A lot of food contains high levels of MSG. (Photo by courtesy)
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UNAIR NEWS – Recently, the term ‘micin (MSG) generation’ is so popular in the community. Its appearance seems to reinforce the perception that overeating food with MSG can lower the quality of thinking. People say because MSG, brain works slow, less responsive, and so on. Is it true that MSG causes brain problem?

A pediatrician of Faculty of Medicine Universitas Airlangga – RSUD Dr. Soetomo Dr. Irwanto dr., Sp.A (K) said that the cause of the brain works slow is actually not because of MSG consumption. This is reinforced by some research results that have been conducted by researchers abroad.

In fact, the controversy over the use of vetsin or micin or Monosodium glutamate (MSG) dated back to the 1960s. At that time, the New England Journal of Medicine revealed a complaint-related a report from a group of people who complained of dizziness and vomiting after eating at a chinese food restaurant.

From the report, circa 1970 a number of researchers began to develop chinese food syndrome research. Two human groups were tested. Some eat MSG food, others do not. Apparently, the group who ate MSG food had a pharyngitis or a throat disorder, while others did not complain of any symptoms. After further tracing, it turned out the pharyngitis was due to allergic effects on MSG.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) affirmed that the allergic reactions experienced are not caused by MSG. All depends on the level of body sensitivity.

“Because everyone’s sensitivity is different, there are people who are allergic to MSG, some are not, “he said.

To ensure the impact of the use of MSG, the study then continued in experimental animals. As a result, administering MSG in animals leads to fewer changes in the prefrontal cortex and neurons are lesser. These conditions also trigger neurodegenerative.

The researchers agreed that the administration of MSG in animals affects nerve cells and caused changes in the cortex associated with cognitive function.

Irwanto emphasized, the provision of MSG in experimental animals was proven to bring toxic effects. Because the sample exposed to a higher dose MSG than the usual human consumption. But experimental results in animals have not been able to reinforce the notion that MSG effects are equally dangerous if it is consumed by humans.

So far, research around MSG is still limited to the animal trials, and no one has applied it to humans. Given that so far there has been no case report that urges researchers to conduct further research.

“So far observations have only found the form of dizziness, vomiting as the effect of chinese food syndrome. And it happens because of allergies, “he said.

Meanwhile, William Pardridge, MD in his book Amino Acid Regulation in the Brain wrote that MSG is not included in the Blood-brain barrier (BBB) or the element that is able to penetrate the membrane of the brain.

From the book, Irwanto explained that glutamate will not enter the membrane of the brain. In this case the body has its own mechanism to balance the levels of MSG consumed. That way MSG will not affect the brain.

“Because MSG is cannot penetrate the membrane of the brain, it is safe to eat,” he said.

The FDA and WHO have ensured that MSG is safe for consumption within reasonable limits. According to the guidelines, the average limit of MSG consumption maximum 2.5-3.5 grams of MSG for body weight 50-70 kg or half a teaspoon of whole food consumed all day.

While for people with MSG allergy, Irwanto suggested to reduce the amount of food consumption of MSG. Allergic to MSG can be known when a person has a sudden headache, vomiting, burning in the neck, arms, chest pounding after eating MSG food. Such complaints are commonly referred to as chinese food syndrome.

According to him, allergic manifestations can come any time. There is a known allergy since childhood, as a teenager, or even after adulthood. It depends on their respective endurance.

“If you already feel such complaint, then you should limit the MSG consumption,” he said.

After observing the description above, it seems that the term ‘Micin Generation’ is less suitable addressed to the slow thinker. Is it possible to replace it with another more suitable term?

Manuscript: Sefya Hayu Istighfaricha

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh


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