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Hidden MSG: Disodium Guanylate

Published on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 18:18

Disodium guanylate is a chemical additive appearing on the ingredient lists of thousands of processed foods in the U.S.   It is a flavor enhancer like monosodium glutamate which intensifies savory tastes.  It is a source of free glutamic acid (which is the main component of MSG).

Disodium Guanylate is a pricy ingredient and therefore, is most often used in combination with either monosodium glutamate or other ingredients which also contain free glutamic acid.  Disodium guanylate is the salt of a nucleotide, which actually occurs naturally in the body. When it is produced industrially as an additive, it is obtained from fish or seaweed or microbial fermentation. The Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to refer to disodium guanylate as, "natural flavor". But the substance obtained from a natural source is chemically engineered and highly refined to arrive at the final product.

If you look up Disodium Guanylate, you’ll find that most sources claim that it is a safe additive that has no documented side effects.  But if you are sensitive to MSG, you will also be sensitive to Disodium Guanylate – and any other ingredient containing free glutamic acid.  Sensitivities include responses like headaches and migraines, gastrointestinal difficulties, rapid heartbeat, anxiety attacks and allergic reactions including rashes and difficulty breathing.

While MSG is required by law to be listed on food labels, other ingredients that contain free glutamic acid are not.  Since food manufacturers are well aware that consumers want to avoid MSG, many are using other flavor enhancing ingredients to accomplish their requirements without having to specify the presence of free glutamic acid.

Disodium Guanylate is most often made from dried fish and seaweed.  The ingredient is not safe for infants and young children.     It can be found in virtually any food category.

Visit The Rak Foundation for Nutritional Awareness for more information on how we can change the way America eats!