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Ann Nutr Metab. 1998;42(6):319-27.

Galacto-oligosaccharides relieve constipation in elderly people.

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Valio Ltd, R&D Centre, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


The aim of the study was to investigate whether galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) relieve constipation in elderly people. The final study population consisted of 14 female subjects, mean age 79.6 (69-87) years, who suffered from constipation. The study was a double-blind two-period cross-over study. Both study periods lasted 2 weeks. The subjects ingested either 2 control yoghurts or 2 GOS-containing yoghurts daily. The yoghurts were otherwise similar, but the daily dose of GOS (Elix'or, BWP, Holland) from the GOS yoghurt was 9 g. The regular use of laxatives was stopped during the study periods and laxatives were used only when necessary. All the subjects reported the function of their intestines daily in a questionnaire. The defecation frequency per week (mean, range) was higher during the GOS period (7.1, 3-15) than during the control period (5.9, 1-14). GOS had no statistically significant effect on the use of laxatives, the consistency of feces or the ease of defecation, although GOS seemed to make defecation easier (p = 0.07). The adverse gastrointestinal symptoms were similar during both the control and the GOS periods. GOS seem to relieve constipation in most elderly people but the responses differ individually.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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