Is MSG Gluten-Free? A Comprehensive Guide for People with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivities


If you’re someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, you know how important it is to be mindful of the ingredients in your food. One ingredient that has been a source of confusion and controversy is MSG, or monosodium glutamate. This food additive is commonly used to enhance flavor in processed foods, but it’s not always clear whether or not it contains gluten.

In this article, we’ll explore the gluten content of MSG and provide a comprehensive guide for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. We’ll cover the production and labeling of MSG, the debate over its potential to cause symptoms in sensitive individuals, the best gluten-free MSG products on the market, and practical advice for cooking with MSG while staying mindful of any potential health concerns.

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Gluten Content in MSG

MSG is a food additive that is commonly derived from certain gluten-containing grains, such as wheat and barley. The glutamate in MSG is usually produced through the fermentation of these grains, although it can also be produced through the fermentation of sugar beets, sugar cane, or corn. This means that MSG can potentially contain gluten if it is derived from gluten-containing grains.

To address this issue, the FDA has established regulations for labeling foods as “gluten-free.” Foods that are labeled as such must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This applies to all packaged foods sold in the United States, including those that contain MSG.

To identify gluten-free MSG products, check the ingredient label for any indication of gluten. If a product is labeled as “gluten-free,” you can be confident that it meets the FDA’s standards. However, some products that contain gluten may not be labeled as such, so it’s important to read the ingredient list carefully. If you’re unsure, you can contact the manufacturer or use a gluten-free food database or app to check the product’s status.

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, it’s important to be cautious when consuming MSG or any other food additive. This means reading labels carefully and avoiding products that contain gluten if you’re not sure of their status.

The Debate Over MSG and Gluten

Despite the FDA’s regulations on gluten labeling, there is still some controversy over whether MSG can cause symptoms in people with gluten sensitivities. Some people report experiencing symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues, and fatigue after consuming foods that contain MSG, while others do not seem to be affected.

Some researchers have suggested that the glutamate in MSG can cause symptoms similar to those caused by gluten, particularly in people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. However, the scientific evidence for this claim is mixed, and there is not yet a clear answer to the question of whether MSG can cause gluten-like symptoms in sensitive individuals.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that you suspect may be related to MSG or gluten, it’s important to talk to a medical professional. They can help you determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and provide guidance on how to manage them.

Top Gluten-Free MSG Products

If you’re looking for gluten-free MSG products, there are several options available. Some popular choices include:

  • Tamari soy sauce
  • Coconut aminos
  • Blue Dragon gluten-free oyster sauce
  • Trader Joe’s umami seasoning blend

When choosing these products, be sure to check the ingredient list carefully for any indication of gluten. You can also look for products that are labeled as “gluten-free” to ensure their safety.

MSG is commonly used in Asian cuisine, where it is added to sauces, soups, and marinades to enhance flavor. By using gluten-free MSG products in your cooking, you can enjoy the same savory flavor without the risk of consuming gluten.

Health Benefits and Risks of MSG and Gluten Consumption

The health effects of consuming MSG and gluten are a subject of ongoing research and debate. Some studies suggest that MSG may have benefits for digestive health and could even help to reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. However, other studies have linked high MSG intake to negative effects on neurological function and overall health.

Similarly, the effects of gluten consumption on health are complex and can vary from person to person. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, consuming gluten can cause damage to the small intestine and lead to a range of unpleasant symptoms. However, for people without these conditions, gluten is generally considered safe to consume.

If you’re concerned about the health effects of consuming MSG or gluten, talk to a medical professional. They can help you determine the best dietary choices for your individual health needs.

How to Cook with Gluten-Free MSG

MSG can be a valuable ingredient in gluten-free cooking, helping to enhance the flavor of soups, stews, and other dishes. When cooking with MSG, it’s important to keep in mind that it should be used in moderation to avoid overloading on sodium and other potentially harmful ingredients.

To incorporate gluten-free MSG into your cooking, start by experimenting with small amounts in your favorite recipes. You can also try using pre-made sauces and seasoning blends that contain gluten-free MSG to add flavor to your meals.

Here’s a simple recipe that uses gluten-free soy sauce and MSG to create a flavorful marinade:

Gluten-Free Teriyaki Marinade

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp gluten-free MSG
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Use to marinate chicken, tofu, or vegetables for at least 30 minutes before grilling or baking.


If you’re someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, navigating the world of food additives can be daunting. By understanding the gluten content of MSG and using gluten-free products, you can continue to enjoy delicious meals without compromising your health.

Remember to read labels carefully, talk to a medical professional if you’re experiencing symptoms, and experiment with gluten-free MSG products in your cooking. With a little knowledge and creativity, you can create flavorful meals that are both safe and delicious.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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