Decreased Food Intake with Age

Worley JE

Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2001;56(suppl 2):81-88

This article is part of a Special Issue supplement of Journals of Gerontology entitled “Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life in Older Adults.”

Abstract: There is a physiological decline in food intake with aging. The reasons for the decline if food intake are multifactorial and involve both peripheral and central mechanisms. Altered hedonic qualities of food occur du to alterations in taste and, more particularly, smell with aging. A decline in adaptive relaxation of the fundus of the stomach and an increase rate of antral filling appear to play a role in the early satiation seen in many older persons.  Cholecystokinin levels are increased with aging and older persons are more sensitive to the satiating effects of this gut hormone. The decline in testosterone levels in older males leads to increased leptin levels and this may explaining the greater decline in food intake with aging int he male. Within the hypothalamus, decreased activity of both the dynorphin (kappa opioid) and neuropeptide Y systems occurs in aging rodents. Cytokines are potent anorectic agents. Many older persons have mild inflammatory disorders that lead to anorexia. Exercise may increase food intake in older persons.

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