Food and Nutrition

Pine Nuts Leaving Bitter Taste in Consumers' Mouths?

| by Toni Brayer MD

After practicing medicine for 25 years, I didn't think there was much I hadn't seen or diagnosed.  Was I surprised to learn about a condition called Pine Mouth from a friend who experienced it!  Of course that sent me to the internet where I learned that there truly is a weird food syndrome known as Pine Mouth.  And from the google search, it seems everyone but me knows about it!  In case you don't, here is what I found:

For reasons that are not understood, some people experience a persistent bitter-metallic taste after eating pine nuts (aka: pignoli if you live in Italy).  This taste can last a few days or up to two weeks.  Nothing tastes good because the bitter taste permeates the mouth.  It isn't a "disease", nor does it cause any illness...just an annoying taste.

The medical term for this metallogeusia, "a perceived metallic or bitter taste" and it was reported on in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.  One theory is that some Chinese Red Pine imports are inedible and have made it into the market.  Pine Mouth seems to be a relatively new phenomenon so this theory makes sense.

There isn't much a consumer can do to prevent Pine Mouth.   All pine nuts look alike and there are no tell-tell signs.  The good news is that the condition is self limited and normal taste finally resumes.

Have any of you readers had Pine Mouth?

Read more at Everything Health