Hot dog headache; Glutamate-induced asthma; MSG (monosodium glutamate) syndrome
Chinese restaurant syndrome is a collection of symptoms that some people experience after eating Chinese food. A food additive called monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been implicated, but it has not been proved to be the substance that causes this condition.
In 1968, reports of a series of serious reactions to Chinese food were first described. MSG was felt to be the cause of these symptoms. Since then, many studies have failed to show a connection between MSG and the symptoms that some people describe after eating Chinese food.
For this reason, MSG continues to be used in some meals. However, it is possible that some people are particularly sensitive to food additives, and MSG is chemically similar to one of the brain's most important chemicals, glutamate.
Bush RK, Taylor SL. Adverse reactions to food and drug additives. In: Adkinson NF Jr, ed. Middleton’s Allergy: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 66.
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