Zinc and Taste Disturbances in Older Adults: A Review of the Literature

Consult Pharm. 2016 May;31(5):267-70. doi: 10.4140/TCP.n.2016.267.


According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, 35% to 45% of adults 60 years of age or older had zinc intakes below the estimated average requirement of 6.8 mg/day for elderly females and 9.4 mg/day for elderly males. Zinc deficiency may lead to loss of appetite, impaired immune function, weight loss, delayed healing of wounds, eye and skin lesions, and smell and taste disturbances. Older adults are especially affected by changes in taste sensations because of age-related gustatory dysfunction, use of multiple medications, increased frailty, and zinc deficiency. This article reviews the finding of clinical studies investigating the use of zinc supplementation for improvement with taste disturbances in older adults.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Appetite
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Taste Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Taste Disorders / etiology
  • Zinc / administration & dosage*
  • Zinc / deficiency


  • Zinc