Cutting Out This One Ingredient From Diet May Reduce Chronic Pain, Suggests Study

A small pilot study conducted in Meru in Kenya, reinforces the link between consumption of monosodium glutamate and chronic pain.

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Cutting Out This One Ingredient From Diet May Reduce Chronic Pain, Suggests Study

Highlights

  1. Links between MSG and chronic pain have been established before.
  2. Study conducted with 30 participants in Kenya reinforced the link.
  3. Increasing water consumption may also lead to relief.
Scientists have found that the cure to chronic pain lies in the diet and making dietary adjustments may lead to a reduction in the symptoms. Although, the link between popular flavor enhancer called Mono sodium glutamate or MSG and chronic pain have been established by a number of a studies before, a small pilot study conducted in Meru in Kenya, reinforces the very same link, while also hinting that cutting the substance out from diets can lead to alleviation of chronic pain. The results of the study were published in the Journal Nutrition.

A lead author of the study, Kathreen Holton of American University found that the result observed in Kenya were consistent with those of the studies that she was running the United States. However, Holton also said that it was not known yet that what exposure is leading to this susceptibility to Monosodium glutamate. She pointed out that dietary changes leading to reduction in the amounts of MSG consumed with food, is one of the most effective and low cost measure to deal with chronic pain, especially in developing countries.

The major goal of the study conducted in Kenya was to see if dietary intervention was as effective in treating chronic pain as over-the-counter medication prescribed to lessen it. The effects of removing MSG completely from diet were tested by the researchers on some 30 participants in the country. MSG reduction was combined with an increase in water intake and tested against the usage of acetaminophen, which is the main treatment option available for chronic pain in Meru in eastern Kenya.

All the participants chosen were suffering from chronic pain for at least three months and in three quadrants of the body. The most common neurological symptoms observed in these participants included headaches or migraines, chronic fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, as well as sleep issues. Meru was targeted as the region to conduct the study after the researcher's had found that an estimated 60 per cent of the villagers suffered from chronic pain.

Researchers broke the participants into four groups and substituted monosodium glutamate seasoning for other spices and seasonings, containing no MSG. Moreover, those residents that reported low water intake were provided with drinking water and instructed to increase their intake to at least eight cups per day. The group that cut out MSG and consumed more water reported significant relief from symptoms of pain. This effect was similar to that of the pain relieving medication.

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