In recent years, more than in the 30+ years of practicing natural health, individuals who seek my counsel are experiencing the frightening conditions of losing their sense of smell and taste. Not only is this devastating to their overall quality of life, but now science shows it can be a predictor of other serious health imbalances and diseases. I chose this topic for this blog because of the concern I have that so many are experiencing these symptoms and you need to be aware of how to identify deficiencies or imbalances that contribute to these disorders. In addition, early detection of metabolic disorders can be implemented before it becomes a dis-order with devastating consequences that may have been resolved by nutritional modifications and Wholistic detoxification.
Loss of smell and taste result from many conditions, among them nasal polyps or those that form in the sinus cavities, hormonal imbalances, serious health disorders/diseases especially those that include compromised immunity, and also a major cause is dental infections...
First, let’s find out how the sense of taste works in humans:
Our taste nerves are clustered within the “Gustatory” cells in the taste buds of the mouth and throat – they react to food or drink mixed with saliva. Many of the small bumps seen on the tongue are actually your taste buds – these surface cells send taste information to nearby nerve fibers, which in turn, send message to the brain…
The inability to perceive odors is clinically known as “anosmia” and a reduced ability to smell is known as “hyposomnia”.
How do the senses of taste and smell work together?
These two senses belong to our chemical sensing system called chemosensation. This complicated process of smell and taste begin when molecules released by the substances around us stimulate special nerve cells in the nose, mouth, and/or throat.
Now for Some Scientific Perspective…
Inside your nasal passages are two odor-detecting patches made up of about 6 million cells known as olfactory receptors. These allow you to detect thousands of different smells, and although other animals' senses of smell are far more acute (a dog has 220 million olfactory receptors, for comparison), a human's sense of smell is still remarkably sensitive.
For instance, humans can detect certain substances in air even when they're diluted to less than one part in several billion, according to the Social Issues Research Center's (SIRC) Smell Report.
Your sense of smell is intricately tied to your emotions, your ability to taste, and even sexual attraction… and it's also intricately tied to your health. Sense of smell is the major reason pure essential oils are so effective for our health and have been used medicinally in single fragrances and therapeutic combinations for centuries.
Research reports that your sense of smell may peak at age 8 and start to decline in sensitivity by the age of 15 – other studies suggest smell sensitivity begins to deteriorate from your early 20s, however, not all scientists agree. That being said, some healthy 80-year-olds who have been studied and interviewed have just as keen an ability to smell as much younger adult –suggesting that your sense of smell doesn't just degrade as a matter of course, but rather may be dependent on your overall physical and mental health that includes what you eat and what you’re exposed to environmentally.
New research, in fact, showed that smell is a powerful "canary in the coalmine" for predicting your future longevity, and if you lose yours, it's definitely a sign you should seek medical and nutritional consultation for extensive overall testing to identify unseen nutritional imbalances and diseases. I always recommend a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), interpreted by a certified htma practitioner, because it can provide you with the “invisible” metabolic blueprint that other testing methods cannot provide including blood and urine testing. It’s best to first perform this easy at-home test and have it interpreted along with recommended nutritional and detoxification protocols before extensive blood and urine, or other expensive testing is performed that usually does not identify the hidden metabolic imbalances.
NOTE: Researchers and scientists explain that the tip of the olfactory nerve, which contains the smell receptors, is the only part of the human nervous system that is continuously regenerated by stem cells.
The production of new smell cells declines with age, and this is associated with a gradual reduction in our ability to detect and discriminate odors. Loss of smell may indicate that the body is entering a state of disrepair, in other words, it is no longer capable of repairing itself.
The olfactory nerve is also the only part of the nervous system that is exposed to the open air. As such, it offers poisons and pathogens a quick route into the brain, and so losing smell could be an early warning of something serious that can ultimately cause death.
Before you learn about the various natural remedies that have been reported effective for loss of taste and smell, you should know a little about what can cause this problem because you can develop these conditions due to many underlying causes, the following are the most common:
- A common cause of losing one’s sense of taste and smell is aging, but not limited to aging. When you age, degeneration of nerve cells that control taste and smell buds occurs.
- Excessive smoking or long-term second-hand smoke exposure.
- Certain diseases of the nervous system and nutritional deficiencies can also cause you to lose your sense of taste and smell – another good reason to perform an annual hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) to identify nutrients out of balance and/or toxic metals. This “invisible” metabolic blueprint is easy to do at home, mail to the Institute for submission to the lab for analysis, and interpreted by a certified HTMA practitioner.
- Sinusitis, blocked nasal passages, fever, gum and tooth infections and upper or viral respiratory diseases are known conditions that cause loss of taste and smell.
- You can also lose your sense of taste and smell when you undergo radiation therapy.
The following are the 15 natural remedies known to be highly effective in treating loss of taste and smell:
- Castor Oil:
The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of this oil help in keeping your nasal passages clear. All you need to do is apply a drop of warm (not boiling or microwaved) castor oil in each nostril every morning and before you go to bed to gain quick results.
Your sense of smell and taste can be restored with garlic. It effectively helps in clearing nasal congestion and opening blocked nasal passages. All you need is to chop 2 or 3 cloves and boil them in a cup of water. Once boiled, let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Drink the mixture while it is warm. Do this 2 to 3 times daily to regain your sense of smell.
Ginger is another wonderful remedy for loss of taste and smell. It helps in activating your taste buds while stimulating your sense of taste. You can treat your problem by chewing small bits of raw ginger regularly and drinking ginger tea (made from fresh ginger, not teabags or processed) and avoid those tasty ginger candies that are loaded with sugar unless they are sweetened with Stevia or another natural calorie-free sweetener like monk fruit.
- Cayenne Pepper:
If you have lost your sense of taste and smell due to sinusitis, cayenne pepper is the solution. Capsaicin, its active compound, helps in reducing nasal congestion. Saliva production is also stimulated, and this in turn improves taste. A mixture of a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and honey taken a couple of times every day will help in loosening up mucus and stimulates secretion. Black pepper is also an excellent stimulator for taste buds and preferred for those with inflammation as cayenne is a nightshade that should be avoided with any inflammatory disorders. Since sinusitis is also a problem of inflammation, use caution with cayenne pepper and maybe only as a last resort.
- Steam Inhalation:
Inhaling steam can work wonders when your tasting and smelling powers are affected by nasal congestion. The warm and moist steam will help in clearing out blockages in the nasal passage and reducing inflammation. Add a few drops of organic eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil to boiling water and inhale the steam. Doing this 2 times a day helps immensely.
The citrus flavor and fragrance of lemons can help in restoring your sense of taste and smell. It is also rich in Vitamin C, which is essential to keep infections and diseases away as it boosts your body’s immunity. Mix the juice of one lemon and 2 teaspoons of honey in a glass of warm water and drink it twice a day. Eating a small piece of lemon (fresh or pickled) between meals can also help in stimulating your taste buds.
- Bentonite Clay:
You can use a special blend of herbs and bentonite clay to treat loss of taste and smell. Use the mixture in your bath water every day. This has been known to be highly effective in restoring the sense of taste and smell for some people. It is worth a try but don’t drink it as some websites suggest.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – My FIRST CHOICE:
Although apple cider vinegar has a taste that is sour and acidic; it is an excellent taste bud stimulator. It is also an excellent remedy for sinus infections. It’s ability to stimulate immunity is credited to its ability to alkalize the body – health-depleting bacteria CANNOT live and thrive in an alkaline environment. To restore your sense of taste and smell, drink half a glass of water with a mixture of one tablespoon of this vinegar (raw and unfiltered with the mother) and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda twice a day.
- Oil Pulling:
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice known to help in treating loss of smell and taste as it moistens your taste buds. It also helps in removing toxins from your mouth and body. You can use sesame oil, coconut oil or other edible oils for oil pulling. Take a tablespoon of your preferred oil (my preferred is coconut oil) and swish it around your mouth thoroughly for about 15 minutes. Rinse your mouth with warm water after spitting the oil out. NOTE: When spitting it out, do so into a trash can or plastic baggie, don’t spit into the sink as it will eventually cause plumbing problems. Do this daily in the morning before you eat anything.
- Carom Seeds:
Carom seeds have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which make it an excellent cleansing agent. It also eliminates infection, reduces swelling and clears/opens blocked pathways. Make a small sachet with a teaspoon of carom seeds tied in a piece of thin cloth. Heat the sachet and inhale the fumes. Do this 2 to 3 times every night before you go to bed.
Okay, before you think I’ve mis-spoken or mis-spelled the name of this seed, allow me to explain because it is not well-known in Western cultures.
Ajwain, ajowan Trachyspermum ammi, also known as Ajowan caraway, bishop's weed or carom, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae – originating in India and Pakistan. Both the leaves and the fruit of the plant are consumed by humans. These seeds belong to the same family as fennel, anise, dill, and caraway. It is consumed raw or in powdered form. Their taste is hot and pungent and they’re color is yellowish-brown to greyish green with a strong fragrance similar to Thyme.
Ayurvedic practice uses cinnamon as a natural treatment for loss of taste and smell. Its powerful flavor acts as a stimulator for the taste buds while its sweet aroma helps in enhancing your sense of smell. To use this remedy, take equal amounts of powdered cinnamon and honey and rub the mixture on your tongue. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and then rinse your mouth with warm water.
Zinc-deficiency is known to be a major cause of loss of taste and smell, as evidenced through hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) results. You should eat more foods that are rich in this mineral to treat your problem. Zinc supplements are also another option. Whole grains, dairy products, nuts, beans, oysters, etc. should be added to your daily diet. If you are planning to take a supplement, talk to your nutritionally-aware doctor or Wholistic rejuvenist before doing so.
Zinc, an essential trace mineral, is required to produce an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase (CA) VI, critical to taste and smell, which is why loss of sense of smell is one of the classic signs of chronic zinc deficiency. This might be yet another reason why a dwindling sense of smell is often linked to impending death, as zinc is important for a number of life-sustaining functions, including, but not limited to:
- Strong immunity – vital for T-cell growth and differentiation into the white blood cells that we need to ward-off disease;
- Process of Apoptosis to kill dangerous bacteria, virus and cancer cells;
- Apoptosis is from the Ancient Greek word meaning “falling off” and is a process of programmed cell death that occurs in multi-cellular organisms.
- How is apoptosis initiated?
Apoptosis can be initiated through one of two pathways. In the intrinsic pathway the cell kills itself because it senses cell stress, while in the extrinsic pathway the cell kills itself because of signals from other cells.
- Examples of Apoptosis…
Are present in cancer and leukemia. When apoptosis works overly well, it kills too many cells and inflicts grave tissue damage. This is the case in strokes and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's diseases. Apoptosis is also known as programmed cell death and cell suicide.
- Gene transcription;
- Protective functions of cell membranes;
- Important component of the enzymes involved in tissue remodeling and prevention of cancer;
- Maintenance of your mood, mental clarity, and restorative sleep;
- Prostate and intestinal health.
Zinc is a constituent of at least 3,000 different proteins in your body and a component of more than 200 different enzymes. In fact, zinc is involved in more enzymatic reactions in your body than any other mineral, which is why it often shows out-of-balance when a hair tissue mineral imbalance is present and, therefore, reflects the common symptoms of zinc deficiency.
Zinc increases your production of white blood cells and helps them fight infection more effectively. It also increases killer cells that combat cancer, helps your immune system release more antibodies, and supports wound healing.
Mild zinc deficiency is relatively common, especially in infants and children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, elderly, people with poor gastrointestinal absorption or bowel disease like Crohn's disease and leaky gut syndrome, and for those eating vegetarian or vegan diets. A number of factors contribute to the overall problem of zinc deficiency:
- Years of industrial farming practices, such as monocropping (planting large expanses of land with the same crop year after year) and tilling the soil, have left our soils deficient in natural minerals, like zinc.
- Certain drugs deplete your body of zinc, such as ACE inhibitors, thiazide diuretics, and acid-reducing drugs like Prilosec and Pepcid.
- Certain diets, such as vegetarian/vegan diets and high-grain diets, are low in bioavailable zinc and high in phytic acids, which impair zinc absorption.
If you are deficient in zinc, your body may become less able to repair genetic damage caused by oxidative stress. Having low levels of zinc has even been found to cause strands of DNA to break and studies have linked zinc deficiency to various types of cancer, infection, and autoimmune diseases.
Along with frequent infections, such as cold and flu, and a diminishing sense of smell, white spots on your fingernails can indicate you're not getting enough zinc. Other symptoms of zinc deficiency include…
- Poor Neurological Function
- Food & Environmental Allergies
- Thinning Hair/nails
- Leaky Gut
- Acne and or Skin Disorders
- Loss of Appetite (for no other medical reasons)
Recommended daily amount of zinc for adults is 11 milligrams for men and 8 milligrams for women. Children, pregnant or lactating women need about 3 mg. more but check with your natural health practitioner for individual supplementation recommendations. Good sources of natural zinc include meats, oysters, wild-caught fish, raw milk and cheese, beans and yogurt or kefir made from raw milk.
If you’re healthy and you eat a well-balanced diet, you will rarely need supplements to complete your body's zinc needs, and you should strive to get zinc from dietary sources. Taking too much zinc in supplement form can also be dangerous, as it can interfere with your body's ability to absorb other minerals, especially copper. If you decide to use a zinc supplement, chelated forms are better absorbed than inorganic forms, or zinc salts but it is best if you first perform a hair tissue mineral analysis to determine if and how much zinc is stored in your body tissues.
This herb is a wonderful natural remedy if you have lost your sense of taste and smell. All you need to do is add a tablespoon of fresh mint leaves to a cup of water. Cover the cup and let the leaves steep in the water for half an hour. Strain and then drink the mixture two times every day. NOTE: If you are taking Homeopathics, any herb in the mint genre will neutralize the health benefits of Homeopathics so avoid it.
- Curry Leaves:
Another remedy that you can try is curry leaves. All you need to do is take a handful of curry leaves that have been crushed. Add them to a glass of water and let it sit for half an hour or so. Once 30 minutes are up, strain the leaves and drink the mixture. Do this twice a day every day to restore your sense of taste and smell.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
As you know, drinking plenty of water is important for overall health. To treat loss of taste and smell, drink a glass of water every hour or so to keep your mouth hydrated – this will prevent dry mouth, which can cause you to lose your sense of taste and smell.
Summary: In most cases, you do not need expensive treatments to treat loss of taste and smell. With ingredients that you have right in your kitchen, you can use safe and natural remedies to treat the problem and regain your ability to enjoy different flavors and fragrances.
I have recommended for many years the use of a specific zinc supplement that I have had great clinical success in both improving and restoring sense of taste and smell but also in the immune-boosting benefits. It is a proprietary blend made for health professionals and contains both zinc arginate and zinc glycinate. This complex, in a tiny tablet, features zinc that is essential to so many aspects of human health, especially for immune support. It is formulated for enhanced absorption to address zinc repletion. In addition, it…
- Supports white blood cell production;
- Promotes healthy immune responses;
- Supports enzyme activity associated with energy metabolism and tissue synthesis;
- Is G.I. friendly;
- Designed for enhanced zinc absorption that utilizes proprietary, patented amino acids.
To order this proprietary complex, Wholistic ZINC Balance from the exclusive distributor of all products with my approved seal, contact the store at Natural Rejuvenation Solutions at www.naturalrejuvenation.solutions or call toll-free (888) 352-8175, Mon. - Thurs. 8: to 2: PT, closed Friday.
To identify your “invisible” metabolic blueprint of nutritional imbalances and toxic metals, order the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) home test on my website at www.gloriagilbere.com. In about two weeks after submission, the results are received by Dr. Gloria and you’ll be contacted to schedule an in-depth telephone consultation with her to interpret results and provide individualized modifications to enable you to correct imbalances and detoxify from toxic metals to facilitate wellness.