Far East digest

Wide-ranging B. longum BB536 study shows multiple benefits for elderly

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Wide-ranging B. longum BB536 study shows multiple benefits for elderly
A nationwide survey of middle-aged and elderly Japanese consumers has found that those who take probiotic milk have better bone health, are less prone to some diseases and remember more than those who choose regular milk.

The research by Morinaga, Japan’s second-biggest dairy product company, and Tokyo Healthcare University investigated the relationship between regular consumption of calcium-fortified milk containing Bifidobacterium longum​ BB536 and health status of over 20,000 male and female subjects. 


The results revealed that subjects who regularly consume the probiotic milk were less likely to experience fractures and several diseases, and showed improvement in forgetfulness (see graph​) and quality of life in daily living. The evidence supports the benefits of B. longum​ BB536 for anti-aging, the study concluded. 

The results obtained from this survey linked the continuous consumption of the probiotic milk supplemented with B. longum BB536 for reducing some disease risks, such as colon cancer, and in helping to prevent certain ageing-related challenges of middle-aged to elderly people, in such areas as forgetfulness for example​,” said Taeko Shimoda, professor emeritus of Tokyo Healthcare University. 

Although other components in the milk, such as calcium, might have also contributed to the outcomes of the present survey, B. longum BB536 is believed to possess an important function from a point of view of improving intestinal health and the relationship with the gut-brain axis​.” 

Compared to the non-intake group, the subjects who consumed probiotic milk showed:

  • A lower tendency to constipation in both men and women.
  • Less forgetfulness in men and women. Women also experienced less fatigue and low-back pain in daily life.
  • Fewer men experienced colon polyp, liver disease and gallstones, while women had a lower tendency to kidney disease.
  • For women who had consumed the milk for over 10 years, fewer subjects experienced bone fractures over the past five years.

Isolated from the human intestine, B. longum BB536​ is one of the most thoroughly researched probiotic strains in the world. Supported by over 110 published studies, BB536’s beneficial effects have been confirmed in such clinical areas as intestinal health, immunity, infection, and allergy. 

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