Taste Loss From Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative illness that strikes fear into those stricken with it and their families alike. Typically people live on average another 4-6 years after diagnosis, but the disease may last as long as 20 years from onset.

AD is the most common type of dementia affecting about 2% of the population between ages 65 and 74. However, that incidence rate jumps to 20% between the ages of 75 and 84. After age 84 the rate grows to just over 40%. Currently there are somewhere between two and five million people in the United States affected with Alzheimer’s disease.

There are six stages of AD ranging from the first stage with no mental impairment to the final stage with severe mental impairment including difficulties with such daily activities as bathing and dressing themselves.

Just recently, it has been discovered that smell and taste loss may be an early indicator of AD. Researchers have found that there are ten key odors that appear to be lost in the very early phases of this illness. These smells are: strawberry, lilac, smoke, pineapple, lemon, natural gas, leather, soap cloves and menthol. They have developed a scratch and sniff test around these ten smells in hopes of identifying AD in its very early phases. Early treatment is critical. The only treatment that currently exists does not cure AD; it can only slow the progression. The earlier we slow this disease the longer the person can stave off its deadly effects. Since taste is affected by smell loss – those with AD often have difficulty with their sense of taste as well.

Tadalafil generic

The nutritional needs of anyone in their advanced years are of concern but all the more so for those with AD. When people lose their ability to sense the aroma of food, they often lose their appetite. This causes them to eat less, and less worsening their underlying health. Due to a poorer diet, deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals develop which only worsen smell and taste loss and indirectly worsen this chronic medical condition.

Zinc, vitamin B12, niacin and Vitamin A have all been implicated in taste loss.

  • Zinc is important for the maintenance of taste because it is thought to help with the re-growth of taste buds. Normal aging tends to slow the frequency of taste bud regrowth as it is – so it is especially important that older people have an adequate intake of zinc to prevent a worsening of their taste loss problems. Zinc can be purchased as a supplement, or found in these foods: oysters, wheat germ, beef, pumpkin and sesame seeds, dark chocolate, lamb and peanuts.
  • A deficiency of vitamin B12 can not only make the person with AD feel more tired and therefore worsen their mental confusion; it can actually cause dementia if severe enough. Certainly, the last thing a person with AD needs is a vitamin deficiency that compounds their mental decline, so it is important to be sure that a well-balanced diet is eaten and that supplements are taken.

It really is exciting news that they may have found this early indicator of AD, because early treatment help prevent the rapid decline seen when this illness is left untreated. If you are suffering from smell and taste loss, it is important to talk to your doctor about it.


No Responses Leave a comment

Leave a Reply