Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back in Action

Note: Click here for original photo source.
This seems like an appropriate picture to symbolize my current moment. Spring break had been great (The Calm), having no class and taking an ENTIRE FIVE DAYS off from work, but they both start back up tomorrow (The Storm). I can't complain, given that I am really only in one class this semester, and let's face it - even with working full-time, once class really doesn't compare to a full-time class schedule, especially if working part-time. Note: this is what my wife currently does, only she does TWO part-time jobs and is currently in Nursing clinicals. Yes, she has my respect.

Regardless, things will be starting quickly in Biochem with a quiz on Friday and an exam a week later. I'm feeling a bit unprepared, as I did what I had secretly vowed not to and took an uninterrupted hiatus from studying. For me, this is unheard of. Guess I will be reviewing quite a bit over the next few days.

Given that I didn't get any answers in my recent MSG question, I did a little digging and apparently no researchers have found any definitive links between consumption of MSG and consistent, negative side effects to health. Short-term side effects have been observed in a small percentage of people, but it seems to me that a large part of the stigma surrounding monosodium glutamate might be unnecessary. Sure, if it is not necessary in food then avoid it, but fear it? Consider it dangerous? Unless I somehow learn otherwise, I say no. Now that I've said that, I'm suddenly in the mood for some Chinese food...


Allison said...

Yeah I didn't have any idea about MSG, but I'm glad you looked it up and shared it with the rest of us! I've been pretty good about staying away from processed foods (not cheese though...) so Chinese food hasn't entered my body in a really long time. I'm kind of sad about it.

Anonymous said...

Here is what uptodate medical reference has to say about MSG

MSG symptom complex — Perhaps the best known adverse reaction to a food additive is the monosodium glutamate (MSG) symptom complex. This is not an allergic reaction.

The MSG symptom complex typically appears 1 to 14 hours after ingestion. Reported symptoms include headache, myalgia, backache, neck pain, nausea, diaphoresis, tingling, flushing, palpitations, and chest heaviness [72]. Children have been reported with shivering, chills, irritability, screaming, and delirium.

The mechanism of these reactions has been proposed to involve an exaggerated sensitivity to this compound, which is metabolized after ingestion to glutamate, a major excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter.

The MSG symptom complex has not been reproduced in controlled challenges, and symptoms were not consistently inducible in 130 patients who were self-identified as sensitive to MSG and challenged in a double-blind manner. Those patients who inconsistently experienced symptoms most often did so only when MSG was ingested in quantities larger than those that would be encountered in a normal diet, and without accompanying food [73]. Thus, MSG is currently regarded as a safe food additive [74,75]. Still, a patient suffering from these symptoms who believes that MSG is the cause can be advised to avoid foods containing added MSG, since this is relatively simple to do. Such patients should particularly avoid liquid foods (such as wonton soup), from which high levels of MSG can be rapidly absorbed.

Allergic and asthmatic reactions — A small number of case reports have implicated MSG in causing urticaria and angioedema [74,76,77]. As an example, one case described angioedema beginning 16 hours after ingestion of 250 mg MSG, which was reproduced by single-blind, placebo-controlled challenge [77].

MSG has been implicated in provoking asthma [78,79]. However, this association has not been supported in studies characterized by double-blind, placebo-controlled MSG challenges in high-risk asthmatic subjects (aspirin-sensitive or history-positive), in which no reactors were found [80,81].

One group of researchers reported a small number of subjects with perennial rhinitis attributed to MSG ingestion and positive responses to double-blind placebo-controlled oral challenges [82,83]. However, this hypothesis requires further investigation, as MSG could aggravate rhinitis through its vasoactive properties, and the implication that it is a cause of rhinitis has not been established [74].

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