Effects of Consuming Ajinomoto during Pregnancy


While pregnant, your body and the fetus are more sensitive to foods, making it all the more critical to be extra careful about what you eat and how it may affect your baby.

Ajinomoto or MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a substance derived from the amino acid glutamate. Monosodium glutamate is often used as a food additive as a flavor enhancer. This additive often gives foods a savory taste due to the addition of extra glutamate, which also occurs naturally in foods such as tomatoes, soybeans and seaweed. As a food additive, MSG is categorized as GRAS or “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and DrugAssociation which allows the addition of MSG to food as an additive. FDA has instructed all food manufacturing and packaging companies, as a mandate, to mention the MSG content related information on the food packet.

Some of the health concerns regarding MSG are owed to the adverse reaction that some people have to this additive. The problem, known as MSG symptom complex, includes, but is not limited to, symptoms such as heart palpitations, chest pain, headaches, nausea, sweating, flushing, weakness and numbness or tingling in your face and neck. Although, no definitive link between Ajinomoto consumption and these symptoms have been identified, it is best to avoid consumption of Ajinomoto during pregnancy if you are allergic to it, as the effects and allergic reaction could multiply due to the heightened state of hormonal activity.

Ajinomoto during Pregnancy

Ajinomoto has not conclusively been proven to directly cause toxicity in the body, and is unlikely to affect the health of the fetus. However excessive Ajinomoto does give way to free glutamates in the body. It affects the baby by breaking down the placental barrier of food supply to the baby. The breakdown of this barrier would mean your baby is exposed to every substance in your blood, good or bad, in equal proportion as you. This may not be healthy for your baby as the immune system of the baby cannot fight any external allergens and disease causing germs. The free glutamates can also reach the brain neurons and stimulate them. According to the US National Library of medicine a study conducted in 1997 on the effects of maternal oral administration of monosodium glutamate at a late stage of pregnancy on developing mouse fetal brain showed that maternal oral administration of MSG at a late stage of pregnancy decreased the threshold of convulsion in the litters at 10 days of age and Y-maze discrimination learning was significantly impaired in the 60-day-old filial mice.

Consuming large amounts of Ajinomoto also adds large amounts of sodium to your diet and imparts no other nutritional value. Increased amounts of sodium in your diet can cause water retention and High Blood Pressure during pregnancy. Salt is a major contributor to this problem. If your body is retaining excess water during your pregnancy, avoid Ajinomoto and all other salts as well.

Food additives such as Ajinomoto do not need to be completely eliminated during pregnancy, but they often appear in fast food, processed meats, soups and canned vegetables. While you are pregnant you need to be mindful that what you eat affects the health of both you and your baby. There is no “recommended” amount of MSG, so instead pay attention to your sodium intake; consuming no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium each day. While buying any kind of packaged food or processed food, be sure to check the contents on the label in order to be able to make an informed decision. Where research conducted in the field may currently be inconclusive, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid it completely during pregnancy. It is not worth the risk.

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