13 February 2015

Multi-strain probiotics: better gastrointestinal health in elderly

Probiotics have the potential to improve the health and well-being of elderly people through the increased diversity of the gut microbiota.

Two gaps are addressed by the current project: i) the lack of firm documentation of the likely mechanisms in the effective probiotic treatment of microbiota-associated conditions and ii) the poor knowledge for how probiotics affect elderly people.

The project will provide novel information regarding the effect of probiotic intake on the diversity and metabolic profile of the gut microbiota in elderly people, as well as the effect of faecal metabolites from elderly people who consume probiotics on mitochondrial activity.

Gut microbiota diversity

Although a healthy gut microbiota still remains to be defined, low diversity of gut microbiota has been associated with diseases such as Crohn’s disease, atopic dermatitis, as well as an increase in the risk of developing an allergy.

Age-related changes in the gut microbiota have been connected to frailty in elderly people. It seems that the diversity of the gut microbiota decreases with age and that this low diversity is correlated with poor overall health.

The effect of probiotics on diversity of the gut microbiota in elderly people is yet unknown. However, studies have shown that probiotics are able to induce changes in gut microbiota by increasing beneficial lactobacilli and bifidobacteria but also by inhibiting pathogens.

Original title: Improving gastrointestinal health in elderly using multi-strain probiotics

Start date: September 2013

End date: September 2017

Grant donor: The Danish National Advanced

Technology Foundation

FOOD grant: DKK 514,500

Total budget: DKK 3,087,000

Total grant: DKK 1,543,600