How To Diagnose an MSG Allergy

Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG, can add flavor to any dish and is a favorite ingredient in Chinese cuisine. However, not only does MSG pose a health risk, it can also be a source of allergies for many people.

Here are ways to diagnose an MSG allergy:

  • Observe for symptoms of an allergy. Here are some of the symptoms:
      • Closing of throat passage
      • Swelling of lips
      • Breaking out in hives
      • Numbness in the mouth
      • Itchiness
      • Nausea
  • Search for the presence of MSG in food eaten prior to the allergic reaction. A sufferer may experience delayed reaction or react only when MSG build-up in the body reaches a critical level, which means remembering consumed food for the past twenty four hours or beyond. Call restaurants and ask if they prepare food with MSG. Processed food companies are also allowed to use different names for MSG when used as an ingredient; examine canned food labels and look for MSG or "textured vegetable protein" as part of the ingredients.
  • Consume Vitamin B6. An MSG allergy can develop from a Vitamin B6 deficiency. After consuming a dose of Vitamin B6, take in a sample a MSG and monitor the reaction. If 48 hours pass without signs of an allergy, then you have determined the source of the allergy and should monitor your B6 intake to prevent further reactions in the future.
  • Observe for an allergic reaction with aspartame. Aspartame is a popular artificial sweetener that shares a similar protein structure with MSG. It is common for people who suffer an MSG allergy to possess an aspartame allergy as well. Ingest a small sample of Aspartame in powder form and wait twenty four hours for an allergic reaction. Be prepared to counteract the more severe symptoms when they occur.
  • Differentiate between an allergy and an intolerance for MSG. Many people have an intolerance for MSG and will display headaches, nausea and loose stool after consuming it, though they will not necessarily have an allergy for it. Determining whether you have an allergy or intolerance will affect your treatment. Whether or not you have one or both conditions, you should avoid food mixed in with MSG in the future.
  • Request an MSG allergy test administered by your doctor. Your doctor will not only control the structure of the test to make a definitive finding, but can also reduce the symptoms should it occur. These tests may involve ingesting a small quantity of  MSG or a skin test that require pricking, scraping or patching your skin with a test sample. After he subjects you to a dose of MSG , he will monitor the results for forty eight hours. If no symptoms occur, he may send you home with instructions to continue monitoring yourself in case of a possible delayed reaction to the substance.

Once a person is diagnosed with MSG allergy, he should remove all MSG from his home cooking. He should also request restaurants to withhold the use of MSG in the dishes he orders.


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