Impact of a short-term synbiotic supplementation on metabolic syndrome and systemic inflammation in elderly patients: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial

Eur J Nutr. 2021 Mar;60(2):655-663. doi: 10.1007/s00394-020-02271-8. Epub 2020 May 16.


Purpose: The connection between gut microbiota imbalance, inflammation and its role in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome (MetS) clustering factors has been increasingly recognized. However, data on the efficacy of probiotics supplementation on MetS components are few and almost lacking in the elderly. To address this issue, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, clinical study on a large sample of MetS elderly patients.

Methods: After 14 days of diet and physical activity standardization, 60 elderly patients were randomized to treatment with a synbiotic formula of Lactobacillus plantarum PBS067, Lactobacillus acidophilus PBS066 and Lactobacillus reuteri PBS072 with active prebiotics or placebo. Patients were evaluated anamnestically and by the execution of a physical examination and laboratory and haemodynamic analyses at the baseline and after 60 days of treatment. At enrollment and at the end of the trial, all enrolled patients complete the EuroQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D) questionnaire.

Results: Through the 2-month period of treatment, patients who received active treatment experienced a statistically significant improvement in waist circumference and in fasting plasma insulin, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, non-HDL-C, triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor alpha serum levels, compared both to the baseline and the control group. Visceral adiposity index improvement in the synbiotic treatment group was significantly greater than in placebo group. Compared to baseline, treatment with synbiotics also significantly reduced mean arterial pressure and fasting plasma glucose. All treatment groups demonstrated a significant decrease in TG. TG reduction in the synbiotic group was significantly greater than in the control group. The EQ-5D VAS questionnaire significantly improved only in probiotics-treated subjects.

Conclusion: Treatment with a synbiotic formula of L. plantarum PBS067, L. acidophilus PBS066 and L. reuteri PBS072 with active prebiotics decreased MetS syndrome prevalence, several cardiovascular risk factors and markers of insulin resistance in elderly patients.

Keywords: Elderly; Inflammation; Metabolic syndrome; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / therapy
  • Probiotics*
  • Synbiotics*