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Anorexia of Ageing Phenomenon May Reveal More about Hunger Hormone Control

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Study explains possible reason why we eat less as we get older

Have you ever heard about how that you may be able to control your hunger hormones with a special type of chewing gum or by consuming oat oil? Today there is new evidence supporting the potential for hunger hormone control by a study that seeks to explain the “Anorexia of Aging” phenomenon.


According to a news release from Plymouth University, researchers may have found the reason why many people over 80 eat less than normal—a phenomenon referred to as “Anorexia of Aging.”

“With ageing there is frequently a loss of appetite, termed anorexia of ageing, which can result in under-nutrition. We do not know how appetite control alters with ageing, so this study was a necessary and promising start,” stated Mary Hickson, Professor of Dietetics at Plymouth University.

In the study, Professor Hickson and colleagues enlisted the help of six healthy women over the age of 80 who after several hours of fasting, had breakfast and consented to having their hunger-related hormone levels monitored and compared to those of healthy younger participants in age brackets 20–39; 40–59; and 60–79.

While Ghrelin is a well-known hormone known for inducing hunger such as in morning time before breakfast, its counterpart is the hunger fighting hormone called “PPY” that is expressed in the lower intestines and colon. Previous studies have shown that when comparing obese individuals with normal weight individuals, obese individuals have less of the PYY hormone in their blood than normal weight individuals do.

What the study found after measuring the levels of PYY at regular time intervals for three hours in each participant alongside their levels of ghrelin was that each of the over-80s participants tested produced a greater amount of PYY than their younger counterparts, while their ghrelin levels did not change.

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While their results are not definitive, it does lead to some intriguing support for the idea of maintaining weight control with hormonal support in the overweight and obese, as well as help the elderly who are faced with nutritional obstacles as they grow older.

“We recognize that healthy subjects over this age are not necessarily representative of their population due to the lack of ill health, but excluding illness was necessary to test whether ageing per se is associated with changes in appetite control…If further studies on a greater number of participants show an increased production of PYY, we can work to investigate this hormone imbalance to address, and hopefully combat, anorexia of ageing,” stated Professor Hickson in the news release.

For more about controlling your hormones to control your weight, here is some Dr. Oz advice on Using Hormones for Melting Belly Fat Fast.


Plymouth University news release: “Greater production of ‘feeling full’ hormone could be responsible for weight loss in the elderly

Increased peptide YY blood concentrations, not decreased acyl-ghrelin, are associated with reduced hunger and food intake in healthy older women: Preliminary evidence” Appetite Vol. 105, 1 October 2016, Pages 320–327; Mary Hickson et al.

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