Allergy Mate

Glutamates sensitivity

gluta
May 13, 2013 Allergy Mate Curator

A sensitivity to glutamates, a common amino acid found in nature.

Glutamates are the main component of many proteins and is also produced in the body, playing an essential role in human metabolism. When organic materials break down, the glutamate molecule breaks apart and results in L-Glutamate. This can happen during the cooking, ripening, or ageing process of foods. L-Glutamate delivers the savory taste characteristic of glutamates.

An often-reported sensitivity in this category is sensitivity to monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is a white crystalline sodium salt, based on a glutamate that has been isolated, fermented and processed. It enhances the flavor of foods, and acts as a preservative. To date no scientific evidence of a link between MSG and reported symptoms has emerged, however researches have acknowledged that some people have experienced short-term reactions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG in the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) category however due to reports of reactions, current U.S. labelling laws require the ingredient to be declared as “monosodium glutamate” on meat and poultry labels. Other glutamates must be identified under their own name.

Closely related to, and due to the presence of glutamates in food is the concept of “Umami”. Technically neither a product nor ingredient, the term Umami refers to savoriness. It has been proposed as one of the five individual tastes sensed by the tongue in addition to sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. It is a Japanese word; proposed English translations include brothy, meaty, satisfying or savory/savoury.

Potential symptoms

Angioedema (swelling) of the face
Asthma – Note: some studies have shown that MSG failed to induce signs or symptoms of asthma
Burning
Chest pain
Dyspnoea (breathlessness)
Flushing
Headache
Heart palpitations
Migraine
Numbness of the mouth
Oral tingling
Sweating

Potential high risk

Anchovy
Anchovy powder
Asparagus
Barley malt
Beefsteak tomato
Black truffles
Bonito – Dried fish flakes
Brandy
Broccoli
Champignon mushrooms
Cheese powder
Chicken broth – Commercially produced
Cured prosciuto / proscuitto
Cuttlefish
Dashi
Doritos®
Egg yolk
Fermented soybean
Fish sauce
Fontina cheese
Golden Mountain sauce
Goya Sazón - Seasoning consisting of MSG salt garlic cumin and annatto
Grape juice
Grapefruit – up to 99mg/100g
Gravy – Commercially produced
Green Peas
Hoisin sauce
Human (breast) milk
Kecap manis
Ketchup / catsup
Kewpie mayonnaise
Kombu – edible seaweed
Maggi® goreng
Maggi® sauce
Marmite
Masago
Meat jerky
Mozzarella cheese
Mushroom powder
Parmesan cheese – During the aging process moisture escapes and glutamate concentrates
Parmigiano reggiano cheese – During the aging process moisture escapes and glutamate concentrates
Pepperoni
Phong churot
Port
Potato
Potato chips – When potato slices are fried up they lose water content concentrating the amount of glutamic acid in each chip
Roquefort cheese
Sea Urchin
Seasonings – Commercially produced
Sherry
Shiitake mushroom
Soy sauce
Stock / broth / bouillon (cubes liquid powder) – Commercially produced
Sugar snap peas
Sweet corn
Swiss cheese
Tamari
Tofu
Tomato juice
Tomato Paste
Tomato sauce – Commercially produced
Vegemite
Vegetable broth – Commercially produced
Vetsin
Wie jing / Mei-Jing
Worcestershire sauce
Yeast extract

Potential moderate risk

Walnut

Potential very high risk

(Free) Glutamates – Natural glutamates are bound with proteins and are digested and absorbed slowly; glutamate additives (so-called free glutamates) are not bound in this way and are absorbed much more quickly by the body
(Free) Glutamic acid – Natural glutamates are bound with proteins and are digested and absorbed slowly; glutamate additives (so-called free glutamates) are not bound in this way and are absorbed much more quickly by the body
Ajinomoto
Autolyzed yeast
Calcium caseinate
Calcium glutamate
Disodium guanylate – Often used in conjunction with MSG to enhance its effect
Disodium inosinate – Often used in conjunction with MSG to enhance its effect
E620
E621 (MSG)
E622
E623
E624
E625
Glutacyl
Glutavene
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Liquid amino acid
Monopotassium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Multi grain bread – up to 2858mg/100g
Natriumglutaminat
Pearl barley – up to 2182mg/100g
Powdered gelatin – up to 10655mg/100g
Protein concentrate
RL-50
Sodium caseinate
Walnuts – up to 3043mg/100g
Whey protein concentrate
Yeast nutrient
Zest®

Unknown / suspected risk

Asthma (Rhinosinusitis)
Carrageenan / Irish Moss – A red marine algae used in a wide variety of foods (including dairy) as an emulsifier stabilizer and thickener. It appears safe for most individuals with food allergies. Carrageenan is not related to shellfish.
Egg foo yung
Infant Formula
Instant noodles
Maltodextrin
Meat tenderizer
Natural flavoring
Pectin
Processed meat
Protease enzymes
Shellfish
Soups – Commercially produced; especially to improve the flavor of low-sodium products
Soy protein isolate
Subu
Vegetable (canned)
Whey protein isolate

 

Image credit: palindrome6996 / Flickr