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Vitamins to Improve Sense of Smell and Taste

Vitamins to Improve Sense of Smell and Taste

Our 5 senses give the world around us meaning. When our sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell, all come together unobstructed; we are able to function normally and enjoy the things in life we sometimes take for granted. Whether it be the sweet smell of freshly baked bread or the mouth-watering taste of your favourite dish, our sense of smell and taste make all the difference. If our sense of smell begins to diminish however, our sense of taste is not too far behind. This is because the olfactory area in the nose controls both our taste and smell, so if one sense is affected, so is the other. There are many reasons why one can lose their sense of taste and smell. Factors include aging, head injury, infection, cancer treatment, smoking, medication and most importantly, nutrient deficiencies.

Nutrient deficiencies, in particular Zinc, Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D, all play a key role in helping us maintain our sense of taste and smell. In this article, we will discuss these vitamins for smell and taste and also go over some tips on how we can train these senses for an enhanced experience.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 functions to maintain healthy red blood cells, nerve cells and is even involved in the making of DNA.  Deficiency has been linked to anaemia, disturbed vision and loss of smell. In a study published by the National Library of Medicine, it was concluded that olfactory dysfunction was present in individuals who had a vitamin B12 deficiency. Adult male and females should be getting at least 4-5 mcg of B12 a day. Food sources include meat, fortified breakfast bars and cereals, clams, tuna and trout.


Zinc has been widely used to treat things like acne, fight off infection, expedite the healing of wounds and boost the immune system. What is not commonly known about Zinc is its huge role in the function of our taste buds and the maintenance of the cell membrane. Deficiency has been linked to loss of taste.

Women need roughly 8mg while men need about 13mg of zinc a day. Food sources include red meats, seafood, seeds and poultry.

Vitamin D

Studies have shown a link between vitamin D supplementation and improving or restoring one’s sense of smell. Vitamin D deficiency is common, especially in countries with colder climates and less sunlight. It’s vital importance in bone health isn’t all this Sunshine vitamin is good for, it also plays an important role in the human olfactory system and proper intake, keeps our sense of smell strong. Adults should get at least 15 mcg of vitamin D a day via supplementation, or in foods like meats, fortified cereals and orange juice, lentils and soy products.

Tips to Improve your Sense of Smell and Taste

Smell More

We all know that the more you use something, the better you get at using it. Try smelling a variety of things, from perfumes to flowers to food and freshly cut grass. Be aware of what you’re smelling and it will help improve this sense.

Stop Smoking

Studies have shown that smoking can damage your sense of taste and smell overtime. Cutting back or completely stopping, can improve these senses. 

Inhale and Move Food Around

When chewing your food, draw a small amount of air into your mouth to increase the rate at which the aromas go into your nasal cavity. Another trick is that as you chew, move the food around your mouth to help stimulate your taste buds. The food will dissolve more easily and quickly, which will help release potent aromas to be processed by your olfactory area in the nose.

Be Adventurous

Challenge yourself to try new foods! Order an unfamiliar dish at a restaurant, be open to trying foods from different cultures, new vegetables and different smoothie combinations. Exposing your taste buds to unfamiliar things, allows for a wider palette and a keener sense of taste. 

All in all, our sense of taste and smell work hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other as their ability to function are both controlled by the olfactory nerve area. There are many different ways we can revitalize and wake up our senses, but consider getting tested for vitamin deficiency as vitamins play a huge role in the maintenance of good health and all of our five senses.
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