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Quest Vitamins LTD,
8 Venture Way,
Aston Science Park,
B7 4AP.

Tel: 0121 359 0056
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Registered in England No. 2530437

The use of Probiotics in the Elderly

The use of Probiotics in the Elderly

Recent research has highlighted that probiotic capsules could help protect older people against bowel conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Experts, speaking at a briefing in London, also warned that some of the smaller brands on sale in the UK were not effective.

The human gut contains different strains of bacteria, some of which are friendly, such as bifidobacteria or lactobacilli, some that help with food digestion and some that are disease-causing. It is vital that a balance of friendly bacteria is present in the intestines in order to stop harmful forms (pathogenic bacteria) taking hold and causing disease.

Probiotics, meaning for life, are products that contain live strains of bacteria incorporated into yoghurts, fruit juices or capsules, which boost levels of the friendly bacteria in the gut.

Reduced Bacteria Levels

There are approximately 80 human studies which show that probiotic supplements can be effective against certain bowel conditions such as travellers diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.

Probiotics are useful for the healthy population as they help to prevent bacteria which cause food poisoning, such as E.coli or campylobacter, from taking hold, they would be even more beneficial for older people.

It has been observed that at about the age of 60 there is a significant drop in bacteria levels, and older people had 1,000-fold less friendly bacteria than other younger adults. They are also more susceptible to gastrointestinal infections and bowel conditions, like IBS. The specific probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum 299v is well documented for its usefulness at treating the symptoms of IBS.

Researchers agree that this group of the population would benefit from a boost in friendly bacteria, and it would help to protect against acute and chronic bowel diseases.

It is also suggested that anyone using antibiotics would benefit from probiotic products because antibiotics reduce levels of all strains of bacteria in the gut.

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