LUCKNOW: The lip-smacking Chinese dishes are a big hit among Indians of all ages and have been adequately Indianised in many ways but the taste enhancer -- Ajinomoto or Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), as it is chemically known -- continues to be an essential ingredient of such Chinese cuisine.
However, a few of us know that the chemical, which makes the Chinese dishes luscious with its long-lasting taste (umami) also triggers many medical conditions including hypertension, cardiac issues and ageing at a faster rate, says a research conducted by scientists at the Bio-Chemistry department of Allahabad University (AU).
Umami is said to be the core fifth taste, alongside sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
The scientists of Allahabad University's biochemistry department had been studying MSG toxicity. In a breakthrough research, published in Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, the scientists working under Professor SI Rizvi have claimed that MSG, even in low quantity, could be detrimental to health.
According to Professor Rizvi, the research claims that even at concentrations under the prescribed limits, MSG may cause inflammation, oxidative stress and other health problems which may lead a person to develop ailments like hypertension, heart problems and ageing at a faster rate.
The finding assumes importance since the consumption of foods like momo, noodles, chips Manchurian, and many other packed food items, rich in MSG has increased tremendously in the recent years.
The research paper highlights that MSG increases the production of certain chemicals in the body which may be highly harmful for human health. Professor Rizvi claims that the experiments carried out on rats indicated that the incessant consumption of a fixed dose of monosodium glutamate for three weeks led to some changes in the brain region of the guinea pigs.
The scientists tested the effect of MSG at two different concentrations, 30 mg and 100 mg per kg body weight. While 30 mg dose did not cause any effect, the dose of 100 mg manifested a host of side effects which could have an impact on overall health.
The study will go a long way in saving the population from the ill effects of the salt as growing children are vulnerable to toxic effects of MSG, says another scientist associated with the research. Professor Rizvi also cautioned against addiction to the taste of MSG.