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Probiotics and prebiotics in immune function in elderly

1. University of Turku, Functional Foods Forum, Turku, 20014, Finland
2. Danisco Finland, Health & Nutrition, Kantvik, 02460, Finland


The number and proportion of senior citizens is increasing in affluent countries. Although many people remain relatively healthy at high age, old age will sooner or later lead to a reduction of physiological function. The immune system andintestinal tract are among those organs which activity is reduced. Research suggests that there is maybe a correlation between the two. Specific pre- and/or probiotics have been shown to influence the composition of the intestinal microbiota. In somecases, this seems to correlate with improvements in immune function in elderly. A causal relationship remains, however, to bedocumented. Microbiota changes as such, usually increases in faecal levels of bifidobacteria, are no guarantee for improvedimmune or other bodily functions.