Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

There are still dietary questions in the therapy of fibromyalgia. I think that diet is neither problem nor solution. But let’s a closer look at what MSG is doing in fibromyalgia. Does it help or does it harm?
There are only a few studies addressing the issue.

Let’s start with a study (?) from 2001. J.D. Smith and colleagues published a paper (1): “Relief of fibromyalgia symptoms following discontinuation of dietary excitotoxins.” They studied four patients. “All had complete, or nearly complete, resolution of their symptoms within months after eliminating monosodium glutamate (MSG) or MSG plus aspartame from their diet.” The authors concluded: “The elimination of MSG … offers a benign treatment option that has the potential for dramatic results in a subset of patients.” Too bad, that the authors never came up with better powered study. Anyway, stopping the use of MSG powder and aspartame isn’t a bad idea.

The next study is from 2012. K.F. Holton and colleagues looked at (2): “The effect of dietary glutamate on fibromyalgia and irritable bowel symptoms.” The study was well designed and results showed significant effects. The authors concluded: “These findings suggest that dietary glutamate may be contributing to FM symptoms in some patients. …” That isn’t overstressing the result. But further research would have necessary, but nothing emerged so far.

The next study is of 2014. M.Y. Vellisca and J.I. Latorre published (3): “Monosodium glutamate and aspartame in perceived pain in fibromyalgia.” Let’s take the short cut to their conclusion: “The discontinuation of dietary MSG and aspartame did not improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.”

Are you perplexed? I am not! I think that diet is neither the problem nor the solution. Dietary excitotoxins like MSG or aspartame shouldn’t be part of our diet. But don’t expect too much in ameliorating fibromyalgia symptoms.

And here is more on diet and fibromyalgia -

Useful links provided by Klara Brosette:



  1. Also ich bin nicht perplex ob dieser Erkenntnisse.
    Ich habe schon lange keine chronischen Schmerzen mehr, wenn ich allerdings nicht konsequent auf Glutamat etc. verzichte und öfter als alle paar Wochen mal „normal“ esse oder die NEM , welche ich manchmal so gar nicht gerne
    schlucken mag,länger als 2-3 Tage nicht nehme, sind
    die FM-typischen Beschwerden mit voller Wucht zurück.
    mit freundlichen Grüßen
    Klara Brossette

    1. Herzlichen Dank für diese Zuschrift.
      Translation: "Well, I am not perplexed by these findings.
      I have not had any chronic pain for a long time, even if I do not consistently abstain from glutamate etc. and eat not more often than every few weeks "normally" or don't take the NEM, which I do not like too much
      to swallow, longer than 2-3 days, typical FM complaints return with full force."