I shared my concern with Jennifer…"do you think I could have a brain tumor?"
For the past three days, I've experienced a delayed, but prolonged bitterness every time I swallow food or liquid. I'm not taking medicine. I don't have a tooth ache or sinus infection. I brush and floss my teeth. No fever, nausea, vomiting. The bitterness comes after I swallow - not while I'm chewing with food in my mouth…and it lasts for minutes. Every time I swallow. It seems neurologic. Weird.
So, today I did what any self-respecting medical professional would do. Google it. "Bitter aftertaste after swallowing." Didn't take much work to make the connection. Pine Nut Syndrome.
In our house, we love making our own pesto. Fresh basil leaves from the garden, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic…and pine nuts…blended up in the food processor. I made a batch earlier this week - and snacked on the pine nuts while I whizzed it up.
Turns out this Pine Nut Syndrome is fairly well described. Journal of Toxicology. There is a specific species of pine nut, Pinus armandii, which is the culprit. Often of Chinese origin. Not necessarily rancid or expired. Nearly indistinguishable from standard pine nuts (Pinus pine, P. koraiensis, P. sibirica, P. gerardiana). Often purchased at Trader Joes (!!).
The symptoms (metallic or bitter aftertaste) usually occur within 1-2 days after ingesting as few as 1-3 nuts and symptoms may last up to 4 weeks (blah!)…
So, while it looks like a long three weeks ahead, I'm relieved to find a benign explanation for my bizarre symptoms…Yay, I shall see another day!