What it is and how to use it
Guanylate disodium is a common food additive. In fact, it is a salt extracted from guanylic acid (GMP) . In biochemical terms, GMP is a type of nucleotide, which is a component of important molecules such as DNA. Disodium guanylate is usually made from fermented tapioca starch, but it can also be extracted from yeast, mushrooms, and seaweed. In nature, it is easier to find in dried mushrooms .
Disodium guanylate is usually used in combination with monosodium glutamate (MSG) or other glutamate, but it can be used alone-although this is quite rare because of higher production costs.
Glutamate is a protein naturally found in foods such as tomatoes and cheese. They also exist in your brain, where they act as neurotransmitters.
Although table salt (sodium chloride) can bring out the taste of food, compounds such as glutamate can enhance your tongue's perception of salt. Disodium glutamate amplifies the flavor intensity of salt, so you need less salt to produce the same effect.
Disodium guanylate and monosodium glutamate together enhance the flavor of food. In fact, the human response to a mixture of nucleotides such as MSG and GMP is eight times stronger than MSG alone.
In other words, when monosodium glutamate and disodium guanylate are combined, you may feel that the food is more delicious.
In one study, the sodium content in fermented sausage was replaced by potassium chloride, resulting in unattractive qualities such as poor texture and flavor. However, after adding MSG and flavor-enhancing nucleotides, the study participants thought it was delicious.
Importantly, the combination of MSG and disodium guanylate adds umami to the dishes. Umami, which is considered the fifth basic taste, is a rich broth associated with beef, mushroom, yeast and salty or meat flavors .
In view of the fact that disodium guanylate itself does not produce umami taste , it needs to be used in conjunction with monosodium glutamate.
As a substitute for MSG
As a food additive, disodium guanylate can enhance the effect of monosodium glutamate.
Although not very common, disodium guanylate is sometimes used in combination with disodium inosinate to completely replace MSG.
Inosinate disodium is a flavor enhancer derived from inosinic acid (IMP). When mixed with disodium guanylate, these nucleotides are called "I+G" in the food industry.
However, I+G only produces umami when paired with MSG.
Disodium guanylate is added to various processed foods.
These include prepackaged cereals, sauces, canned soups, instant noodles, snack foods, pasta products, spice mixes, cured meats, energy drinks and canned vegetables.
However, this compound is also naturally found in foods such as fish and mushrooms. For example, dried shiitake mushrooms contain 150 mg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Disodium guanylate may be listed as "yeast extract" or "natural flavor" in the ingredient list.
Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) consider disodium glutamate to be safe .
However, due to lack of research, adequate intake (AI) or dosage guidelines have not yet been established.
Increase total sodium level
Guanylate disodium will increase the total sodium content of food , but it is usually added in small and different amounts .
MSG is equivalent to guanylate disodium but is easier to study. Each teaspoon (4 grams) contains about 500 milligrams of sodium-which is 22% of the daily sodium intake (DV).
Although processed foods may contain only a small amount of sodium, MSG and disodium guanylate may not be the only sources of sodium.
These additives are often used to replace salt, because too much salt can cause high blood pressure and heart disease.
However, a mouse study indicated that oxidative stress in the blood of people who consumed 4 grams of MSG per gram of body weight increased. Oxidative stress can cause inflammation, which can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease.
Nevertheless, human research is still needed.
Who might want to avoid it
People who are sensitive to MSG may wish to avoid disodium glutamate, as these additives are usually paired together.
Symptoms of MSG sensitivity include headaches, muscle tightness, and flushing.
MSG may appear on product labels under names such as glutamate, monosodium glutamate, and glutamate. Remember, it is widely regarded as safe unless consumed in excess.
People with gout or a history of uric acid kidney stones should also avoid guanylate disodium. This is because guanylic acid is usually metabolized to purine, which is a compound that can increase the level of uric acid in the body.