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Jan 12, 2022
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Why food tastes disappear or changes after COVID-19 – new study

In their study, the scientists mentioned that the loss and changes in taste in patients with coronavirus were rarely assessed, since many experts associated this problem with impaired sense of smell, which plays a significant role in the perception of taste. Specifically, when food is chewed, odors are released that are picked up by sensory receptors in the back of the nose, a phenomenon called retronasal sense of smell.

To find out if patients with these disorders actually lost the basic ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter and salty tastes, scientists conducted a study involving 105 people with such complaints. For each participant, these symptoms persisted for more than three months after infection. All patients were tested for their sense of smell and taste, including Sniffin ‘Sticks and Taste Strips to determine baseline taste perception.

In half of the volunteers (58%), changes in taste were indeed associated with impaired sense of smell. However, 42% of the participants had confirmation of hypogeusia – a loss of basic taste. Scientists noted that this disorder may also be associated with natural aging, as with age, taste buds gradually lose the ability to distinguish between basic tastes.

After adjusting the data for advanced age, some of the volunteers found that 29% of hypogeusia was directly related to COVID-19. The mechanism of this phenomenon is still not fully understood, but scientists have suggested that the virus can damage taste buds and reduce saliva production – as you know, some patients complain of persistent dry mouth after an infection.

“This study shows that true taste disturbances are more common than we thought,” the scientists said. They noted that this problem should not be underestimated as it can seriously impair quality of life and lead to malnutrition in patients.


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