Malabsorption of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, minerals and vitamins has been described in the elderly. The ability of the intestine to adapt may be impaired in the elderly and this may lead to further malnutrition. Dietary manipulation may prove to be useful to enhance the needed intestinal absorption with ageing. There is an age-associated increase in the prevalence of dyslipidaemia as well as diabetes. These conditions may benefit from nutritional intervention targeted at reducing the absorption of some nutrients. With the continued characterization of the proteins involved in sterol and fatty acid absorption, therapeutic interventions to modify absorption may become available in the future.