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Metabolic Dysfunction and Candidate Biomarkers: an Overview of Anorexia of Ageing

This article provides an overview of the current state of research on anorexia of ageing, its metabolic implications, and potential biomarkers, highlighting the need for further investigation into appetite regulation in older adults to improve health outcomes and personalized nutritional care.

Article: Anorexia of Aging: Metabolic Changes and Biomarker Discovery

Anorexia of ageing is characterised by an age-associated reduction in appetite and food intake. With a prevalence of 20% in older adults, this syndrome may engender malnutrition and metabolic impairments, both of which are associated with increased negative health outcomes. Indeed, elderly individuals with anorexia of ageing possess higher risks of sarcopenia, disability, hospitalisation, and mortality. Importantly, malnutrition has also been identified as a major risk factor for frailty.

This article aims to summarise the state of research on anorexia of ageing in the context of age-related metabolic changes, with a focus on its candidate biomarkers.

Key learnings:

Candidate biomarkers for anorexia of ageing include circulating gastrointestinal hormones and peptides (ghrelin, leptin, cholecystokinin), microbial mediators of gut dysbiosis, and inflammatory mediators such as those regulating inflammaging (IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α), monoamines, and neuropeptides. The use of these biomarkers may enable the early identification of anorexia of ageing and may further contribute to the development of personalised nutritional counselling. Furthermore, significant changes, including reductions in microbial richness, have been observed in the gut microbiota of both elderly individuals and patients with eating disorders. More studies are urgently needed to define the relationship between gut microbiome composition and appetite regulation in older adults. The potential role of genetics in determining nutritional needs remains to be clarified.

Reviewed by: S. Duarte

Authors: Picca A, Calvani R, Landi F et al.

Published in: Clinical Interventions in Aging 2023

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