PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A new study out of Japan is linking lower incidents of dementia among many Asian cultures to something many Americans are convinced is really bad for you. The study claims the consumption of MSG--monosodium glutamate--may be helping to fight off dementia.
The pros and cons of using MSG as a food flavor enhancer and the possible side effects have been much debated. Now, researchers at a university in Japan say their study shows the glutamate in MSG may also be enhancing your brain against dementia.
"It's a thought to be a neurostimulator but its dose related. The more you consume the more likely you are to get a migraine headache," Dr. Mike Cirigliano said.
But how much is too much when Dr. Mike says both the sodium and the glutamate are essential to our bodies?
"I would not take MSG to make your brain better in any way shape or form. If you do that and consume too much the high blood pressure and obesity will add to your early demise and you won't have to worry about your brain," Dr. Mike Cirigliano explained
Many restaurants, Asian food or otherwise advertise that they stopped using MSG long ago still.
"Not opposed to it." Mark Tropea, Executive Chef at Stir at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, says he's not alone.
"We don't specifically use it as a food additive, but it's present in things like cooked tomatoes , parmesan cheese," he said.
It's why he and restaurateur Derek Davis of Libertine believe those Japanese researchers may be on to something.
"It's concentrated in the flavors and makes you feel good when you eat them," Davis said. FOX 29's Joyce Evans asked, "Why don't you use it?" He replied, "Because I don't need to."
He means it when he says 'it's all in the sauce--naturally occurring.
Davis says traditional Asian cultures are not adding MSG from a can. Still, dr mike says, the study subjects' eating habits are way different from us.
'In Japanese or Chinese culture they don't eat a plate the size of Nebraska! That's an American thing. Everybody else eats small portions."