Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can have adverse effects on fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome

Glutamic acid (glutamate) is an excitotoxin – that is, it can excite neurons in the brain. Many neurodegenerative and cognitive conditions are thought to involve excitotoxin activity.

Researchers examined the effects of monosodium glutamate, a good example of a dietary glutamate that is widely used in food production, on 57 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). All 57 were placed on a four-week diet that excluded MSG and aspartame, another excitotoxin. Thirty seven patients completed the diet, of which 84% reported a reduction of their fibromyalgia and IBS symptoms by more than 30%.

These 37 were then subjected to a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge with either MSG or a placebo for three consecutive days a week. Those who consumed MSG experienced a significant return of their symptoms, worsening of fibromyalgia symptoms and a decrease in quality of life with regards IBS symptoms.

The researchers concluded that dietary intake of glutamate may be contributing to the worsening of fibromyalgia and IBS symptoms in some patients, and that more research is needed into the role of dietary excitotoxins is needed.

Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, July 4

Click here for more research on fibromyalgia

First Published in July 2012


Top of page