Can dietary supplementation of monosodium glutamate improve the health of the elderly?
ABSTRACT Dietary free l-glutamate has been known for a century to improve taste and palatability. Recent evidence suggests that this effect is mediated through specific l-glutamate receptors located on the taste buds. However, l-glutamate receptors are also present elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach. Here, l-glutamate exerts physiologic actions beneficial to gut function by stimulating l-glutamate receptors linked to the gastric vagus nerve. In addition, dietary l-glutamate also appears to be an important energy substrate for gut tissue. Can such l-glutamate effects on taste and gut function be clinically useful? Elderly people often develop health problems related to their nutritional status that can be linked to insufficient energy and nutrient intake. A number of studies have examined the potential usefulness of l-glutamate, added to food in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG), in promoting better nutrition in the elderly and in patients with poor nutrition. Some positive effects have been observed. This article reviews the physiologic roles of dietary l-glutamate in relation to alimentation and examines the evidence linking the utility of MSG supplementation to the improvement of nutrition in elderly and hospitalized patients.
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ABSTRACT: The oral gustatory perception during a meal has very important physiological roles such as inducing appetite, smoothing mastication and swallowing, promoting digestion and each nutrient availability. One hundred years ago, L-glutamate was discovered as a new taste substance in Japan. Since then, Japanese taste physiologists have lead the research to establish L-glutamate as the prototype molecule for the fifth basic taste (umami taste), in addition to saltiness, sweetness, bitterness and sourness. Meanwhile, various lines of evidence demonstrated that taste perception is linked to taste stimuli-oral/pharyngeal reflexes. In this review, we focus on the efficacy of L-glutamate for human salivation and discuss the possible application of umami taste simulation to the nutritional management for the elderly due to amelioration of their quality of life (QOL).The Journal of Medical Investigation 01/2009; 56 Suppl:197-204. DOI:10.2152/jmi.56.197
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ABSTRACT: l-Glutamate confers cognitive discrimination for umami taste (delicious or savory) and dietary information to the brain through the activation of G protein-coupled receptors in specialized taste receptor cells of the tongue. The taste heterologous receptor T1R1 plus T1R3 is not sufficient to detect umami taste in mice. The lack of T1R3 diminished but did not abolish nerve and behavioral responses in null mice that still contained umami-sensitive taste receptor cells. The remnant umami responses in T1R3 knockout mice indicate that there are also T1R3 independent receptors. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGluR1), which is widely expressed throughout the central nervous system and regulates synaptic signaling, is another l-glutamate receptor candidate. It is found within taste buds, although the amount of l-glutamate in the perisynaptic region is in the order of micromol/L, whereas free dietary l-glutamate is in the mmol/L range. We reexamined the expression of one mGluR1 variant with a lower affinity for l-glutamate that is found in fungiform and circumvallate papillae. This taste mGluR1 receptor responds in vitro to the concentration of l-glutamate usually found in foodstuffs.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 08/2009; 90(3):743S-746S. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27462I
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ABSTRACT: l-Glutamate is known to elicit a unique taste, umami, that is distinct from the tastes of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Recent molecular studies have identified several candidate receptors for umami in taste cells, such as the heterodimer T1R1/T1R3 and brain-expressed and taste-expressed type 1 and 4 metabotropic glutamate receptors (brain-mGluR1, brain-mGluR4, taste-mGluR1, and taste-mGluR4). However, the relative contributions of these receptors to umami taste reception remain to be elucidated. We critically discuss data from recent studies in which mouse taste cell, nerve fiber, and behavioral responses to umami stimuli were measured to evaluate whether receptors other than T1R1/T1R3 are involved in umami responses. We particularly emphasized studies of umami responses in T1R3 knockout (KO) mice and studies of potential effects of mGluR antagonists on taste responses. The results of these studies indicate the existence of substantial residual responses to umami compounds in the T1R3-KO model and a significant reduction of umami responsiveness after administration of mGluR antagonists. These findings thus provide evidence of the involvement of mGluRs in addition to T1R1/T1R3 in umami detection in mice and suggest that umami responses, at least in mice, may be mediated by multiple receptors.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 08/2009; 90(3):747S-752S. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27462J