Abstract: Invited Review: Aging and energy balance

J Appl Physiol. 2003 Oct;95(4):1728-36.

Wilson MM, Morley JE.

Division of Geriatric Medicine, St. Louis Univ. School of Medicine, 1402 S. Grand Blvd., M238, St. Louis, Missouri 63104. morley@slu.edu

Humans over 70 yr of age often lose weight. This appears to be due to a physiological anorexia of aging as well as a loss of lean mass (sarcopenia) and, to a lesser extent, fat mass. The causes of the physiological anorexia of aging include changes in taste and smell and a decrease in adaptive relaxation of the fundus of the stomach, which leads to more rapid antral filling and early satiation. In addition, basal and stimulated levels of the satiating hormone, cholecystokinin, are increased.

In men, the decline in testosterone leads to an increase in leptin and a loss of lean mass. Although resting metabolic rate declines with aging, this is mainly due to the decline in lean body mass. Energy metabolism is also decreased due to a decline in Na+-K+-ATPase activity, decreased muscle protein turnover, and possibly changes in mitochondrial membrane protein permeability. Physical energy expenditure declines with aging. Meal-induced thermogenesis shows a delay to peak, possibly due to a delay in gastric emptying.

Inadequate data are available on the effect of aging in humans on other energy-producing mechanisms such as adaptive thermogenesis.

These physiological changes place older men and women at major risk of developing pathological weight loss when they develop disease states, especially those associated with cytokine elaboration.

PMID: 12970378 [PubMed – in process]

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