Monday, July 20, 2009

The cause of the bitter taste in my mouth

Earlier this week I commented to Joey that I had a weird bitter taste in my mouth. It started on Friday afternoon while I was eating lunch and then I really noticed it when I was eating my stir fry at dinner. Lo and behold, Joey was experiencing the same thing! We figured it would just go away, but thought it was a strange coincidence that we were both feeling this way.

Over the weekend we began checking in with one another to see whether we were still tasting the bitterness. Mine sort of started to go away today, but came back as soon as we were eating dinner. Joey was starting to get concerned so we went ahead and googled it, fully knowing that we could be on our way to discovering that this mysterious symptom was the first sign of impending death. He googled "bitter taste in my mouth while eating" and after reading a few forums and blogs we discovered the cause:

Pine nuts.

Remember how I was raving about that eggplant cannelloni I made last week? The faux ricotta in the eggplant shells contained pine nuts. And it turns out that some pine nuts (apparently many from China) can leave those who eat them with a bitter aftertaste in their mouths. I don't know where my pine nuts came from because I just scooped them out of a bin at the bulk store.

It's been dubbed "Pine Mouth" and the symptoms of the bitter, sometimes metallic aftertaste can appear up to three days after a person has consumed the nuts in question and can last up to four weeks!! We read tonnes of stories and comments of people who had experienced the exact same thing mere days after eating pine nuts. A botanist in the UK wrote a blog about it and links to a paper written about it in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Sigh.

I like pine nuts and that eggplant dish was phenomenal so I'm a little sad right now. It's bittersweet because at least I know that I'm not crazy or dying.

Has anyone else experienced pine mouth? Anyone know any cures or have any suggestions on how to get rid of it? I really don't want things to taste this bad for a whole month!!

26 comments:

karmagirl said...

I'm my goodness Ashley! That sounds really awful. Hopefully that goes away soon!

Robin said...

Sorry Ash, I've never had pine mouth...and where on earth would we be without google...I find so many answers there - Joey was smart to look it up. Anyway - I purchase my pine nuts in Kensington Market. We've never had a problem with them. Perhaps you can get them there, because it would just be wrong to give up such a lovely food:)

Laura said...

That is so weird! I was planning on buying some pine nuts at Bulk Barn but now I'm rethinking it - hope it goes away or you find a cure!

Sarah said...

I've eaten pine nuts frequently and never had the bitter taste experience you're having. We buy our pine nuts at Costco, and keep them in the freezer until we're ready to use them. Maybe you could try that? :)

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) said...

If it doesn't go away with the removal of pinenuts- let me know. Pine nuts (as well as walnuts, hempseeds and any other nut/seed that is high in omega 3s) should be stored in the fridge, ALWAYS!

That bitter toxic taste means they have gone rancid. Rancid oils = free radicals. Blech. WHo wants to eat free radicals?

Lauren said...

Hmm, never noticed that about Pine Nuts! So strange, I hope it goes away soon! :)

Rachel said...

My friend just posted about the exact same thing on facebook - before the two of you I'd never heard of this and don't have any tips. But, how strange!
Hope it goes away soon.

Sharon said...

Maybe try organic pine nuts? And putting them in the fridge helps keep nuts fresh.

K8 said...

Ash.
Thanks for your comment on my latest blog post. I left a comment for you on it!
K8

Traci said...

That is crazy! I have never heard of that!

By the way, I got really emotional when I saw you left a note on Lil' Will's blog. You are really sweet to do that, Ashley!

Nikhil said...

The exact same thing has happened to me. I started getting a strange bitter taste in my mouth every time I ate something. Googled for it, and found your blog. I added a lot of pine nuts to my salad day before, and kept munching on them all day! In fact I had some just before I stumbled across your blog! Thank you for posting bout this. I was getting quite concerned!

Anonymous said...

I have this too and I'm damn angry about it. Everyone's response seems to be "I'm so happy I don't have a brain tumour, yay me."

Nevermind the fact that our bodies are desperately trying to dispel toxic waste from our salivary glands because the liver can't handle it.

I got mine from Loblaws and they're gonna hear about it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your comment... I've just logged onto the internet panicking with the same problem. Every time I eat something it tastes like someone's sprinkled some poisionous chemical on it. Bitter. Almost like I just removed nail polish with acetone then licked my finger. It's dreadful!! and I certainly hope it doesn't last 4 weeks.

I too had pine nuts along with other mixed seeds for breakfast. And by lunch... my carbonara pasta just didn't taste the same. I was asking everyone if their pasta was ok... and while they were licking the plate clean I'd pushed my food to one side.

Totally pu off pine nuts now... just wish I'd read this before scoffing another mouthful of the little beggers!

Anonymous said...

Thank God for goggle searches. I just figures out what this taste is in my mouth from all these wonderful websites. I got my pine nuts from Sam's Club, and yes they were from China. I store mine in the freezer. I have had this for 6 days and I can't believe how horrible food tastes. For some reason, salt and orange juice don't bother me. I called the FDA today and they are looking into it. Please contact them if you have had a problem. It was real easy to file a complaint and hopefully something will be done about it.

Codeslayer09 said...

THANK YOU for posting this info! I just had a two crowns done in my mouth, and thought maybe the chemical taste was coming from them. My dentist said no, but didn't have any helpful answers. After I found your post, I checked and sure enough: my Pine Nuts are from CHINA by way of TARGET. Good to know I'm not alone. ;)

Matt said...

The only think I've found that alleviates the taste is sucking on green Altoids all day long. At least it makes drinking water bearable.

Anonymous said...

I just googled and found this. My husband complained about it a few months ago and HE thought HE was sick, I just thought he was being a baby. Now I've got it, I had pine nuts Saturday evening and strangely the really bad taste appeared. No fun, but at least it's amusing! Maybe it will keep the holiday pounds to a minimum! ha ha

Lauren said...

OMG--I commented on this post and said I never noticed it.. well.. hubs and I had the same problem after making a raw slaw on Friday. He finally googled it and got the same answer, then I remembered someone blogged about it and couldn't remember who and your blog came up! :) So funny, yuck, we both still have it!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness!!! Mystery solved, thank you. I've been eating pine nuts almost every day lately. A palmful here and there. I got them at Costco and have kept them in the fridge. I thought I was getting sick, or got "glutened" (I'm gluten-free), but no, it's the pine nuts. Weird! I never would have guessed.

Anonymous said...

Mystery solved.

I make a salad with arugula and pine nuts. I left some in the refrigerator and ate the leftovers two days later. I noticed a bitter taste and forgot about it. Yesterday i realized that every time I eat anything, I get this horrible bitter taste in my mouth. I wonder if this is something serious?

Kim said...

I canNOT believe my good fortune to have stumbled across this site. I have had a strong bitter taste for 3 days.... bad enough to google "bitter taste in my mouth" and found THIS. I ate pine nuts 2 nights ago. Love them (but not so much anymore! ha!)
Thanks. I'm glad I'm not diseased.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I've had a bitter taste in my mouth for three days and I ate pine nuts three days ago. Thanks for the suggested source. Now I'm curious to read some of the science behind it. I've had a similar taste when accidentally getting sunscreen in my mouth--just longer lasting. This was my first time use for this particular brand of pine nuts. I am fairly skeptical of foods from China but why only pine nuts? A rhetorical question, really. Off to read more on this...

boxer said...

I reached this blog after Googling for "bitter aftertaste in mouth cause".

I am flabbergasted to see the pictures of pine nuts. I realize that I recently bought and ate some unusual looking ones (probably from China) and that I am experiencing pine mouth. Thanks a million!

Yet another reason to boycott Chinese products...

Carrie said...

I also am suffering from "pine mouth" and it sucks. I'm starving to death! I read somewhere that liquid aloe vera helps and active charlcoal. Hope this helps and I hope it goes away soon!

Jean said...

I made a great spinach salad with pine nuts for Christmas dinner.The pine nuts were from No Frills,the nuts were No Name brand from China. For the last couple of days my mouth has had such a bitter taste in it. I thought that it might be as a result of overeating rich baked goodies. I will get my pine nuts from the health food store freezer from now on and will check the best before date carefully.

Jamie S. said...

Whew! Thought maybe something really bad was going on! Glad to know that maybe it's just the pine nuts I used in my pesto a few days ago. Made the pesto on Monday night and noticed the bitter taste while eating dinner on Tuesday. I, too, (like another poster) just had a dental implant put in a few weeks ago and thought maybe something was going wrong with it. After reading this info, I'm going to just wait a while and see if this awful taste goes away. I hope it goes away soon - it sure takes the joy out of eating good food - and I really like good food!