My MSG Experience

By Kevin Wilson


I want to share my experience with MSG in hopes that it may help other people.

I first became suspicious that I was allergic to MSG a few years ago when I started to feel bad (refer to symptoms below) some evenings for no reason. I thought maybe I was just getting old. Then one evening I ate some cajun seasoned pasta from a box. About 20 minutes later I was in bed feeling like I was getting the flu. I had felt fine earlier that evening. My wife seemed to be unaffected. It seemed that there was something in the pasta that didn't agree with me. I checked the ingredients on the box of pasta and found a fairly short list that included "autolized yeast extract" (MSG). After that I started to read the ingredient label on almost everything I ate. When I felt bad for no reason I'd check the ingredients of what I had previously eaten and discovered that it almost always contained MSG.

After removing MSG from my diet my seasonal allergies have improved dramatically, I have more energy, I sleep better, I can think more clearly and I have reduced levels of anxiety.

What Is MSG?

MSG is an additive that's found in many foods. It's made by processing yeast into a powder.

My Symptoms

The severity of my symptoms vary, but they're usually some or all of the following:

Symptoms usually start about 20 to 30 minutes after I eat MSG and last for 8 to 12 hours. A couple Tylenol seems to help.

How To Avoid MSG

Read the ingredients on your food package. MSG is usually listed as "monosodium glutamate", "yeast extract" or "autolized yeast extract". MSG is technically a natural substance, so it can be added to "all natural" and "organic" foods. Be very suspicious if the food comes in a box or a plastic bag and contains a seasoning packet. Almost all canned soup has MSG.

Fast food and chain restaurants often have MSG in their food. I've found that I can eat Papa John's Pizza, P.F. Chang's and Five Guys (no seasoned fries) without feeling bad.

Are You Allergic?

One way to test yourself is to quit eating any MSG for a few weeks and see if you feel better.

Another way to test yourself is by not eating MSG for a few weeks, then eat something you know contains MSG and see if you develop any symptoms. To prevent a placebo effect, you can have someone secretly feed you something with MSG on a random day and see if you develop symptoms.


MSG can dramatically reduce the quality of life for some people. If you're experiencing the symptoms listed above, hopefully you can use the information I've provided to determine if you're sensitive to MSG and if so, how you can avoid it.