Sense of Smell Deficits are Common

Several studies have shown an important relationship between malnutrition and a reduced sense of smell. Several cases indicate that a vitamin D3 deficiency can cause a reduced sense of smell. Deficiencies in vitamins B12 and E may also reduce your sense of smell.

smell photo

Photo by Paula Satijn

In addition, deficiencies in zinc can reduce your sense of smell. Dr. Robert Henkin, Director of the Taste and Smell Clinic in Washington, D.C. believes that 20-25% of taste and smell problems are related to zinc. It may not be a zinc deficiency, but because the body has difficulty processing zinc.

You may think that zinc deficiencies occur only in third-world countries where so many are malnourished. But, this is not the case. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 35-45% of the elderly in the US are zinc deficient.

Other conditions beside malnutrition can cause a reduced sense of smell. For example certain medications, upper airway infections, head trauma, neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, and smoking can reduce the sense of smell.

In the United States more than half the older people between the ages of 65-80 have a reduced sense of smell. Three-quarters of those 80 or older have a reduced sense of smell.

The reduced sense of smell can have an effect on appetite. A reduced sense of smell reduces your pleasure of eating, making food less appetizing. This could cause you to eat less and become further malnourished. It also influences your food choices and may reduce your consumption of wholesome foods.

A study has found that deficits in the sense of smell are important contributors to the frequently observed lack of appetite in patients with serious kidney disease.
Nutrition Research News — ScienceDaily

If you notice a reduced sense of smell, first look to your diet. Make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body requires. You make be malnourished and don’t know it.

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