Miracle berryMiraculin The miracle berry

what it is

Miraculin is a glycoprotein found in the skin and pulp of the miracle berry and the reasoning behind the name "miracle berry." The protein interacts with taste receptors in the tongue to make sour foods taste sweet for about an hour after consumption of the berry. Although miraculin has not been approved as a food additive or drug by the FDA (potentially due to pressure from the sugar industry -- read the controversial story here, or watch a news report about the banning here, starting at time 51:30), the berry is perfectly legal to eat as food.

about the berry
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the chemistry: Miraculin is a 191 amino acid protein composed of a single polypeptide chain with a molecular weight of 24,600kDa. Its structure is shown above. The protein binds to the sweet receptors on the tongue and upon interaction with acids (from sour foods), changes shape to activate the sweet receptors. The result is a sweet taste perception.

a party favor

In large cities, the miracle berry has become the focal point of small get-togethers. In these "flavor-tripping parties," guests receive a berry upon arrival, eat the berry, then spend the following hour tasting various foods to experience the effect of miraculin. Lemons are said to taste like lemonade, Guinness beer like a chocolate shake, and Tabasco sauce like doughnut glaze. These parties have been featured in a 2008 New York Times article and miraculin has been a topic on the popular CBS TV show The Doctors. Check out this video of a flavor-tripping party and guests' responses to the berry!

Flavor tripping party setup - Vinegar and mustard in cups 

a diabetes supplement

As people with diabetes will readily admit, abstaining from sweets can be hard. The miraculin produced naturally in miracle berries can provide a safe outlet for those suffering from the insulin inefficiency or deficiency. Many diabetic patients regularly utilize the miracle berry before eating low-sugar foods -- the miraculin in the berry allows them to taste sweet flavors without ingesting actual sugar.

a cancer aid

A common side effect of chemotherapy treatments in patients with cancer is a metallic taste left in the mouth. Often, this taste is so strong that the already weakened patients will have less of an appetite, eat less, and grow even weaker. The miracle berry has been shown to offset this metallic taste to improve the quality of food for chemotherapy patients.

where to get it

Interested in trying out the miracle berry and its 'miraculous' effects? There are multiple ways to ingest the miraculin protein -- you can purchase fresh berries (which tend to spoil quickly), dehydrated berries, seeds, seedlings, freeze-dried granules, or tablets containing dehydrated powdered berries. Some specialty sites even sell miraculin gum, lollipops, and seasonings! Check out DulciBerry Miracle Fruit for more details.

Miracle berry powder tablets 

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