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How Taste and Smell Change Due to Aging

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Age-Related Changes to Taste and Smell Is a Common Occurrence

The taste of food and drink is one of life's daily pleasures. Those tiny taste buds found on the tongue brings satisfaction and enjoyment to all. From the time we are babies through adulthood and into old age, we rely on taste for nutrition, energy, hydration and even celebration.

How would you feel if you could no longer taste your favorite food? What if that double scoop of chocolate fudge ice cream was devoid of chocolate flavor? Perhaps you've experienced not being able to taste food when you've had a bad cold or flu. Nothing really appeals to you because you have no sense of taste. You can't really smell anything, either.

But because you realize this is only temporary, you tell yourself it's okay. Soon you will have your sense of taste and smell back. Lucky you, because our aging seniors have to live with this disorder for the rest of their lives. This happens when taste buds die.

This article will explain how the aging process changes the anatomy and physiology of the senses. You will be amazed and surprised by what you learn here. And you'll develop a whole new appreciation for what you now take for granted—being able to taste and smell.

Let's begin with an introduction to taste buds and their function.

Take a look at the picture below to discover where your own taste buds are located. Notice that certain areas apply to sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastes.

The Tongue and Taste Buds Positioning

The human tongue can detect 4 distinct tastes
The human tongue can detect 4 distinct tastes | Source

Taste Buds and How They Work

The four basic tastes are Sweet, Sour, Salty and Bitter.

We can thank our taste buds for making food taste so good. They are located on the tongue and allow us to tell the difference between sweet, salty, sour and even bitter.

These taste buds have very sensitive hairs and are so small they can only be seen through a microscope. It's through these tiny hairs that messages are sent to the brain about how something tastes.

We have roughly 10,000 taste buds. Did you know that these taste buds are actually replaced about every two weeks?

Each one of these taste buds are made up of about 50-150 receptor cells. These cells only live for 1 or 2 weeks and then they are replaced by new receptor cells.

But these taste buds get some help from your nose as well. The nose contains receptors (Olfactory) that help messages get to the brain. They help you to be able to smell food which then helps to taste food.

Which of the four basic tastes do you like the best? I personally prefer sweet and salty. My daughter likes sour and my son goes nuts for bitter.

       Sweet, gooey, chocolate sundae
Sweet, gooey, chocolate sundae | Source

What Happened to the Taste of Ice Cream?

I'm at the age where I'm beginning to notice a slight change in my taste buds, and I don't like it one bit. The first time I realized my taste was changing was with one of my favorite foods - ice cream.

I quickly blamed the loss of flavor on the ice cream company. But after trying a few different brands I sadly came to the conclusion that the fault lay with my aging taste buds, and not the ice cream manufacturers.

As we age we lose some of our taste and smell
As we age we lose some of our taste and smell | Source

Aging And The Loss of Taste And Smell

As we age, we can expect a variety of changes to occur. We know that wrinkles will appear along with gray hair and we're not quite as "quick on our feet" as we used to be. The heart may become a little slower or bigger even with daily exercise and muscles lose their strength and flexibility.

As much as these changes may bother us, most of the time we can do something about it. We can always take care of a few wrinkles by having a little "work done" and gray hair can easily be dyed. With a change in diet and adding more exercise we can have a healthier heart. And we all know that the right type of stretching will give us more flexibility.

But the two changes that we can do little-to-nothing about are the loss of taste and smell. These natural changes occur for many of us slowly after we hit 60 and we barely notice it.

According to Encyclopedia.com, the reason we don't notice these changes are because" a progressive decline begins as early as thirty or forty years of age and continues gradually in later life."

With this very slow progression of sensory losses, an older person may not even be aware that a decline in taste or smell has occurred. Reaching for the salt shaker becomes automatic as the ability to taste subsides. And over-salting can be dangerous for seniors.

When food doesn't taste the same as it once did, we tend to eat less and malnutrition can become a problem.

Loss of Taste and Smell Graph

Loss of taste due to aging begins declining at about age 30 and hits it's peak at age 60-70
Loss of taste due to aging begins declining at about age 30 and hits it's peak at age 60-70 | Source

Causes of Taste Dysfunction and Disorders

Not all taste loss is due to aging. Here are a few other causes that can interfere with taste:

  • Smell dysfunction (defect in olfaction)
  • Drug Use
  • Previous upper respiratory infection
  • Reduction in saliva. For food to have a taste it must be dissolved in water. Saliva acts as water giving us the taste we need.
  • Influenza‐like infections
  • Head injury
  • Neurological damage (Alzheimer's disease, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Tumors and lesions
  • Chewing problems associated with dentures or loss of teeth
  • Appetite suppressants
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency
  • Deficiency of zinc
  • Acute viral hepatitis

I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism (thyroid deficiency,) and noticed a decline in my taste after about a year. My Doctor confirmed that you can lose your taste for food with this deficiency. Other causes are:

  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Liver failure
  • Cancer
  • Renal failure
  • Radiation therapy
  • Tobacco use
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Sinusitis and polyposis
  • Allergic rhinitis, atopy, and bronchial asthma

Always report your symptoms to your Doctor. This will relieve stress and help find the cause.

A Great Gift For Parents and Grandparents

Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being
Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being

Dr. Weil explains that there are a myriad of things we can do to keep our bodies and minds in good working order through all phases of life. Hugely informative, practical, and uplifting, Healthy Aging is infused with the engaging candor and common sense that have made Dr. Weil our most trusted source on healthy living.

 
The cell biology of taste. Taste qualities, the taste receptors that detect them, and examples of natural stimuli.
The cell biology of taste. Taste qualities, the taste receptors that detect them, and examples of natural stimuli. | Source
Loss of smell can be dangerous like not smelling a fire or gas leak.
Loss of smell can be dangerous like not smelling a fire or gas leak. | Source

Causes of Anosmia (Loss of Smell)

The Mayo Clinic defines Anosmia as -

"Loss of smell — anosmia (an-OHZ-me-uh) — can be partial or complete, although a complete loss of smell is fairly rare. Loss of smell can also be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause."

A loss of smell can cause a loss of interest in eating which can lead to malnutrition, weight loss and depression. It can also be dangerous because it hinders the ability to smell a gas leakage in the house.

According to Wikipedia, "Anosmia is due to an inflammation of the nasal mucosa; blockage of nasal passages or a destruction of one temporal lobe."

As you look at the list of causes that can be the culprit for losing your ability to smell, common sense dictates that each case can be different. Loss of smell can be a temporary thing and leave as quickly as it began.

  • Anosmia can be an early sign of Parkinson's disease
  • Brain injury
  • Cocaine abuse
  • Injury to the nose and the smell nerves
  • Infection/blocked nose
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Certain types of nasal spray
  • Nasal polyps
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Smoking
  • Schizophrenia
  • Certain medications ( antibiotics, antidepressants, heart medications, anti-inflammatory medications and others
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Toxins/chemicals such as pesticides or solvents
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Bell's Palsy
  • Neurotropic virus
  • Old Age
  • Radiation

  • Decreased taste buds on the tongue
  • Decreases in nerve ending response to taste and smell also results in changes in the taste and smell threshold
  • Reduced saliva flow

Elderly are at risk for food poisoning as they can't smell spoiled food.

Old Age and Loss of Smell

Many seniors cannot smell spoiled food
Many seniors cannot smell spoiled food | Source

Key Points to Remember

You won't remember everything that you've read here so I'm giving you some points to take away:

  • Older people lose their taste and smell.
  • Losing the ability to smell means the taste is gone too.
  • Many other causes interfere with taste and smell other than aging.
  • Encourage the elderly to eat foods packed with good nutrition.
  • Malnutrition runs high in older people because they can't taste their food.
  • Losing taste and smell begins declining at about age 30.
  • Seniors rarely recognize that they don't taste food as they did when they were younger.

Seniors Need Stronger Tasting Food

Did you know that your taste buds age just like everything else in your body? Take a look at these statistics given by Assisted Living Facilities.org:

  • Adults have over 6,000 taste buds
  • Elderly have 2,000 - 3,000 taste buds

Is it any wonder that our seniors lose their taste for food? It's too bad we can't replace those dead taste buds. But there's something we can do to enhance the taste of food. We simply have to add more seasoning.

Go light on the salt and use more garlic, cayenne pepper, rosemary and other tasteful herbs such as cinnamon, turmeric, basil and oregano.

Squeeze an extra lemon when you make lemonade and be sure that fruits are nice and ripe before serving.

By taking these extra precautions, the elderly will begin to enjoy their regular favorite foods once again and life will be sweeter.

Loss of Taste and Smell

Summing It Up

Smell and taste play an important role in enjoyment and in safety. Being able to smell and taste also allows you to detect danger such as leaking gas, spoiled food and smoke.

As you age your mouth produces less saliva, which causes dry mouth and thereby affects your sense of taste. Loss of nerve endings in the nose cause less mucus which helps odors to linger long enough to detect smell.

Some things to remember:

  • Most changes in the perception of food flavor result from the loss of smell. The nose contains receptors (Olfactory) which send messages to the brain.
  • As we age, our taste buds die resulting in loss of taste. There are 4 taste sensations: sweet, sour, salty and bitter.
  • Nothing can be done about losing the sense of smell and taste due to aging.
  • Use more spices and herbs to bring out the taste of food.
  • The elderly are at high risk for malnutrition. Encourage them to eat more fruits, vegetables and protein along with healthy grains. They made sure we ate well as children and now we must do the same for them. Always be loving and caring. And a little humor goes a long way.
  • There are many other causes for losing taste and smell. If yours has diminished see your health care provider.

If you experience a loss of smell that you can't attribute to a cold or allergy or which doesn't get better after a week or two, tell your doctor.

Presently there is no treatment for loss of taste and smell for the elderly.

In closing I would like to share my favorite quote from actress Sophia Loren:

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

Thank you for being here. I invite you to share your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.

What do you think of this Hub ?

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© 2013 Audrey Hunt

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114 comments

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. Funny story: My craving for tomatoes grow stronger as my body c lose its tolerance for raw tomatoes.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

Audry, This is an excellent hub for so many people. I have had a problem with my sense of smell due to polys and 3 sinus surgeries. I can smell some things, but not others. I wish there was a way to treat this problem, as the sense of smell is important and pleasurable.

I think I remember reading about losing your sense of taste as you age, but the sugar taste buds last the longest. I don't know if this is true.

Your hub is very informative and well-written. Up and awesome and it will be shared.


Vickiw 3 years ago

A very interesting Hub, and your pictures enhance your topic. I believe smell has a big impact on taste. Your facts are well presented.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Oh great something else to look forward to about aging :)

I think the loss of taste buds has already started with me. I've always liked spicy foods and lately when I cook something that used to taste spicy I end up spicing it up even more once it's on my plate.

Very useful and informative article!

Voting up +++, sharing and pinning.


Gypsy48 profile image

Gypsy48 3 years ago

Interesting hub, something I am not looking forward to. I just hope I never lose my sense of smell or taste for chocolate! Voted up.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

This was interesting though not happy to read about it. It is something I have not noticed..but as you said...very gradual..like other signs of aging. WHat I have noticed is that I am as energetic as ever...just a little shorter time span. May it is the reason that older women wear too much perfume as they don't smell it..Thanks for a great hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

I can ditto the comments before me and add most people aren't aware of the loss of taste buds as a normal aging 'benefit'. It does explain so much, as you've pointed out. I think anyone over thirty should read this so they know what MIGHT lie ahead!

Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

A part of me always hates reading about seniors. Hits a bit too close to home. LOL However, this is filled with interesting information and useful tips, so I'd be a fool not to read it, and daddy didn't raise no fool.

Well done Audrey!

Sending love and hugs your way

bill


montecristo profile image

montecristo 3 years ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

Great hub. I noticed this trend with my mother in law. Once she reached her 80's, she seemed to lose her sense of smell. Sad. Thanks for sharing.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 years ago from Central Florida

Audrey, I was unaware we lose taste buds as we age. From 10,000 to 2,000-3,000! That's staggering! Too bad fat cells don't follow the same laws of nature! tee hee!

Seriously, this is very informative. It's obvious you've done your research. Well done!


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 3 years ago

So sorry to hear about your thyroid issues, Audrey! Aging ain't fun in any arena, it seems - other than we can fart in public without shame! LOL..

my mother never had a sense of smell, which i always found so sad - and sometimes - even dangerous..

I learned a ton here and i'm assuming that the loss of taste is why elderly folks often lose interest in food...

that ain't me! (yet..lol)

Excellent info and SO well done! Don't doubt yourself!

sharing pinning, loving


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Mhatter99 - Gee - sorry about the tomato thing.

I'm finding that 1 chocolate bar doesn't give me the chocolate taste that it used to, but 2 or more will :) Thanks ~ Audrey


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I smell smoke that isn't there. It's called an olfactory hallucination. I had to be checked for a brain tumor, but I'm clean, thank you Lord!

Aging is not for sissies.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

What!!! No tasting a double scoop of chocolate ice cream!!! Ahhhhh!!!! Kill me now!!!!

Seriously, this is a great hub and so very informative, whether we want to know it or not. Very useful.

I once heard someone say, "Growing old is not for sissies" and I agree!

Excellent write!

Voted up +++ and sharing

Blessings, Faith Reaper


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 3 years ago from California

Wow, learn something new every day (as long as I can remember it!) This is fascinating Audrey - so now there are even more things to look forward to huh!?

You did a smashing job on this hub, very detailed, well researched and informative! Voted up and useful!

Well done my friend!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Maybe this is just in my case a coincidence but I have noticed this more in male than female. My mother up to her death even with Alzheimer's love the smell of foods although she could not eat much and lost so much weight.

Very interesting write. ^


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

Great hub Audrey! I can relate to the loss of smell. I stopped smoking nine years ago and didn't realize my sense of smell had declined due to smoking. I noticed i could smell again after about two years of being smoke-free, also food tasted so much better. This is a top-notch presentation. Thank you.....


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

And to think: I always blamed my loss of smell was due to my chronic sinus problems! Now I know it's cause I'm getting old.

I have to say my sense of taste has not diminished. I wish it would.

Voted UP etc. and will share.


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

I didn't realize there were so many conditions that could lead to a loss of taste buds. Thanks for this very informative read. It was interesting and useful.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Pamela99 - I didn't know you had 3 sinus surgeries. Ouch! How long ago did you have the polyps? Gee, I wish there were a way to fix this problem too. If you can't smell, you have a hard time tasting food too. It seems like I can taste some foods, but not others. Oh well :)

Thanks so much for voting up and awesome and for taking the time to share. Sending you a hug Pamela - Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Vickiw - Thanks for mentioning the pictures. Some of the graphs took me hours to find :) Yes, loss of smell means loss of taste. I am in the older age group now where tasting food diminishes more every year. But that's okay - I'm still here :) Take care Vicki.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Just Ask Susan - Hahahaha! Sorry, but it is what it is :) I've also lost some of my taste. Take sour pickles for example. I used to pucker up and wince when I bit into a kosher dill. Now it doesn't even phase me. And I do the same as you with my spicy food. I wonder if recipes should note that if person is over 60 they can double up on the spices:)

Thanks Susan for the generous votes, pinning and sharing. Take care!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Gypsy48 - Oh my gosh, I think the same thing. But I've decided if and when that day comes, I'll either just shoot myself or double up on the chocolate!

Thanks Gypsy :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

carol7777 - Losing your sense of taste and smell is nothing to smile about. I agree. And oh my gosh, smelling perfume almost makes me sick. You're lucky to have plenty of energy (no matter how long it lasts.) So great to see you here Carol. I always love your comments. Cheers!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

tillsontitan - Thanks so much for your comments. Sadly, I have fallen into the age bracket where my little old taste buds seem to skip out on me just when I crave some chocolate:) I was surprised to learn as I researched this topic that taste buds begin dying off around thirty. I always love your comments and appreciate your support and the generous votes. ~ Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Oh, Billy, I know how you feel and I had to write about aging :) I am so in denial and even 'talk back' to my body when an age-related problem appears. I may age - but I refuse to get old! And I agree with your daddy not raising any fool :) In fact he raised a genius of a writer with a heart big enough to share his talent with all of us here in hubland.

Much love and big hugs to you ~

Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

montecristo - Very nice to see you here. Yes, it is sad that losing the sense of smell and taste has to happen at all. Perhaps the old saying "Eat, drink and be merry" isn't such a bad idea after all :) Thank you!


Tonipet profile image

Tonipet 3 years ago from The City of Generals

Very well-presented, Audry. You have explained everything. Very helpful, we have understood how the ageing process changes the normal anatomy of our senses, and how this effects quality of life. Thank you for this. :=) My votes up and I'm sharing! -Tonette


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

As I age, I am beginning to notice these changes in myself and my spouse. It is somewhat disconcerting when one cannot task certain things. One day, I thought I had left out an ingredient when cooking because I could not taste it, when in reality, others could. I can see how this may become problematic in the future!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

bravewarrior - Hahahahaha! I'm with you on the fat cells:) And I was surprised to learn that loss of taste begins as early as 30 years of age.  Thanks for being here and eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow....who knows?


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi ImKarn23 ~ Well, I'm aging and I gotta say live life to the fullest now! Sorry to hear about your mother and her never having a sense of smell. That problem makes it almost impossible to really taste food. And if we can't taste it - where the heck is the fun in eating?

I want to thank you for your generous comments about my hub and will take your advice both now and in the future.

Thank you for being you - so awesome in every way! ~ Hugs, Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Will - Wow! Had no idea this problem exists. Are you serious, or just foolin' me? If you're serious, oh my gosh, how scary. Glad you're clean. I'm no sissy either which is a good thing because I'm aging daily:)


nighthag profile image

nighthag 3 years ago from Australia

Simply fascinating, happily sharing this on, we all should know this

Thanks for sharing such useful information


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Ah, yes, Audrey. Your sensible, informative hub reminds me that these are the Golden Years. Right? Losing taste, losing smell, adding more spice to food, etc., etc.

But I do have some good news for fellow chocoholics. Chocolate still tastes DELICIOUS even when you can't smell it two blocks away - like before. Hopefully, that taste will be the very last to go. Just like Will and Bette Davis said, Old Age is NOT for sissies. Trust me!

Voted up, nevertheless. ;)


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Are you serious, or just foolin' me? If you're serious, oh my gosh, how scary."

No, I'm dead serious. I had a brain scan, but as my wife said, they found nothing...no tumor and no brain either!

I smell all sorts of phantom smells, like cheap perfume, cigarettes, and smoke. It's unpleasant, but it's part of aging for some people.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

Avery informative hub, but a tad long for a restless soul like me.

I guess I lost my olfactory sense and taste buds at a young age due to hiking long distances in forests with smells of fresh flowers and decaying and trampled grass at the same time and eating whatever crumbs my backpack could find me.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Faith Reaper - Yes! That's my reaction too - no chocolate taste - kill me now :) Hahaha - too funny. I'm glad you found this useful and informative. Appreciate your votes.  Enjoy eating! ~ Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Chatkath - You're so funny :) I'm glad you found this fascinating and sure do appreciate the generous compliments. Hope all is well in your world. Thanks so much my friend!


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 3 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

This is something that I hadn't considered, as many probably haven't, but it makes perfect sense. It is a shame, but then as you say, some improvements can be made and care given (such as checking use-by dates).

Shared, pinned, tweeted, up, useful and interesting.


Kasman profile image

Kasman 3 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

Wow, very informative hub. I really wasn't expecting that much from this And so I'm very pleasantly surprised by my end feelings. I'm enlightened but yet I'm also kind of sad, it's hard to see this kind of thing happen to the love ones in your life that are of an older age.

Very thought provoking hub, I'm going to be voting up and sharing. Wonderfully written!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Vocalcoach, this makes me sad, because I see this and I fear this, but this is a well written hub. Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.

Thanks for giving me hope. Shared and Pinned on my Art - Writing board.


just-about 3 years ago

Well, this is something I was completely unaware of . . . but it makes sense. I think that I assumed elderly people lost their appetite simply because they are usually less active than formerly. But, if food is less interesting - well, of course it is less appetising and less attractive. Very interesting information, thank you.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

I appreciate the guidance on what to expect, since I am aging. Voting this Up and Useful.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

always exploring - I've heard that smokers lose a big percentage of taste. So great to hear that you have stopped this habit and that your taste and smell have returned. Thanks for sharing this my friend. Now go have something sinful to eat:)

mary615 - I have to say, you made me laugh with your comment on losing taste, "I wish I would." :) Thanks so much and enjoy something really delicious!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

truthfornow - I'm very glad to read such positive comments. Thanks so much for confirming that my hub is useful. Enjoy your day - Audrey

Dear Tonette - Thanks so much for the kind and encouraging comments. It's true. Aging is not for sissies :) Enjoy your day and your food - Audrey


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

Audrey-I found this hub immensely interesting and helpful. I also have hypothyroidism, but haven't noticed a change in taste. I do find the topic very important and am sure there will be many people who will benefit from the enormous amount of information you've provided here. UP/I/and awesome. Will share...


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

denise.w.anderson - Thanks for sharing your story about the time you discovered your taste diminishing. Until I researched this subject I wasn't aware that we lose our taste for food as we age. Darn!

nighthag - So glad to find you here. This is news to so many people. It was for me. Thanks for sharing and for liking my hub. Take care.

drbj - Hurray and hallelujah! Chocolate is still alive and well. So thrilled to learn that good news. I'm not thrilled about getting older, but given the alternative - I'll take it!

Willstarr - Wow! So glad to hear that you are ok. Very scary. The other night when I was in the house I swear I smelled hot dogs. Maybe I'll join you.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

An excellent hub; one that is informative and interesting. Voted up ++ :-)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Suhail and my dog - Thanks for being here. Appreciate your helpful comments. Enjoy your day!

Brett.Tesol - This topic should be discussed more. We never hear about all the affects of aging and especially about losing the sense of taste and smell. So pleased to came by and thanks of the great ratings.

Kasman - You are a welcomed ray of sunshine! I love your comments. And it is sad to know that losing the sense of taste and smell is age-related. You have a kind heart. Thank you for the uplifting comments and for voting up and sharing. Enjoy your day my friend.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Shyron - Hi! This is sad to learn - but remember that everyone is different. As an example, I still have a pretty strong sense of both smell and taste and am in the age range where normally I shouldn't. The best thing to do is maintain a good attitude during these changes and support older people by understanding. So nice to see you here! ~ Audrey

just-about - This hub has been a learning experience of so many of us. I, myself have learned a great deal about taste and smell loss. But the good news is, if you're a chocolate lover (like me) this taste never is lost :) Thanks for being here.

alocsin - It's good to be prepared my friend. I'm noticing some loss of taste already. But I have such a strong will and imagination I'm determined to hold on to certain tastes! Thank you - Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Dear Denise - Wonderful to see you here! You have a long way to go before your tastes begin to diminish. We all need to know a little about this topic so that we can show more compassion and understanding with our elderly. Thank you for your kind support Denise. The world could do well with more women like you! Hugs Audrey

Hi Genna - Great to see your smiling face. Very happy to know that you found this hub informative. I really wanted to know that. Appreciate the generous ratings. Have a wonderful day!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Audrey, I've heard old people complaining of no taste in the food and now this hub explains it all in a simple and lucid style.

Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing this info ahead.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 3 years ago from London UK

I now have a fair idea why KFC is no longer 'finger licking good' as it used to be!.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Thank you rajan for being here. We will all arrive at the age where our taste and smell diminishes. But as this happens, we grow more powerful in the spirit and with patience and love. Thank you dear friend for the generous votes ~ Audrey

Compu-smart - You've made me laugh! Thanks for that :)


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 3 years ago from London UK

:) mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

...and you're humming is right on key :)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

This is very true. Things that tasted and smelt good when I was a boy do not create same favorable taste and smell.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 years ago from Michigan

Good morning my friend, Great topic with tons of research. I have been into holistic health for years. Throughout the years I have researched much and tried several alternative methods to treat illnesses or conditions.

I see you mentioned zinc to help restore the sense of smell and taste. When I was in my 30's I read a similar article about the loss of these senses. The author also did an excellent job of painting a picture of what it would be like to loose these precious senses.

The writer concluded that these losses came from a lack of zinc. I promised myself I would store this info. should this malady ever hit me. It did hit me and I remembered. Zinc HAS restored both taste and smell for which I am soooooooooo thankful!!!

You also wrote about the affects of hypo-thyroid disease. I was also diagnosed with this and the Doc. had a horrible time in trying to treat it. He finally gave up because I get side affects to almost all medications. I eventually found a natural supplement that works and my thyroid is in normal range now.

Believe me I have spent lots time and experimentation before I find what my body calls for - thanking God I do eventually find something in nature that treats without the side affects.

Your mention of thyroid disease led me to reflect on the possibility that correcting the thyroid function may have also played into the restoration of these senses.

Thanks for a very well written presentation which provided some great helps for those of us in midst of symptoms created by the natural progression of aging ..

Bless you dear lady. I'm sharing this and voting it up +++

Mekenzie


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

I guess with time that many things start diminishing with age. I know that I am not as strong in muscle strength as I once was. Still have a good appetite however! Tasting one's food and enjoying it is one of life's pleasures. Perhaps that accounts for so many older people getting thin and more frail. UUI votes, sharing and pinning.


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

A very well written and informative article regarding loss of taste and smell. It is really frightening what happens to the body as it ages. Our bodies are like a car, if you don't take care of it with regular maintenance, it will most definitely breakdown. Thank goodness zinc can help with the problem. Thank you for sharing this valuable information. (Voted Up) -Rose


DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 3 years ago from Central North Carolina

Yes, at 66 I am noticing things don't taste as good as they used to. I am trying to be careful with salt and use fresh herbs from my garden to season my food.


pricelessway profile image

pricelessway 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Thanks for this simple and well-presented hub. Aging is an inevitable situation as long as we hang on our bodies (Lol). I am not yet a senior, but getting closer by day. I respect our seniors and all they have to deal with…loss of smell, taste, hearing and what else? Dementia?


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Vinaya - Yes, this is true. Had I known this when I was younger I would have appreciated being able to taste and smell much more. I took it all for granted and most of us do. Enjoy your day!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Mekenzie - Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. I enjoyed reading them. I am also a big fan of holistic medicine and healing.

Zinc is now a regular part of my diet. I'm so glad you stopped by, my friend and I wish you blessings of peace, love and great health ~ Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Peggy - I appreciate the generous votes and ratings as well as sharing and pinning. Thank you for your comments on aging. Take good care ~ Audrey

rose- the planner - One reason I surround myself with younger people is to keep a young attitude as I age :) And - it helps! Your comparison with our body to the car is wonderful. And I use zinc regularly and so far I still have my strong taste buds going and smell is working almost too good:)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

DonnaCSmith - Your choice about using herbs in place of more salt is a very wise decision. I do the same.

Pricelessway - Well, I'm not revealing other changes that occur with aging :) :) You've listed enough to worry about for now young lady. So glad you dropped by! ~ Audrey


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

well, that decides it, then.. I'm just gonna stop getting older. I shoulda stopped at 39 anyway. LOL. Great post... and I learned some stuff, too!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

carolina muscle - Hahahaha! I did stop aging at 39, but refuse to get old even though I'll never see 60 again. LOL.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA

This is an excellent hub, but it sounds like one more thing old age will bring. I'm pinning it. Good job!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Thanks Barbara! Really appreciate your kind comments and for pinning.


galleryofgrace profile image

galleryofgrace 3 years ago from Virginia

This is all very interesting and it is true that age affects taste and smell.

BUT- the ingredients in tooth whitening and cleaning gels and pastes is killing taste buds.

I can attest to that fact. When I stopped using all that stuff I got my tastes back!

I wish more people would just try it and see the difference.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

galleryofgrace - Thanks so much for sharing information on teeth whitening gels and paste.

I'm so glad to know this and I'm sure many others will be too. ~ Audrey


Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK

Thank you for a fascinating read. I did not know, for example that loss of smell can be associated with hypothyroidism (a family member suffers from this). Voted up and shared.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi Alison - I have hypothyroidism too. I just 'spice things up a little' and it works just fine for me. Thanks so much for the vote and share ~ Audrey


rcorcutt 3 years ago

I am only 27 and I have a lot of these symptoms. I should take it easy and relax a little. Thanks for the article.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

This is fascinating Audrey, and not something that I had thought about. The funny thing is that me and my brother have always been 'lazy' eaters. We don't particularly like food, we eat because we have too. so maybe its because we just genetically don't have really strong taste buds, so I don't think I would notice as I got older, but this is really informative, voted up and shared! nell


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Great answer to why so many seniors lose weight, or gain it. I find myself craving less spicy foods but that's a good thing for me. Well written article with lots of interesting facts.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Thanks to Nell Rose sharing this hub in FB, I got the opportunity to read this most interesting and informative hub of yours, vocalcoach. Sorry I have missed it until now. And I was wondering why some food I love don't taste the same as before!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

@rcorcutt - Yes, you are young to be having these symptoms. Still, it can happen even at your age. You may want to see you doctor.

@Nell Rose - I would love to have your problem and not be interested in food. You are one lucky (and skinny) chick! Thanks for sharing this Nell. So nice of you.

@teaches12345 - Same here with less craving for spicey foods. Thanks for being here. Enjoy your day.

@MartieCoester - I've noticed a difference in the taste of my food too. Darn! Doesn't seem fair - especially with chocolate :)


precy anza profile image

precy anza 2 years ago from San Diego

Reminds me of the elder lady I'm taking care of as I read this. Very informative. :) Up and shared to my FB friends.They need to read this.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi precy - How nice that you're helping out the elderly. And thank you for voting up and sharing my hub on FB. I sure do appreciate this. Enjoy your day my friend, ~ Audrey


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Came back for another read Audrey, fascinating subject, voted up and shared! nell


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Audrey.....Fabulous hub, even if it speaks directly to my "age group" and thus reminds me of that age!! Ish!

Sorry to say, my olfactory gland is in tip top shape......working overtime at all times. Good thing or bad thing? It depends, as I'm sure you can imagine.

My sense of smell has always been so sharp and keen....my family calls me the "Bloodhound!" LOL.

I do know that a few of our senses seem to dwindle as the years tick by....so it's not so shocking to know that our sense of smell would also.....given some of the health issues we find ourselves dealing with.

Now.....as for my eyes? Nah, I don't think I'll go there. I'm facing the old "cataract surgery" in the near future. OH, Audrey.....the fun and joy of aging. It's grand. :( UP++ Pinned


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

Beautifully presented and a very informative article. You did a fantastic job on this Hub. Voted up and more ++++


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Just an excellent article!! (She said as she inched up on the graph!)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

My sense of taste and smell is actually getting stronger as I get older...this could be annoying at times, but I'm thankful for both senses :)


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

On the other hand, maybe we old folks just smell bad!


carter06 profile image

carter06 2 years ago from Cronulla NSW

Just found this and enjoyed reading about how we taste things..did not know about how taste buds are replaced every two weeks..amazing..I for one am looking forward to that as weight loss will surely be easier:)

will share & tweet..cheers


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

Older people lose their taste and smell.- Ouch! :) Kidding aside, I like your key points to remember because not only we lose our sense of taste and smell, our memory diminishes as well.

Great hub. Very informative and worth all the sharing. Voting up here.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

I have heard about this happening. Very well-done article.


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

Oh, how terrible it would be not to enjoy tasting and smelling good food!! When I have a bad sinus infection, I cannot smell my food!

You did an excellent job with this article!

Voted UP, etc.etc.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Sunshine625 - Thanks so much for bringing me new viewers by posting this. Such a kind and supportive act on your part. It's great that you still have your taste and smell (depending on what it is) :) You're awesome.

Hi Nell - So nice of you to pay me a return visit. I always appreciate your support!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Very interesting, old age comes with a lot of changes! I would hate to lose my sense of taste and smell. What would life be without being able to smell roses and taste yummy food! Great hub, voted up.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hello Vellur - I haven't noticed changes in my taste and smell yet. But at my age, when it happens I'll just add more spices:) Thanks my friend for add ing your wonderful comments.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

fpherj48 - Hell0 'young forever.' Yes you are and so am I. Had cataract surgery, so that's done. I so hate to admit that parts of my body are wearing out no matter what I do to keep it all in tact. :)

I can still smell and taste am and grateful for that.

Thank you my incredible friend for being who you are - Love and hugs - Audrey

sallybea - Thank you so very much for the great votes. I'm so glad you appreciated this hub. Enjoy your day - Audrey

Oh Audrey Howitt - How I do love you! Great sense of humor - sing the day away - Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

WillStarr - Hahahaha. Very funny!

carter06 - This could be why many old folks lose weight. Works for me :) Thanks so much.

CrispSP - I'd sure like to hang on to what memory I've got :) Thanks for sharing and the generous vote.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

ologsinquito - So nice to see you here. Thanks so much for appreciating my hub. I will feel good now. :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi mary615 - How's Florida? Very nice to see you here and agree that without being able to taste or smell, well, what's left? At my age I should have lost most of these two senses, but I can guarantee you that mine are still working at full power :) Thanks a lot mary.


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

This has to be true because now that I'm in my twenties I actually like condiments and for many years I wouldn't eat anything that didn't taste good on its own.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

joedolphin88 - I really like your comment joe. I hadn't thought about this until reading your message. Thanks for being here and look for a visit from me very soon.


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

Was my pleasure to read such a wonderfully written article.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

This is a very comprehensive article.

I just learned a few weeks ago that loss of smell can be associated with Parkinson's Disease. My father had Parkinson's when he died and he lost his smell several decades before Parkinson's was diagnosed.

A coworker lost his ability to taste sweet, and it was worse than that. He said the sweet was gone and in it's place everything normally sweet was bitter instead. It was due to the cancer treatment he had to have.

Very excellent article! So informative, and I think there was nothing left out. That is what Google likes you know. An article that will answer a person's every question without having to look further on that subject.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Au fait - Thank you so very much for your excellent comments. I'm grateful to see you here. So sorry to learn that your father had Parkinson's and has passed on.

Your appreciation for my hub really gives me a lift. You should see my big smile. And I didn't know that Google likes an informative article where all questions about the subject are answered. Thanks for mentioning this.

Happy thoughts and happy days to you. Audrey


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

joedolpin88

Thanks for reading my article on taste and smell changes due to aging. I appreciate knowing the you found this to be wonderfully written. I do hope to see you again, and soon.


Pawpawwrites profile image

Pawpawwrites 2 years ago from Kansas

Figured since I'm aging, I'd better read this. As if one more thing wasn't going to go on me. Oh well. I'm glad for every day I have, and plan to live to the fullest, even if I can't smell or taste.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Pawpawwrites

I like your attitude and feel the same way. Who cares if I lose my taste and smell, when I can still breathe? :)


TravelMike profile image

TravelMike 23 months ago from West Memphis, AR

I lost my smell due to nasal polyps. I thought it would never return. You never realize how important it is until it is gone.

My smell has returned thank God.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 23 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

TravelMike

You are right! Once you lose your smell you learn to never take it for granted again. Glad you have it back. Thanks.

Audrey


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

no wonder my dad tastebud changed he said every food is tasteless


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

peachpurple

I, too am at the age where my food is starting to lose its taste. I'm not happy about this. :) Thanks.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 22 months ago from Central United States

I have spent years not being able to taste what I eat. This is from a combination of factors. Seasonal allergies is one of them and this has been a factor for as long as I can remember. For years this started with the first blooming flower in the spring and ended when the last leaf fell in the fall. When I lived in Florida and California it never ended.

Enjoy your ability to smell and taste for as long as you can. It really is something you won't relish losing.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Wheelinallover

Thanks for your comments. I've been suffering from allergies for the past few months and notice my loss of taste too. I don't like it one bit! I live in California. Thinking of moving to the moon. :)


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 17 months ago from India

I remember my grandmother when she was aged. She did not have taste and probably smell also. because of this she was not eating properly


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 12 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

This happens to the elderly and can cause some problems. Adding more spices to the food will help. Thanks for being here.

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    vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt (vocalcoach)1,694 Followers
    189 Articles

    Audrey Hunt's passion for nutrition began the day she was diagnosed with Diabetes. She's a vegetarian and practices alternative medicine.



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