Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.

Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Delicious sodium reduction with the essence of umami.

Enhance Flavor & Lower Sodium

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is the purest form of umami and delivers delicious savory taste to a variety of foods. Since its discovery over 110 years ago, MSG has been used safely as a food ingredient and seasoning around the world. 

We manufacture our MSG through advanced fermentation technology using quality ingredients such as locally grown corn.

ajinomoto and msg
ajinomoto msg ingredients

Discover the Purest Form of Umami

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a seasoning that combines sodium (like that in table salt) with glutamate, the most abundant amino acid in nature and one of 20 that makeup protein in the human body. MSG is the purest form of umami, which is a taste that brings out the savory deliciousness of food and adds dimension to the flavors. Glutamate is also naturally present in foods such as tomatoes, aged cheeses, mushrooms, and even breast milk. 

Best yet, MSG has two-thirds less sodium than table salt and can enhance the flavor of food while decreasing the need for salt. MSG separates into sodium and glutamate when it’s exposed to water in foods or saliva in the mouth, which is why the body cannot distinguish between the glutamate naturally present in foods (such as Parmesan cheese) and added MSG.

ajinomoto msg powder

Delicious Sodium Reduction

ajinomoto msg

Enhance flavor with pure umami seasoning

Produced through advanced fermentation technology

The Science Behind MSG

110 Years
Since its discovery over 110 years ago, MSG has been used safely as a food ingredient and seasoning around the world. Misperceptions about MSG stem from a 1968 anecdotal account by one person after he ate Chinese food. Since then, numerous public health agencies and organizations around the world have validated the use of MSG in the food supply.
In 1908, Japanese scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda was the first to attribute glutamate to the unique taste we now know as umami. He noticed the savory taste in seaweed broth was distinct from the four basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Following his discovery, in 1909 MSG was patented and commercialized as AJI-NO-MOTO®.

Today, MSG is made by a fermentation process that starts with corn in the United States.  Its superb quality and performance results in an ingredient that’s versatile across many applications.

Learn More About MSG

Resources, studies, news and much more.

Explore our advanced fermentation process at our Eddyville plant in Iowa


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Frequently Asked Questions

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a seasoning that combines sodium (like that in table salt) with glutamate, the most abundant amino acid in nature and one that provides umami, a savory taste. In simple terms, it is a seasoning that enhances the flavor of foods by adding umami. 

Umami is the taste of glutamate. In 2000, the discovery of the umami taste receptor officially established umami as the fifth basic taste. Umami receptors are found on your tongue – right next to your sweet, salt, sour and bitter taste receptors.

MSG is produced by a fermentation process starting with corn in the US.

No. Since its discovery over 100 years ago, MSG has been used safely as a food ingredient and seasoning in many different cultures. Extensive scientific research confirms MSG’s safety and role in the diet. 1, 2, 3, 4   

In 1968, a letter to the editor was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (5) describing the author’s personal account of symptoms he experienced after eating at a Chinese restaurant, including weakness, palpitations, and numbness. In the letter, he acknowledged such symptoms may have been due to any number of ingredients in the meal including sodium, alcohol from Chinese cooking wine, or MSG.  Subsequent studies in laboratory mice injected large volumes of MSG directly into the brain and abdomen producing ill effects in the animals (much like what is observed with other dietary substances), leading many to question the safety of MSG, despite its use in the food supply for over 50 years.

Glutamate is inherently present in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms, aged cheeses, and meats. MSG also adds to the flavor of some of America’s favorites, like soups, chips, and salad dressings. 
Whether you’re eating a tomato or foods with MSG added, our bodies process the glutamate in the same exact way. When MSG is exposed to liquid, for example in broth or saliva, the sodium separates from the glutamate molecule. As such, the body digests glutamate and sodium separately.

Some people may have sensitivities to the seasoning in the same way people have sensitivities to a wide array of foods, often depending on how much of a food is consumed and in what context.  It’s difficult to say how common this is because sensitivities haven’t been consistently demonstrated in placebo-controlled, double-blind trials with the general population or even in those who claim to be sensitive (3). The Australian/New Zealand regulatory agency has previously stated that the percent of the population with a sensitivity “is not really known but is suggested to be between 1 and 2% of the general population.” (4)

While over the years people have blamed headaches and other symptoms on foods containing MSG, the FDA has never been able to confirm MSG as the cause. In fact, such reports spurred the FDA to work with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) to examine MSG’s safety in the 1990s, and they concluded MSG is safe. (3) Also, the International Headache Society removed MSG from its list of causative factors for headaches in January of 2018 due to lack of evidence. (6)

Good question. Behavioral scientists speculate that our relationships with food aren’t just driven by physiological mechanisms, but also by psychological influences. Our associations, habits, cultural and social norms, fears, and cognitive biases all play a role. For example, people can be quick to infer causation when they notice an apparent correlation, or they perceive it as normal to have food sensitivities so they look for confirmation of sensitivities and ignore disconfirming evidence. 

MSG elicits the taste of umami, our 5th basic taste, which enhances the flavor of food much like the other basic tastes. Most importantly, it has 2/3 less sodium than table salt, so it can be used as a sodium reduction tool. When used in the place of some salt, it can reduce sodium in a dish by as much as 40%! (7) The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently acknowledged the use of MSG as a strategy to reduce sodium in the food supply; (8) given current sodium intakes of Americans far exceed recommendations, the sodium reduction benefits of MSG are vastly under-appreciated.

Indeed. There is an indication that enhancing the flavor of foods with MSG can improve the palatability of food, increase salivation and reduce dry mouth in the elderly. (9)  MSG may also increase satiety. In one study, participants reported feeling more satiated after eating a soup with MSG than they did after a soup without. (10) These benefits and others are being further studied.

Lots of ways! One-half teaspoon of MSG is an effective amount to enhance the flavor of a pound of meat or four-to-six servings of vegetables, casseroles, or soups. A chef-inspired tip: replace half of the salt in your salt shaker with MSG (which reduces the sodium in the mixture by about 40%), and experiment from there. A sprinkle of MSG is a particularly good way to increase the appeal (by upping the umami) of plant-based foods like grains, and raw or cooked vegetables. Combine it with salt either as seasoning right before serving and/or as it is prepared and cooked. Visit KnowMSG.com/recipes for delicious ideas. 

You can find MSG as Ac’cent in most seasoning and spice aisles at grocery stores nationwide or in specialty Asian markets under the AJI-NO-MOTO® brand.

Start using our Monosodium Glutamate today

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