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Probiotics can make a difference in elderly patients with irregularity, concluded a systematic review published in April 2017. Approximately half of all elderly patients living in nursing homes suffer from chronic constipation and 56%-75% of institutionalized elderly patients regularly take laxatives or stool softeners.

In this specific review, scientists looked at data from 4 randomized, placebo-controlled trials and 5 observational reports including a total of 778 participants, 60 years of age or older. Six of the studies used multispecies probiotics containing Lactobacillus reuteri, L. rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, and other microorganisms.

The results from these randomized, placebo-controlled trials determined that supplementation with probiotics results in a significant 10% to 40% improvement in constipation compared to control treatment. Two of the observational studies also showed significant benefits for probiotics in constipated persons. The reviewers concluded, “Our systematic analysis suggests that probiotics display some beneficial effect as an additional therapeutic tool to treat chronic constipation in older individuals but further trials are still required.”

Intestinal irregularity and constipation don’t only affect elderly patients, but others as well. Eating a diet high in fiber and including lots of unprocessed foods such as fruits and vegetables can make a big difference. Adding a high quality probiotic supplement can keep your gut healthy. improved digestion, reduced inflammation, bolstered immune function are just some of the benefits.

Reference: Martínez-Martínez, et al. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2017;71:142-9.

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