Fermented cereal with specific bifidobacteria normalizes bowel movements in elderly nursing home residents. A randomized, controlled trial

J Nutr Health Aging. 2007 Jul-Aug;11(4):305-11.


Objective: To assess how fermented oat drink with two selected Bifidobacterium longum strains influences bowel movements among elderly nursing home residents.

Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: 12 wards in two nursing homes in Finland.

Participants: 209 residents.

Intervention: Wards were randomized to receive daily a fermented oat drink with 1) 109 CFU/day Bifidobacterium longum strains or 2) 109 CFU/day Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 or 3) without viable bacteria (placebo) for 7 months.

Measurements: Regularity of bowel movements (no movements or functioning) and consistency of stools (normal, soft or diarrhoea) were recorded for each resident on a daily basis.

Results: The fermented oat drinks were well taken by the subjects, compliance being 85%. The groups receiving active products had more frequent bowel movements than did the placebo group (B. longum group normal functioning 28.5% of follow-up days, B.lactis group 26.9%, and placebo group 20.0%, respectively). The differences between the B. longum and the placebo group (mean 7.1, 95% CI 2.3 - 11.9, p=0.004) and between the B.lactis group and the placebo (mean 6.7, 95% CI 2.5 - 10.9, p = 0.002) were significant even when diarrhoea and constipation in the 3 months prior to the study were used as covariates.

Conclusions: It is possible to normalize bowel movements in frail nursing home.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Beverages
  • Bifidobacterium / physiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Constipation / drug therapy
  • Constipation / prevention & control*
  • Defecation / drug effects
  • Defecation / physiology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Edible Grain / microbiology*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Frail Elderly
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome