Eating Miracle Fruit During Cancer Treatment: Add Miraculin
Eating Miracle Fruit during cancer treatment is a potential solution for chemo-induced loss of taste sensation. Recent research shows that scientists now know exactly what is happening with our taste receptors when the Miracle Fruit is eaten. The Miracle Fruit is proposed by some doctors as having potential as a new food sweetener for people who are undergoing cancer treatment and can be added to a list of suggested foods for cancer patients who need a little added zest to their compromised palates.
Miracle Fruit History
The “Miracle Fruit” (Synsepalum dulcificum) is a small, cranberry-appearing West African berry commonly known by many as a miracle food that can turn the sour into the sweet. During popular “food tripping” parties, people with curious palates and a craving for new gastronomical experiences partake of the miracle fruit followed by sour foods such as lemons, limes, beer, vinegar and pickles. What they experience is described by some as the equivalent of a type of food-related psychedelic experience in which a lemon will taste like a sweet orange and a beer like a sweetened beverage. The taste of the Miracle Fruit itself is relatively “not there,” but when followed by a sour food - and to paraphrase an old commercial slogan - “It’s like your tongue is throwing a party and everyone is welcome.”
Previously what was known about the Miracle Fruit was very little. Today, however, in a recent issue of the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers have uncovered the secret behind the Miracle Fruit. What they found was that its active ingredient is a protein called “Miraculin” that binds strongly to the sweet taste receptor on the tongue. When acidic foods make contact with the miraculin protein, the shape of the protein changes and activates the sweet receptors creating a strong sensation of a super-sweet food in spite of its sour origin. The effects of the protein last approximately one hour.
The potential for using the Miracle Fruit to help cancer patients who experience a loss of appetite due to a lack of taste sensation resulting from their chemotherapy treatments made the news last year.