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High Blood Pressure and MSG in Chinese foods.

High BP? Hold the MSG

Consumption of monosodium glutamate may raise blood pressure, especially in women and in people taking antihypertensives, Australian and Chinese researchers have shown.

A prospective study of more than 1200 people in China found strong dose-related increases in both systolic and diastolic BP associated with MSG consumption.

Over a five year period, the average increase in BP was 4.5mmHg, but increases of almost 10mmHg were seen in people with higher intakes of MSG. A similar pattern, but with lower absolute increases, was  seen with diastolic BP.

Women with a higher MSG intake were much more likely than men to show increased BP, and there was also a stronger association between BP and MSG among people taking antihypertensives.

Writing in the Journal of Hypertension (online March 2), the research team, which included Professor Garry Wittert of the University of Adelaide, said the interaction with antihypertensives may be because glutamate antagonises dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers.

Therefore, they say MSG intake may need to be a consideration when making a choice of antihypertensive medication. “When initiating treatment for hypertension or when reviewing therapy in the setting of persistently or recurrently elevated blood pressure it would be prudent to review MSG intake,” they suggest.


Michael Woodhead

6 minutes


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