The role of zinc in the treatment of taste disorders

Takakazu Yagi, Akihiro Asakawa, Hirotaka Ueda, Satoshi Ikeda, Shouichi Miyawaki, Akio Inui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


In the 1990s the number of patients diagnosed with taste disorders in the USA and Japan was over one million people each year, and the number is increasing annually. Taste disorders are caused by several factors such as genetic disease, head trauma, structural changes, glossodynia, cancer, change of lifestyle, and more. The role of zinc in the treatment of taste disorders has been studied since the oral administration of zinc by patients was reported to improve their taste disorders. Carbonic anhydrase (CA), a zinc metalloenzyme, has also been studied in association with taste disorders, since the regulation of serum CA levels was shown to influence the effect of orally administrated zinc in the treatment of taste disorders. Zinc is an essential trace element that contributes to the active center of approximately 300 enzymes. Studies have revealed that zinc is involved in various physiological functions. Moreover, some medications have been shown to induce a zinc deficiency, which has been associated with a variety of clinical conditions. Hence, since the relationship between taste disorder and serum zinc concentration has been discussed for long time, taste disorder may be useful in diagnosing zinc deficiency. Moreover, it appears that medicines of the zinc-containing supplement type contribute to the treatment of taste disorders caused by zinc deficiency. Orally administered zinc has been shown to directly stimulate food intake via neuropeptide in the hypothalamus. Therefore, zinc administration may potentially be used to treat taste disorders, as well as several other diseases by stimulating feeding. The article presents some promising patents on the role of zinc in the treatment of taste disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalRecent Patents on Food, Nutrition and Agriculture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbonic anhydrase (CA)
  • Feeding
  • Saliva
  • Taste disorder
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Zinc transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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