Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Anorexia of Aging Debunked

            The phrase “anorexia of aging” refers to the decreased appetite experienced by older adults, and is common among 15-20 % of the elderly. A decreased appetite may sound like a good thing to some, but the unintentional weight loss may be especially detrimental to the health of seniors. Previously, it was believed that the anorexia of aging was due to a decrease in the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates the feeling of hunger, but new research suggests the appetite reduction may stem from an increase in a satiety (fullness) hormone peptide YY. In this study older adults demonstrated a greater production of PYY compared to a younger age group, while the levels of GLP-1 and ghrelin remained similar between the two groups. Based on this study, it can be hypothesized that greater levels of PYY contribute to undernutrition and weight loss among older adults. Knowing which hormone to target can potentially be useful in treating, or managing the anorexia of aging.

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