The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 215–220

Probiotics improve bowel movements in hospitalized elderly patients — The proage study

  • Hilla Zaharoni
  • E. Rimon
  • H. Vardi
  • M. Friger
  • A. Bolotin
  • D. R. Shahar
JNHA: Clinical Trials and Aging



To determine the impact of probiotics on the prevention of problems with bowel movements malnutrition and infection.


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.


Peripheral Geriatric Hospital. Participants: 243 elderly patients age≥65y who were hospitalized in a Geriatric Orthopedic Rehabilitation Department. Intervention: Participants were randomized into treatment or control groups (daily probiotics or placebo for 45 consecutive days, respectively).


The main outcomes were: number of days of constipation or diarrhea and the number of days of laxative use. Secondary measures were nutritional status and blood measurements.


Of 599 patients admitted to the Geriatric Rehabilitation ward, 345 were eligible and agreed to participate. During a 7-day pre-trial period, 102 patients dropped out (45 and 57 in the probiotic and placebo groups respectively). Out of the 243 patients who entered the study, 28 dropped out during the study (11.5%), leaving 215 patients. Throughout the 45 days of follow-up, the incidence of diarrhea was significantly lower among the study group (HR=0.42, p=0.04) with a more pronounced difference among participants aged ≥ 80y (HR=0.32, p=0.026). Laxative use (as an indicator of constipation severity) was significantly lower in the study group compared with the control group (HR=0.74, p=0.032). Serum albumin, prealbumin and protein increased significantly more in the treatment group compared with the control group among participants age≥80y (P=0.047, p=0.07, p=0.03 respectively) but not in the younger age group.


We showed that probiotic supplements may have a positive effect on bowel movements among orthopedic rehabilitation elderly patients.

Key words

Probiotics elderly constipation diarrhea nutrition 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Verlag France 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hilla Zaharoni
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • E. Rimon
    • 1
    • 4
  • H. Vardi
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. Friger
    • 2
  • A. Bolotin
    • 2
  • D. R. Shahar
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Harzfeld Geriatric Medical CenterGederaIsrael
  2. 2.The department of Epidemiology and Health evaluation, Ben-GurionUniversity of the NegevBeer-ShebaIsrael
  3. 3.The S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition and Department of EpidemiologyFaculty of Health SciencesBeer-ShevaIsrael
  4. 4.Ben-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShebaIsrael
  5. 5.Harzfeld Geriatric Medical CenterGederaIsrael

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