Saturday, April 4, 2015

Taste Buds in Our Gut

     I've started reading Gulp by Mary Roach. Mary Roach tells everything about the alimentary canal which is the body system that your food passes through from start to finish. Roach has done her research, asked questions and then writes a very humorous authentic account of what the digestive system is and how it works. She also gives a historical account of early research and how it was done.

     I have only read 80 pages but I found something that I really have to tell you. She discusses taste which she describes as, "a sort of chemical touch. Taste cells are specialized skin cells."

     We have taste receptors in four parts of our body: the gut, the voice box, the upper esophagus and the tongue. Wow! Who'd have ever thought we had all those taste buds? Only the tongue's receptors report to the brain. So with apologies to all oenophiles taste is only functional to act as a doorman to what we take in our mouth. So if stuff doesn't taste right we do not ingest the food.

     "Intestinal taste receptors are thought to trigger hormonal responses to molecules such as salt and sugar -and defensive actions- such as vomiting and diarrhea to dangerous items." No need for this information to go to the brain as most of what we would get would be pretty itchy.

    I like the way Mary Roach leads us to take a different look at how one part of the body works. We rarely think of the  alimentary canal as one unit that has different parts to do the job of digestion of foods.

    So in one short section I learned some very interesting things about taste.

     I'm looking forward to the remainder of the book.

33 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I've heard that snakes smell with their tongues. Nature is so fascinating. Happy Easter.

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    1. Eels taste with the skin on the outside of their bodies.

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  2. i'm one of those folks who prefers to stay in the dark about how the inside of my body works. i get geeked out pretty easily. :)

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    1. Okay, that's a good place to leave it.

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  3. Interesting stuff. Many of us will put our taste buds to good use Sunday during Easter dinner!

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    1. It was something I didn't know and found it very interesting.

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  4. Amazing how the body works. I never cease to be amazed.
    Have a great |Easter

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    1. There's much more in this book. Thanks for visiting Hiawatha House.

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  5. I have excellent receptors in my gut as the various times I have had food poisoning I get violent responses within an hour or two rather than many hours as some folks have.

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    1. It's rather unpleasant when that happens.

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  6. That sounds like a pretty cool and informative book Red. I must check this one out. Happy Reading.

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    1. She writes in a very humorous way. With your sense of humor you'd really like her.

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    1. But the burp comes right up to the tongue again.

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  8. Interesting stuff Red. Thanks for telling us about the book.

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    1. Sometimes you find stuff interesting when it's been apart of you your whole life.

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  9. I never knew that we had more than one set of taste buds. Happy Easter

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    1. Neither did I. That's why I found it so fascinating.

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  10. Wow, I never knew that! It's fun to learn new things.

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    1. The digestive system is complicated.

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  11. Isn't that interesting! I love getting books like this: entertaining and enlightening. My late mother had no sense of smell, and her taste was affected by this, too.

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    1. Mary Roach has written a number of other books. Check them out.

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  12. Reading gut and other internal parts of the body reminded me of our scary experience last summer when my husband got hospitalized for some gastroenterology issue. I was afraid to read on but.....seriously? - I thought that taste buds are only found in the tongue. This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing, I think I'll have to let my husband read this. Will try to find the book too.

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    1. The more you know the better off you will be.

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  13. I loved this book enough to read it and then buy it. I love almost everything that Mary Roach has written. Glad to know you have discovered her, too. :-)

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    1. I keep a list of books to read so she's been on my list a long time. Sometimes you have to wait a while to get it out of the library.

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  14. Hm, never thought about taste being a protection against ingesting something that will harm us. I thought taste buds were just for pleasure -- and only on the tongue. Intresting.

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    1. I thought the same as you. That's why I put the oenophile reference in.

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  15. I also thought our taste buds were only on our tongue. I learned something new today (from reading your blog) !!

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  16. Sounds like an interesting book. Hope you had a Happy Easter Red! :)

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  17. I heard recently that if the sugar receptors in our pancreas and intestine don't work properly, it may be related to development of diabetes. Scientists are working out the connection.

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  18. Sigh, my taste buds work too well with sweets. Tsk.

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