Dr. Oz, is it normal to lose sense of taste?
Dr. Oz: Alright, so I got in front of you four plates and this is a tool that we can all use at home. There are a couple of things that cause loss of taste. One of them is zinc deficiency, and so I want you to start taking thirty milligrams zinc lozenges. I give this to all my patients who I operate on because after heart surgery a lot of people lose their sense of taste. And if you don't taste foods, you can't smell them, therefore you won't eat them cause they taste like wood.

So that is something that I see a lot of. I've got a different test for you there are four foods there. There should be a bar of soap...because taste and smell are closely related. There's a pineapple that should be in front of you. Then there is some cinnamon - smell that. Alright, cinnamon and then taste, see if you got the rose pedal there, and for folks at home these are four very important smells because if you don't have the sense of taste for those four or you lost one of them that you use to have I worry about Alzheimer's.

It is one of the first signs that we actually see when we have changes in our brain function as we began to lose parts of our taste complex which is intricately connected to our brain. So we'll put a list up on our web site of twelve different taste and smells. Don't panic if you miss one of them but it is one of the earlier signs especially if you use this.

Those two senses [taste and smell] are so intricately related that something has destroyed your taste buds very selectively just at the level at the tongue not the rest of your body because there's no way you can smell things, not taste them unless it's localized to the tongue. And you know we are born with a lot of taste buds and by the time we get to age fifty we began to lose a lot of them but fifty year old are suppose to be able to taste their food still.

If you don't have a neurodegenerative disorder or a problem like with Alzheimer's then you generally speaking will get better with time. It's cyclical you'll re-grow taste buds.

There's no treatment except for the zinc that I mentioned to you. Zinc deficiency - you need zinc to be able to turn on the taste buds so please try that and please give it six weeks it takes a while to restore those levels.