Reviews: Gerotarget (Focus on Aging):
Understanding the gastrointestinal tract of the elderly to develop dietary solutions that prevent malnutrition
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Didier Rémond1,2, Danit R. Shahar3, Doreen Gille4, Paula Pinto5,6, Josefa Kachal7, Marie-Agnès Peyron1,2, Claudia Nunes Dos Santos6,8, Barbara Walther4, Alessandra Bordoni9, Didier Dupont10, Lidia Tomás-Cobos11, Guy Vergères4
1UMR 1019, UNH, CRNH Auvergne, INRA, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
2Clermont Université, Université d’Auvergne, Unité de Nutrition Humaine, BP 10448, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
3Department of Public Health, The S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 84105 Beer-Sheva, Israel
4Institute for Food Sciences IFS, Agroscope, Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER, 3003 Berne, Switzerland
5Escola Superior Agrária, Insituto Politécnico de Santarém, 2001-904 Santarem, Portugal
6Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2780-157 Oeiras, Portugal
7Israeli Ministry of Health, 93591 Jerusalem, Israel
8Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica, 2780-157 Oeiras, Portugal
9Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna, 47521 Cesena, Italy
10UMR 1253, Science et Technologie du Lait & de l’Œuf, INRA, 35000 Rennes, France
11ainia Centro Tecnológico, E46980 Paterna (Valencia), Spain
Guy Vergères, e-mail: [email protected]
Keywords: malnutrition, gastrointestinal tract, aging, dietary solutions, gerotarget
Received: May 06, 2015 Accepted: May 13, 2015 Published: May 27, 2015
Although the prevalence of malnutrition in the old age is increasing worldwide a synthetic understanding of the impact of aging on the intake, digestion, and absorption of nutrients is still lacking. This review article aims at filling the gap in knowledge between the functional decline of the aging gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and the consequences of malnutrition on the health status of elderly. Changes in the aging GIT include the mechanical disintegration of food, gastrointestinal motor function, food transit, chemical food digestion, and functionality of the intestinal wall. These alterations progressively decrease the ability of the GIT to provide the aging organism with adequate levels of nutrients, what contributes to the development of malnutrition. Malnutrition, in turn, increases the risks for the development of a range of pathologies associated with most organ systems, in particular the nervous-, muscoskeletal-, cardiovascular-, immune-, and skin systems. In addition to psychological, economics, and societal factors, dietary solutions preventing malnutrition should thus propose dietary guidelines and food products that integrate knowledge on the functionality of the aging GIT and the nutritional status of the elderly. Achieving this goal will request the identification, validation, and correlative analysis of biomarkers of food intake, nutrient bioavailability, and malnutrition.
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