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Table 2 Human studies of MSG without food

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

Researcher Vehicle for MSG administration Protocol Number of subjects Incidence of headache Statistical difference
Geha RS (2000) [11] 200 ml of citrus-flavored beverage [Protocol A] 5 g MSG and placebo (0 g MSG) on separate day (day 1 & 2) 130 self-reported MSG-reactive volunteers (female:84, male:46) [Frequency] Placebo: 0.28 5 g MSG: 0.54 (P < 0.005)** Significant difference
Yang WH (1997) [12] 200 ml of a strongly citrus-tasting beverage sweetened by sucrose. (1) 5 g MSG or placebo(0 g MSG) (empty stomach) 61 subjects self-identified MSG-sensitive people (male:15, white:59, black:1, oriental:1) Placebo: 24 5 g MSG: 23 No difference
(2) placebo(0 g MSG, no substitute), 1.25, 2.5, 5 g MSG in random sequence. 36 subjects Subjects who responded to either of MSG or placebo in study(1) (not both or not neither). No indication about gender. Placebo: 9 1.25 g MSG: 11 2.5 g MSG:16(P < 0.04)* 5 g MSG: 18(P < 0.023)* 1.25 g: no difference 2.5, 5 g:significant difference
Shimada A (2013) [13] 400 ml Sugar-free lemon soda MSG (150 mg/kg = 9 g/60 kg) for 5 consecutive days (in the week) and NaCl (24 mg/kg) in the other week in randomized sequence. 14 healthy adults (female:9, male:5) Placebo: 2 150 mg/kg MSG(=9 g/60 kg): 8* (P = 0.041) Significant difference
Baad-Hansen L (2010) [14] 400 ml Sugar-free soda NaCl (24 mg/kg), MSG (75 or 150 mg/kg =6 or 9 g/60 kg) in random sequence. 14 healthy men Placebo: 0 75 mg/kg MSG(=4.5 g/60 kg): 27* (P = 0.045, vs placebo and 150 mg/kg MSG) 150 mg/kg MSG (=9 g/60 kg): 7 75 mg/kg: significant difference 150 mg/kg: no difference
Rosenblum I (1971) [15] 100 ml tap water or chicken stock 15 h after the last meal. (Group I–IV)5 g MSG in tap water(49 subjects) or chicken stock(49 sub.). (Group V)1.7 g NaCl in chicken stock(24 sub.) (Group VI) chicken stock(25 sub.). 99 male volunteers, 21–59 years old. [Frequency] Placebo(Group V, VI):8 % 5 g MSG(Group I–IV):17 % No difference
100 ml chicken stock (Group VII) 8 g(6 sub.) MSG in chicken stock, 2.8 g NaCl in chicken stock(5 sub.). (Group VIII) 12 g MSG in chicken stock(5 sub.), 4.2 g NaCl in chicken stock (5 sub). 11 people Chosen from the original 99 subjects, based on the results of the test above. One-half reported multiple complaints on the questionnaire while the other reported no complaints. Placebo(NaCl2.8 g):2 8 g MSG(VII):3 Placebo(NaCl4.2 g):0 12 g MSG(VIII):2 No difference
  1. *; Statistically significant difference was found between placebo and MSG group (P < 0.05)
  2. **; Statistically significant difference was found between placebo and MSG group (P < 0.01)