Why do tears taste salty?Why do tears taste salty?
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When you’re feeling sad, watching a movie, or chopping onions, tears can come out and flow down your cheeks. Crying is an inseparable part of life. Crying is something we have been doing since birth. Anyone must have with or accidentally tasted tear. How does it feel? Salty isn’t it? However, have you ever wondered why tear taste salty? Here, we will find out together why tears taste salty?.

Types of tears

  1. Basal tears: These are tears that are in the eye all the time to lubricate, protect, and nourish the cornea of ​​the eye.
  2. Reflex tears: These types of tears are produce in response to irritants, such as smoke, wind or dust. Reflex tear are produce when we are expose to the syn-propanethial-S-oxide from slicing onions.
  3. Emotional tears: These are the types of tear that are produce in response to pain, such as physical, empathetic, sentimental pain. Also, when we deal with emotional states, such as sadness, happiness, fear, and other emotional states.

Tear Function:

Tears have several important functions in maintaining eye health. One of them is to protect the surface of the eye from infection and irritation. When the eye is expose to a foreign object or irritant, the receptors in the eye respond by producing tear to clean the surface of the eye. The salt in tear helps wash and soak these substances so they can be easily removed from the eye.

The basic components of tear

  • Water
  • Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, magnesium and calcium). This is the component that makes tear taste salty.
  • Proteins (lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, and IgA).
  • Lipids
  • Mucus, which is made of protein that helps with lubrication.

Why do tears taste salty?

Electrolytes are natural salts that the body uses for nervous system function and the transfer of information between nerve cells. Science ABC explained, the most important electrolytes or salts that we have in the body, including potassium, chloride, sodium, calcium, bicarbonate, phosphate, and magnesium. The content of electrolyte salts is what makes tear taste salty.

When you stick out your tongue and taste a little salt in your tears, it shows how sensitive our taste buds are. Approximately 98 percent of tear are made of pure water, while the remaining 2 percent are other compounds, such as salt. This salt content makes the eyes uncomfortable for bacterial growth. Tear are most often use as an extension of the immune system.


Salty tears are a phenomenon that can be explain by the complex chemical composition of tear, the balance of electrolytes in the body, and the protective and cleansing functions of the eye. The salts in tear play an important role in maintaining eye balance and health. By understanding the scientific reasons behind the sensation of salty tear, we can better appreciate how important tears are in maintaining healthy eyes and responding to emotions physically.