Restore Your Taste Buds! Make It All Tastier!

published by timmy1t on Sep 8, 2012

This is information and a guide on how to "reboot your taste buds"

Follow me from my experience and some research, to get your childhood taste buds back, and to taste everything "afresh"!

I have no real credentials; I have an A-level in biology and my own experience. I will be speaking here mainly from experience when talking about my “guide to rebooting your taste buds”.
Affects may differ from person to person. This is not a medical promotion of drugs, or medicine. Also it is not a cure for people suffering from permanent nerve/tongue tissue damage!

To improve one’s taste buds is very simple, but it’s important to note that improved taste buds can deteriorate again.
If long term improvements to taste buds are wanted, either the reboot will have to repeat continually or an entire eating and drinking lifestyle may have to be permanently followed. I will explain as I get into how to improve your own tongue and taste buds.

Basic understanding of your tongue:

Your tongue is a muscle in your mouth, which is able to ‘wriggle’ around, being fixed at the bottom of the mouth and extends down the throat. The main body of the tongue has an upper surface that is covered in papillae / taste buds. The palate is the roof of the mouth and is located above the tongue and also has a surface layer of taste buds.

The taste buds/papillae themselves are tiny structures that are used in detecting 5 main elements of known taste perception. These taste perceptions include salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami/(savoury). Inside the taste buds through tiny openings of the epithelial layer, there are taste receptor cells. The saliva in your mouth dissolves some of the food which in turn comes in contact with the taste receptor cells. The cells then in turn send signals to the gustatory part of the brain via the 7th and 9th and 10th cranial nerves. The average amount of taste buds on the tongue is between; 2,000-8,000 taste buds.

Why does taste deteriorate?

There are obviously various factors that affect taste bud deterioration, but it is an agreed fact that people’s taste buds are different and some are more vivid than others. Unfortunately over time our taste buds become indistinct and they deteriorate.

3 main reasons for loss of taste:

1.     Age.

2.     Tongue/nervous system damage.

3.     Daily usage and wear of taste buds.

Now the first two reasons are obviously not amendable, and are likely to be permanent!
As you age you’re nervous system breaks down and your senses decrease in general anyway. When you get tongue or nervous system damage, it’s going to affect your taste and it is likely to be permanent… But if it is only tongue damage, the tongue is able to fully recover (depending obviously on the damage done).

 
Focusing on reason 3 “Daily usage and wear of taste buds”:
Everyone suffers from ‘reason 3’ every day as we use our taste buds every day. Where receptor cells of taste buds are damaged every day.
 Fortunately most of the cells that constitute our bodies replace and replenish themselves, on a constant basis.

What I will be showing in my guide is how to maximise new/undamaged cells, and also how to make the stimulus (the taste buds/receptors/cranial nerves), more effective/potent when sending signals to the gustatory part of the brain.

“Daily usage and wear of the taste buds”, here I am referring to everyday constant exposure to extreme/exotic/vivid/eccentric/powerful, tastes, and extreme temperatures (from ice cream to coffees)… also exposures to different materials.

Main points in regards to taste loss due to “daily usage of taste buds”…

·        When constant continuous exposure to extreme temperatures and materials the epithelium layer of the tongue is obviously going to get damaged and in extreme cases may have permanent damage. This is true for extreme hot or cold temperatures (Temperatures outside about -5 to 95°C I  would consider as extreme exposures… I  would consider things like ice cream and hot soup examples of constant extreme exposures).

·        When your taste buds are exposed to any taste the receptors send signals to your brain and your brain reacts and you recognise taste and experience it! But over time constant exposure to the same taste, wears down the effect of the taste in your brain, this is due to either cranial nerve pathways ‘over usage’ or insensitive receptors, or unresponsiveness in the gustatory area of the brain.

·        Materials that enter the mouth can obviously also damage the cells, (e.g. sharp pencil stabbing the tongue!)

Sub ‘Guidelines’ to reduce taste loss due to “daily usage of taste buds”.

·        Avoid extreme temperatures where possible (though it may be nice to have an ice-cream now and then or even a hot cup of soup)… If you realise that cells and enzymes can’t function properly outside a certain temperature range, then you understand that every time you expose your tongue to these extreme temperatures you are destroying cells. (Although they can be repaired, depending on how extreme the damage is done. So you don’t have to stop eating ice-cream just yet.)

·        To enable your cranial pathways to be restored to their original effectiveness, they will need to be replenished, and this takes a long time. Nerve cells live the longest (most cerebral cortex neurons live an entire lifetime) and I believe they can be replenished or revitalised when they die or are unused/used less. (Don’t quote me on this)

·        To ensure sensitivity of receptors, they need to be less exposed to vivid/exotic/extreme tastes. Less usage makes them more sensitive.

·         Unresponsiveness in the gustatory area I don’t believe you can change, but it may be affected by usage, it’s almost like the sensitivity of the receptor cells (do not know too much detail).

·        Avoid putting in materials in your mouth that can damage the cells on your tongue…

What is the guide?

Now the aim of this guide is to… Reduce damage done to cells on the tongue, and to replenish/renew/revitalise, the receptor cells and cranial nerves. The aim is also to hopefully increase the responsiveness of the gustatory area of the brain! (As explained above)

From experience and from research I have come to conclude there is only one key way to go about replenishing or revitalising/ restoring the effectiveness of the taste buds. When the taste buds have been restored or have returned to being more effective. Then we must continue to either keep them effective for as long as possible or we have to repeat the process just to jump start our restoration. (This is what I was referring to in the beginning of the article about maybe having a complete eating and drinking lifestyle alteration, for continual desired effects, experimentation has to be done by the individual to continue desired effects)

By following this short and simple guide we are basically trying to reboot your taste buds, reviving them. How much effort you put in this will affect the quality of the outcome, but this guide can be done in many ways and does not have to be done exactly as I state here, a lot of experimenting can be done and ways can be found to make it easier, and more effective and efficient in revitalising one’s taste buds.

Full guide:

To start off, you will need to find time to do this, you can’t just say I’m going to do this while working or going out partying, etc. there will be continuous distractions that will destroy what you are trying to achieve! You’re looking for about 1-3 weeks with no distractions that will affect what you eat and drink. You can do this while going to work, or being with friends and family, but it does make it harder, and you will face temptations to stop and you won’t be bothered to continue.

Once you have made yourself free from any distractions, or you have planned out when and how you are going to continue with this guide, you will need to prepare yourself… Depending on how you are going to carry out this ‘reboot of your taste buds’. (I will get to how to prepare, after I have finished the guide, because preparing is very important, but is different depending how you want to follow the guide.)

Mouth Guide steps:

1.      How and what you will eat

2.      What you will drink

3.      Keeping away from extreme temperatures and unwanted materials from entering mouth.

Mouth Guide Steps explained:

Step (1).

This step is not clear cut so experimentation and personal preference is required here! You will be trying not to eat at all, during this period, but it’s entirely up to you, if you are able to do water only fast for about 5-15 days you will be greatly rewarded with an amazing reboot of your taste buds (also if you are seeking after God it’s a great way to humble yourself, and realise how much you take for granted). If you can’t do water only fast for about 5-15 days then…

You will be aiming not to eat anything that will have any unique tastes, try to eat as little as possible, and also try to eat tasteless stuff! (E.g. most plain rice cakes have no taste.). The quality of your success is entirely dependent on the effort you put in here! But it has to be in a set period of time for it to work effectively, this is because you are trying to do the least amount of damage to the tongue and nerves, and have the least effect on the gustatory area of the brain, in the longest amount of time. If you are eating during this time, you may have to extend the period of “rebooting” to about 3 weeks. Keeping away from all FLAVOURS and tastes and eating as little as possible (eat only when needed doing the least amount of damage to tongue’s epithelial layer).

Step(2) This is obvious, you should just drink water, only water, nothing else will do, do not drink anything that has any taste or and flavour to it! Also do not drink hot water as this damages the tongue as well.

Step(3) No not bite nails, do not put things in your mouth, do not suck on anything and try not to lick anyone or anything.

Tips for following the guide:

Step (1) is obviously going to be the hardest. Weather you do a 5-15 day fast or a 3 week tasteless food diet, you will find it very difficult. Do not worry you can’t die, “Experts believe it is possible for the human body to survive without food for up to two months.” (–BBC report on guy trapped in snowed in car for 2 months.) Obviously if your very skinny and don’t have a lot of reserves I would not recommend doing a fast! If you got an extra few kg’s you don’t want I highly recommend water only fast.

If you choose to try out the fast, it is a lot easier if you find a good cause to do it for. (E.g. seeking after God, or doing for charity, or maybe just the thought of having more intense taste buds.)  Also finding good motivation to do it is important. There are many, many benefits of a fast… Including [for most westerners] ‘weight loss’, detoxification of the entire body, regeneration of tongue and taste buds, and even some level of regeneration of the stomach & intestines. Also considering people die about every 5 seconds due to hunger related issues. This is hard to imagine when some of us live in cities full of food. (This is a good motivation).

When doing the fast, you will find the first 3-7 days the most difficult, after about the 7th day your body adjusts and learns how to use backup reserve food in the body (FAT).

Step (2)… Tips for drinking water, do not drink too much water at one go when fasting, it will make you feel sick! (Well it does to me at least).

Step (3)… No tips for this step! (No making out maybe?)

 

How to prepare yourself for “rebooting your taste buds”
First of all you need to choose whether you are going for a 5-15 day fast or a tasteless food 3 week diet. Planning is very important before starting the guide!

For the fast…

You will need to make sure, you do not have any thing planned for the next 5-15 days, as you will be very slow to do anything, you’re energy level will be constantly low, and you will feel drained to do anything. But you can still do almost anything you used to before the fast (it may just take slightly longer to do). I would advise against driving whilst fasting, though it is easily possible to do. Any tasks which require a lot of concentration or energy I strongly advise that you will have to miss out on those tasks or events during the fast.

Before the fast you also need to prepare yourself physically, stocking up with vitamins, proteins and fat/calories, (if you have lots of fat/calories already you don’t need to add any more). Stock up on proteins and vitamins. (Without overdosing, just take a slightly more concentrated portion each day for about a week before the fast). Also consider the amount of days you are going to do, and try to stick with your plan, remember that how much you put into this is going to determine the quality of the outcome.

Side effects of the fast only last during the fast but they include: Lethargy, lack of decent concentration/ slight forgetfulness, constant dry feeling mouth/throat (only a few days into the fast), Hunger, constant temptations, nausea (if too much water is drunk)!

For the tasteless food diet for 3 weeks…

Obviously plan this one out as well because you will have temptations to eat nice tasteful food.

Try to get protein powder (tasteless), and mix it with water. Also research foods that you want to eat during this time and stock up, you may drink vitamins and pills, to restore essential supplements to your body, which you may not be getting through the tasteless food you are allowing yourself to eat! I would not recommend eating bread either. Experimentation is required for this section!

So you’ve completed the guide, now what?

If you have “rebooted your taste buds” you should test out the results on something you really enjoy a lot… (Don’t overdo it all at once, be moderate!)

You should realise everything is a lot more tasteful, were you might have had 3 sugars with your coffee you now only take one. (Example). To continue this desired effect, you can either do one of two things… either use and abuse your sensitive taste buds for a few months until the return to how they were before the “reboot” and do it all over again. Or you can set up a lifestyle of reduced tastes, but here and there a nice use of your sensitive taste buds! Up to you, enjoy!

Please get back to me if you tried to follow any of the guides to “reboot your taste buds”… I need more testimonials!

Thank you!

 


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