Circadian variations in plasma and erythrocyte concentrations of glutamate, glutamine, and alanine in men on a diet without and with added monosodium glutamate

Po Jung Tsai, Po Chao Huang

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Variations in plasma and erythrocyte concentrations of glutamate, glutamine, and alanine during the day were studied in 10 healthy men fed ordinary Taiwanese meals, first without and, 1 week later, with monosodium glutamate (MSG) added. MSG at a level of 15, 40, and 45 mg/kg (total, 100 mg/kg/d) was added, respectively, to the breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. Heparinized blood samples were collected over 24 hours with 1- to 3-hour intervals. In both trials, plasma glutamate concentrations increased significantly after lunch and dinner. Although the circadian variations of plasma glutamate were small (between 32 and 53 μmol/L), the levels nevertheless varied significantly as a function of the time of day in both trials. Considering that the dietary intake of glutamate was high when MSG was added, the low plasma glutamate concentration over 24 hours indicates that glutamate is actively metabolized. On the other hand, the concentrations of erythrocyte glutamate (507 to 631 μmol/L) and glutamine (427 to 613 μmol/L) did not show a significant postprandial increase or circadian variation. Nevertheless, the concentration of plasma glutamine (539 to 657 μmol/L) varied significantly as a function of time in both trials. The plasma concentration of alanine (274 to 494 μmol/L) increased significantly after each meal and decreased significantly from 2:00 to 5:00 AM in both trials. Both plasma and erythrocyte alanine concentrations varied significantly as a function of time. These results show that the substantial amount of MSG intake had no apparent effect on the circadian variation profiles of blood glutamate, glutamine, and alanine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1455-1460
Number of pages6
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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