Consensus meeting: monosodium glutamate - an update

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar;61(3):304-13. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602526. Epub 2006 Sep 6.


Objective: Update of the Hohenheim consensus on monosodium glutamate from 1997: Summary and evaluation of recent knowledge with respect to physiology and safety of monosodium glutamate.

Design: Experts from a range of relevant disciplines received and considered a series of questions related to aspects of the topic.

Setting: University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.

Method: The experts met and discussed the questions and arrived at a consensus.

Conclusion: Total intake of glutamate from food in European countries is generally stable and ranged from 5 to 12 g/day (free: ca. 1 g, protein-bound: ca. 10 g, added as flavor: ca. 0.4 g). L-Glutamate (GLU) from all sources is mainly used as energy fuel in enterocytes. A maximum intake of 6.000 [corrected] mg/kg body weight is regarded as safe. The general use of glutamate salts (monosodium-L-glutamate and others) as food additive can, thus, be regarded as harmless for the whole population. Even in unphysiologically high doses GLU will not trespass into fetal circulation. Further research work should, however, be done concerning the effects of high doses of a bolus supply at presence of an impaired blood brain barrier function. In situations with decreased appetite (e.g., elderly persons) palatability can be improved by low dose use of monosodium-L-glutamate.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Appetite Regulation / drug effects
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents / administration & dosage
  • Flavoring Agents / adverse effects
  • Food Additives / administration & dosage*
  • Food Additives / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Sodium Glutamate / administration & dosage*
  • Sodium Glutamate / adverse effects*


  • Flavoring Agents
  • Food Additives
  • Sodium Glutamate