Weight loss, often observed in the elderly, is associated with increased risks of various diseases. No large and long-term human study has been conducted to demonstrate the health maintenance-related effects of lactic acid bacteria preparations. To reveal the potential benefit of long-term lactic acid, the effects of bacteria-based probiotics for health maintenance were examined. This observational study included the participants from a previous clinical study designed to evaluate the effects of wheat bran biscuits or Lactobacillus preparation, 3 g/day biolactis powder (BLP), in preventing colorectal tumor. The participants were provided an option to continue treatment with BLP on an outpatient basis after completion of the study. The 380 patients who completed the study were contacted and asked to participate in the present study and those who consented were surveyed for cancer incidence, treatment compliance, lifestyle, weight, and other variables. Informed consent was obtained from 237 of the 380 (62.4%) patients. The mean follow-up period was 7913 days (21.7 years). Cancer developed in 24 of 128 (18.8%) patients in the BLP extension group and 24 of 109 (22.0%) patients in the non-BLP extension group (risk ratio 0.88 [95% confidence interval 0.53-1.47]). Although no significant difference was observed, the cumulative cancer incidence rose at a slightly lower rate in the BLP extension group. Both groups showed a significant weight decrease over the course of 20 years, although the decrease in the BLP extension group was only 1.4 kg, compared with 2.8 kg in the non-BLP extension group. Very long-term treatment with a Lactobacillus probiotic preparation suppressed weight loss in the elderly.
Keywords: BLP; Lactobacillus; long-term treatment; weight loss.