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Nutrition. 2014 Jun;30(6):690-5. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Nov 19.

Effects of smell loss (hyposmia) on salt usage.

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Center for Molecular Nutrition and Sensory Disorders, The Taste and Smell Clinic, Washington, District of Columbia, USA. Electronic address:



Smell loss (hyposmia) inhibits flavor perception and influences food intake. To compensate for flavor loss, some patients with hyposmia appear to increase salt usage. The purpose of this study was to compare self-reported salt usage in patients with hyposmia with that in normal volunteers.


Salt usage was compared in 56 patients with hyposmia but with normal taste function with that in 27 normal volunteers. Salt usage was formulated with respect to 1) a standard quantitative salt intake scale, 2) salt addition related to food intake, 3) intake of foods and beverages with high salt content, and 4) salt intake related to presence or absence of hypertension.


Eighteen (32%) of the 56 patients self-reported increased salt usage; they were labeled "increased users." The other 38 hyposmic patients (68%) did not report increased salt usage; they were labeled "non-changers." Increased users estimated their salt usage rose an average 2.8 times that experienced before their hyposmia onset. They also reported adding salt to their food before tasting it and ate more highly salted foods than did the non-changers. Salt usage was not increased further among increased users with hypertension but was increased further among non-changers with hypertension.


Salt usage is increased among some patients with hyposmia presumably to enhance flavor perception to compensate for diminished flavor perception related to loss of smell.


Hypertension; Hyposmia; NaCl; Salt intake; Smell loss

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