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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Nov;36(9):895-903.

Monosodium glutamate stimulates secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 and reduces postprandial glucose after a lipid-containing meal.

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Department of Medicine and Molecular Science, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Japan.



Monosodium l-glutamate (MSG) is known to influence the endocrine system and gastrointestinal (GI) motility. The mechanism of postprandial glycemic control by food in the GI tract is mostly unknown and of great interest.


To investigate the effect of MSG on glucose homeostasis, incretin secretion and gastric emptying in humans after a lipid-containing meal.


Thirteen healthy male volunteers (mean age, 25.5 years) and with no Helicobcter pylori infection were enrolled. A 400 mL (520 kcal) liquid meal with MSG (2 g, 0.5% wt:vol) or NaCl (control) was ingested in a single-blind placebo-controlled cross-over study. Blood glucose, serum insulin, plasma glucagon, plasma glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide were measured. Gastric emptying was monitored by a 13C acetate breath test. Postprandial symptoms were assessed on a visual analogue scale.


The 30-min postprandial glucose concentration was significantly reduced by adding MSG to the test meal. The area under the glucose concentration vs. time curve (0-60 min) was also significantly reduced by adding MSG (40.6 ± 3.51 mg·1 hr/dL with MSG vs. 49.2 ± 3.86 mg·1 hr/dL with NaCl, P = 0.047), whereas, the 30-min postprandial plasma GLP-1 level was significantly increased (58.1 ± 15.8 pmol/L with MSG vs. 13.4 ± 15.8 pmol/L with NaCl, P = 0.035). MSG did not affect the half gastric emptying time or postprandial symptoms.


Monosodium l-glutamate improved early postprandial glycaemia after a lipid-containing liquid meal. This effect was not associated with a change in gastric emptying, but was possibly related to stimulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion.

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