Gustative sensitivity in elderly: a narrative review

Jamile Ceolin, Thais da Luz Fontoura Pinheiro


Objective: This study is a narrative review about the palate and the various aspects related to taste alterations in aging, as well as nutritional management. Data sources: A bibliographic search was carried out in the PubMed database from March to July 2017. For the purpose of the search, the terms "taste perception", "taste disorders", "taste threshold", "taste" bud", "elderly" with the help of Boolean operators (AND and OR). Summary: One of the earliest recipients involved in food identification and evaluation is the taste receptor. With aging, a loss of taste occurs due to changes in the membranes of taste cells
involving altered function of ion channels and sensory receptors in addition to reducing the number of taste pores. These disorders may be associated with
several conditions, including polypharmacy, smoking, alcohol, inadequate oral hygiene and debilitating diseases such as kidney and liver disease, cancer,
respiratory infections, AIDS and diabetes mellitus, Parkinson's disease and cognitive disorders. Simple measures such as the use of natural condiments and
seasonings, increased water intake, proper chewing and proper oral hygiene can bring great benefits by avoiding or circumventing gustatory changes in the elderly, being essential the performance of the nutritionist. Conclusions: It is essential to understand the changes in gustatory function that permeate the aging process in order to detect these changes early and contribute to a better quality of life for the elderly.


aging; elderly; taste; taste disorders.


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