How does salt suppress bitterness and enhance umami?


When I searched for why salt makes food taste good, it says that salt in low concentration suppress bitterness and enhance umami. How does it do that?

In: Chemistry

The problem is that ELI5 requires complex explanetions and dosnt allow simple ones.

But the simple truth is that salt is sodium cloride, and when in solution the sodium and cloride ions are free to move, sodium reacts with the bitter receptors on the tongue blocking them, so you cant sense bitter or sense bitter to a lesser extent when something has been salted.

Alton brown has shown on several occasions this effect on his show “good eats”, you can add a small amount of salt to coffee or pomelo to block the bitterness so you can enjoy the flavour more, just careful since the chloride is still there and its what gives salt its salty flavour, so an excess will ruin the taste.