To Sweet, Or Not Too Sweet?

Strange how life gives you little problems some times that turn out to be interesting, and sometimes stressing at the same time…

So here I was, having a minor little problem. Nothing much. A bit of a ‘rashiness’ around the corners of my mouth; a tendency to an occasional slightly metallic taste on odd occasions. Nothing much, I figured. Then about 5 or 6 days ago, I figured it might be a food allergy.

I’m prone to a fair number of allergies. Basically, I’ve got IG-E, the immunoglobulin that gives folks allergies, but also gives them a very rapid response on re-exposure to a protein that has been repeatedly around. So things like long duration exposure to parasites causes the eventual formation of IG-E, which then attacks the parasite any time it shows up, giving better resistance to parasites. Not just things like worms from foods, but also things like malaria. Some folks will remember the article where we saw that the human genome has been influenced by Malaria for quite some time; so much so that we have Sickle Cell trait and even Favism as adaptive responses; and perhaps the tendency to eat Fava Beans by those folks without Favism as a way to get the same oxidative stress placed on the malaria parasite.

So it’s pretty common for me to have a moderate allergic reaction to something that has ‘been around’ a while. I figured “Maybe it’s coffee?”. Sometimes the metallic taste was after morning coffee. I’ve had coffee regularly for a few dozen years. Seemed reasonable as a thesis. So a couple of days back (Thursday) I went “cold turkey” off of coffee.

Needless to say, the day was a bit dismal.

The second day is worse.

Friday, mid day, I was feeling pretty grim. In the cafeteria I found a “Monster Energy Drink” and that helped. I upped my intake of other beverages to make up for the loss of coffee. But still, the total caffein intake was significantly lower. Not too surprised, then, that the usual withdrawal symptoms were about. Sleeping way early. Mild headache. Low energy. (I’m sure folks noticed the lack of any new articles or comments from me in the last couple of days…)

But the mouth issues did not resolve. Quite the contrary.

Sushi Good, Chocolate Bad

I’d noticed that the little candy bars I stuck in my “lunch bucket” had become tasteless. OK, with the general drop of stimulant levels, you expect some ‘low nerve function backlash’, but this was rather extreme. A sushi dinner out, though, was quite good. The aroma was great, the flavors of salty and the slight bitter to the nori (seaweed) were about right. I did notice that the wasabi caused a sensation of “mouth on fire” around the back and sides of the tongue, but not the middle nor the tip of the tongue. It was as though the areas with salt and bitter sensors (back and edges) were working fine, but the rest was relatively numb.


More testing on Saturday pretty much showed that “sweet” was gone. Things that I’d thought ‘tasted wrong’ or were ‘kind of metallic’; were things where the removal of the sweet component left behind an odd result. Sugar, straight, had no taste at all.

Needless to say, this caused me some angst….

After a bit more “digging” I had a laundry list of potential causes.

Paranoia Strikes Deep

The list is long. Far longer than I’d expected. (The Wiki gives a good idea of the range.)

So with thoughts of potential brain surgery to remove tumors or worries about just what vitamins and minerals I might be missing, I set about doing a differential. Was there anything in my case that was a clue as to what path?

It’s some times a bit hard to be dispassionate about that kind of thing. Yet you must. It’s just a logic puzzle. Nothing to do with what you want at all. Set aside all the baggage of fear and desire. Set aside all the ponderings of downstream implications. Just reason.

There was that slightly rashy corner of the mouth. Sporadic small ‘cracks’ to the skin. The “odd” slightly allergic feeling to the oral mucosa. This was more indicative of “alien presence” than “tumor” or “cancer” (or diabetes or liver failure or… the long list of other horribles possible).

Inspection of the tongue with needle and mirror showed that non-taste sensation was normal, and the appearance was normal (though a very slightly white look to the mid-tongue). I sporadically had a slightly ‘cottony’ feeling to the mouth. Nothing much, and I’d just written it off to probable side effect of an allergic response.

Let The Pondering Begin

So I sat and pondered a bit.

On the list was one thing that had the added ‘feature’ of a ‘cottony feeling’ and sometimes a rash in the corners of the mouth. Yeast. Typically Candida Albicans. AKA “Thrush”. But thats a disease often seen in infants, not me?…

Still, it didn’t take an MRI to diagnose it; nor a flight back to California and surgery to treat. It was a simple thing to treat, and that would tend to give a rapid differential as well.

The Loss Of Micatin

The local drug stores have all dumped Micatin in favor of Lotrimin and some other anti fungals. That’s not a good thing. Myconazole Nitrate is a decent anti-fungal and also has very very low side effects. So low that it’s the stated treatment for oral candida. Swish and swallow…

Not willing to try that with some other random antifungals off the shelf…

So I had to do some more exploration. Eventually I found it still around as a vaginal cream for, yes, yeast infections. OK, not the best of imagery with a large guy buying it, nor my favored description of what was used as treatment, but all in all it’s just a mild white cream for killing yeast.


Today I did the first treatment. About 1/2 CC orally, swish and swallow.

At first it tasted a bit bitter along the back and edges of the tongue. Midline and forward said nothing. Slowly, as I swished and squished it around, the “flavor” started showing up in more places… Eventually a gritted teeth ‘swallow’.

Then a rinse and spit.

A few hours later we had BBQ Ribs and Chicken. The BBQ Sauce was “Bulls Eye”. It has a rich flavor to it, including sweet, sour, and some salt.

I can’t quite find a way to say how good it was to take a bite and have that ‘slightly sour sweet’ flavor…

All in all, still not quite as remembered. Still a ‘bit more to go’, but I’d put it at about 90% in one treatment.

Now it is about 2 am (and I’m not sleeping ;-)

The “rashy and reactive” feeling in the mouth is gone. The “cottony” feeling is mostly gone too. A banana was just sooo good, fragrant and sweet. Maybe I’ll get to sleep before I must get up (at 5:30 AM… so just 3+ hours away), or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just have my first cup (s?) of coffee in a few days and enjoy the “rush” ;-)

Sequelae and Etiology

I’m hoping for “not much” in the area of consequences. Perhaps just a change of diet and some sporadic yeast treatments. But that leads to the question of “why?”.

What caused this to happen?

My speculation is that it was the change of diet that came with the new job. I’d likely been a bit ‘on the edge’ before (I’d had sporadic moments of a slightly metallic taste and ‘dull’ food for the last year or so, but they were not as significant and tended to last just a day or less). But the change was likely the move from a lot of ‘low sugar’ foods to a lot of ‘high sugar’ foods.

I’d been eating almost entirely home made foods. I tend not to sugar things (other than morning coffee) and basically do not drink pre-packaged soft drinks. I avoid “high fructose” whenever I can. (Fructose is metabolized in the liver, directly to fat, unlike glucose that is metabolized in all your body cells and burned as fuel. I suspect the high fructose intake of Americans is part of why we are so fat…) But all that changed with the job.

Mornings were a mad dash out the door with 2 cups of sugared coffee. Nice sugar wash to the mouth. Lunches tended to be a benign “sandwich” (bread, mustard, meat) but sometimes that nice cold leftover BBQ with the sugary sauce. Wrapped around it were nearly continuous snacks of “fun sized” candy bars (2), a bottle or two of pseudo-juice (10% juice, the rest high fructose syrup and flavoring agents in water), Nestea “Brisk Tea” in a can, sweetened of course, with fructose, some more coffee with sugar, Gorp – a mix of 1 cup cashews, with 1/2 cup each of raisins and M&M candies… with a nice sugar / salt mix) as a grazing snack.

All in all a great way to feed yeast… people not so much… On those occasions when I did have lunch out, I tended to have a sugary soft drink with it.

Then dinners were sometimes washed down with “Throwback” Pepsi. I found it at the local stores as a Pepsi made with real sugar, not high fructose syrup, and like the taste better.

So I’d shifted from a ‘nearly all vegetables and meat with pasta and rice’ to a ‘lots of sugary stuff and fruit’ bias in the diet. OK, my bad…

What now?

Well, sugars are going to be on the “out” list for a while. We’ll add them back in a few weeks; when a ‘cure’ is confirmed. Until then it’s going to be more ‘salty snacks’ and bottled water. I’m also going to be taking a ‘No Doze’ instead of my morning ‘wake up coffee’. At least until I can either get used to being awake that early And/Or choke down unsweetened coffee… or my boss accepts that I’m non-functional before noon ;-)

I really don’t get much done until the body temp goes over 98 F and that’s about noon… unless I jump start the warm up with a hot shower and some coffee… then I’m reasonably productive about 10 am… (I do ‘clerical’ and ‘side work’ between 8 am and 10 am, except when some “morning person” thinks everyone is like them and calls for 8 am ‘meetings’ when everyone is ‘fresh’… then I put on my plastic “Attentive” face and try desperately not to close my eyes or snore while the brain goes back to sleep ;-) If it’s important, I’ll read the meeting minutes later to find out what happened…)

So, more hand made lasagna and steamed fish over vegetables, less Sugar Soda and Candy Snacks.

And some time spent researching the preferred dosing schedule and treatment regimen. Is it ‘one and done’ or ‘daily for a week’? We’ll see…

On the plus side, I’m feeling much more alive and energetic now. Even as we drift to the dead of night and I’m not sleeping ;-) I can’t imagine what will happen when Espresso is returned to the mix…

Life sometimes tosses odd turns at you. This has been one of the more strange ones for me.

But it’s nice to return to the world of “to sweet”, but not “too sweet” …

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Human Interest. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to To Sweet, Or Not Too Sweet?

  1. H.R. says:

    Thanks for the reminder on high fructose corn syrup.
    Glad to hear you’re back in fighting trim.
    I think you’ll have a tough time marketing a Vagisil gargle & mouthwash ;o)

    Also, just to give you a little friendly #@%$!, I have to attend only one meeting per month where we review the prior month’s results. I conduct 4 plant-wide meetings per year and attend 4 other plant-wide meetings. I loved that about my company the first month I hired on having come from a company where one could attend 3-5 meetings per day. (Some of those meetings seemed to have the purpose of planning the next meeting.) Eat your heart out over that one, E.M. ;o)

  2. Verity Jones says:

    Been there, done that. I sympathise.

    I think you are correct in your diagnosis, not necessarily Candida or yeast, but certainly an imbalance in the digestive system allowing the ‘the wrong kind of bacteria/yeast’ to thrive.

    We have a flaky internet connection at the moment so, at this the third try I’m going to hit the post button and will try again later.

  3. Pascvaks says:

    I always thought I had a squeemish tummy (picked up ‘tummy’ years ago from the wife and kids) and had to be careful when not at home and eating on the road. I soon found that the only thing I could hold down in the morning when out and about on trips was french toast. If I ever swayed or strayed I paid. Besides breakfast, eventually the older I got, the more my old tummy told me that certain things were “no-no’s”. I learned to listen to my boss of bosses.

    The older I get, the less I like restraunts, fast food joints, diners, drive-ins, and dives. I pray I never have a problem eating a BigMac. They do seem to be getting bigger, but then so does everything else. They really need to come out with a Geezer Plate, like they do for the kids. They just give me too much and I hate pushing food away. Oh well…

  4. Vladimir says:

    The rejuvenation is possible! The correct Theory is! There is a technology of rejuvenation! Such approach helps to find methods of treatment of many illnesses, for example – a cancer! Many scientists agree with the theory!
    There are many versions about the cause of aging. Restriction of cell division, gene aging programming of cell death, changes in any cells, telomerase shortening and chronic sickness universal quantitative traits and so on. All these versions tell not about the aging reason, and that happens at aging to a live organism.
    The present reason for ageing. (Vlasov’s theory).
    All alive appears from a seed and grows increasing in volume, in tens, hundreds, thousand times. The alive organism gets older because grows. It grows because eats. To not eat it is impossible; it means growth of an organism is inevitable, so aging is inevitable. But process of ageing can be slowed down, significantly, if to slow down process of growth. Delay of ageing for 10-30 years probably if process of a feed will be moderated and a healthy way of life will be complied. The genetic mechanism of growth is laid in each organism. The alive organism grows under the laws laid in genes, according to physical conditions outside and inside of an organism.
    Growth process is provided with a material of a supply and energetic process in an organism.
    Energetic process provides and supports growth process. The enthalpy, and it is better to say density of energy on unit of volume of a body (the density of energy on unit of volume is measured in MJ / liter), and makes the size creating necessary physical conditions and parameters for formation of new cells. It is possible to accept density of energy for formation of young cells for unit. While the organism as a whole makes energy on all volume of a body of 100 watt equal, for example, at an o’clock (it is comparative figure of a stream of energy through a surface of a leather), there are physical conditions for manufacture of young cells. Finally, the organism reaches volume of a body when the developed density of energy on unit of volume of a body starts to decrease one step at a time, (99.9 %, 99.8 %, etc., for a long time). It starts to occur, for example, from 14-18 years for the person. Physical parameters for manufacture of cells start to worsen; cells with worsening physical parameters are made. There is a slow, gradual accumulation of getting older cells which cannot support physical conditions for manufacture of sufficient energy, for creation of young cells that worsens conditions of manufacture and quality of cells even more. Cycles repeat with reduction of density of energy and deterioration of physical parameters of a cell. The density of energy decreases basically because of variation in work of vessels. This cycle repeats with some period.
    At restoration in an organism of density of energy sufficient for manufacture of young cells there occurs organism rejuvenation. Theoretically the rejuvenation it is possible. Life expectancy can be increased by hundreds years. The way of reception of energy is patented.

  5. Pascvaks says:

    @Vladimir, Ref: Long Life

    Young people (25-35 yoa) are the only ones who want to “stay young” and they have no idea how stupid that idea really is; besides, they can’t afford it in any case. Youth is wasted on the young because they don’t appreciate it, not because they don’t use it well. Old folks (I’ve found) don’t really yern to be young again, they’d just like 30 minutes of non-stop, pulsating, hot-blooded energy every so often. Know what I mean?

    Everything gets old whether you do or not. That means people always talk about things they can’t have because they can’t have it, not because they really want it.

    Ref. Trench Mouth Fungus – I usually grab a cup of warm water with some table salt and 3-5 drops of iodine added to gargle with. Had tonsilitis bad when I was a kid, took 4 sailors one time to pants me and hold me down for a penicillin shot. Fourth grade I think. The 3 corpsmen weren’t too bad, I nearly had them beat, but then this aviation machinist’s mate came in from the waithing room to see what all the screaming and shouting was about and helped them out. After that I just dropped my pants and took it like a man, I figured it was no use to fight it anymore.

  6. George says:

    There have been two occasions in my life where I lost all sensation of the taste of “sweet”. A chocolate bar would taste waxy, slightly salty, but still have the strong chocolate aroma, just no taste of sweet. A sweet soft drink like Mountain Dew would not taste sweet at all.

    Both times I chalked it up to a new toothpaste. I think it was “ultra brite” . The first time it happened I was in my 20s, it lasted about two weeks, and I had absolutely no other symptoms. I changed toothpaste and it went away a couple of days later. Maybe it was coincidence. It happened again about 10 years later when I was in my 30s but lasted for a much shorter period, maybe a week. Again I changed toothpaste and it went away. So now the “coincidence” is a little stronger indication that maybe it was the toothpaste.

  7. Verity Jones says:

    I can’t say I’ve lost part of my sense of taste, but in the past I’ve certainly experienced its alteration. What I have experienced is persistent inchiness of mouth and lips – unbearable at times. I felt the paranoia and suspected many things. I even gave up tea and coffee for serveral months.

    There wasn’t a magic cure – at least not one thing. However it was (and is) a simple matter of taking better care of myself (something which I invariably don’t do very well): getting enough sleep and eating well – nothing to excess. Coffee is now enjoyed as one strong cup of freshly ground beans in the morning – quality not quantity. I still err when I am really busy, and I still pay for it, although it never gets so bad as I know the cause and the solution.

  8. Tim Clark says:

    EM, have you no daughters???? At least you were perusing a grocers product section that had items for men. Try buying tampons in a grocery store late at night with the empty plastic sack in hand for required reference.

  9. pyromancer76 says:

    E.M., you and your family members (and a number of animals) must continue to get a variety of maladies (not really) so that you can track down the probably pathogens from the current symptoms and find the proper chemistry/product for the cure. Your readers are gaining a remarkable collection of “cures” — especially for survival purposes — that while are no longer available in the usual form, but may be found by using the old noggin’. Thanks for the digging

  10. Fantastic that you managed to find a fix for what appeared to be an allergy.

    My allergic reaction seems to be triggered by “fronts”. You know, the kind linked to bad weather. Here in Florida I spend much of my time with the air conditioning running and the symptoms are much reduced. The sneezing starts when I go outside. None of the anti allergy drugs have any effect.

    I have worked with two different allergy clinics that eliminated pollens so what could it be?

  11. H.R. says:

    Bad news, gallopingcamel… you’re alergic to Florida ;o)

  12. H.R. says:

    Oops! Missed an ”l’ up above, but what the ‘ell, anyways.

  13. vigilantfish says:

    Fascinating story. I’m intrigued by your patient detective work on your own body. I often wish our bodies came with owner’s manuals.

    I’ve had plantar fasciitis and separately, knee pain from an old injury, both at times so severe that I’ve been kept awake at night for weeks on end. It took years to narrow down which of the various exercises assigned by doctors, physiotherapists or sports medicine experts actually worked. Worse still, one osteopath gave me the wrong exercises for my knee, making the knee pain worse. In the end the cure for each problem turned out to be one simple exercise, making it easy to engage in preventive measures if symptoms begin to recur.

    Your story also sparked a memory. I once had a professor who had a yeast infection in his mouth and throat (much speculation as to how this originated). He was initially treated with penicillin for his severe sore throat, a ‘cure’ that caused his throat to nearly close. A panicked trip to emergency revealed the real problem; the new treatment was vaginal suppositories, slowly sucked down (and completely swallowed).

  14. P.G. Sharrow says:

    E.M. glad to hear you may have found a solution to that problem. Sugar caused yeast or fungus infections are quite wide spread. Most people don’t accept the fact that regular sugar use is not good for humans and is in fact a very recent development.

    I am surprised that you are a heavy consumer of sweeten drinks. Time to grow up and take your coffee straight. ;-) leave sugar to bees and ants.

    When I became an adult I got sick with strange symptoms that doctors could not figure out. After a while I realized that the sweets i was pigging down were the triggering cause. After a lot of reading I found that “Candida or yeast” internal infections a a lot more common then realized and the bodies allergic reaction to the candida proteins cause strange symptoms both inside and outside.

    After that I drasticlly reduced my sugar intake. Tough to do when you are a sugaraholic. After over 40 years I still fall off the wagon occasionally.

    Caffein liberates blood sugars and additional sugar is not needed. “B” vitamin also helps. Water is a good choice for daily drinks but kind of bland :-p

    Good luck changing your food and drink habits to fats and proteins and away from sugars and maybe wheat proteins and starches. pg

  15. Judy F. says:

    A number of years ago I was treated with a prolonged regimen of antibiotics after a delayed miscarriage. I was left with a yeast infection that wouldn’t clear up. I finally found an MD who was also into holisitic type medicine. She recommended ( and it was a drastic treatment) what she called the “Cave Man Diet” : no sugar of any kind, few carbohydrates, LOTS of plain, unsweetened yogurt, and plenty of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a natural fungicide. It took a while, but I finally got better. ( I still eat lots of yogurt, but use the live bacillis variety with added fruit. I hate to admit I still shudder when I even look at unflavored yogurt.)

    I am amazed when I hear people complain about “germs”, because our bodies function so well with a balance of yeasts, fungus and bacteria. It is when they get out of balance that we get sick.

    That’s my advice, and no, yogurt covered candy raisins don’t count. :)

  16. Verity Jones says:

    I had years of poor health, finally sorted out by a self-imposed adherence to ‘The Stone-Age Diet’. Sounds the same as yours (but without the fungicide). Being in the UK the NHS doctors had no time for my variety of ailments that didn’t fit with their diagnoses of common illnesses and dismissed me as neurotic. The diet worked great for me. 10 years later a routine blood test picked up an unusual marker that resulted in reasonably rapid diagnosis of a longstanding underlying problem. I’m now healthy but monitored annually and need to be just reasonably sensible with diet and lifestyle.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    A quick note to all:

    I’m likely going to have some time to catch up on things this weekend. Sorry to have been “off the air” as much as I have been, but sometimes life is full of challenges.

    At any rate, I’m watching that 7ish quake near Alaska, the way the stock market ran to the middle of the SMA lines and tanked, right on queue, and thinking about hurricanes as heat engines and how to measure “how big”. As I’m not “booked up” for the next few days, I hope to get some of those thoughts into postings too…

    For now, when I have a “backslide day” and have more sugar, I have ‘a minor relapse’ and when I stay good, I stay good… I also think I need to do a ‘bug eradication’ instead of a “random dose” schedule if I want a “cure”.

    It’s now 10:30 pm. I’ve had dinner and checked into a hotel for the weekend, and either tonight or tomorrow (depending on when I get sleepy ;-) I’ll have some new posting done.


  18. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    Take one 11 1/2 oz can of V8 juice, mix it with one 12 oz bottle of Negra Modelo beer, makes two servings. Drink at least one serving a day, and in two weeks, well, you woundn’t believe if I told you. Inexpensive to try, nothing remotely harmful in it, and no “secret ingredient” to pay for.

    I have dropped at least 20 years in both appearance and body strength in less than two months. It has also worked wonders with some few others that have tried it.

    Just my tip of the month. Just be ready to feed this beast, takes lots of food consumption.

Comments are closed.