The most widespread amino acid in nature-glutamic acid has an important role in food. It is one of the molecules that defines the umami taste. This taste is pleasing to the majority of the population, as it is a taste of meat (in Japanese, the word "umami" means savoury). Because of this characteristic, a number of studies have been published in which scientists tried to solve some of the nutritional issues of modern society by using glutamate in foods. Sodium glutamate can be to some degree used as a sodium chloride substitute. This is nevertheless not fully possible, as the salt, in addition to the function of the flavor enhancer, defines some other important properties of the food that cannot be replaced with sodium glutamate. Sodium glutamate has a much better potential as a compound for helping to increase food intake of older people, by stimulating the gastrointestinal receptors through which signaling of protein digestion takes place. Considering that this is a non-essential amino acid, it is produced in sufficient quantities in the body. Endogenous glutamate is mainly involved in the degradation process of amino acids and the regulation of insulin secretion. In addition to participating in these processes, glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the central and enteric nervous system. There are still open questions about the possible harmful effects of glutamate on human health.