Pine Nuts

While doing my “random” searches in Google Scholar I stumbled upon this article by Marc-David Munk“Pine mouth” syndrome: cacogeusia following ingestion of pine nuts (genus: pinus). An emerging problem? “[1].  Incidentally, last year I did experience “pine mouth” syndrome and wrote about it in “Cursed Pine Nuts or Triglycerides?“.

Dr. Munk  from Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico reported a case of metallogeusia (metallic taste) after a male patient ingested some pine nuts. The researcher documented the symptoms then conducted physical, dermatological, and dental examination of the patient followed by neurological, motor, sensory and reflex testing. All exams and tests came back normal and perceived cacogeusia improved without any treatment within 5 days (just like in my case).

Dr. Munk then put down his stethoscope, took off the lab coat, sat down in front of a computer and continued his research using “Google Trends”. He examined Google search volume for the terms “Pine Mouth”, “Pine Bitter” and “Pine Taste” over a period of time and noted a significant spike in search popularity in the 2nd quarter of 2009; however, Munk didn’t proceed any further to investigate the exact cause of the surge.

Unfortunately, Dr. Munk’s findings don’t provide the answer to a mechanism by which newly found triglycerides cause metallogeusia; however, he clearly shows that the correlation between pine nuts ingestion and metallic taste is real.

It’s been more than a year since I had a case of “pine mouth“, even though I have had plenty of pine nuts from various parts of the world: Russia, Italy and China. Could it be just an anomaly caused by some abnormal weather condition in China back in 2009 that caused pine trees to produce these unusual triglycerides?

Too bad I didn’t use the “pine mouth” term in my Aug 2009 blog post, otherwise, I might have made a reference in Dr. Munk’s article :-)


[1] Munk, M. D. “Pine mouth” syndrome: cacogeusia following ingestion of pine nuts (genus: pinus). An emerging problem? J Med Toxicol 6, 158-159 (2010).