Effect of combined bifidobacteria supplementation and resistance training on cognitive function, body composition and bowel habits of healthy elderly subjects.
Physical exercise exerts favourable effects on brain health and quality of life of the elderly; some of these positive health effects are induced by the modulation of microbiota composition. We therefore conducted a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial that assessed whether a combination of Bifidobacterium spp. supplementation and moderate resistance training improved the cognitive function and other health-related parameters in healthy elderly subjects. Over a 12-week period, 38 participants (66-78 years) underwent resistance training and were assigned to the probiotic Bifidobacterium supplementation (n=20; 1.25×1010 cfu each of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum BB536, B. longum subsp. infantis M-63, Bifidobacterium breve M-16V and B. breve B-3) or the placebo (n=18) group. At baseline and at 12 weeks, we assessed the cognitive function, using the Japanese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment instrument (MoCA-J); modified flanker task scores; depression-anxiety scores; body composition; and bowel habits. At 12 weeks, the MoCA-J scores showed a significant increase in both the groups, while the flanker task scores of the probiotic group increased more significantly than those of the placebo group (0.35±0.9 vs -0.29±1.1, P=0.056). Only the probiotic group showed a significant decrease in the depression-anxiety scores (5.2±6.3 to 3.4±5.5, P=0.012) and body mass index (24.0±2.8 to 23.5±2.8 kg/m2, P<0.001), with a significant increase in the defecation frequency (5.3±2.3 to 6.4±2.3 times/5 days, P=0.023) at 12 weeks. Thus, in healthy elderly subjects, combined probiotic bifidobacteria supplementation and moderate resistance training may improve the mental condition, body weight and bowel movement frequency.