Monosodium glutamate is often used to preserve food and enhance flavor. MSG is frequently found in a wide variety of foods, including restaurant food, canned soups and processed meats. Some people experience negative side effects after consuming foods containing MSG. The most commonly reported side effects of MSG consumption include headache, flushing, and swelling of hands and feet, according to "Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies." Flushing the MSG from your body is the quickest route to relief from these symptoms.
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Although unpleasant, MSG-induced symptoms generally subside quickly, and it's not a serious condition. However, you should seek medical attention immediately if your symptoms persist for more than 48 hours because your symptoms might be a sign of a critical medical condition that's unrelated to your MSG consumption.
Drink, in ounces, at least half of your body weight in pounds of water over the course of the day. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs. you should drink at least 100 oz. of water throughout the day. Increasing your water consumption will stimulate your kidneys to process the MSG and flush it from your body.
Limit sodium intake as much as possible until your symptoms go away. Sodium encourages water retention, which will prevent the MSG from being quickly and efficiently flushed out of your body. Frozen dinners, processed meats, salty snacks and dressings are examples of high-sodium foods that need to be avoided during this time.
Do not drink anything except water until your symptoms resolve themselves. Water is more effective at removing MSG from your body than any other beverage. Additionally, many other beverages contain sodium, including soft drinks, sports drinks and vegetable juices.
- “Foundations of Nursing”; Lois White et al; 2010
- "Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies"; Frances Sizer; 2008