Elderly

The proposed benefits of prebiotics for the elderly have been based on early studies using culture methods that showed Bifidobacterium levels substantially decreased as a proportion of the total fecal microbiota in elderly Japanese, while the numbers of putrefactive bacteria such as clostridia increased (154). These findings have only recently been re-addressed using modern bacteriological and molecular techniques, with mixed results. While a study from the United Kingdom (155,156) supported the earlier observations of a drop in Bifidobacterium numbers, other studies of elderly Italians and Dutch did not show any reduction in the size of the Bifidobacterium population (157,158). Still, prebiotics may be of benefit in elderly subjects with a low level of bifidobacteria and high levels of deleterious bacteria. One such group is elderly people with Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAC) who have been shown to have a diminished bifidobacteria! population (159). Prebiotic intervention may eventually prove to be beneficial in the prevention of such conditions in the elderly.

Prebiotics are also hypothesized to have potential to provide protection for degenerative diseases in the elderly such as colon cancer and osteoporosis, and experimental evidence for benefits in these conditions are discussed in a later section of this chapter.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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