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Benef Microbes. 2015;6(4):397-403. doi: 10.3920/BM2014.0113. Epub 2015 Apr 22.

Improving the bowel habits of elderly residents in a nursing home using probiotic fermented milk.

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1 VU University Amsterdam, Athena Institute, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Our aim was to determine whether a fermented milk drink containing probiotics could improve the bowel habits of frail elderly individuals living in a nursing home. A total of 135 participants were enrolled in this pilot study. The bowel habits (stool quality and bowel movements) were recorded by nursing staff during a baseline period of 3 weeks. After this period participants received daily a fermented milk drink containing minimally 6.5×10(9) colony forming units of Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) for 6 weeks. During this period, bowel habits were recorded and compared to baseline period. Forty-four participants (74-99 years old) were compliant and used for analysis. Consumption of fermented milk containing LcS significantly increased the percentage of ideal stool types per week (P<0.01), lowered the percentage of constipation stool types per week (P<0.01) and significantly lowered the percentage of diarrhoea stool types per week (P=0.016) as compared to the baseline period. The study product had no significant effect on bowel movements. During the study, no changes in laxative usage or adverse events associated with the study product were reported. Our results suggest that a fermented milk containing LcS significantly improves the bowel habits of frail elderly residents in a nursing home. These promising results should be further substantiated by a confirmatory study.


bowel habits; constipation; diarrhoea; elderly; probiotics

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