This is a common symptom of food intolerance and largely avoidable if you know what the triggers are. The most well-known food chemical trigger is monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Common symptoms

Research shows that after ingesting large amounts, people with a sensitivity to dietary glutamate may experience headaches, muscle tightness, numbness/tingling, and weakness (5). The symptoms can take several hours to hit. Glutamate is a flavor enhancer that enhances a savory taste. Glutamate is responsible for the ‘umami taste’ of savory foods such as meat, fish, cheese, mushrooms and savory snacks.

Side effects may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, gas
  • swelling in your hands or feet
  • muscle or joint pain, back pain
  • headache, dizziness, tired feeling
  • mild skin rash or itching
  • dry mouth, runny nose, increased sweating.
woman in black long sleeve shirt covering her face

Where can glutamate be found?

Glutamates occur naturally in mature cheese, breast milk, tomatoes and sardines. Glutamates are combinations of glutamic acid with other substances. Glutamic acid is an amino acid. Amino acids are also abundant in your body. They are found in proteins in your body, but also in animal products such as pork, beef, chicken and fish. The glutamic acid used in foods is made with the help of bacteria. Genetically modified organisms can be used in the production of monosodium glutamate (E 621).

Glutamate that has been added to products as a flavor enhancer is the same as glutamate that is naturally present in something. For our body there is no difference. The amount of glutamate you get as a flavor enhancer is much smaller than the amount that is already naturally in your diet. Manufacturers only need to use a small amount for the right taste.

Some examples of products with a lot of added glutamate are biscuits, pastries, snacks, stock, ready-made soups and sauces, processed meat, spice mixes and seasonings.

What is the most important information I should know about glutamine?

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

To make sure glutamine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have a liver disease or kidney disease.

Discovering your own food sensitivities and then cutting back or abstaining from food completely is perhaps the most important thing you can do to treat this condition. As with many consequences of a food intolerance, the cause can be determined by applying the elimination method. This will help you find out which food could be the cause. An excellent tool for this is our food sensitivity test. In addition, you get the results of the food you are intolerant to. You can then apply the elimination method in a targeted manner. This allows you to find out faster which food is the cause.


We simultaneously test your blood and saliva samples on +1000 items to get the most accurate results.


We shoot for accuracy, not for average. You may have heard about cheap single hair tests. These can cause false positives. That is why we perform our tests on two samples to improve quality and accuracy. We believe your health is the most valuable asset in your life.

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