Q. Dear Terry, “What do you suggest for helping to get my sense of smell and taste back? It’s been several months and I’m noticing a little improvement, but would like to know if there’s anything else I could be doing or taking?” – Ted A., Joliet, IL
A. Dear Ted, The loss of smell and taste can last for weeks or even months. Fortunately, the neurons and cells involved with these senses can regrow. Supporting the nerves and cells involved with smell and taste with the nutrients they need can help the healing process.
To support taste and smell, I believe a combination of nutrients specifically targeting nerve health could be helpful. These nutrients include: B vitamins, biotin, alpha lipoic acid, chromium, and zinc, among others. B vitamins (B1-B3, B6, B12, folate, and pantothenic acid) can help our nerves function better, delay damage to nerves, and play a role in taste and smell. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) has been studied for its effects on people who have lost their sense of smell after a respiratory infection. About 70% of people noticed an improvement after four months. ALA can also boost levels of glutathione, one of the body’s natural antioxidants, which helps protect delicate nerves from many forms of damage. Another crucial antioxidant is zinc, which helps the body’s repair mechanisms and is an essential mineral for the immune system.
When looking for nutrients, choose B vitamins in their “active” forms, as well as minerals in the form of amino acid chelates. Active B vitamins do not need conversion in the liver and are already in the effective form our body needs. This is important because many people (some experts estimate up to 50% of our population) do not convert B vitamins efficiently and, therefore, don’t receive their full benefits. I also prefer the amino acid chelates for minerals because they are so much better absorbed.
I recommend taking: 25 mg of vitamin B1, 25 mg of vitamin B2, 10 mg of niacin, 30 mg of vitamin B6, 425 mcg of folate, 500 mcg of vitamin B12, 1,000 mcg of biotin, 200 mg of pantothenic acid, 10 mg of zinc, 200 mcg of chromium, 300 mg of alpha lipoic acid, 100 mg of boswellia, and 50 mg of benfotiamine, twice daily.
In addition to the nutrients above, you could consider extra zinc. Because zinc can be hard to absorb, I prefer zinc that is chelated, which means bound to the amino acid glycine. This form of zinc is also called zinc glycinate. Zinc is often found in combination with selenium. I would take 60 mg of zinc per day and 400 mcg of selenium. These minerals are very safe and can be taken daily.
Because nerves are one of the slowest tissues in the body to heal, I would take these nutrients for at least three months.
Terry . . . Naturally
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