Pain is an extensively studied phenomenon that has yet been fully understood. With that being said, scientists are still working on determining the many factors that contribute to a person’s experience of pain.

One of the newest factors affecting pain might come in the form of a common flavor enhancer called glutamate from the flavoring monosodium glutamate.  Monosodium glutamate or MSG is commonly used in Asian cooking and has now reached widespread use in western food as well. Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest that glutamate consumption is linked to the occurrence of chronic pain.

In a study published in the journal Nutrition. Researchers took over 30 participants who are diagnosed with the presence of chronic pain and divided them into groups that will receive MSG, increased fluid intake, and treatment with acetaminophen. The study revealed that those who ate foods made with MSG had prolonged and intense pain symptoms compared to those drinking more fluids and those given with acetaminophen.

The theory for these results lies in the belief that MSG breaks down into glutamate once ingested and since glutamate is an excitotoxin known to damage and kill nerve cells. Further studies are needed to identify the direct link between chronic pain and the intake of MSG.

Pilot study in Kenya shows link between chronic pain and glutamate consumption

http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(18)30040-6/fulltext

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