Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I HAVE PINE MOUTH

Pine Nut Syndrome / Pine Mouth
You have WHAT?!?!  POTTY MOUTH??
NO, not that, PINE mouth!
(though I have been known to have that on occasion as well, but I digress).
PINE MOUTH?
NEVER HEARD OF IT!
YEAH, ME NEITHER!

Rewind a few weeks ago.  2nd Man bought some Pine Nuts at our local Kroger grocery store.  He toasted some and put them on top of a salad.  A few days later I noticed an odd metallic taste in the back of my mouth.  Thought it was just some odd, random event.  A few days later I ate some more, just a quick handful from the fridge as a snack.  Still had the annoying problem.  Drank a glass of red wine at dinner one night and it tasted like vinegar.  Horrible (and it was a good bottle of wine!).  Had some homemade bread treats at work, they tasted like I had put a pocketful of change in my mouth, yuck!  But still, I didn't make the connection.  Had another handful a few days later as a snack (hey I like them, what can I say?).  Still having the bitter, metallic taste.  Nothing tasted good.  I was thinking "what could this possibly be?"

So of course I turned to Google and did some surfing...

BINGO!  Found out there is something called PINE MOUTH or PINE NUT SYNDROME.  I didn't make the connection at first. Honestly, I thought it could be a new multivitamin we were taking.  But looking back at it now, I realized we had started that a couple weeks before the first pine nuts.  

I could link to a ton of articles, but here are a couple if you are curious to read about it.  THIS is the FDA warning.  THIS is a grad student that did her thesis on the problem.  The general consensus is that less expensive Chinese pine nuts are mostly the cause, followed by Russian and Korean pine nuts.

Product of China Pine Nuts, causing Pine Nut Syndrome
Check it out!  I flipped the container over after finding the most likely cause and lo and behold, there it is....PRODUCT OF CHINA!   Then I noticed there is a WARNING on the package about the very problem I was having!  D'oh!

"In rare instances, people may experience a sensitivity reaction from pine nuts, termed 'pine mouth' which is characterized by a metallic taste that resolves without treatment"

I must be the rare instance because 2nd Man didn't have the issue at all.  Just my luck.  After I threw them all away and stopped for a couple of weeks, it did just fade away.  It's a crazy experience for sure.

I will be honest, this makes me hesitant about eating pine nuts in the future.  I love pesto made with pine nuts and I love them on salads and other dishes.  Since I have never had the problem before when we were buying the more expensive Italian or Spanish pine nuts, I'm willing to try it again...eventually.

For now, we say stay away from the Chinese pine nuts for sure!  You will NOT like having Pine Mouth, I can speak from personal experience.



30 comments:

Moonwaves said...

Oh dear. Hope the memory does fade enough that you can stand to go back to eating the Italian ones sometime.
I first heard about pine mouth about a year ago when the same thing happened to another blogger. Thank goodness for blogs or I'd remain innocent in so many ways. LOL The only problem here is that, despite lots of regulations covering all sorts of labelling, it is almost impossible to find a packet of pine nuts that actually states what country it's sourced from. And we always have the "produced in the EU" issue to contend with, too, when something isn't grown here but is packaged here and therefore can be so labelled (stupid loophole, wish they would close it). So far I've only found one brand that explicitly states that it's Italian. And of course, it's the really expensive, tiny packages from the health-food shop type. Something like 42.00 euro per kilo, if I recall my prices from last year - so about 4 or 5 euro for a tiny packet. Pesto is now a make once-a-year kind of a thing. Although I'm just finishing off the last of the pesto-ice-cubes from last summer out of the freezer so perhaps I timed it nearly right.

Ranni Moonbeam said...

This is interesting. I've experienced this before but never thought much about it. *Could* be linked to pine nuts as we sometimes buy the cheapest. Will have to start paying more attention! Glad you found your cause and thanks so much for sharing. /mind-blown!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i'm sorry but this really made me laugh! i could just picture you having these symptoms while continuing to shove pine nuts in your mouth. sounds just like something i would do! i'm glad you figured it out. i never heard about this before. you can use walnuts to make pesto and i don't really notice much difference.

JW said...

I had to check the calender a few times to be certain this wasn't the first of April. Hope it resolves quickly!

Jody said...

Too funny! And let me confirm your findings with a short story. When I was a kid living in Utah, every winter we gathered pine nuts from the trees in the forests during the winter. We gathered "gunny-sacks' full of pine cones, shucked them and ate them by the bushels. In all the years we did this, I never experienced "pine mouth". It must be the lower quality tree varieties they are using!

Jane and Chris said...

Now I'm thankful I don't like pine nuts..they taste like eggs/sulphur to me, worse if they have been cooked.
Jane x

Gammy Tammy said...

Glad you figured it out!!! The graphic made me LOL!!!

FionaG said...

Oh dear, who would have thought! Time to be planting some pine trees so you can harvest your own me thinks. I laughed out loud at jaz' comment, sorry, it just painted such a funny picture.

Annie*s Granny said...

I find English Walnuts taste just fine as a substitute in Pesto. Maybe that's because the first time i made it I couldn't find pine nuts? LOL...and I'm easy :-)

Galestorm said...

First of all, I would avoid any food product that came from China be it for human or pet consumption. It is becoming harder than you think. I've noticed some canned goods in my local supermarket that bear the label "Product of China" as well as some fresh produce mostly garlic and ginger. Frozen wild caught salmon- product of China. No thank you to any of it. The last time I checked the garlic was from the USA so I bought a mess of it! It still is strange to me to find tomatoes from Canada in the middle of winter here in NC. They must have some greenhouses up there! Most of the time they are from Mexico. So, I don't eat fresh tomatoes in the winter months. Good quality pine nuts in pesto probably wouldn't affect you if it hasn't before. I think you may have been over indulging in those from China. As other have said, walnuts work just fine in pesto. But, I sure do love pine nuts!!

MaryJo said...

Well they say you learn something every day, thank you for todays education as I had never heard of it.
Fancy throwing them all away & not letting Man2 eat the rest!!

Michelle said...

We had a problem with tooth paste from China. We don't buy any thing food related from China if we can help it.

Practical Parsimony said...

Why did you throw them out when 1st man can eat them??? Never buy products from China. I bought Tilapia and opened it before I read it was from China. I cooked some and got sick thinking of eating it. I threw the whole package out. I would not even allow my hens to have it.

That is a strange allergy I had not heard of. I wonder if you are allergic to other tree nuts or pine products. For years, I have been saying I was allergic to beef because of the gastric distress it caused me. And, I am allergic to beef, just confirmed by tests.

KL said...

I'm Italian, we love pine nuts, it's a staple, never heard of this or had it before. Hope you feel better

Margaret said...

Oh God - that's hilarious! I've never heard of it before but I'll keep it in mind the next time I indulge in pine nuts.

1st Man said...

LOL, I hear you about remaining innocent, the internet is good for not letting that stay that way, ha. Here in the US they have to put country of origin so that's good. Of course, I've always just thought all our pine nuts come from Italy or Spain....so it never crossed my mind to check that. And who knew that they put warnings on them!?!?

1st Man said...

My mind was pretty blown too. I really had NO idea. The metallic taste was crazy. And it's weird because only I had the experience. It really made everything I ate or drank for a good two weeks to be nasty. Ugh.

1st Man said...

It was exactly as you describe. I was having the symptoms, and thinking maybe I was getting a cold, or had some sort of infection, or as I read on the internet something more serious (internet can be bad for that, ha). Anyway, all the while I was eating them by the handful! Too funny! I've never had walnut pesto but will try it.

1st Man said...

LOL! The funny thing is, I was going to do this post around the 1st, that's when I was just ending the symptoms and I thought "no one will believe this". Ha. It's all gone now, all back to normal. :-)

1st Man said...

That's funny!! I think you are so right, it's the lower quality trees. There are apparently some studies that seem to indicate it's also a species of tree that people in this hemisphere aren't used to and it could have some genetic predisposition for it. Kind of crazy for sure!

1st Man said...

I wonder if that's a genetic thing? I know some people who have said the same thing, that the tastes is like strong eggs or sulphur. I do love them though.

1st Man said...

Ha, thanks!! It was funny looking back on it. It's all good. :-)

1st Man said...

It's totally ok, I laugh at it myself. Almost like snaking on the 'tainted' pine nuts while surfing the net to find out what was causing it. Didn't take me long to dispose of them after I saw the warning!! Pine trees are a good idea. We don't have any of those on the property and they are nice to have a mix of trees on the property.

1st Man said...

I am going to try the walnuts. They are certainly less expen$ive than pine nuts. Hey, i'm easy too! Wait, are we talking about the same thing? LOL!!!!!

1st Man said...

Amen....we definitely avoid them. Why we didn't notice this I don't know. It's probably because they were in the same package we always buy...but the country was always italy or spain. We didn't even have reason to think it had changed. Crazy.

1st Man said...

Ha, true! I did think of that but he didn't want them either, being from China.

1st Man said...

Yikes....I've had some coworkers who had some China made aspirin that actually GAVE them headaches. Dangerous stuff.

1st Man said...

2nd Man didn't want to take a chance. Yeah, China made products are just too risky. I'm not sure about allergies. I eat every nut there is, love them all, so no issue there. Not sure about pine products, interesting might have to think about that.

1st Man said...

Isn't it wild? We LOVE Italian everything (I swear I must have been Italian in a previous life, ha). Have never ever had a problem with Italian pine nuts, so it's all good there. :-) Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the wishes, definitely over it now.

1st Man said...

It is funny, it just doesn't even seem like a real thing, ha. Just make sure of your country of origin!