The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 402–410 | Cite as

Probiotics in the gastrointestinal diseases of the elderly

  • G. Malaguarnera
  • F. Leggio
  • M. Vacante
  • M. Motta
  • M. Giordano
  • A. Biondi
  • F. Basile
  • S. Mastrojeni
  • A. Mistretta
  • Mariano MalaguarneraEmail author
  • M. A. Toscano
  • M. Salmeri
Probiotics in the Gastrointestinal Diseases of the Elderly


Changes of the gut microflora in elderly appear to involve a reduction in numbers of healthy bacteria (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) and an increase in numbers of potentially pathogenic species. These changes are generally described as gastrointestinal disorders and infections. This review analyses benefits of probiotics in old people, with particular interesting for the latest researches relevant to elderly people, e.g. trials examining enteric infections, antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea, functional bowel problems (constipation and irritable bowel syndrome), inflammatory bowel diseases, stimulation of the immune system and prevention of cancer. A growing number of researches indicates that some probiotic strains may help to maintain the health in old people, suggesting both health and cost-saving benefits in offering fermented dairy products. These benefits include: establishment of balanced intestinal microflora; improving colonization resistance and or prevention of diarrhea; reduction of fecal enzymes; reduction of serum cholesterol; reduction of potential mutagenes; reduction of lactose intolerance; synthesis of vitamins; predigestion of proteins.

Key words

Probiotics elderly diarrhea constipation 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Verlag France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Malaguarnera
    • 1
  • F. Leggio
    • 2
  • M. Vacante
    • 2
  • M. Motta
    • 2
  • M. Giordano
    • 2
  • A. Biondi
    • 3
  • F. Basile
    • 3
  • S. Mastrojeni
    • 1
  • A. Mistretta
    • 4
  • Mariano Malaguarnera
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. A. Toscano
    • 1
  • M. Salmeri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Senescence, Urological and Neurological SciencesUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Hygiene and Public HealthUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly

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