MSG monosodium glutamate increases your cholesterol

Glutamate: a danger to the liver and heart?

Mice on a diet

“Umami” is the name of the fifth taste that glutamate conjures up on the tongue. It's not sweet, salty, bitter or sour, but somehow different - “umami”. That means something like "hearty, tasty". But there is evidence that glutamate could trigger diseases such as obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. To find out whether the additive is harmful to health, researchers from Japan, America and Italy have experimented with mice. The international team led by Koichi Tsuneyam and Makoto Fujimoto carried out two experiments.

In the first, the researchers tipped glutamate into mice after birth. The tissue of the animals was then examined five times within a year - in comparison with a control group that had received no glutamate.

In the second experiment, the scientists again compared glutamate mice with control mice. This time the rodents were also fed differently. Some were on a strict diet: only 75 percent of the diet in the non-diet group.

Inflamed liver, threatened heart

Study one showed that, in contrast to the other mice, glutamate mice had more frequent symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis - an inflammation of the liver. In addition, they often developed symptoms and diseases of the metabolic syndrome, such as overweight (obesity), a disturbed fat and cholesterol balance, high blood pressure (arterial hypertension) or an abnormally high blood sugar level. The syndrome is seen as the most important risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Study two showed that a low-calorie diet did not prevent steatohepatitis and obesity in glutamate mice, but it slowed progression. A radical diet cannot avoid glutamate-related diseases, but it can reduce progression, according to the researchers.

Man affected

The results from the mouse experiments cannot be directly transferred to humans. Even so, the researchers believe that glutamate is also harmful to human health. Asians in particular could be affected, as their dishes particularly often contain glutamate. According to the experts, Chinese population studies show a clear link between glutamate, obesity, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Nevertheless, glutamate is currently classified as a harmless food, the additive is approved for most foods up to a maximum amount of 10 g / kg. Glutamate is mainly found in some finished products. But also in many natural foods, for example beef, Parmesan cheese or peas, in small quantities it can even be found in tomatoes or breast milk. (vv)

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