Probiotic organisms are live, human bacteria that are administered in capsules, powders, or foods. They are nutritional supplements. Since they are part of the human microflora, it is important to review the human life cycle of the microflora. When this is done, it reveals that there are changes in the elderly. A study on centurions reveals that there is a rearrangement of the Firmicutes with a marked decrease in Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Finding these changes raises the suspicion that addition of anaerobic flora by administration of probiotic organisms would be helpful. It is also clear that the elderly suffer more from constipation and delayed transit time. Correlation of the microflora and transit time reveals that the fecal excrement associated with a decreased transit time has a decreased bacterial mass. Because of these physiologic studies, probiotics have been administered in constipated elderly and have had some success in regulating their bowel pattern. Because of dysbiosis in the elderly, it also has been postulated that the addition of probiotics would be helpful in supporting the immune process. Studies have shown that this has been helpful in the elderly in supporting the process of vaccination. Although there is limited data, because of the dysbiosis found in some of the elderly, probiotics have been administered and found to be helpful in selective clinical situations. Recommendations for their use in these situations are outlined in this chapter.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Bifidobacterium Longum Bifidobacterium Bifidum Saccharomyces Boulardii Healthy Elderly Volunteer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Digestive DiseasesYale New Haven HospitalNew HavenUSA

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