Posted By: JGD99 Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 08-30-2014 01:21 PM

though I am technically out of treatment (less than a week), this message belongs here. Googling about "how to regain taste buds after radiation?" I came upon several suggestions that "zinc hydrate" is useful both during and after head and neck cancer treaments. Consulting my pharmacist, he steered me to Zinc Gluconate tablets.

Because I've had issues with tablets getting stuck, I use a mortar and pestle to grind this and two other meds. Then I either mix that with water and drink or mix into ice cream. I figured this gives a more topical application of the zinc to the buds themselves, perhaps a stronger dose than receiving it internally.

And every morning I've been having cereal with blueberries that I cannot taste. Weirdly, the day after the first zinc dose, while having cereal, I had one isolated note of strong blueberry flavor, then flashed back to "radio silence" or darkness on the palate.

I wondered if it was a brief placebo effect, or could I get that little neural flicker from one dose? Has anyone tried zinc to reawaken your taste buds after radiation therapy?

John D.
Posted By: Uptown Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 08-30-2014 02:16 PM
I'm not sure you could definitively measure such a response to conclusively prove anything from a scientific perspective. I'm curious if knowing or not knowing that would be beneficial. Focus on what happened and pour everything into replicating the results. If you can make that happen, your taste will be improved.

This might help understand the process and zinc was the only substance that withstood double blind trials still had mixed and inconclusive results.
Posted By: JGD99 Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 08-30-2014 03:52 PM
I have had success with zinc for limiting duration of the common cold (you must start immediately when symptoms show, and continue dosing until symptoms improve). It would turn a ten day cold into a 4 day one.

I may fall short of scientific proof here, but that little flash of flavor was a godsend in that moment. It's one thing to be fairly confident taste will return. It was quite another to experience it, even if only for a second.
Posted By: OzMojo Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 08-30-2014 04:03 PM
The doctor suggested extra zinc to perk up the testosterone which was down a little in the bloods. I haven't noticed any particular taste changes since I started taking it, but taste is recovering pretty well.
Posted By: ChristineB Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 08-30-2014 06:30 PM
Before taking any meds, even over the counter supplements or herbal remedies always ask your doctor. Some things that are seemingly innocent can interfere with treatments and create some big issues.
Posted By: donfoo Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-01-2014 01:17 AM
I'm sure interested. Try a blind experiment. Get someone to mash up several days of the tablets and something else like aspirin if the colors match. Then take one set and note any taste. Take the other set and record your findings. Then ask which was which. If nothing else, it will be something to take your thoughts somewhere else for a bit. :-) Don
Posted By: Uptown Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-01-2014 02:50 PM
You don't even have to go through all that, Don. The clinical trial said, in essence, it may help some and that's why oncologists suggest it. If it doesn't work within a month max, I would move on to something else. Nothing has been proven for anything regarding taste buds.
Posted By: PaulB Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-01-2014 05:22 PM
I have read what Uptown is saying. It may or may not help. I used to take zinc, pre-cancer, probably what OzMojo is using for to increase testosterone. I think I had more luck with clams, yohimbe extract lol. Also, I have read zinc can cause odd taste too, mouth ulcers, be toxic, so checking with your doctor, reading up on it is probably best.
Posted By: donfoo Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-02-2014 03:06 AM
Fair enough. I guess if it makes you feel better take it, even if it is the placebo effect.

Candid camera is back. I caught a clip recently where they had folks take a puff of some marijuana and a puff of this really strong MJ. They were all acting high until told none of it was MJ. LOL
Posted By: OzMojo Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-03-2014 11:24 PM
There's a lot to be said for the placebo effect. If you think it will help you, it often does. Particularly when it comes to fairly intangible things like energy levels. Taste is a particularly finicky thing during all this and your mind's attitude plays a big role I think. Bottom line though, run everything through your doctor. Two reasons, one to make sure its safe, and the other is to give the mind a firm basis to back the belief it will help you.
Posted By: Robroaster Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-06-2014 01:38 AM
My RO at Beth Israel suggested that I take 150 mg/day. All that I can say is that my taste is back to 100%. Can even eat spicey.
Posted By: Uptown Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-06-2014 04:40 AM
Did your RO mention how long it should take or when to stop taking the zinc?
Posted By: PaulB Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-06-2014 06:32 PM
Here is one article I had:
Posted By: Robroaster Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-11-2014 08:52 PM
I don't remember exactly but I think that I took the 150mg/day for about a year or until my taste fully came back. Good luck.
Posted By: gregorgr81943 Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 09-20-2014 07:57 PM
I am 3 years out = I remember I was told to take zinc, but with no explanation.
So I still have the bottle I'd buy anybody got any I Dia if it would help at this point?

My page is sort of back but not really. And I'm still sensitive to spicy which I used to really love.


Posted By: JGD99 Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 12-16-2014 05:31 PM
I have been doing 50 mg of zinc daily since a few weeks after treatment. I am now about 4 and a half months since end of rads & chemo, and am getting some taste back. Sweet flavors were almost all gone, and fruit has not been appealing, but I would say now , I'm "knocking at the back door" of sweet flavors. There not here yet, but much better
Posted By: Cheryld Re: Zinc to awaken taste buds? - 06-18-2015 07:05 PM
You sound like me. I am four years out and it's much better but still not great. ;o) and yes I took Zinc and it did help... have a great day
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