Since MSG means monosodium glutamate, a very “chemical” name, some people think that it’s an artificially-made food additive. But, monosodium glutamate or vetsin is in fact a naturally occurring compound in foods like cheese and tomatoes.
Come to think of it, the scientist who discovered it, Kikunae Ikeda, derived it from the main ingredient of dashi, the seaweed called Laminaria japonica. Dashi is a fermented soup base that gives meaty flavor to non-meaty foods, like vegetables and soy.
Ikeda derived MSG (salt of glutamic acid) from the evaporation and treatment of the seaweed broth, and later on mass-produced Ajinomoto, which most Filipinos call vetsin.
MSG can be synthetically created. However, please note that Ajinomoto, the brand many Filipinos use, formulate their vetsin using plant-based products, such as sugarcane.