What is glutamate?

Glutamate  is a natural product made from plant protein. Meat, fish, vegetables and  milk  – i.e. foods containing protein – contain the  nutrient that is indispensable for many important life functions: It helps to build up and break down body cells, has a nerve-strengthening effect and supports brain function.

Glutamate is even part of breast milk. However, it is also produced in the human body, especially in the nerve cells of the brain. There it serves – as a so-called neurotransmitter – for the transmission of information.

The production of glutamate

90 years ago, glutamate was first isolated from seaweed in Asia.

In addition to the four traditional tastes sweet, sour, salty and bitter, there has since been another one called “umami”. The term “umami” (Japanese: “delicacy”) describes the taste of glutamate.

Glutamate as a flavor enhancer

By adding a small amount of glutamate, a wide variety of taste impressions can be intensified. Although it has hardly any taste of its own, it develops its full effect when added to food.

These advantages are used by the food industry, and so the flavor enhancer glutamate is a component of many everyday foods, such as instant soups, vegetable broth, chips or sausages.

Glutamat Allergy: The China-Restaurant Syndrom

The so-called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”, an allergic food reaction, is attributed to the excessive consumption of glutamate. The symptoms that appear about 15 to 60 minutes after consumption include

  • headache
  • sweats
  • tachycardia


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