Fat and carbohydrate metabolism during exercise in elderly and young subjects

Shahid Sial, Andrew R. Coggan, Richard Carroll, James Goodwin, Samuel Klein

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Abstract

We evaluated the effect of aging on fat and carbohydrate metabolism during moderate intensity exercise. Glycerol, free fatty acid (FFA), and glucose rate of appearance (R(a)) in plasma and substrate oxidation were determined during 60 rain of cycle ergometer exercise in six elderly (73 ± 2 yr) and six young adults (26 ± 2 yr) matched by gender and lean body mass. The elderly group was studied during exercise performed at 56 ± 3% of maximum oxygen uptake, whereas the young adults were studied during exercise performed at the same absolute and at a similar relative intensity as the elderly subjects. Mean fat oxidation during exercise was 25-35% lower in the elderly subjects than in the young adults exercising at either the same absolute or similar relative intensities (P < 0.05). Mean carbohydrate oxidation in the elderly group was 35% higher than the young adults exercising at the same absolute intensity (P < 0.001) but 40% lower than the young adults exercising at the same relative intensity (P < 0.001). Average FFA R(a) in the elderly subjects was 35% higher than in the young adults exercising at the same absolute intensity (P < 0.05) but 35% lower than the young adults exercising at a similar relative intensity (P < 0.05). We conclude that fat oxidation is decreased while carbohydrate oxidation is increased during moderate intensity exercise in elderly men and women. The shift in substrate oxidation was caused by age-related changes in skeletal muscle respiratory capacity because lipolytic rates and FFA availability were not rate limiting in the older subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume271
Issue number6 34-6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • fatty acids
  • glycerol
  • glycogen
  • lipolysis
  • palmitate
  • stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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