What Is E621? (Ve-tsin / MSG / Yeast extract) + 6 Side effects21 min estimated reading time

msg as flavor enhancer

What Is E621? (Ve-tsin / MSG / Yeast extract) + 6 Side effects


E621 would have dangerous side effects and many people indicate that they do not feel comfortable with it.

Opinions about this flavor enhancer are strong. There are authorities that say that E621 is 100% safe while some scientists see it as a serious threat to public health.

What should you do as a consumer? Who and what should you believe? I was looking for what it is like with this flavor enhancer and like to share my conclusions here.

What you will learn in this article:

  • What is E621?
  • What the E621 are hiding names
  • Where E621 is
  • How to prevent your E621 from entering
  • What E numbers are
  • What is the ESFA and why it is controversial
  • What the side effects of E621 are

What is E621?

E621, also known as ve-tsin, MSG or yeast extract, is a controversial seasoning that has been linked to asthma, headaches, brain damage and appetite-inducing effects, but has been approved by the controversial EFSA (European Food Safety Products with Ve-tsin MSG in itAuthority).

E621 is added to many savory foods. It gives the food an umami taste.

Umami is next to sweet, salty, sour and bitter one of the five basic flavors and is also called the fifth taste.

The word umami comes from the Japanese where it means ‘glory’ and ‘savory’.

MSG strengthens the umami taste of food. Umami provides an increase in saliva secretion and strengthens salty and sweet flavors.

BabiPangang popular dish in Chinese restaurantMSG is frequently added to foods. It is the most used flavor enhancer in the world.

E621 is better known in Asia as ve-tsin where it is used in many dishes.

For example, a lot of Ve-tsin is also used by Chinese restaurants to flavor the food.

Traditionally, no ve-tsin are used in western cooking, but it is used by the food industry to flavor food.

For the food industry, it is an inexpensive way to get a taste of food just as much as salt is often added to food to add flavor.

Proponents of E621 screens with the advantage that less salt is needed to flavor the food by adding E621 to it.

In practice, however, you often see that industrially manufactured food contains both E621 and large quantities of salt and sugars.

With E621, the taste of food can be strengthened to a certain extent. It then has no effect to add extra E621.

msg powderE621 is the E-number for monosodium glutamate which comes from the bond between glutamic acid and sodium (Na) and it is a salt.

If you buy ve-tsin it looks like white granulated sugar.

Glutamic acid is an amino acid and is one of the most common amino acids in nature.

It is a non-essential amino acid which means that your body can make it yourself.

Glutamic acid is naturally present in almost all of our food. However, it is not the same as E621, more on that later.

E621 is made by fermenting carbohydrates. Bacteria in a liquid form of sugars, starch or molasses synthesize glutamic acid and separate it.

This glutamic acid is then converted into monosodium glutamate (E621 / MSG) after which it can be used as a flavor enhancer.

What are the E621 hiding names?

Because a large group of consumers has become aware of the negative effects on the health of many E-numbers manufacturers use names for E621 on their packaging.

E621 is then incorporated in the product but is then named with a different name on the ingredient list.

Manufacturers are not obliged to mention substances with their E number if a substance has an E number.

This is actually a big gap in the E-numbers system.

E621 is then incorporated in the product but is then named with a different name on the ingredient list.

Manufacturers are not obliged to mention substances with their E number if a substance has an E number.

This is actually a big gap in the E-numbers system.

Now that consumers are accustomed to E-numbers and have gained knowledge about what good and bad E-numbers are, manufacturers switch over to the use of hiding names for E-numbers.

They have this option because the law does not require them to include the additives with their E-numbers.

As long as they mention all the ingredients, with what name they do this does not matter. Sad but true.

You have the same thing with mentioning added sugars. For added sugars, manufacturers use more than 60 sugar names.

As a health-conscious consumer, you must meanwhile be a walking encyclopedia to remember all the hiding names for junk that they eat.


Hide names for E621 are:

  • Ve-tsin
  • Vetsin
  • Monosodium glutamate (MNG)
  • Sodium glutamate
  • Monosodium L-glutamate
  • Monohydrate glutamic acid
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Yeast extract (remember this, this name is often used)
  • Added yeast
  • Monosodium L-glutamate
  • Sodium glutamate
  • L-glutamic acid
  • Sodium salt (1: 1)
  • L-glutamic acid monosodium salt monohydrate

MaltodextrinOn the internet, longer lists are circulating with so-called E621 names, but I can tell you that these lists are not correct.

There are sometimes hidden names or there are substances between which there is no name for E621 at all.

For example, it is written on many sites that maltodextrin is a pseudonym for E621 while this is really a sugar hidden name.

Maltodextrin is used by athletes as a dietary supplement because these sugars are absorbed quickly by the blood.

Also, gelatin would be a pseudonym for E621 while it is a binder. Gelatine is often made from offal which vegetarians and vegans have been thinking about.

If it is indicated on a packaging that flavor enhancers have been used, this does not necessarily mean that E621 has been used.

Other flavor enhancers you can find on the ingredient lists are:

  • Glutamic acid (E620)
  • Potassium glutamate (E622)
  • Calcium glutamate (E623)
  • Ammonium glutamate (E624)
  • Magnesium glutamate (E625)
  • Guanylic acid (E626)
  • Sodium guanylate (E627)
  • Potassium guanylate (E628)
  • Calcium guanylate (E629)
  • Inosinic acid (E630)
  • Sodium inosinate (E631)
  • Potassiuminosinate (E632)
  • Calciuminosinate (E633)
  • Calcium ribonucleotides (E634)
  • Sodium ribonucleotides (E635)
  • Maltol (636)
  • Ethylmaltol (637)

These flavor enhancers are not all equally harmful to health.

E621 is the most notorious flavor enhancer. Of these, the health effects are best studied and it is a flavor enhancer that can have a major impact on health because it is processed in so many foods.

Where E621 is in?


MSG is mainly added to savory foods. Even if you put together a list of all the products and brands in which yeast extract is processed, it would quickly become thousands of lines.

I, therefore, limit myself to the product categories where you have to be alert to the use of E621 as a flavor enhancer:

  • Potato chips
  • Ready-made soup
  • Sausage
  • Processed meat products
  • Deep-fry snacks such as croquettes, spring rolls
  • Ready-made meals
  • Instant noodles
  • Sauces
  • Dressings
  • Nachos
  • Tacos
  • Asian spice mixes
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Some vegetarian meat substitutes
  • Maggi
  • Pizza
  • Rice waffles
  • Herbal mixtures

indonesian-dish-ve-stinIn addition, ve-tsin is used extensively in Asian restaurants, especially in Chinese restaurants.

If you go to the Chinese restaurant to eat then you know for sure that generous amounts of ve-tsin are used.

Ve-tsin is also used to a lesser extent in many Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. For some dishes, some Japanese restaurants also use ve-tsin.

This does not mean that no use is made of ve-tsin in other kitchens.

I can imagine that, for example, ribs also using monosodium glutamate.(Ve-tsin)


Do you really want to go safely then you will, when you eat in a restaurant, you have to inquire about the use of ve-tsin before you order a dish.

How do you prevent E621 ingest with your food?

To prevent your E621 from entering you will have to read every label of anything that has a bit of a savory taste.

The advantage of E621 free food is that it is generally already unhealthy food where it is processed. It is used in processed food which you can actually leave already better.

unprocessed foodsDo you want to eat healthily? Then you do this largely automatically by eating E621 free.

If you prepare your own dishes using fresh and unprocessed food, you can be sure that you will not get a mess. And it is even better.

If you would like to eat chips, you can opt for natural chips. As far as I know, these are always free of E621.

As soon as chips have a taste, almost always E621 is present and often also sugar or a form of sugar.

If you want to make Indonesian dishes look for your health food stores. They often have a range with spice mixes that are free of flavor enhancers or other junk (also always check the ingredients in health food shops).

If you want to buy a sauce in the normal supermarket that is free of yeast extract, you can search for a long time.

You can look better in health food stores or organic shops for your sauces, there you will find plenty of sauces without added flavor enhancers or other E-numbers.

Furthermore, it is a matter of reading the labels carefully and thinking of pseudonyms such as yeast extract.

Only natural flavors

In yeast extract is E621 and many manufacturers claim products with a yeast extract that contains these ‘only natural flavorings’. Because that’s allowed.

Or they use texts such as ‘without added flavor enhancers’.

If you read something on the front of the package in the manner of ‘without added flavor enhancers’ then you may be inclined to read the ingredients no longer in the assumption that they are all right.

It is true that yeast extract is obtained naturally (by fermentation). However, this does not alter the fact that yeast extract contains high concentrations of monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is simply E621 for which many people are sensitive. If you ask me, it is pure deception.

What are E numbers?

A substance that has not been found to be harmful to human consumption is assigned an E number within the European E-numbersUnion.

Substances that receive E numbers are substances that are added to foods to improve certain properties. Think of flavor enhancers, dyes and preservatives.

Manufacturers are not obliged to mention the used E numbers on the label, they may also suffice to mention the name of the substance such as yeast extract instead of E621.

E numbers are officially not harmful to health. The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) guarantees that e-numbers can be used safely.

I believe that an E number only slightly to indicate that you do not fall down on the ground dead if you eat it. With the achievement of optimal health, most E-numbers have nothing to do at all.

I believe that we as consumers are the guinea pigs of the food industry with all poorly substantiated synthetic additives.

E numbers are therefore not added to foods to make them healthier or add nutritional value but for commercial gain.

They make foods look more attractive by adding colorants, they make it taste better (so that you eat more and buy more what they containoften) by adding flavor enhancers and extending shelf life by adding preservatives to it. add.

The food industry likes to talk about E-numbers as a way to improve food. That sounds like something good right? Who would not want better products?

And the good thing is that the E-numbers have been approved by EFSA.

If you appeal to a manufacturer for the use of E621, for example, they may hide behind the fact that this is an approved substance and that they, therefore, comply with the rules and legal provisions and blah blah blah blaat.

There are E-numbers where there is no doubt that they are 100% safe, but there is still a lot of discussion between scientists and researchers about a large number of E-numbers. Certain E numbers such as E621 are even harmful to health according to a group of independent scientists.

Nevertheless, more than half of the EFSA’s panel members have links with the industry and they often look at the studies that the industry itself provides instead of independent investigations.

Already in 1991, we got it in the news;

“MSG on 60mintues (1991)”



pigment, dyesAn E number is not necessarily unhealthy. So you have the E-number E300 which is ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and E100 is curcumin (turmeric extract).

Notorious E numbers are the azo dyes. These are the E numbers E102, E110, E122, E123, E124, E129, E151, E155 and E180.

In a study by the University of Southampton, it emerged that these dyes can cause hyperactivity in children (source).

According to the EFSA, however, this is so in rare cases that is why these dyes are still allowed.


Why is the ESFA so controversial?

The European Food Safer Authority determines whether an additive (E number) may be used within the EU. They have so much power.

As soon as an E-number is allowed, manufacturers have free play to add this E-number to their products.

You will understand that the food industry will at least try to influence the decisions taken by the ESFA. Lobby they call it with a nice word.


Once an additive has been approved, they have the legal basis to ‘improve’ their products with their E numbers. The goal here is always more economic gain and never your health.

Since the EFSA has the health of 743 million Europeans, you would expect this organization to operate 100% autonomously and not be influenced by manufacturers in any way.

meat inspectionFood manufacturers which are generally profitable and do not want to improve your health.

Now the independence of the EFSA is under fire.

Research from the Corporate Europe Observatory showed that more than half of the EFSA experts maintain links with the manufacturers they have to assess.

And with tires, we mean real ties as the payrolls are with large food manufacturers besides the function they hold within the EFSA.

Typical case of the butcher who approves his own meat.

The EFSA also uses studies carried out by manufacturers in order to be able to make an assessment of an additive.

You will understand that if a manufacturer has an additive researched by scientists that this research could be colored. After all, the manufacturer pays the researchers and could only direct the research results with the question. Not really objective.

esfa-approvedAnother point of criticism is that EFSA does not look at any interaction between different E-numbers used in foodstuffs. They only look at the functioning of one self-standing E-number.

They also do not look at the health effects in the long term. And they also do not adjust the maximum dose if a certain E-number is used in more and more foods.

Another striking point of criticism is that food authorities do not always agree with each other.

For example, the colorant E131 (synthetic blue) is permitted in Europe while the US food authority has labeled this substance as unsafe.

The fact that EFSA is controversial does not mean that they only make bad decisions.

Zij doen ook veel nuttige dingen welke voor journalisten en andere wetenschappers steeds beter gevolgd kunnen worden. Dit omdat de EFSA de laatste jaren transparanter geworden is over hoe ze tot hun conclusies komen.

Did you know that research shows that 1 in 3 just gains from a diet instead of losing weight? (source)

Metabolic cooking

Discover how you lose several kilos per week with tasty and easy to make slimming recipes!


The Chinese restaurant syndrome

Where, for example, an individual does not suffer from half a gram of E621 per day, this person does get complaints if more than 3 grams per day is eaten.

Complaints which people can get by eating (a lot of) MSG:

  • Dizzy
  • Fainting
  • A headache
  • A migraine
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Bloated feeling
  • Heartburn
  • Palpitations
  • Painful or pressure on the chest
  • A rushed feeling
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • muscle strain
  • Tingling in arms, neck and back
  • Swollen lips
  • In asthma patients, breathing difficulties
  • Numbness in the neck which can radiate to the arms and back
  • A burning sensation in the neck, on the arms or on the chest

MSG in your foodThese are all complaints that some people get when they have eaten (too much) ve-tsin.

Because these complaints occur with some after eating Chinese food (in which a lot of beef is processed) these complaints are also called the Chinese restaurant syndrome.

It has never been scientifically proven that these complaints, which some experience when they have eaten Chinese dishes, are actually caused by ve-tsin (source).

People who suffer from such complaints after eating (of a certain amount) MSG have MSG intolerance.

MSG intoleranceThe symptoms may resemble those of an allergy where a large release of histamine can occur.

The lady in the photo on the left is suffering from allergic reactions after eating MSG.

An MSG intolerance may sound harmless or affected, but an MSG intolerance can be dangerous because of palpitations and swelling in the throat.

MSG intolerance is something that usually only occurs at more than 3 grams MSG (source). A portion of food in which MSG is processed is 0.5 grams on average.

Determine whether you suffer from MSG intolerance by checking what you have eaten in the past 2 hours if you get the chestpainabove symptoms. There is as yet no official diagnosis to determine MSG intolerance.

Treatment of the symptoms by a doctor is only necessary when it comes to palpitations, swelling in the throat or lips and pain in the chest.

In other cases, the symptoms will turn over again if you stop eating food that contains MSG.

To avoid getting complaints again you will have to avoid MSG or determine how much MSG you can tolerate.

Maybe you only get Chinese food because there is a lot of beef in it and you do not suffer from complaints when eating a few pieces of sausage. This will be different for everyone and you will have to experience experimentally.

What are the dangers of E621?

Most manufacturers in the food industry compete on taste and price without taking too much account of the consequences franken-food-for the health of the consumer.

Food manufacturers hide behind the fact that E numbers are approved substances.

E621 may be an approved E-number, but this does not detract from the fact that the use of E621 can have adverse effects on health and side effects.

Below I will discuss what emerged in scientific research about the consumption of E621.


Side effect 1: may affect how much you eat

It is not entirely certain whether you will eat more or less by MSG in your food.

There are studies that suggest that you will start eating less if MSG is included (source). Another study shows that there is no effect of overeating (source).

a lot of meat-eatingThis would be because MSG would induce the feeling of satiety because of the umami taste. This while umami would reinforce the appetite for food (source).

This, in turn, produces hormones that regulate the hunger feeling (source).

In this study with protein-rich food, the participants turned out to eat more when MSG was used in the food.

The only thing we can conclude with certainty is that MSG does something with how much you eat. You can eat less or more.

Side effect 2: E621 can provoke an asthma attack

asthma man with inhalerE621 can provoke an attack in people with asthma. This is when consuming larger amounts of MSG (source).

However, E621 cannot be reliably triggered by asthma attacks because no significant association was found in other studies (source, source).

If you have asthma then it is certainly good to check what you have eaten in the run-up to an attack. This way you can determine whether it can provoke an attack with you.


Side effect 3: MSG increases blood pressure

If MSG is consumed in large quantities, the blood pressure will increase significantly (source).

Side effect 4: can lead to a headache

People who eat a lot of MSG are more likely to suffer from headaches (source).

In people who regularly suffer from a migraine, a high dose of MSG can trigger a migraine attack earlier (source).

Side effect 5: can cause nausea

Eating a lot of MSG-rich food often causes nausea (source).

Side effect 6: may contribute to depression

depressedMSG can disrupt the serotonin release and may, therefore, cause depression.

The research that MSG disrupts serotonin release has been done on rats that MSG also received injected (source).

Whether or not MSG disrupts serotonin release in humans during normal consumption has not been investigated.


Other side effects or dangers

There are dangers reported about E621 which have never been scientifically confirmed. For example, brain damage was Alzheimer-msgfound in rats after eating extremely high doses of MSG. MSG was also injected directly into the brain in rats, which caused the brain damage.

In humans, however, it has not been shown that MSG reaches the brain after normal consumption. It could not pass the blood-brain barrier.

In children this is the case, for this reason, E621 is no longer used in baby milk.

MSG would also cause Alzheimer’s because it is neurotoxic. For this claim, I can not find any scientific research that substantiates this statement.

The source of this assumption comes from the book ‘Excitotoxins: the taste that kills’ from 1994 by Dr. R. Blaylock.

A link between the use of MSG and the development of overweight (source) was demonstrated in a large and long-term fat-despite-sportsstudy among Chinese people. The people who ate most MSG were most often confronted with obesity.

Yet there are other studies that show no connection  (source). A more reliable intervention study finds no effect of MSG on weight gain (source).

Overweight is bad for health. It increases the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.



Confusion about glutamic acid

You have different forms of glutamate. These are:

  • Glutamic acid
  • Glutamate (L-glutamate)
  • Monosodium glutamate (E621 / MSG)

Glutamic acid

Glutamic acidGlutamic acid is an amino acid and is one of the 22 building blocks of proteins that our body uses.

Glutamic acid is tasteless and is not used as a flavor enhancer. It does occur in our diet.



GlutamateGlutamate is a form of glutamic acid that can bind with other substances such as sodium, potassium or calcium.

Glutamate is naturally in protein-rich products and is found in, for example, meat, cheese and milk.


Monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate (MSG / E621) is formed when glutamate binds with sodium. Only after glutamate is bound with Monosodium glutamateanother mineral can it be used as a flavor enhancer.

If glutamate binds with potassium, for example, you get potassium glutamate which is known as a flavor enhancer as E622.

MSG is chemically a substance other than glutamic acid and glutamate. See images. The effect on the body is therefore different.

Strangely enough, some assertions about MSG make pretend that glutamic acid, glutamate and monosodium glutamate are the same substances.

Some say that MSG is not harmful to you because it is an amino acid that occurs naturally in your diet and your body. It is assumed that glutamic acid is the same as MSG, which is not the case.

Some misconceptions about E621 which I encountered on the internet:

  • Tomatoes also contain E621 because you are not sick of it? You do not get sick of tomatoes, because they contain glutamate and not E621.
  • MSG is also in foods such as meat and milk. So a little-added MSG will also not hurt. In such cases, the innocent glutamate is also confused with MSG.
  • Fortunately, there are also many people who feel on the basis of intuition that a naturally occurring protein can simply be consumed. MSG is different from the amino acid glutamic acid which is indeed a common protein and can be consumed.


Studies show that most people only get symptoms by eating large amounts of MSG (more than 3 grams per day).

To MSG or not to MSGNow everybody is different. One person can eat a lot of MSG-rich food without any problems without ever being bothered by anything. The other person gets a severe migraine or palpitations after eating 1 food in which MSG is processed.

If you notice complaints after eating MSG, avoid using MSG and ignore the claims of health organizations that MSG is safe.

Always listen to your own body. If your body protests when eating certain foods, delete them from your eating routines and find alternatives.

We also did not eat synthetic additives as primordial humans. For that reason alone you may wonder if many E-numbers are not harmful to your body.

In addition, the interactions between different synthetic additions have never been investigated. As far as I am concerned, there is also a reason to be hesitant with suspicious E numbers and to stay as close to nature as possible by eating unprocessed food.

If it does not succeed to lose weight then I would definitely recommend you to put a number of foods you eat in which E621 is.

Research has shown that people who are physically active and do not overeat can still get through a lot of E621 in their diet. Scraping E621 from your diet may be enough to help the process of losing weight.

Do you have bad experiences with E621 yourself? Or do you have any questions about E621?


Did you know that research shows that 1 in 3 just gains from a diet instead of losing weight? (source)

Metabolic cooking

Discover how you lose several kilos per week with tasty and easy to make slimming recipes!

Important: Leave your reaction and any additions below.

If you like this blog, share it with your friends, customers, colleagues – Tommy


What do you think of this post?
  • Sucks (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Awesome (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *