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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 300 (1): 137-145

Copyright © 2011 by the American Physiological Society.

Mucosal Biology

Monosodium glutamate raises antral distension and plasma amino acid after a standard meal in humans

Claire Boutry,1,2 Hideki Matsumoto,3 Gheorghe Airinei,4 Robert Benamouzig,1,2 Daniel Tomé,1,2 François Blachier,1,2 , and Cécile Bos1,2

1INRA, Research Center for Human Nutrition-IdF, UMR914 and
2AgroParisTech, Research Center for Human Nutrition-IdF, UMR914 Nutrition Physiology and Ingestive Behavior, Paris, France;
3AJINOMOTO, Institute of Life Sciences, Amino Acid Basic and Applied Research Group, Kawasaki, Japan; and
4Avicenne Hospital, Service of Gastroenterology, Research Center for Human Nutrition-IdF, Bobigny, France

Received for publication June 24, 2010. Accepted for publication October 21, 2010.

Abstract: The consumption of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is advocated to elicit physiological and metabolic effects, yet these effects have been poorly investigated directly in humans and in particular in the postprandial phase. Thirteen healthy adults were supplemented for 6 days with a nutritional dose of MSG (2 g) or sodium chloride (NaCl) as control, following a crossover design. On the 7th day, they underwent a complete postprandial examination for the 6 h following the ingestion of the same liquid standard meal (700 kcal, 20% of energy as [15N]protein, 50% as carbohydrate, and 30% as fat) supplemented with MSG or NaCl. Real-ultrasound measures of antral area indicated a significant increased distension for the 2 h following the meal supplemented with MSG vs. NaCl. This early postprandial phase was also associated with significantly increased levels of circulating leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, cysteine, alanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan after MSG compared with NaCl. No changes to the postprandial glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1, and ghrelin were noted between MSG- and NaCl-supplemented meals. Subjective assessments of hunger and fullness were neither affected by MSG supplementation. Finally, the postprandial fate of dietary N was identical between dietary conditions. Our findings indicate that nutritional dose of MSG promoted greater postprandial elevations of several indispensable amino acids in plasma and induced gastric distension. Further work to elucidate the possible sparing effect of MSG on indispensable amino acid first-pass uptake in humans is warranted. This trial was registered at as NCT00862017.

Key Words: monosodium glutamate • circulating amino acids • gastric antral area • postprandial metabolism • gastric emptying

Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: F. Blachier, UMR914 INRA-AgroParisTech Nutrition Physiology and Ingestive Behavior, AgroParisTech, 16 rue Claude Bernard, F-75005 Paris, France (e-mail: blachier{at}

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