While the idea of a salad makes the taste buds tingle in some people, the idea of chewing through a bowl of vegetables sounds more like a punishment.
If you can’t stand broccoli, celery, or kale, you may be a “ super tastier, ” and a new study suggests it may protect you from Covid-19.
Supertasters are people who are very sensitive to bitterness due to a genetic mutation in the taste gene, T2R38.
Now, researchers at Louisiana Sinus and Nasal Specialists have found that people with this mutation are less likely to get Covid-19 and less likely to be hospitalized for the infection when they do.
If you can’t stand broccoli, celery, or kale, you might be a ‘super tastier,’ and a new study suggests it may protect you from Covid-19 (stock image)
Are you a super probe?
To find out if you are a super probe:
1. Darken your mouth by swirling around red wine
2. Take a piece of stationery with holes in the margin about 6 mm in diameter
3. Place a hole over your tongue and count the number of papillae – small fleshy protrusions – that pop through.
4. If you have less than 15 you are a non-master, if you have 15 to 30 papillae you are a taster and anything over 30 means you are a super probe
Place a hole over your tongue and count the number of papillae – small fleshy protrusions – that pop through
Everyone inherits two copies of a flavor gene called T2R38 – one from your mother and one from your father.
However, there are several variants of the gene that can affect your sensitivity to bitter flavors.
For example, people who inherit two copies of a variant called AVI are not sensitive to bitter flavors, while those with an AVI variant and a PAV variant perceive bitter flavors.
And for people with two copies of the PAV variety, some foods taste extremely bitter.
In their new study, researchers studied 2,000 people, including non-tasters (people who can’t detect bitter flavors at all), super tasters (people who are extremely sensitive to bitter flavors), and tasters (people with average taste).
The participants were tested for Covid-19 and the results showed that non-tasters were significantly more likely to become infected than supertasters.
This group was also more likely to have severe Covid-19 than tasters or super tasters.
While the reason for this remains unclear, the researchers suggest that supertasters may produce more nitric oxide, which in turn damages any coronavirus particles.
In their study, published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers, led by Dr. Henry Barham, from: “When stimulated, T2R38 reacts by producing nitric oxide to help kill or prevent further virus replication in the respiratory mucosa.”
The researchers hope their findings will encourage further research into the benefits of a super probe.
“Further investigation of the potential for phenotypic expression of T2R38 as a factor associated with disease on a larger scale is warranted,” she added.
In their new study, researchers studied 2,000 people, including non-tasters (people who can’t detect bitter flavors at all), super tasters (people who are extremely sensitive to bitter flavors), and tasters (people with average taste)
“This finding has potential global implications for our understanding of SARS-CoV-2, in addition to annual infections with additional viruses, including influenza.”
According to Rob DeSalle, curator of entomology at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, 25 percent of people are non-tasters, 50 percent of people are tasters, and 25 percent of people are super tasters.
Less than one percent of people are super-super-tasters, and they are mostly women who are not of European ancestry.