Food and Behaviour Research

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Consensus meeting: monosodium glutamate - an update.

Beyreuther K, Biesalski HK, Fernstrom JD, Grimm P, Hammes WP, Heinemann U, Kempski O, Stehle P, Steinhart H, Walker R. (2006) Eur J Clin Nutr.  Sep 6; [Epub ahead of print  

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Objective:Update of the Hohenheim consensus on monosodium glutamate from 1997: Summary and evaluation of recent knowledge with respect to physiology and safety of monosodium glutamate.

Design:Experts from a range of relevant disciplines received and considered a series of questions related to aspects of the topic.Setting:University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.

Method:The experts met and discussed the questions and arrived at a consensus.

Conclusion:Total intake of glutamate from food in European countries is generally stable and ranged from 5 to 12 g/day (free: ca. 1 g, protein-bound: ca. 10 g, added as flavor: ca. 0.4 g). L-Glutamate (GLU) from all sources is mainly used as energy fuel in enterocytes. A maximum intake of 16.000 mg/kg body weight is regarded as safe. The general use of glutamate salts (monosodium-L-glutamate and others) as food additive can, thus, be regarded as harmless for the whole population. Even in unphysiologically high doses GLU will not trespass into fetal circulation. Further research work should, however, be done concerning the effects of high doses of a bolus supply at presence of an impaired blood brain barrier function. In situations with decreased appetite (e.g., elderly persons) palatability can be improved by low dose use of monosodium-L-glutamate.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 6 September 2006; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602526.