Effect of monosodium glutammate ( umami substance ) on cognitive function in people with dementia

Abstract Background/objectives

This study assessed the effect of continuous ingestion of monosodium L-glutamate (MSG) on cognitive function and dietary score in dementia patients. Subjects/methods This was a single-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 159 subjects with dementia residing in a hospital or nursing home. We assigned the subjects to a group that ingested MSG thrice daily (0.9 g/dose) (MSG group; n = 79) or a group that ingested NaCl thrice daily (0.26 g/dose) (Control group; n = 80). This study consisted of a 12-week intake period, followed by a 4-week follow-up period without the ingestion of MSG or NaCl. We performed physical examination, cognitive symptom tests (the Touch Panel-type Dementia Assessment Scale (TDAS) and Gottfries–Bråne– Steen Scale (GBSS)), palatability and behaviour questionnaires, and blood tests before and after the intervention and after the follow-up period. Results There were no significant differences in the TDAS and GBSS total scores between the groups before and after the intervention. However, regarding the TDAS sub-items, “the accuracy of the order of a process” did not deteriorate in the MSG group compared with that observed in the Control group (p < 0.05). At the follow-up assessment, the TDAS total scores in the MSG group showed significant improvement compared with those reported in the Control group (p < 0.05). Furthermore, there was a correlation of changes from pre-intervention to post-intervention between the TDAS and enjoyment of the meal (r = −0.299, p = 0.049). Conclusions Our results suggest that continued ingestion of MSG has an effect on cognitive function. Furthermore, the patients with improved questionnaires about palatability survey showed greater improvement in cognitive function.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-018-0349-x

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