How Taste and Smell Change Due to Aging

Updated on August 8, 2018
vocalcoach profile image

Audrey Hunt's passion for nutrition began the day she was diagnosed with Diabetes. She's a vegetarian and advocate for healthy living.

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.

Loss of Taste and Smell Can be Age Related

Even the taste of creamy, delicious, ice cream diminishes in our later years. Certain medications can also cause a loss of taste.
Even the taste of creamy, delicious, ice cream diminishes in our later years. Certain medications can also cause a loss of taste. | 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.

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, 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.

Cell Biology of Taste

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 is Called Anosmia

Loss of smell can be temporary.
Loss of smell can be temporary. | 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

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

  • 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.

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.

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.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

  • Do you have any information on diminished tongue sensation which is unrelated to taste?

    This can be caused by the following: Nerve damage to the tongue. Several cranial nerves convey oral sensory input, and compensatory interactions among them may mitigate the effects of regional damage on whole-mouth sensation – but for some individuals, these interactions may bring long-term changes in food-related sensation and effect, including unpleasant phantom

    sensations that lack an apparent source.

    I recommend a visit to your doctor for a medical evaluation.

© 2013 Audrey Hunt


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    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      3 weeks ago from Idyllwild Ca.


      This is happening to me too and I don't like it at all. It almost seems unfair. Is it asking too much just to be able to taste as we hit a certain age?

      Thank you, my friend.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      I was hoping there was something I could do to prevent the loss, short of dying young, that is. But I guess it is just something we have to put up with. I was wondering why I am really liking hotter foods with more jalapenos than I ever used to. It is adding more taste that's all.



    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      18 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Juju Jackson

      I'm sorry to hear this. Losing our sense of smell and taste is losing one of the joys of life. You seem to have a good attitude about this. Take care.

    • profile image

      Juju Jackson 

      18 months ago from Texas

      Lost my sense of smell and taste 8 years ago. Supposedly due to a sinus infection. Don't like it but, it is what it is and I just deal with it!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

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

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.


      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. :)

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      5 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.


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

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

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

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.


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


    • TravelMike profile image

      MICHAEL Belk 

      5 years ago from New Albany

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.


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

    • Pawpawwrites profile image


      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.


      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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 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.

    • joedolphin88 profile image


      5 years ago from north miami FL

      Was my pleasure to read such a wonderfully written article.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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


      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

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

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 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.

    • ologsinquito profile image


      5 years ago from USA

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

    • CrisSp profile image


      5 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.

    • carter06 profile image


      5 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

    • WillStarr profile image


      5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

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

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 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 :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      5 years ago from California

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

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      5 years ago from Norfolk

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

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from UpstateWestern,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 family calls me the "Bloodhound!" LOL.

      I do know that a few of our senses seem to dwindle as the years tick 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. 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

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

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

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      @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 :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      6 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!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 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.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 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

    • profile image


      6 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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 

      6 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • galleryofgrace profile image


      6 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

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

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      6 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

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

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      6 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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!

    • pricelessway profile image

      Lola Stoney 

      6 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?

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      6 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.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      6 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

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 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.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      6 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 +++


    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

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

    • compu-smart profile image


      6 years ago from London UK

      :) mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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


      6 years ago from London UK

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

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

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

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      6 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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!

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

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

    • profile image


      6 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.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      6 years ago from Texas

      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.

    • Kasman profile image


      6 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!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      6 years ago from 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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      6 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.

    • WillStarr profile image


      6 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 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.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 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. ;)

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 

      6 years ago from Australia

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

      Thanks for sharing such useful information

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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:)

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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?

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      6 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!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      6 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

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 ~


    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      6 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.


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