Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Cacogeusia: Pine Nuts Syndrome

Hold your horses ladies and lads. The title is not as scary as it sounds. Today's post is rather different. I wanted to talk about something I knew three years ago from my good friend, Grace whose work you can read here for more details. I was also one of the test subjects in her research.

It is about a taste disturbance called the Pine Mouth or Pine Nuts Syndrome. It's not exactly harmful although it could be if you are allergic to pine nuts. What I experienced is something that you may not even noticed. The symptom only start to show after 24-48 hours of ingestion in which by that time you have already ate too many things to point out a single culprit. In my case, I started displaying the symptoms two days after consuming pine nuts.

 It all began on Friday during a lab trip to Alkmaar and Eegmond aan Zee. I was having dinner and as a side dish I had a salad with quite a generous sprinkle of pine nuts. On Sunday, everything I ate taste bitter and metallic. It was strange but I quit thinking about it because I feel ok. When I could not take it anymore, I told my husband about it. Then, he asked if I had eaten pine nuts the day before. I suddenly had an epiphany and realized that this is exactly what I felt three years ago after eating pine nuts.

I still exhibit the symptom, although it has gotten less by the day. It's just strange how some food can alter your taste buds. The thing about pine nuts is, it was believed that only some varieties can cause the problem, specifically the chinese ones. Besides that, eating rancid or expired pine nuts can also cause PNS. Either way, you may want to think the next time you wanted to eat pine nuts or food containing pine nuts like pesto.

Strangely enough, none of my colleagues experienced the same thing, or at least the ones I asked. Unfortunately, there's really not much known about PNS due to ignorance really. People don't really care to find out the root cause of PNS simply because the reported cases are almost too insignificant to write home about. Such a pity.

Anyway, have you ever had taste disturbance after eating a certain food? Share it in the comment section below...

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