No matter what food we are talking about, seasoning and flavouring is essential to bring out the perfect taste. Several different ingredients are used to enhance a particular dish’s flavour profile, one being the MSG or Ajinomoto. But when pregnant, health takes precedence over taste, and you might be wondering if Ajinomoto during pregnancy is safe or not.
You will often have a change of palette during pregnancy and will crave more flavorful foods with saltiness, sourness, and other such taste tones. However, during the nine months, you will be under the strict guidance of a proper dietary and lifestyle routine. This is why you can’t take random foods, especially MSG, without understanding whether Ajinomoto during pregnancy is safe for you or not.
For this reason, we have evaluated here some of the essential pieces of information about this particular Japanese seasoning ingredient to understand whether it’s safe for a pregnant woman or not.
What Is Ajinomoto?
Ajinomoto is a Japanese ingredient found in the form of white, transparent crystals that almost look like table salt, with only coarser crystal size. This is a plant-based product as Ajinomoto is extracted from components like corn, sugarcane, tomato, and others.
Ajinomoto’s main component is monosodium glutamate and is considered one of the major sources of this compound. Monosodium glutamate is formed when glutamic acid is released after fermentation of glucose sugar under certain specified conditions.
The presence of MSG in Ajinomoto helps the ingredient impart umami taste in the foods where it is added. Umami is the fifth taste note that is mainly present in oriental and Chinese cuisines and is very close to being salty and tangy. This is one of the main reasons women crave Chinese food during pregnancy, where Ajinomoto enhances the umami flavour.
Is Ajinomoto Safe During Pregnancy?
Ajinomoto is one of the main ingredients in several Chinese and South-east Asian dishes. This ingredient acts as a substitute for sodium salt and brings out the umami flavour tones in the foods. This is why learning about the safety of having Ajinomoto during pregnancy is beneficial and also important for every pregnant woman.
Under normal conditions, MSG is considered to be safe as per the studies of FDA. However, since we are talking about pregnant women, the attributes judging the safety of an ingredient change. And hence, it can be said that consuming Ajinomoto during pregnancy is not a hundred per cent good for your health or your baby’s.
There is no clear and definitive study to explain how Ajinomoto consumption is harmful to a pregnant woman. Similarly, you wouldn’t find proper and domineering claims concerning the safety of Ajinomoto during pregnancy.
But yes, direct and indirect studies have revealed that a pregnant woman should limit Ajinomoto’s consumption as much as possible during the nine months. Not only this compound might show adverse effects on the mother’s body, but also it might harm the fetal cells and the placenta. Moreover, since your body will undergo several physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy, avoiding Ajinomoto’s intake is a good idea.
Possible Side Effects Of Ajinomoto During Pregnancy
Several studies on both animals and humans have shown that consuming Ajinomoto during pregnancy can have many potential side effects. Here, we have discussed the major risks that this MSG ingredient has for most pregnant women.
1. Side effect of Ajinomoto during pregnancy – heartburn
During the late second trimester and the entire third trimester, most pregnant women suffer from indigestion problems leading to bloating and heartburn. This is mainly due to the body’s inability to digest heavy carbs and proteins during late pregnancies, which is why doctors usually suggest a healthy diet chart that wouldn’t have much effect on the digestive system.
However, with Ajinomoto, the chances of suffering from heartburn will increase a lot. Ajinomoto or MSG is an artificial additive that might interfere with the gut’s normal functioning and cause indigestion. This will further result in increased bloating, gastric formation, and heartburn which isn’t safe during late pregnancies.
2. Placental tissue damage
According to most studies, it has been proving that eating foods rich in glutamate or glutamic acid is helpful for the fetus during late pregnancies. Glutamine is one of the major amino acids required by the mother’s body for the proper development of the fetal liver. Those pregnant women whose bodies are unable to produce sufficient glutamine quantity need to take supplements from outside.
However, MSG or monosodium glutamate has different characteristics than the normal glutamine amino acid. Studies have shown that an excessive amount of free MSG in the mother’s blood might lead to placental cell degeneration. This will disrupt the fetus’s nutrient supply since the placenta is the only direct connection the embryo has with the mother’s womb. For this reason, restrict having msg during pregnancy for as much as possible.
During pregnancy, one of the major health problems that women usually face is headaches due to migraines. Migraine can be triggered by stress, exposure to excess sunlight, UV radiations from mobiles, and even due to certain food. This is why doctors always recommend avoiding the triggering factors, as you wouldn’t be able to take the pain medicines when pregnant with a baby freely.
Studies show that eating Ajinomoto during pregnancy has caused sudden migraine pains in many women. Migraines are indeed painful, and it’s best to avoid this compound if you have a severe migraine history.
4. Ajinomoto during pregnancy can cause you to gain weight
During the second trimester, your baby bump will protrude out further, and since the fetus will grow further, your weight will increase. This is perfectly normal as most women gain baby fat during their pregnancies.
However, if you are not controlling your eating habits, the weight gain will be abnormal, further creating complications in your body. Ajinomoto increases the insulin secretion in the blood, due to which the blood glucose level in your blood will decrease. This will trigger the appetite system in your body, making you feel hungrier. Hence, you will feel the urge to eat more food, thereby resulting in obesity.
What To Do If You Ate Ajinomoto During Pregnancy?
If you mistakenly had Chinese food with Ajinomoto for once during pregnancy, there is absolutely nothing wrong, provided the food didn’t contain too much of this component.
However, if you have consumed it a lot in recent time, look for any sudden health problems like excess hunger, nausea, allergies, or headaches. If you are experiencing such conditions, it will be best to visit the doctor at the earliest.
For your safety and your baby’s, refrain yourself from having Ajinomoto in future. You might not experience any external physical effect. But, this compound can harm your fetus and the placenta. This is why, for optimal safety, not having Ajinomoto during pregnancy is a wise decision.
How much is Ajinomoto safe?
It will be best to avoid consuming Ajinomoto as much as possible during your pregnancy. If you are buying canned or packaged foods, check whether they are MSG-free or not. Usually, this marker is present on the label, thereby helping you to choose your food wisely.
If you are craving Chinese foods, you can choose other alternate seasonings which can bring out the Umami flavours instead of Ajinomoto. It would help if you always let the waiters know that you are allergic to this compound, and hence, your food shouldn’t have seasoned.
Lastly, you can consult with your doctor about the consumption limit of Ajinomoto. In case you have consumed this seasoning in the past, you can express your concern to your doctor.
Ajinomoto is one of the main seasoning ingredients in the entire world. It is used in Chinese cuisines and in several other foods where you would like to bring out the umami taste—under normal conditions, having MSG wouldn’t cause any health problems. But, if you are taking Ajinomoto during pregnancy, you might get exposed to the potential risks like migraines, overweight, and others. This is why you should refrain from consuming foods having a high quantity of this compound.