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Table 1 Human studies of MSG with food

From: Does monosodium glutamate really cause headache? : a systematic review of human studies

First author Vehicle for MSG administration Protocol Number of subjects Incidence of headache Statistical difference
Prawirohardjono W (2000) [7] Opaque capsule (1)In the morning, after fasting for 10 h, subjects ingested three capsules containing MSG(0.5 g MSG & 0.5 g lactose or 1.0 g MSG) or placebo(1.0 g lactose). (2)A standardized breakfast was provided and consumed immediately after capsule ingestion. 52 healthy volunteers (Indonesians) (Mean age 29.6 ± 6.5y, mean mass 53.4 ± 7.4 kg, mean height 159.9 ± 7.7 cm) *No indication about gender. Placebo : 3 1.5 g MSG : 4 3.0 g MSG : 2 No difference
Tarasoff L (1993) [6] Capsule Fasting condition On first 3 days, 6 capsules immediately followed by breakfast. 71 healthy volunteers (female:41, mean age:30.7) *Mainly Caucasians Placebo (gelatin powder): 1 1.5 g MSG: 0 3.0 g MSG: 0 No difference
Specially formulated drinks On remaining 2 days, 300 ml soft drink immediately followed by breakfast. Placebo (drink): 0 3.15 g MSG (drink): 0 No difference
Tanphaichitr V (1983) [8] Boiled rice with pork Menu A-D(w/o MSG), E(added 3 g MSG) were serve as breakfast on Day 1–5 by this order. 50 adults (male:25, female:25) Menu A(w/o MSG):4 Menu B(w/o MSG):0 Menu C(w/o MSG):2 Menu D(w/o MSG):2 Menu E(3 g MSG):0 No difference
Zanda G (1973) [9] Beef bouillon 3 g MSG(placebo: no MSG, no substitute) in 150 ml beef bouillon followed by other dishes. [First session] Some subjects at random received MSG. [Second session(2 days later)] Opposite to the first session 73 healthy volunteers (male:38, female:35, mean age:25, 17–76y) Control(male):1 Control(female):1 3 g MSG (male):1 3 g MSG (female):6* (P < 0.05) Responded to both (male):2 Responded to both (female):2 Only MSG-treated women had a significantly higher incidence of headache than control.
Blood pressure and pulse rate were also recorded.   
Morselli PL (1970) [10] Beef broth 3 g MSG in 150 ml beef broth followed by other dishes(meat, vegetables, fruit). [First session] MSG:8 sub., control:16 sub. [Second session(2 days later)] Opposite to the first session 24 healthy volunteers (male:17, female:7) Control: 1 3 g MSG: 2 No difference
  1. *; Statistically significant difference was found between placebo and MSG group (P < 0.05)