Internal Medicine

MSG symptom complex


MSG symptom complex or “Chinese restaurant syndrome (CRS)” is a set of symptoms that some people have after eating food with the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG).

  • MSG is commonly used in food prepared in Chinese restaurants.


MSG toxicity leads to different disorders | Niaz, K., Zaplatic, E., & Spoor, J. (2018). Extensive use of monosodium glutamate: A threat to public health? EXCLI Journal, 17, 273–278.

Clinical features

Sensitive individuals may become symptomatic within 20 minutes.

  • Headache
  • Giddiness
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urticaria


Angioedema (life-threatening)

  • May be delayed up to 8–16 h after the consumption of MSG and it may persist for 24 h

Further reading:


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