Loss of taste and smell is not unique to Covid 19, although around 30 to 50% of patients are affected by this syndrome.
It also occurs as a result of traumatic brain injury.
What causes anosmia?
What are its consequences on the daily lives of people with pain?
How to deal with this problem and what natural treatment can be undertaken to try to recover olfactory faculties?
We will try to answer them in this complete guide.
What is anosmia?
Anosmia results in a total or partial loss of the sense of smell.
People suffering from it can no longer distinguish odors and, in turn, lose the taste of food.
We then speak of anosmia associated with ageusia, loss of taste and smell.
It is the result of a traumatic brain injury because the nerve that controls smell, the olfactory nerve, is located behind the ear, in proximity to the surface, and is thus exposed to possible trauma.
Researchers believe that this symptom, which also appears during a Covid19 infection, is linked to nerve cells in the upper nasal cavity that is subject to severe inflammation.
Unfortunately, most neurologists test overall neurological function and omit the cranial nerve that controls the sense of smell.
This is because the olfactory nerve is not examined until the patient complains of obvious symptoms.
But often he is not asked if he suffers from a loss of taste or smell and sometimes he does not realize that his problems are related to a traumatic event.
So he continues to suffer in silence and the nerve is never examined.
Causes of anosmia
Apart from Covid19 and traumatic injuries, anosmia can also manifest as:
- viral infection
- sinus infection
- due to side effects of a drug
- advancing in age
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
The consequences of the loss of smell
Whatever the cause, the consequences of a loss of the sense of taste and smell can be very serious.
People cannot imagine what it is to live without these perceptions.
Getting up in the morning and smelling the smell of coffee, the smells of good memories or even the bad smells that protect us from certain substances… taste, smell and their loss have a very negative impact on the emotional, safety, and health level.
This deficiency can greatly affect the safety of the person who is no longer able to spot toxic odors like gas or is unable to detect the taste or smell of spoiled food, etc.
It also impairs appetite or causes increased consumption of sugar or salt.
It can also be the source of a catch or an involuntary weight loss and questioning the person’s lifestyle.
It can ultimately complicate personal relationships.
For some, this condition can lead to depression.
How do I diagnose a loss of taste and smell?
Some test kits are available (#ad), and odor identification tests that offer fragrances to be determined.
It helps identify loss of perception to assess nerve damage.
Nevertheless, this syndrome is still poorly defined and new research must be undertaken on this serious injury caused by various moderate or severe brain traumas, and by the Covid19 virus.
Covid19 loss of smell
As you know, the coronavirus primarily affects the sense of smell.
This virus attacks nasal cells and in particular olfactory neurons which are odor receptors.
The viral involvement appears to also target the supporting cells of the nasal mucosa which have ACE2 receptors to which the coronavirus attaches.
The death of these cells and destruction of the olfactory neurons follow.
Note however that the olfactory mucosa can regenerate itself because it contains stem cells within it.
Persistent anosmia over months would also be caused by damage to these stem cells impacted by the virus.
This is the reason why some people do not regain their sense of taste and smell for months.
The second impact of this virus is a change in perception which can lead to an unpleasant taste or odor that is constant, a syndrome known as dysgeusia (also known as paragueusia) for the taste and parosmia for the smell.
It should be noted that 90% of those affected will recover spontaneously from this dysfunction.
But for 10% of patients affected by Covid 19, these symptoms persist over time and greatly disrupt their quality of life.
In this case, it is then very likely that the infection and inflammation were more severe.
When the infection starts, the cells are destroyed, but sometimes it even gets to the nerves.
The result is a slower recovery in terms of months or even years when it comes to the recovery of the senses.
It is therefore essential to support nerve cells to help them recover while re-adapting the brain to regain these altered senses.
Some studies suggest that the inflammation persists because the virus remains lodged.
It is, therefore, possible that these people with long-term anosmia have chronic inflammation that they can treat on their own.
For some patients, the senses return slowly but partially.
It is therefore important to consider gradual rehabilitation to regain 100% of your abilities.
How to treat long-term loss of taste and smell?
Of course, a lot of research is underway but researchers are already insisting on the major role of olfactory rehabilitation.
Doctors recommend using essential oils twice a day for three months.
Their protocol is already in place.
You start with the use of essential oils from:
Very consistently, you sniff the open bottle of the first essential oil for 20 to 30 seconds.
You put the bottle down and give a one-minute break.
You then move on to the second, sniffing 20 to 30 seconds and so on for each oil.
You do this first cycle twice a day for 3 months without stopping.
If at the end of this quarter, the senses are still not restored, you begin phase 2 of the rehabilitation.
This time you are using these essential oils:
You then begin the second cycle of 3 months to restore the senses.
You will then begin to notice some changes in perception.
Your trained brain will pick up certain signals and begin to reprogram itself to reestablish the sensory connection.
And if you want to recover your 100% functions, proceed to phase 3 using these essential oils:
- tea tree
- gardenia (#ad)
You will thus begin a new 3-month cycle to regain the sharpness of your olfactory perceptions and your taste.
The treatment can be long, from quarter to quarter for up to nine months, but if you are persistent and rigorous, you will regain your senses.
Be sure to limit or quit smoking and make sure that no sinus problems are affecting you as it could be the cause of this anosmia.
Supplements to help regain sense of smell
The first thing to know is that for most patients with Covid19, taste and smell are restored in one to 4 weeks.
To treat this dysfunction, certain supplements are highly recommended:
Zinc and loss of smell
Zinc is a mineral that is involved in over a thousand body functions.
Depending on age, gender, and possible health problems, zinc requirements are quite different.
Zinc deficiency is a major cause of loss of smell and taste.
Indeed, zinc binds to an enzyme to allow the perception of flavors.
You should know that the body does not store this mineral but has daily needs which must be met by food because the role of zinc is also to support the immune system.
It fights against bacteria and infections.
If you want to supplement yourself, choose chelated zinc (#ad).
To restore your senses, you should opt for a dosage ranging between 30 and 50mg and take it daily until improvement.
Do not exceed the dose of 100mg/per day at the risk of creating a copper deficiency by too much zinc intake.
* It is important to note that copper and zinc work together in the body, as do other minerals like iodine, boron, and selenium.
It is highly recommended to balance the intake by eating much seafood such as mussels, oysters, crab, whelks, shrimps, etc.
Apple cider vinegar and smell
To facilitate absorption of zinc by the stomach, dilute 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (#ad) in a glass of water and drink it before each meal.
Benfotiamine (vitamin b1)
Benfotiamine or vitamin B1 helps the olfactory nerve already weakened by excessive alcohol consumption, too much sugar, diabetes, and other ailments.
Choose a liposoluble benfotiamine (#ad) so that the vitamin more easily penetrates the nerves and begins to repair them.
The recommended dose is 100mg a day.
It is well known that a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause taste and smell disturbances.
Indeed, it is involved in the regeneration of epithelia.
Opt for a methylcobalamin supplement (#ad) that is better absorbed by the body.
The recommended dosage is 5,000 mcg per day.
Folic acid or vitamin b9 is also great for treating anosmia.
It is known to participate in the regeneration of the olfactory system even in a healthy individual.
Folic acid is essential for cell regeneration, and tissue formation and helps support the immune system.
Note that the maximum daily intake is 1000 µg (1 mg) for an adult.
So prefer a vitamin b9 supplement (#ad) providing an average of 500-800 µg.
Alpha lipoic acid for loss of smell
If the loss of smell has occurred as a result of a respiratory infection, supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid is highly recommended.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a sulfur acid that is naturally present in cells.
A powerful antioxidant, it can neutralize all types of free radicals because it is both water-soluble (soluble in water) and liposoluble (soluble in fats).
It can therefore intervene in all parts of cells while helping to renew other antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and glutathione.
Scientific research shows that it can restore the senses by reversing nerve damage, it neutralizes neuropathies.
The recommended dosage is a maximum of 600mg per day to avoid side effects.
Choose the R form and not the S form which cannot be assimilated by the body, like this alpha-lipoic acid supplement (#ad)
If you have diabetes, be sure to monitor your blood sugar.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Oral intake of Omega 3 fatty acids has been documented in the treatment of anosmia.
They have been shown to significantly reduce the inflammatory response and participate in the regeneration of olfactory neurons.
Their neuroprotective effect seems to be linked to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
However, preference should be given to the long-chain Omega 3s found in fish oils (#ad).
The recommended dosage is 1000mg twice a day.
Vitamin A nasal drops have shown some efficacy without side effects for patients with anosmia from Covid 19.
Indeed, vitamin A has been documented to improve the health and connectivity of neurons by promoting tissue regeneration.
Combined with scent training, intra-nasal vitamin A appears to show faster recovery of smell.
You can use a nasal ointment like this (#ad)
As we have seen previously, you can carry out olfactory rehabilitation on your own, at home.
It is important to note that it is essential for the recovery of the olfactory system.
Daily training is part of the medical treatment protocol for long-term rehabilitation.
So, it is not about neglecting this step, it is crucial to reprogram the brain and help it regain its normal perception.
By practicing this training twice a day (morning and evening) for 4 different scents for 2 to 3 months, you will finally recover the sensations of taste and smell both by cell regeneration and by the rehabilitation of the cognitive odor circuit.
How to regain sense of smell?
Zinc is an essential mineral for maintaining the senses of taste and smell.
Among other causes, you may lose them when the zinc level is too low in the body due to a viral infection, a digestive problem, or an unbalanced diet.
To regain your normal perception, it is essential to restore this zinc level and to accumulate it for a while through appropriate supplementation while carrying out olfactory rehabilitation to reprogram the brain.
Please share your experience in the comments. It could help more than one.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if you have lost your sense of smell?
Just do a simple test with an alcohol swab to determine if your sense of smell is impaired.
You place it within ten centimeters of your nose and sniff.
If you don’t feel anything, you have anosmia.
What is cacosmia?
It is a disorder of smell that results in an unpleasant odor being smelled permanently.
It is often linked to a sinus or dental infection.
It is not part of the symptoms of Covid19 but can rarely declare itself after the infection.
Why do I smell a weird smell since I got sick?
You have been the victim of anosmia during an infectious episode, whether it is Covid19 or a simple cold.
It takes time for the brain to re-educate itself and it sometimes makes mistakes during this new learning.
Olfactory rehabilitation can help you restore this dysfunction.
What is the treatment for loss of smell?
The treatment of anosmia is above all the treatment of its cause.
If it is an allergy, it will be treated as such.
In the case of rhinitis or sinonasal polyposis, cortisone is preferred.
Any bacterial disease is countered by antibiotic treatment.
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