Chinese restaurant syndrome is a medically recognized syndrome typified by tingling and weakness around the face, temple, upper back, neck, and arms, accompanied by flushing of the skin and warmth. In some people, sensations of heart palpitations, intense thirst, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting may occur.
Chinese restaurant syndrome occurs because of a reaction to monosodium glutamate, a food additive used to enhance the flavor of foods and stabilize foods. Approximately 500 million pounds of monosodium glutamate are added each year to the world food supply.
Chinese restaurant syndrome may be caused by a vitamin B6 deficiency because the proper metabolism of monosodium glutamate requires vitamin B6. Dr. Folkers has demonstrated that in many cases vitamin B6 supplementation (50 milligrams daily) eliminates symptoms of Chinese restaurant syndrome in sensitive individuals.