Taste perception in kidney disease and relationship to dietary sodium intake

Emma J McMahon, Katrina L Campbell, Judith D Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Taste abnormalities are prevalent in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) potentially affecting food palatability and intake, and nutrition status. The TASTE CKD study aimed to assess taste and explore the relationship of dietary sodium intake with taste disturbance in CKD subjects. This was a cross-sectional study of 91 adult stage 3-5 CKD participants (78% male) aged 65.9 ± 13.5 years with mean estimated glomerular filtration rate of 33.1 ± 12.7 ml/min/1.73 m(2), and 30 controls (47% male) aged 55.2 ± 7.4 years without kidney dysfunction. Taste assessment was performed in both groups, presenting five basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, umami and bitter) in blinded 2 ml solution which the participants tasted, identified (identification) and rated perceived strength (intensity) on a 10 cm visual analogue scale. Sodium intake was measured in the CKD group using validated food frequency questionnaire to determine high or low sodium intake (cut-off 100 mmol sodium/day). Differences between groups (CKD vs controls; high vs low sodium intake) were analysed using chi-square for identification and t-test for intensity. Multivariate analysis was used to adjust for age and gender differences between CKD and controls. The control group identified mean 3.9 ± 1.0 tastants correctly compared with 3.0 ± 1.2 for CKD group (p < 0.001), which remained significant after adjustment for age and gender. After adjustment for age and gender, sour identification and intensity and salty and umami intensity were impaired in CKD compared with controls. Participants with low sodium intake were more likely to correctly identify salty and umami, and rated intensity of umami and bitter significantly higher than those with high sodium intake. These findings add to the body of evidence suggesting that taste changes occur with CKD, independent of age and gender differences, with specific impairment in sour, umami and salty tastes. Our finding that sodium intake is related to umami and bitter disturbance as well as salty taste warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-41
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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