Oral Zinc Sulfate Solutions Inhibit Sweet Taste Perception

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We investigated the ability of zinc sulfate (5, 25, 50 mM) to inhibit the sweetness of 12 chemically diverse sweeteners, which were all intensity matched to 300 mM sucrose [800 mM glucose, 475 mM fructose, 3.25 mM aspartame, 3.5 mM saccharin, 12 mM sodium cyclamate, 14 mM acesulfame-K, 1.04 M sorbitol, 0.629 mM sucralose, 0.375 mM neohesperidin dihydrochalcone (NHDC), 1.5 mM stevioside and 0.0163 mM thaumatin]. Zinc sulfate inhibited the sweetness of most compounds in a concentration dependent manner, peaking with 80% inhibition by 50 mM. Curiously, zinc sulfate never inhibited the sweetness of Na-cyclamate. This suggests that Na-cyclamate may access a sweet taste mechanism that is different from the other sweeteners, which were inhibited uniformly (except thaumatin) at every concentration of zinc sulfate. We hypothesize that this set of compounds either accesses a single receptor or multiple receptors that are inhibited equally by zinc sulfate at each concentration.

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