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Research projects

Efficacy of dietary supplementation with Lactobacilllus reuteri for digestive health in an elderly population (ELROY)

About this project

Project information

Project status



Ida Schoultz

Research subject

Research environments

Becoming old is often associated with a change of life-style, e.g. modified diet and less physical activity. Both diet and physical activity can be regarded as important factors concerning gut health and immune regulation. Diet is, however, not only important in the context of nutrition but is also a perquisite for a prosperous microflora. Over the past years it has been recognized that a diverse microbiome plays a crucial role in many of the bodily defence systems, e.g. in developing of a functional immune system, reinforcing the colonic defence barrier, protecting against pathogens and neutralizing drugs and carcinogens. Gut bacteria can also modulate intestinal motility.

Both acute and chronic diarrhea is very common in elderly and approximately 90% of the deaths from acute diarrheal diseases occur in the elderly population. Constipation is, however, the most frequent gastroenterological complaints among the elderly and has a prevalence of 50% in the general community and up to 74% in nursing home residents. Colonic dysmotility is also frequently associated with psychiatric and neurologic disease and constipation is a common symptom among persons suffering from dementia. In general, age-adjusted rates of many gastrointestinal disorders are increased in the elderly compared with rates in the young emphasizing the need to execute scientific studies further investigating and finding therapeutic options in this area.

The project

Current research has identified the probiotic species (e.g bacterial strains shown to exert beneficial effects on the host) Lactobacillus reuteri as a promising therapy for many different conditions including diarrheal disease and functional chronic constipation. The ELROY project has as its primary goal to elucidate the potential of this specific probiotic strain to strengthen the gut barrier among elderly and reduce the gastrointestinal discomfort many elderly experiences. In addition, we are investigating the mechanisms via which Lactobacillus reuteri affect the gastrointestinal barrier.
This project is run in collaboration with BioGaia AB.

Research funding bodies

  • Biogaia AB
  • The Knowledge Foundation