The taste map of the tongue is a fable: style is extra advanced and goes past the mouth | Health & Wellness | EUROtoday

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The conventional map of flavors within the language that was realized at school is a fable. That semicircle on the tip that delimited the notion of sweetness or these factors on each side that appreciated saltiness are, in actuality, an faulty or simplistic interpretation of how that total intricate sensory community that makes up style actually works. Try it: in case you place a couple of grains of salt on the tip of your tongue – the normal jurisdiction of the candy style – you’ll completely detect that salty sensation. Science has proven that the sense of style is far more advanced than the schematic drawing in textbooks and in addition goes past the mouth.

A scientific evaluation revealed within the journal New England Journal of Medicine He has reviewed how precisely the notion of flavors works within the mouth and has remembered that different organs, such because the gut, even have style receptors. “It's time to let go of old ideas, like the myth of the tongue's taste map (which persists in the collective consciousness despite decades of research debunking it) and the notion that taste is limited to the mouth. “Research reveals that downstream signaling from extraoral taste receptors regulates our physiological balance long after conscious taste has faded,” endocrinologist Josephine M. Egan of the National Institute of Medicine’s Clinical Research Laboratory proclaims within the article. Aging America.

The journey of the sense of style begins when chemical substances, meals flavorings, attain the mouth and activate style receptors. These cells, that are buried within the style buds, are those that acknowledge the first sensory qualities, the 5 flavors: candy, salty, bitter, bitter and umami. Human beings can have as much as 4,500 style buds and every of them has about 60 style receptors. Once activated, these sensory cells ship taste info to the mind and it integrates it, in flip, with the stimuli that come from the sense of odor and the data conveyed by the trigeminal nerve (answerable for registering texture, temperature or ache, for instance) to construct that advanced notion of style, explains Egan.

In this context, he provides, the style map that appeared in textbooks, with the first style qualities concentrated in particular areas, “is not accurate.” “Taste receptors sensitive to each flavoring are present in the taste buds of the entire tongue, which means that there is no taste map that represents regions of the tongue corresponding to specific tastes,” she clarifies.

José Manuel Morales, member of the Otology fee of the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery (SEORL-CCC), factors out that, certainly, the scheme with flavors by colour on the tongue is “quite simplistic.” “That comes from a misinterpretation of a German article from the early 20th century. Yes, there are different sensitivity thresholds in different areas of the tongue, but that was interpreted as privative areas. And it is not like that. There are taste buds on the tongue and they all perceive everything. But, depending on these stimulation thresholds, some flavors or others are perceived more,” he factors out.

The “evolutionary guardian”

The notion of a taste is subjective, however style qualities have that means for the physique. Taste is, in Egan's phrases, a type of “evolutionary guardian” of the substances that enter the physique as a result of it guides human beings towards tasty meals that comprise vitality and away from harmful substances. Thus, he says, the choice for sweetness is “innate, it develops long before birth and the consumption of sweet flavors generates satisfaction through central reward pathways.” Bitter and acidic flavors, alternatively, detect probably poisonous substances and therefore the innate aversion to those flavors, though it’s a rejection that may be overcome with “acquired preference and masking with sweet flavors,” the scientist clarifies.

Dietary patterns, in any case, additionally form style, agrees Egan: “Western diets rich in fats and carbohydrates change the proteomic landscape of the tongue and obese and diabetic mice and their offspring have a greater preference for sweet stimuli.” . The researcher provides, nonetheless, {that a} direct connection between weight problems and style notion in people has not but been demonstrated.

However, the sense of style doesn’t finish within the mouth both. There are extraoral receptors that, though they don’t instantly understand flavors as on the tongue, are additionally activated in a technique or one other when totally different style stimuli attain them. “Researchers have discovered diverse functions of extraoral taste receptors, such as regulating male fertility and protecting tissue in the pulmonary vasculature. The intestine has emerged as a site to explore the participation of taste receptors and their subsequent signaling pathways in appetite, nutrition and diseases,” the scientist summarizes within the article.

Taste just isn’t an remoted sense within the mouth. Morales factors out, in actual fact, that “the most important thing for the interpretation of flavors” is the “interrelation between smell and taste.” “In order for you to perceive the nuances of a flavor, you need your sense of smell,” he defends.

Beyond the mouth

Regarding the style receptors past the mouth, he makes some extent: “It is not that we have taste buds in other parts of the body. But there are receptors in the cells that are similar to those in the cells of the salivary glands and that can be activated with the same elements. And these can influence the secretion of dopamine, the feeling of greater or lesser satiety or the secretion of insulin.”

But this doesn’t imply that the gut, for instance, can understand a selected taste: “The functioning of the receptors in the intestine does not transmit the sensation of taste, but rather triggers a process of regulation or deregulation of insulin or something else.” And he offers an instance to grasp it: “A patient with stomach cancer, who undergoes a gastrostomy [colocación de una sonda de alimentación que va directamente al estómago], does not eat by mouth. If we were able to perceive flavor in the intestine, that patient could tell if what was coming to him or her was sweet or salty. And he can't. Because flavor, as we all understand it, is detected in the mouth. “Receptors in other parts of the body have another function.”

Diego Bohórquez, a neuroscientist at Duke University, found in animal research that cells that detect glucose within the gut not solely establish it, but additionally distinguish it from different sweeteners and talk that info to the mind utilizing totally different neurotransmitters. “When the mouse is stimulated, it chooses to consume the glucose because that brings it calories and the sweetener does not. And when we turn off these cells in the intestine—not on the tongue—the mouse literally becomes blind and cannot distinguish between a sweetener and a sugar,” he says.

There are style buds on the tongue they usually all understand every thing. But, relying on these stimulation thresholds, some flavors or others are perceived extra.”

José Manuel Morales, doctor of the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology

Extrapolated to humans, the researcher gives as an example the global preference for sugary soft drinks compared to their low-calorie counterparts. “We instinctively prefer sugar more than sweetener. And the fascinating thing is that before it was believed that it was only in the language and, in reality, it is the intestine that is guiding that decision making,” he defends.

In this context, he says, language “simply creates an initial, alert representation.” If it is something toxic, the tongue will say no and will not consume it. But once the mouth accepts food, you have to “trust” the intestine, he says: “The intestine has to detect, discern, communicate and react to that stimulus. And we are realizing that the intestine not only changes with respect to the stimulus, but on many occasions, it also anticipates the stimulus. “The change in the sensory ability of the gut is what causes us to crave a certain food.”

Thus, stimulating the taste receptors on the tongue is not the same as not receiving the stimulation of sugar in the intestine, exemplifies Bohórquez: “There are some references that chewing gum causes reflux in many people and causes reflux because it is receiving the candy here [en la boca] and the intestine is preparing, but it does not receive the sugar. Then he gets irritated and petulant.”

More flavors

The confines of taste are still being investigated, how far the role of each organ goes and how that representation of meaning is constructed. There is even talk of new flavors, such as fat. Although there is debate there. “This is like a color palette, that with the three basic basics you can obtain the entire chromatic range,” Morales exemplifies. “Flavors are obtained with a mix of the totally different taste qualities of meals. Fatty or metallic taste are mixtures of the 5 primary ones. Is spiciness a taste? Not for me. Gustatory sensitivity is a mix of sensations chemical substances but additionally notion by means of the trigeminal, which supplies us the feeling of temperature and texture. If spicy produces a trigeminal sensation, I’d not establish it as a taste,” he explains.

Bohórquez also highlights the subjectivity of perception: “The beauty of biology is that diversity, which with a combination of five things and the variability that can exist in each of the receptors, creates such a diverse representation of the world for each individual, which is completely unique. What is sweet for you is completely different than what is sweet for me, even though we are talking about a chemical that is completely standardized.”

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