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Zinc Sulfate for loss of taste

Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 2018

I am taking Xeloda as chemotherapy.  Prior to diagnosis I started losing my sense of taste. For a while after surgery I got my sense of taste back and then when I started chemo I lost it again. The dietician I spoke with thought that Zinc Sulflate would help solve the problem, but it might take up to a month.  Cancer can cause mineral deficiencies. I was thinking that the nutritional IV I was on at the hospital after surgery had Zinc in it, but since it was given 24 hours/day for a week, it resolved the problem fairly quickly. Chemo leached it out again.  So far, the research shows that it may/may not work. 

Right now I find I can eat Chef-Boy-Adree canned pasta and pickled herring because they have a certain amount of sweetness I can taste. Bread, crackers, potatoes, and meat (beef, pork, chicken, tuna) taste like putty.  I can't taste salt. Most veggies, fruits, and herbs have no flavor, just texture. Smoothies are okay, but I have another 3 months of chemo to get through.

Has anybody tried zinc sulfate for loss of taste? Is there anything else I can try?



SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1176
Joined: Apr 2017

There are a number of supplements that are thought to help with chemo, but I am unaware of any that deal specifically with taste.  For me, eating was difficult on chemo, but I approached it like a job--just something that you need to do whether you enjoy it or not.  Things I previously liked, I found unapetizing.  I guess it just goes with the consensus that "chemo sucks."

Joan M's picture
Joan M
Posts: 411
Joined: Oct 2016

It was the worst on Folfox.  I couldn't taste much of anything and also had the problem of shock sensations when eating anything cold.  Seems like I should have lost a ton of weight but found myself eating more hoping that something would taste good.


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