Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Chinese Restaurant Syndrome Overview

What is Chinese restaurant syndrome?
A person with Chinese restaurant syndrome usually experiences a collection of symptoms after eating Chinese food. Although it is suspected that the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) is responsible for these symptoms, it has yet to be proven. Many experts believe that Chinese restaurant syndrome represents more of an intolerance to MSG than an allergic reaction.

What are the symptoms of Chinese restaurant syndrome?
The symptoms of Chinese restaurant syndrome include chest pain, headache, flushing, sweating, facial pressure, facial swelling, and numbness or burning in or around the mouth. Those who experience life-threatening symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or swelling of the throat should seek medical attention immediately.

How does the doctor treat Chinese restaurant syndrome?
Most symptoms of Chinese restaurant syndrome do not require treatment. A person normally recovers from a mild case of Chinese restaurant syndrome without treatment with no lasting problems. People who have had these symptoms in the past are advised to be very careful about what they eat.

Continue to Chinese Restaurant Syndrome Symptoms

Last Updated: Jul 6, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Chinese Restaurant Syndrome References
  1. Geha RS, Beiser A, Ren C, Patterson R, Greenberger PA, Grammer LC, Ditto AM, Harris KE, Shaughnessy MA, Yarnold PR, Corren J, Saxon A. Review of alleged reaction to monosodium glutamate and outcome of a multicenter double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Nutr. 2000 Apr;130(4S Suppl):1058S-62S. [10736382]
  2. Walker R, Lupien JR. The safety evaluation of monosodium glutamate. J Nutr. 2000 Apr;130(4S Suppl):1049S-52S. [10736380]
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