What you eat impacts your baby directly during pregnancy. A doctor, therefore, suggests eating a simple, organic, and homemade food and staying away from processed and junk foods. The main reason behind avoiding junk foods is the presence of additives and preservatives. One of the commonly used additive is Monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a flavoring agent used primarily in Chinese cuisine. It is also present in various packaged and canned foods.
Also called as Ajinomoto, it has been under the debate for its consumption during pregnancy. Well, the good news is, as of today, there have been no severe side effects either in the mother or the fetus, reported due to Ajinomoto. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing MSG for years, and rates it as “generally recognized as safe.” Therefore, any product that contains MSG should be labeled with this tag.
Another factor to be considered is, various naturally available foods like tomatoes, parmesan cheese, grapefruit, cow milk, breast milk, and apples also contain free glutamate which does not harm the body in any way.
However, if you develop the following side effects after the consumption of Ajinomoto during pregnancy, it is best to avoid it. It is important to note that, most of these side effects can be evident in everyone and not just pregnant women.
Side Effects Of Ajinomoto During Pregnancy
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If you experience migraines during pregnancy, it is good to avoid MSG. Like nitrates and aspartame, MSG seems to increase the incidences of migraines in pregnant women. Since there has been a lot changing in your body hormonally, physically, and mentally during pregnancy, your body is more vulnerable to adverse reactions, and migraine is one of them.
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2. Weight Gain
Since MSG is mostly present in processed and canned foods, which are unhealthy, weight gain could be one of the side effects. A rapid weight gain would have further problems like back pain. It is therefore, important to keep a watch on the intake of junk foods containing MSG, during pregnancy.
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If you are allergic to Ajinomoto even before pregnancy, it best to stay away from it during pregnancy, since the symptoms might manifold. Some of the symptoms include headache, numbness in muscles, tingling of muscles, nausea, chest pain, excessive sweating, and flushing.
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4. Water Retention
Water retention is one of the most common problems in pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body produces 50% more blood and other body fluids to support the growth of the baby. However, excess retention of it within, in severe cases, could be a sign of preeclampsia, which needs immediate medical attention. Salt is the culprit. Since MSG is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, intake of it during pregnancy can worsen the condition of water retention.
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5. Placental Barrier Breakdown
Excessive free glutamates can lead to the breakdown of the placental barrier (which supplies food) to the baby. This exposes the baby to every good and bad substance your blood has, thereby affecting the baby’s immune system. Some free glutamates also reach the brain and adversely stimulate them. It is, therefore, greatly suggested to avoid excessive consumption of MSG during pregnancy.
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Heartburn is one of the common problems faced by pregnant women as the months pass by. The incidences of heartburn are significantly more during the third trimester. Since MSG is an artificial additive, it might further add to the possibility of increasing the exisiting condition. The digestive system might have to make extra effort to digest it, causing heartburn.
So, the ultimate question, is it safe to consume Ajinomoto during pregnancy? The answer is simple: if you have had any side effects from MSG even before pregnancy, simply avoid it. If there were none, having a serving of Chow mein once in a while wouldn’t harm you or your fetus. Frequent consumption might cause issues like heartburn and water retention. In any case, it is best to check with your doctor before you are planning to eat it or are facing any of the above side effects after eating it.