Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Zinc status and taste acuity in older Europeans

Age-related decline in taste acuity may be both a cause and an effect of depleted Zn and/or increased Zn requirement. The aim of this study has been to explore associations between Zn status and taste acuity in healthy older European adults aged 55-90. Volunteers were recruited within Italy (n=108 aged 70-90 years), the United Kingdom (UK) (n=93 aged 55-70) and two regions of France (n=186), Grenoble (aged 70-90 years) and Clermont-Ferrand (aged 55-70). A Signal Detection Theory (SDT) approach was adopted, employing a three-alternative, forced-choice procedure. The data were converted to R-indices and bivariate correlations computed to explore relationships between serum Zn, erythrocyte Zn and taste acuity. ANOVA was undertaken to determine regional differences in Zn status.

Higher erythrocyte Zn status was associated with better acuity for salt (sodium chloride) taste in the sample as a whole (P=0.012) (n=385). Higher serum Zn levels were associated with greater sensitivity to sour (citric acid) (P=0.015) only in the older groups (aged 70-90). There were no apparent associations between serum or erythrocyte Zn status and acuity for bitter (quinine) or sweet (sucrose) tastes irrespective of age. These results agree with those previously suggesting that age-related detriment in sensitivity for salt taste may be associated with depleted Zn.

Reported by

Niche
Univ. Ulster
BT52 1SA Coleraine
United Kingdom
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