Ajinomoto in your chow mein may lead to hypertension, cardiac issues: AU research

Prayagraj:Ajinomoto, a common taste enhancer used in host of Chineses dishes that triggers your ‘umami’ taste budds, leads to several health issues like hypertension, cardiac problems and a faster rate of ageing, says a research conducted by scientists at the biochemistry department of Allahabad University (AU).
Ajinomoto is the trade name for a salt scientists call monosodium glutamate and mostly used in Chinese preparations like chow mein and manchurian that leaves a long-lasting taste (umami) which characterizes these food items. Umami is the core fifth taste alongside the sweet, sour, bitter, and salty taste buds.
Scientists at the AU’s department of Biochemistry have been studying the toxicity of monosodium glutamate. In a breakthrough research published in the reputed ‘Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry’, the scientists working under Professor S I Rizvi have reported that monosodium glutamate, even at low doses, could be detrimental to health.
The AU research has shown that even at concentrations which come under the prescribed limits, monosodium glutamate may cause oxidative stress, inflammation and other health problems. “All these adverse effects may predispose an individual to diseases such as hypertension, heart problems and a faster rate of ageing,” Prof Rizvi told TOI.
The finding assumes importance since the consumption of foods rich in monosodium glutamate has increased tremendously in recent years. All fast foods, including packed chips, momos and some packed foods contain large amounts of this compound, he said.
The research paper highlights that monosodium glutamate increases the production of certain chemicals in the body which may be highly detrimental. The same type of change is often seen in Covid-19 patients, he added.
“The experimental study carried out on rats given a fixed dose of monosodium glutamate revealed that after three weeks of continuous intake of this salt, some alterations were also seen in the brain region,” said Prof Rizvi.
The scientists tested the effect of monosodium glutamate at two different concentrations, 30 mg and 100 mg per kg body weight. Although 30 mg dose did not cause any effects, at 100 mg dose there were a host of side effects which could be detrimental to health.
“This study is an eye-opener as growing children may especially be vulnerable to toxic effects of monosodium glutamate,” said Prof Rizvi, adding that children and growing fetuses have a leaky blood-brain barrier and could be affected by toxic effects of monosodium glutamate.
Prof Rizvi warned that the ‘úmami’ taste of monosodium glutamate causes an addiction which again is harmful for children.

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