The role of zinc in the treatment of taste disorders

Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2013 Apr;5(1):44-51. doi: 10.2174/2212798411305010007.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbonic Anhydrases / blood
  • Deficiency Diseases / blood
  • Deficiency Diseases / complications
  • Deficiency Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Patents as Topic*
  • Taste Disorders / blood
  • Taste Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Taste Disorders / etiology
  • Taste*
  • Trace Elements / blood
  • Trace Elements / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc Compounds / blood
  • Zinc Compounds / therapeutic use*


  • Trace Elements
  • Zinc Compounds
  • Carbonic Anhydrases
  • Zinc