The most specific predictor of immune health and the ability to clear and recover from viral illness.

A hallmark study published in JAMA by Dr. Henry P. Barham shows that your ability to taste bitterness strongly correlates with your ability to clear viral infection and explains why some struggle with viruses and others clear with a quick sniffle.

Explaining the study results (Published in JAMA)

The study showed that bitterness reflects the presence of a vital receptor in your upper respiratory tract that signals your 'innate' immunity to rev up and fight off infection before it enters your bloodstream.

Doctor Profile

Henry P. Barham, MD

ENT Physician

  • Rhinology/Skull Base Surgery Specialist
  • Widely published researcher with over 100 publications and book chapters throughout his career

Dr. Barham is a board-certified ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician who works as a dedicated rhinologist (nose, sinus, allergy, endoscopic sinus, and skull base surgery) at Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana, LLC.

Innate Immunity

1935 adults were included in the study, of which 266 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Nontasters were much more likely than tasters and supertasters to test positive and to be hospitalized, suggesting innate immunity for supertasters.

Symptom Duration

The study also found that the taste expression was strongly connected to the duration of symptoms. This was signified by the fact that while supertasters took an average of 5 days to recover from symptoms, nontasters took 23.7. Despite 1/4 being supertasters and 1/4 being nonstasters (of the near 2000 subjects), 85% of those admitted with a COVID complication were nontasters, whereas 0% of supertasters required admission.


The P-value is the chance that the results happened by coincidence, with anything less than 0.05 being statistically significant. The P-value with this study was as low as it can be: 0.001 (listed as 0.01).


Where can I read the full study?


What is a supertaster?


What is innate immunity?


What is adaptive immunity?


What is passive immunity?


What is a phenotype?


What is the TAS2R receptor?


How do I know if I'm a supertaster?


Is being a supertaster harmful?


How can I strengthen my immune system?


What are some common causes of loss of smell?


How can I regain my sense of smell?


Is loss of smell linked to COVID?

Send this to a friend