I have often wondered why it is I lose my ability to taste when I come down with a cold or the flu. It is actually very
interesting how our senses can be affected by our environment. Acute anosmia is what it is called when
we lose our sense of smell during a viral illness. We lose the ability to taste most things but some obvious things
we will still be able to taste and smell.
Gustation and olfaction are chemical senses, they use chemoreceptors that detect molecules in food. This
complex process is referred to as transduction. Taste is actually 80% smell so when we are sick our nasal passages
are inflamed or filled with mucus and this affects our ability to taste. The volatile odors are unable to reach
alofactory receptor cells. Not only do viral infections make us feel terrible but they often times have a negative
effect on life’s pleasures, tasting and smelling. Prevention is the best practice when it comes to viral illnesses.
A healthy diet, supplementation of vitamin c and zinc, and plenty of vitamin d from the sun can go a long way in
minimizing the symptoms of a viral illness. In the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics they
found in a study that “Vitamin C in megadoses administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu
symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group”
(Gorton H., Jarvis K., 1999). This sounds very promising in preventing symptoms, even a symptom like acute
Petersen D., BA,nDip.NT, Dip.Acu, RH, (2016). NAT 211. Module 1: The Senses.. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Gorton H., Jarvis K., (1999). The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutic: Pubmed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543583