Health Issue

Despite little known and researched about the health effects of the syndrome, food authorities and retailers are hastily dismissing the pine nut syndrome (PNS) as a non-food safety issue due to the low frequency of reports and due to most cases resolving on their own without medical intervention.

“This is not a food safety issue, but the Agency is trying to get more information about why this is happening… As far as the Agency is aware, no adverse health effects have been associated with these symptoms.” (Food Standards Agency, UK)
 

It is also a common misconception that the taste senses are only a tool of pleasure, neglecting that severe and extended taste disturbances affects the quality of life by preventing the proper ingestion of food and nutrient intake. The symptoms of PNS also caused psychological and physical distress when victims are not able to establish what the problem is and are subjected to medical treatments. Moreover, taste disturbances as well as other physical manifestations such as diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea and headaches, are often signal underlying negative physiological effects. A small number of cases also reported long-lasting and recurring taste disturbances from a few months to 2 years after an extended period of PNS.

Due to each individual case involving different amounts of pine nuts, individual sensitivities, number of ingestion events, period of ingestions, and other possible interacting factors like age, sex, gender, diet, physiological health, it is necessary to also consider individual cases (statistics don’t provide an accurate picture) as an indicator of the potential adverse effects of the problem pine nuts on consumers.

Below, I have included several victim cases to illustrate the above-mentioned points on why PNS should be considered a health issue.

(a) Restricts eating behaviors and prevents the proper ingestion of food

In many severe cases, victims are unable to obtain proper nutrition during the course of symptoms, which could last for weeks and months if the pine nuts are repeatedly ingested without the victim’s knowledge of the cause of the problem. Not only is the pleasure of eating lost, victim’s health is compromised and weight loss is frequently reported.

“…I’m on day 2 and the bitterness is so intense that the inside of my mouth feels blistered and sore. I usually only drink water and tea but water tastes absolutely foul right now and while tea is OK at the time, the bitter aftertaste is disgusting. I drank a glass of water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda this morning – that was better than plain water. But I’ve since tried peppermint tea and that is definitely good. I’ve also discovered that I can eat crystallized ginger and salted peanuts, so that’s what I’m going to be living on for the next few days.”
 
“I ate only crackers and water for days to get me through it, it was terrible!”
 
“…its Wed today. I live in country NSW Australia & I ate pine nuts last fri night in couscous & again on Sat night in dip. Bad taste started on Sat but Sunday it progressed across everything I ate. … I have got progressively worse and today it is very bad. Last night was very nauseated and today so bad I have taken 1/2 an imodium tab to see if that works. I still eat and drink in an attempt to override it but some foods are overwhelmingly disgusting, eg feta cheese & carrots. Peppermint tea does subside it a bit. i have had a few sporadic headaches that go away with panadol. Luckily I can take time out as I really don’t want to do anything until this thing passes…my stomach is very bloated and noisy with gastro type pain and intermittent nausea, and sometimes I almost feel disorientated when the metallic mouth surges.”
 
“I have tried to eat a variety of the foods that are mentioned as ok, but found for me that only vinegar and lemon are ok. I put this on a bunch of spinach last night so I could eat something. This was still tough. Green olives were tolerable. Water is good. Sour apple chewing gum is what I go to after trying something and hating it, to get that bitter out as fast as possible. For me, the spicy foods do not work; hummus, dark stout beer, cheese, ice cream, cupcake, very sweet cookie, muffin, salty chips, were all bad. Peanut butter was tolerable, and peppermint tea is great. I have decided to take this opportunity to start the Master Cleanse diet today–it’s a liquid cleanse with ingredients of fresh lemon and grade B maple syrup. I’ve done the cleanse before and liked it. Since I can’t eat, this seems like a good time to do it and the drink is ok (lemons are the best relief I have found).”
 
 

(b) Psychological distress from repeated and extended afflictions

The lack of awareness of the problem and the difficulties in associating the symptoms with pine nuts ingested 1-3 days ago have caused many people to consume the problem pine nuts on multiple occasions or over an extended period of time. Not knowing what was the root of the problem has caused a lot of distress, especially with doctor visits that warned of more severe health disorders.

“…This happened to me in 2004 but I didn’t relate the problem to pine nuts. I still am not sure it was that back then, but it lasted 3 months. I went to every medical specialist, had all kinds of tests and nothing turned up. Then it just went away. Now that I look back, I remember just one time ever purchasing a very large bag of pine nuts at Costco because they were a good price for a very large amount. I am thinking now, that I must have munched on them for a period of three months and when they ran out, that was when the symptoms disappeared. This is the weirdest thing I ever heard. Last time I had an MRI of my brain, and an endoscopy. It was very frightening. I had no other symptoms beside taste disturbance.”
 
“…I first had pine nut syndrome in May of 2009, from Trader Joe’s toasted pine nuts (Korea/Russia origin), and it was very hard to find information about it then – I was so worried until I finally found something about it and it clicked. I kept eating pine nuts, because I love them, and haven’t had any issues for almost 2 years, even eating the SAME pine nuts from Trader Joe’s. Now I have it again, and I recognized that bad taste in my mouth instantly! I had pine nuts on my pasta (plus a handful plain) and 12 days later (2 days if it was after the first time, 1 day if it was the leftovers that did it!), I’ve got it again. THIS time, however, there are many resources available, the best of which is your blog!! It is also not as bad this time – I don’t know if it is actually less severe, or if knowing what it is and that it will pass makes it easier, or if it’s just that I know which foods to avoid.”
 
“…I had been experiencing this off and on for several months before relating it to the pine nuts I had been eating…. I have eaten pine nuts many times in the past with no ill effects but never this size or shape of pine nut raw before (small and roundish instead of longer and more oblong.) I can dimly recall other incidents of bad taste over the last few years which may have occurred after eating pine nuts or pesto, but back then I did not relate my symptoms to something I had been eating. This definitely makes me want to avoid pine nuts in the future, which makes me very sad as I think they are delicious.”
 
 

(c) Unwarranted medical treatments from wrong diagnoses

The recentness of the problem and the lack of published information about it means that the syndrome is largely unknown by medical doctors, who then subsequently prescribe drugs believing that the taste disturbances are due to other health disorders.

“My dentist put me on antibiotics for a week thinking it maybe an infected root canal. This straggly did improve the symptoms but they came back when the course finished and I had another salad.”
 
“…I saw a couple of doctors when I first experienced the bitter taste in my mouth they were not aware of the pine nut syndrome then. That was in mid July, and I was prescribed one tablet of Nexium 40mg daily (manufactured by AstraZeneca UK Limited) for a couple of weeks, for what was presumed to be some mild incidence of reflux disease. The medicine seemed to have cured the problem (unless in reality it was the symptom itself which had worked its way out of my system), but soon enough it recurred a couple of times which is when I found about the pine nut syndrome in the course of an internet search, having googled “bitter taste in the mouth”.
 
 

(d) Long-lasting effects of taste disturbance

There were several cases that reported long-lasting taste disturbances, especially after an extended period of ingesting a large problem batch of pine nuts. No consumer should be subjected to such a possibility of long-term adverse effects.

“It is about two years ago…over a long time we ate a lot of pine nuts in dishes, as a snack and so on. I still have complaints (especially bread and wine still taste bitter and like metal)…”
 
“I got pinemouth in mid january of this year and I still have it! that means I have had it for 4.5 months!!!!! the severity has dropped it plataued after 6 weeks but is not getting any better…..”
 
“… I am doing better at the 3 weeks mark. My symptoms are 90% improved. IT has been awful and I hope that one day there will be a warning about eating raw pine nuts. … sometimes I have a good day and then it returns. 3 months later: …I am still having some weird taste issues, not knowing why.”
 

[Updated: 5 June 2011]

43 Responses to Health Issue

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Grace,
    I’m very relieved to have found your website! I just started experiencing what I strongly suspect is PNS. I ate a handful of pine nuts (originating from China) on two occasions over the weekend (between 24 and 48 hours ago) before first noticing a bitter taste this afternoon. I wasn’t aware of it when I had my breakfast and brushed my teeth at around 8:00am, but immediately noticed a strong after-taste while eating lunch about 4 hours later, so the condition would appear (in my case, at least) to have quite a rapid onset after the initial 24-48 hours incubation period. I’ll monitor my experience and fill out your survey as soon as the symptom passes.
    Many thanks.

  2. Ruth says:

    Hi Grace,

    I’m so relieved to have found your blog. Thanks so much for your research. I ate pine nuts purchased from Trader Joe’s (Korea/Russia) in Pasadena, CA. I sprinkled them on a salad that I made for Thanksgiving dinner. By Saturday night (2 days later), I began to experience “metal mouth.” Ate more salad with pine nuts on Sunday night, and by Monday, I not only had metal mouth, but also horrible stomach cramps, which I am still experiencing. I plan to return the bag of pine nuts, along with copies of some articles, to Trader Joe’s today. Please let me know if you want a sample.

  3. Steven Dressler says:

    Hi, I had a salad with pine nuts at a restaurant in New Jersey three nights ago. Upon arriving home I had some yogurt and noticed a slight metallic taste on my lips and end of tongue after eating, and then had diarrhea. These symptoms have continued have continued steadily, but the metallic taste has not worsened, and it is only after eating. The second night and following morning I also had stomach muscle pain when moving or inhaling deeply, which has subsided.

  4. Cindy Wadling says:

    Following my third day of a very strong after taste after everything I eat or drink I googled “strong after taste for a few days” and came across your site. I had salad with pine nuts sprinkled on it for lunch on Tuesday and again Tuesday night for my evening meal and first noticed the after taste when I thought the milk in my tea the next day had gone off, then realised I was also getting that taste with my cereal, a piece of fruit, and even a glass of water… and everything else I have eaten or drank since then. I am diabetic and am aware sometimes a metallic after taste can be a warning of uncontrolled sugar levels or imbalance in medication, but my sugar levels are fine and I have recently been to the GP and all was good. Reading the comments on your site as well as on others now that I have been made aware of “pine mouth” I am fairly certain this must be it. The pine nuts I consumed were bought at a Sainsbury’s in south east England in December, are still in date until August 2011, and the label shows what I assume is a batch number: L0018025 10:26 produce of China. The nuts appear to be a uniform colour, they do not have a darker tip like mentioned above… but the symptoms are so similar it is hard to believe it could be anything else. Thanks for posting what you know — it was really bothering me that I could not figure out what was causing this. I have enjoyed pine nuts for years without experiencing this before, but I do not think I will be risking a recurrence of this terribly unpleasant taste again.

  5. annette says:

    Hi, its Wed today. I live in country NSW Australia & I ate pine nuts last fri night in couscous & again on Sat night in dip. Bad taste started on Sat but Sunday it progressed across everything I ate. I googled on sunday night “bitter metallic mouth” and came up with 3 very useful sites and blogs. So at least I could correlate my symptoms to others that seem to have or had pine mouth. I have got progressively worse and today it is v bad. Last night was very nauseated and today so bad I have taken 1/2 an imodium tab to see if that works. I still eat & drink in an attempt to override it but some foods are overwhelmingly disgusting, eg feta cheese & carrots. Peppermint tea does subside it a bit. i have had a few sporadic headaches that go away with panadol. Luckily I can take time out as I really dont want to do anything until this thing passes. I will post again tomorrow (day 6) and report if the imodium has helped or not. My sister developed it as well, (only 2 out of 5 people that ate the same) however she reports that hers seems to be subsiding yesterday and that beer was ok. I have several allergies ( latex, iodine, almonds, and all stone fruit ) so she suspects that I am suffering a more severe reaction because of this. I dont know- except my stomach is very bloated and noisy with gastro type pain and intermittent nausea, and sometimes I almost feel disorientated when the metallic mouth surges. BTW i read on another site some people reported a small blister sore on the inside of their mouth and i too had one inside my lip on sat but have never had a cold sore in my life. I was also very thirsty late and during the night on friday.

  6. Paula says:

    Glad I didn’t wait to google my strange symptoms. I can’t believe trader joes and whole foods are knowingly letting people get sick! I feel like crap right now on day one of what is clearly this. I ate a couple of small handfuls of the little nuts from t.j.’s and today not only is everything I eat or drink bitter like poison, I have chest and stomach pain, surges of dizziness like I’m going to faint, and horrible gassiness, plus head ache, almost a stoned feeling. Anyone else get it this bad? Should I see a doctor, I’m small and ate a lot of them- the tight chest feeling disturbs me. I hope this site is a good help in making them pull these!! Outrageous!

    • annette says:

      Hi Paula – I hope you are getting some relief. Mine did last for exactly 8 days and some of those days I was so sick i kept thinking I would pass out. I decided not to see a dr as I felt that they are sometimes sceptical when you say you have googled a health query. I did find that the Imodium really helped my stomach & the gas / pain. It also alleviated my nausea. i took it on my two worst days. And I persevered with the peppermint tea even drinking it cold. Be careful you dont dehydrate when you are feeling so bad. It will pass…

  7. Evgen says:

    Добрый день.

    Я из России, город Тобольск это Сибирь, покупайте кедровые орехи не из Китая а у меня из Сибири и вкус будет отличный. Пишите на электронный адрес.

  8. otama says:

    I too experienced the bitterness and did not know what it was until I Googled it. I thought I was exhibiting symptoms of diabetes or something else. But when I read about PNS, I knew that’s what was bothering me. I had been eating pinenuts in several recipes, salads, pastas, and out of hand all week long. The pkg. of nuts was marked China. My bitterness lasted a little over two-weeks. It very slowly went away. I had no other symptoms – just the bitterness in my mouth whenever I’d eat or drink something.

  9. Janelle Dryer says:

    I made a pesto sauce on Friday night and I noticed the bitter taste in my mouth, but I didn’t know what had caused it. I looked online and saw that there were other cases of the same thing. My pine nuts were bought at Stater Bros. and when I looked on the package they were made in China. Does the FDA know about these problems? Janelle D. daisy1954@aol.com

  10. Maggie Wolfe Riley says:

    Hello Grace -

    Thank you for doing this research, compiling all this data, publishing it, and allowing us to share our experiences – this is great!

    I first had pine nut syndrome in May of 2009, from Trader Joe’s toasted pine nuts (Korea/Russia origin), and it was very hard to find information about it then – I was so worried until I finally found something about it and it clicked. I kept eating pine nuts, because I love them, and haven’t had any issues for almost 2 years, even eating the SAME pine nuts from Trader Joe’s.

    Now I have it again, and I recognized that bad taste in my mouth instantly! I had pine nuts on my pasta (plus a handful plain) and 1-2 days later (2 days if it was after the first time, 1 day if it was the leftovers that did it!), I’ve got it again. THIS time, however, there are many resources available, the best of which is your blog!! It is also not as bad this time – I don’t know if it is actually less severe, or if knowing what it is and that it will pass makes it easier, or if it’s just that I know which foods to avoid.

    I’m finding that sour foods are fine – vinegar, green olives – I’m going to the store to get pickles and sourkraut and whatever else I can find like that! Also, hot, spicy foods either don’t trigger it, or more likely, the “afterburn” masks the PNS effect. So I’m covering everything in chipotle tabasco!! I’m also going to try salty chips with hot salsa. Mint tea is lovely, as is brushing my teeth with baking soda and salt, for “cleaning” out that horrible taste. Regular toothpaste is awful!

    It’s interesting, and perhaps a clue to the mechanism of this syndrome that the two ion-channel taste buds (sour and salt) are not affected, but the G-Protein taste buds ARE – sweet is the worst, but bitter and savory are bad, too. I’m thinking sweet is also the worst because of the high contrast between the initial sweet taste and the horrible metallic-bitter aftertaste from PNS. If some chemical component in the pine nuts is affecting the G-Protein receptors, or the second messengers in the cell, what I wonder then is why it only lasts 1-2 weeks? And why does it take 1-2 days to take effect? I’m very interested in the physiology of this – I wish you luck on your research!!

  11. Maggie Wolfe Riley says:

    I’ve been doing experiments on myself!

    Pinch of flour (whole wheat) on my tongue produced the bitter/metallic aftertaste. I’d like to find an even more pure source of starch to try – it was a mild aftertaste, but that may be because there was only a pinch of flour.

    Pinch of salt on my tongue, while intense at first, produced NO bitter/metallic aftertaste, and I had a pleasantly salty taste in my mouth for a while after.

    Capful of apple cider vinegar, held in my mouth a bit before swallowing – kind of nice, actually! NO bitter/metallic aftertaste, and a pleasant sourness.

    Honey: I dipped a spoon tip into honey and ate that… I expected it to be horrible, but it wasn’t! In fact I am not experiencing any aftertaste – maybe an extremely mild one – but I wouldn’t notice it if I wasn’t looking for it. That’s interesting!! Honey is mostly fructose, right?

    Next, table sugar. Okay – this experiment isn’t working. Maybe I need to eat MORE of these items – I’m not getting a reaction from sucrose! That’s weird. Maybe there’s a threshold. Or maybe it’s actually not sugar that is the worst?

    Butter: I put a tiny bit of butter on my tongue until it melted. No reaction. But buttered toast is blechhh! So maybe it’s the toast more than the butter, since of my “pure” samples, I only got a clear reaction from wheat flour?

    I’m going to keep experimenting!

    • Leigh13 says:

      this is interesting, I have definitely noticed some foods are worse than others. A Green & Black’s chocolate bar was awful, so was pot roast. But spinach sauteed in lemon, garlic, and OO were pretty good. In case anyone is interested here are my Pine Mouth details:

      - bag from a local grocer called ShopRite, this is their private label package (not a bulk item)
      - its labeled Made in the USA (how can this be true? but it says that!!!)
      - When I look at the bag, I can see a few small round ones mixed in; I hear these are the bad ones.
      - I toasted mine before eating, and did not eat many
      - initial reaction felt like inflammation, my joints got sore and i got a feeling of fullness in my head (like an allergic reaction, but not quite)
      - 48 hours later I get a horrible, bitter, metallic aftertaste – I’m now on Day 4. Some foods worse than others
      - Lastly, I’m FILLED with guilt b/c I gave them to my 2 year old!

  12. Joan says:

    I bought pine nuts at Trader Joe’s under their label. After a few days of eating them in salads, I got pine mouth. I had no clue what it was and I suffered miserably. It threw me off my food plan and I ate crazy things. Chocloate and beef did not taste good. I had a horrible, dirt like taste in my whole mouth and it made almost all food taste terrible. Mine isn’t toally gone yet. and it has been a few weeks.
    I was so thankful when I discovered this information on the Net.
    BTW Trader Joe’s nuts come from: “Russia or Korea”…not China.
    Right now I feel like I’ll never eat pine nuts again.
    A question for you: I contacted a grower in Nevada, USA. Would theirs be safe to eat without what I’ve been calling pine nut mouth?
    Thanks very much, Grace.

    Joan

  13. Susie Iwaschina says:

    I filled out the survey but yet still have bitter taste in mouth. It has been over 4 weeks now and am concerned. I have read that some have it as long as 8 or 9 weeks. Can this be confirmed because I am getting worried that I may have something else. When I lick my lips, teeth or inside of my mouth I continue to have this bitter taste all the time even without eating food.
    Susie
    from MI, U.S.A.

  14. Pingback: Pine Nut Syndrome Thesis Completed! | The Great Pine Nut Mystery

  15. Louise says:

    Had pine nuts from trader Joe’s on Sunday. Just a handful on a salad. By Tuesday everything tasted horrible, metallic. Slowly got worse. Could hardly eat by Thursday. The bad taste after eating made me nauseous and tired. Today is Friday, only my fourth day. I hope this doesn’t last too long. It makes you feel horrible.

  16. Megan says:

    I had pine nuts from Trader Joes on May 29 and the bitterness in my mouth started two days later and lasted for two and a half weeks. Now I am having this weird feeling of food going down my back when I eat and a sort of tightness in my chest. I am also a little dizzy at times and my vision is weird. I don’t know if these later symptoms are related or not. If it continues I guess I will have to go to the doctor.

  17. James says:

    Had pine nuts from Tesco’s a few days ago… Same thing happened to me about 18 months ago, the metallic taste in my mouth lasted 3 weeks then, i hope it wont last as long this time! I should have known better and not have some again though…

  18. Michele says:

    I bought Trader Joe pine nuts last week (from the Capitola, CA store), ate a hand full 8 days ago. The next day I felt achy. The bitterness did not hit me for 48 hours and it made me feel very sick. My color was off, I felt nauseated, disconnected for a full 7 days. It affected my vision too. Finally my brother, an Osteopath, recommended I take Cholestyramine powder 4x a day until the symptoms are gone. It has really helped! It binds with fatty acids in the GI. Here’s more information on it, contraindications, etc:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholestyramine

    Due to the pain in my gall bladder region and the bitter taste (starting 48 hours after ingestion), I am assuming that the toxin from the PN’s reacts negatively with bile or fats that are already in our GI. That’s my non-medical take, but explains why the Cholestyramine may help.

    I will NEVER eat another pine nut again.

    • Cristina says:

      I am a lawyer in San Francisco and we are looking for individuals who have experienced an aftertaste or other adverse reactions from eating Pine Nuts from Trader Joe’s. Particularly, we are seeking San Francisco Bay Area folks who can provide us with information about when and where they purchased the pine nuts, the symptoms they experienced, whether they still have the pine nuts, and whether they saw a warning on the package of pine nuts. If you can provide any information, please contact me at cristina.rubke@sflaw.com or 415 773 7379.

  19. Marilyn says:

    Thank you so much for writing about this.

    I sampled only a small sample of about 12 nuts at Costco (Albany, Oregon) last week. It was about 24 hours later I noticed the horrible taste in my mouth after eating ANYTHING. I thought it might be because I was dehydrated so I drank more water which did not help. I’ve had this for a week now, and it doesn’t show signs of going away.

    I’m glad to know what it is, at least I’m not in distress that I may have some exotic disease, makes it a little easier to put up with the discomfort.

    After doing a Google search I found out what it was. I am glad I did NOT buy the bag and start eating them; I love pine nuts and used to eat a lot of them, this has NEVER happened to me before. I will never eat another pine nut. Stores should stop selling them immediately. I wrote to Costco customer service and told them they should alert their customers, but I’m not expecting them to do so.

  20. Julie says:

    Thank you so much for your Thesis. It has been a real relief to me to know that I am not the only one. I thought I had something neurological wrong with me.

    I bought mine at Hy Vee. Went back to look at brand and it was Eillien’s (Pine nuts from China). I made Pesto with fresh home grown basil. I am almost at week 5. The first 2 weeks was the worst, I could not even taste the food……everything was just bitter. The past 2 weeks it has come and gone….with some days being bad and others not as bad. Some days my lips even burn like a sun burn (can’t wear chapstick or lip stick). I hope this goes away soon. I have heard of people having the disturbance for months after only eating a few!

    I have not reported this yet. But, I will never eat a pine nut ever again!

  21. Patricia Morgan says:

    11/1/11 (Tuesday) made and ate pesto with T.J. pinenuts. Woke up Thursday (11/3/11) with horrible bitter taste that got worse when drinking or eating. Freaked out, was going to call the doctor, but googled first. Could not beleive all the others with the same symtoms. I am now on day 8, and though the bitterness has weakened, it is still there. I looked on the pkg. and it said: Korea, Russia, Viet Nam. I emailed trader Joe’s (11/3 ) and though their web reply stated “someone will be responding shortly and probably with a good joke”, I have not received a reply. THANK YOU! for your continued research on this horrible experience. PS: I have no other symptoms. I find doublemint gum is comforting.

    • Julie says:

      Many of us have been suffering for months. Everyone who has had this happen to them needs to also report to their local FDA. It’s a hassel to do so….but this problem is very much under reported and therefore not addressed by the FDA. Sooner or later they need to do something about this. Some of us have been to many Dr’s, had many tests, and still have the bitterness to some degree after months. Mine is almost 4 months now. The tip of my tongue still has bitterness to it at all times. I do not taste things bitter anymore…..but the tip of my tongue and sometimes the sides of it still have bitterness and burning most of the time. Hope you feel better soon.
      We have a facebook group if you want to join. Here is the link:
      https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/363321305833/
      Good Luck!

  22. Louise says:

    Same thing happened to me with Trader Joe’s Pine Nuts. It was horrible. I will never eat pine nuts again! Hope you get better soon.

  23. Sindee says:

    Had small amount of Trader Joe’s pine nuts in my Thanksgiving stuffing. The next day I started tasting the extreme bitterness. I can’t eat or drink a thing without being overwhelmed. Even licking my lips produces a horrendous bitter taste. I don’t care what anyone says… I absolutely cannot believe that such powerful symptoms don’t do damage. Where is the FDA in all this? Why is this stuff still allowed on shelves? The taste may go away…but does that mean that everything is all hunky-dory again? What about long-term effects??? How are medications affected? I think this is being taken too lightly.

    • Julie says:

      I agree with you Sindee. This issue is being taken way to lightly! I still have some effects 4.5 months later. I also think it causes cronic, whole body iflamation as well as other issues. 24 hrs after I ate them I broke out in a profuse sweat. Lasted only a few minutes but returned again the next day. The tip of my tongue still tastes bitter and tingles and burns on and off on a daily basis. Burning and tingling is a sign of nerve damage. I feel there has been other nerves in my body effected also. We all have been poisoned to some degree. Some more than others depending on how much we ingested, our age, etc. Everyone’s body also reactes a little differently when it is poisoned. Our individual bodies personal weeknesses are effected. This should not be allowed to go on!! WE ARE ALL BEING POISONED! Is anybody doing anything about this or even researching it? Report to FDA…..they need to know that this is still going on!

  24. Cristina says:

    The FDA is tracking complaints, so definitely report your case: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm247099.htm

    As I have posted previously, I am a lawyer in San Francisco and we are looking for individuals who have experienced an aftertaste or other adverse reactions from eating Pine Nuts from Trader Joe’s. Particularly, we are seeking San Francisco Bay Area folks who can provide us with information about when and where they purchased the pine nuts, the symptoms they experienced, whether they still have the pine nuts, and whether they saw a warning on the package of pine nuts. If you can provide any information, please contact me at cristina.rubke@sflaw.com or 415 773 7379.

    Hope you all feel better soon. Thankfully, I have not experienced this myself, but it sounds terrible.

  25. Teresa Sanders says:

    I just ate pine nuts I purchased from Trader Joe’s Friday 8/24/12. I now have the bitter metallic taste, along with a head ache, gas, and upset stomach. I don’t get it… why are they still selling these pine nuts? I can’t believe there is no health risk

  26. Julie says:

    Teresa, Sorry to hear you have become a victim of the Pine Nut Syndrome. I believe there are health risks. I suffered with the affects for over a year. Not just the bitter taste…that lasted 4 or 5 months, but I had buning on my tongue and lips that went on for over a year. The first few days after I ingested the pine nuts I had the bitter taste…whether I ate food or not…and severe sweats, like I had been poisoned. Hope yours goes away soon.

  27. billiebob says:

    I bought pine nuts at Costco about a week ago. Since then I snacked on them several times with the same results, most recently last evening. I can’t say that I have any taste disturbances, but the cramps, diarrhea and high temp have almost driven me to the ER. I’m certain that it was the pine nuts since I ate nothing else except toast yesterday and I had the same reaction every time in varying degrees, probably dependent on the quantity I consumed.

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  29. C reed says:

    When I got PNS a couple of weeks ago I attributed it to taking a medication. But the bad taste went away after 2 weeks so I didn’t think much more of it until the taste came back again. I didn’t think to research it until my husband mentioned a metallic bitter taste to me this morning. Thank you for your blog.
    If pine nuts were a drug, warnings of PNS would be plastered on the package.

  30. Holly says:

    This happened to me a few years ago. It took me a few days to figure out it was pine nuts. At first I was wondering if I’d had a small stroke that affected my sense of taste or if I had some other brain issue. Lol. To me, things tasted quite horrible except for lemon wedges which tasted sweet.
    I also had a taste if turpentine in my mouth and that made me consider it could be a reaction to the pine nuts. Mine were from Costco and were old but had been kept in the freezer. I was eating about an ounce a day for a couple weeks because I love them and read an ounce of nuts were healthy. It took two weeks to clear gradually. About a year later I consumed a small amount in a quinoa salad and it all happened again. I’m afraid to eat them now and I don’t trust any product coming from China now.
    I never went to a Dr because I assumed they wouldn’t have a clue either and prob prescribe something I didn’t need or they would think I was a nut!
    I wondered if it was related to me being overweight and diabetic. But it sounds like it may be more random. I have always been taste sensitive. I don’t like things manufactured like pillsbury dough rolls because I can taste bitter what I call chemicals in them. I am sensitive to many peppers too and it isn’t just the spicyness, it’s that they also leave everything tasting bitter after I eat them. I wondered after reading about super tasters who have some genetic issue that makes them more sensitive to tastes , if I might be one of those people.

    Ha I’ve almost considered eating pine nuts as a weight loss plan to keep me from eating! Lol

  31. RB says:

    I had a classic case of PMS starting after a meal on (of all days) my birthday, mid October. 36 hours after eating a pan full of roasted pine nuts, the cereal I was eating tasted oddly bitter and I attributed it to a bad flake or two. While at work the taste persisted and oddly water only made it worse. I turned to my old standby comfort food, a hearty challah bread, to chase the bitterness away but it just kept growing in intensity. By Friday evening everything was so bitter it was difficult to eat or drink anything.

    As any full-blooded American would do when confronted with a disturbing symptom, I opened up my Google search engine. “http://bitter after taste, persistent, am I dying?” After ruling out head and neck cancer and Lou Gehrig’s disease for lack of confirmatory symptoms I came upon what seemed like hundred’s of posts from people with almost identical symptoms (including this site). The major commonality was they had all eaten pine nuts within 48 hours of experiencing the bitter taste that persisted in most cases for between 1 to 2 weeks, but for some people months. Some began their own research on the dreaded “Pine Nut Syndrome” or “Pine Mouth” and a quick trip to Wikepdia and other web sites led me to the following information which I compared to my own now growing list of observations: symptoms of persistent bitter taste begin 24-48 hours after eating raw or roasted pine nuts (check); made worse by eating most foods the worst being bread, sweets, bananas or fruit juices (check); spicy foods are the most tolerable (check); the bitterness usually peaks 2 days after symptoms appear (check) and then gradually subsides (check); the bitterness can be accompanied by a burning or tingling sensation on the sides of the tongue (check); nothing eliminates or hides the taste effectively (check, but in my case strong cinnamon flavored gum gave me some relief after meals); can happen to people with no known food allergies (check).

    The problem is that despite all these reports nothing is being done to protect consumers now. While the syndrome is self-limited in the sense that symptoms gradually disappear on their own, it is extremely disturbing while they last. In addition, no one really knows if there are long term consequences and the likelihood of that is difficult to assess if the cause is unknown. No consumer who goes out for a meal or buys what they expect to be a reasonable healthy and safe food from a market should be subjected unknowingly to such potential discomfort and health threats so something must be done. The FDA needs to act to determine which varieties are causing the syndrome, limit their import and determine the cause and long term consequences (if any). In the meantime, do yourself a favor, and stay away from the pine nuts.

    PS. Two months after the initial episode I have now developed classic symptoms of burning mouth syndrome. Burning sensation that persists all day, metallic taste, dry mouth. This unfortunately could be permanent. Is it related to PMS? Who knows but I suspect the original pine nut batch did in fact cause some nerve damage which I will now have to live with. This is all so very disturbing. Someone I hope is listening.

    • Julie says:

      My pine mouth did the very same thing 2 1/2 years ago. I felt I had nerve damage in my tongue tip and lips also. The burning and tingling was awfull! It was over a year before I felt I could drink wine or eat chocolate without the bitter after taste too. The burning and tingling still happens when my body is fighting a flue or virus. I feel your pain literally! All I can say is it dies get better…but it will take months or even years.

      • RB says:

        Thanks Julie for the comment. It is reassuring to hear that it does get better but, really, years? I dont think I can take this for years. I am already at my wits end, changing my daily eating routines and finding it difficult to work. Xylitol gum does seem to help, but how much of this stuff can I chew? I am consulting with a doctor on this but I am starting to think we have got to get more active here. I mean this much suffering for eating a casual meal at a restaurant? Someone has got to get to the bottom of this quickly and I plan on becoming much more vocal.

  32. jo welsh says:

    one week ago, in attempt to eat healthy after reading how good pine nuts were for you, i ate about a shot glass full! these were pine nuts from natures harvest, bought at trader joes, imported from amport foods. 3 days after eating these, i noticed this severe bitterness in the back of my mouth. thankfully, I did’nt consume any more nuts and googled this bitter taste. i am so happy to have found your site~! still having taste issues, not as severe but this is a very long reaction that needs to be taken seriously. ‘Ive contacted the FDA, amportfoods.com, and trader joes. hopefully this product will be banned! i cant imagine how many other foods, partic from China, are toxic and we DON’T know about them.

  33. Louise says:

    I had the ones from Trader Joe’s and had a very bad reaction that lasted a few weeks. I will never eat pine nuts again.

  34. Ravenna Windwalker says:

    Very interesting research. I am a Native American and love pine nuts. Often we have them in the store, but they are also collected and sold after being roasted in markets with green chilis and other edible goods grown locally throughout colorado. I had a period about 6 months ago when I struggled for close to 4 months with the most horrible metallic taste in my mouth that effected almost everything I tried to eat. It is interesting to know that this may be associated with pine nuts – it won’t stop me from eating them, but I will be aware of some of their effects. Thanks and congrats on your research.

    Ka Tanka
    Ravenna

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