Serum amino acid concentrations in aging men and women

Amino Acids. 2003 Jun;24(4):413-21. doi: 10.1007/s00726-002-0338-0.


The age and gender related differences in serum amino acid concentrations have been assessed in 72 (23-92 years) medically screened healthy men and women who were divided into three male and three female groups according to age. Free-time physical activity and food intake were analysed from the 5-day diaries. The subjects were instructed to eat according to their normal dietary habits and to avoid any clinical complementary nutritional products or other products that could increase protein or energy intake. The blood samples (5 ml) taken from the antecubital vein after an over-night fast were analysed for their amino acid contents by chromatography. In total nutrient intake of energy (P < 0.001), protein (P < 0.001), alcohol (P < 0.05), water (P < 0.01), sodium (P < 0.001) and fiber P < 0.001) decreased significantly with age. The concentration of total amino acids (P < 0.01), essential amino acids (P < 0.001), non-essential amino acids (P < 0.05) and branched-chain amino acids (P < 0.05) decreased, whereas citrulline (P < 0.001) and cysteine (P < 0.001) were the only amino acids, which increased with aging. In addition, men had significantly higher concentrations than women of essential amino acids (P < 0.001), branched-chain amino acids (P < 0.001), and 10 of the 22 individual amino acids assayed (P < 0.01). Women had significantly higher concentrations of aspartate (P < 0.05), glycine (P < 0.01), serine (P < 0.001) and taurine (P < 0.01) than men. It is concluded that the decrease in serum total amino acid concentration is associated with decreased energy and protein intake with aging and men have higher essential amino acid concentration in serum than women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / blood*
  • Amino Acids / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Characteristics*


  • Amino Acids