Is it true we have taste buds in our stomachs?
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You asked us, is it true that we have taste buds in our stomachs?
Not only do we have taste receptors on our tongues and in our tummies, they're showing up in our intestines and lungs.
But let's go back a few steps. There are thousands of taste buds in our mouths, each with 50 to 150 cells that sense chemicals. Eat something sweet or salty, bitter, sour or full of umami meaty goodness and these receptor cells send signals to our brain. They tell us what we're tasting.
A similar chemical detection system is at play in other parts of our body. Receptors are on the lookout for specific tastes, like bitter or sweet. We don't yet have a good understanding of what most of these taste receptors do or how they work, but we're getting closer.
And unlocking these mysteries could lead to new treatments for conditions like diabetes, asthma and even infertility. That sounds pretty sweet to my ears.
For more stories like this, check us out every day at Smithsonian.com.
Critical thinking challenge: How do we know where our taste buds are?