August 17, 2011
Fading Ability To Taste Iron Raises Health Concerns For People Over Age 50
People lose the ability to detect the taste of iron in drinking water with advancing age, raising concern that older people may be at risk for an unhealthy over-exposure to iron, scientists are reporting in results they term "unique." The study appears in the ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Andrea Dietrich, Susan Mirlohi, and Susan Duncan and colleagues point out that perception of a metallic flavor in water can help people limit exposure to metals such as iron, which occurs naturally in water or from corrosion of iron water-supply pipes. Although commonly referred to as "metallic taste," iron and other metals actually produce both a taste and an odor; this combination is a flavor. People need less iron after age 50. And studies suggest that older people who consume too much "” especially in dietary supplements and iron-rich foods "” may be at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease and other age-related conditions. Scientists long have known that taste sensory perception fades with age. Dietrich's group set out to fill in gaps in knowledge about how aging affects perception of a metallic flavor in water.
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