Thursday, August 21, 2008

The sixth taste

Calcium which is responsible for healthy strong bones has been identified as the sixth taste that can be sensed by the tongue. The other five tastes previously discovered where sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savoury. The taste of calcium is calciumy which is a bitter taste combined with a slightly sour flavor. In our daily life we find calcium in tiny levels in drinking water which is often pleasant to our taste buds. But if calcium increases above a certain level the same water becomes obnoxious. This has a strong association with people showing antipathy towards certain vegetables. Calcium rich vegetables are spinach, broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, kale and bitter lemon. Ironically milk which is a big source of calcium doesn't taste bad because the calcium binds with the fats and proteins that suppresses its flavor. Two genes are responsible for calcium taste. A calcium-sensing receptor gene called as CaSR is present in kidney, brain and gut. Now another gene has been identified on the tongue.

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