxis can be fatal. Individuals who believe that they are experiencing these type of symptoms should consult with a medical professional. Acquiring an allergy test will help an individual to determine the offending allergen and to avoid his allergen in the future.
· There is no cure for individuals who are suffering from an MSG allergy. The only way for an individual to avoid the onset of a food allergy rash and other serious symptoms, is to avoid the consumption of monosodium glutamate. In order to achieve this, an individual must understand the sources of MSG. Many types of pre-prepared foods, such as soup, contain MSG. Many restaurants will add MSG into their cuisine in order to enhance the food's flavor. Some butcher shops and supermarkets will also add MSG to the meat that they sell. In order for an individual to avoid MSG, he/she must carefully review ingredients lists and ask individuals who are employed at a restaurants and butcher shops whether or not MSG is added to their products. In recent years, increased awareness about the negative effects of MSG have diminished the frequency in which the flavor enhancer is used.