Effect of short-term dietary intervention and probiotic mix supplementation on the gut microbiota of elderly obese women

Raffaella Cancello, Silvia Turroni, Simone Rampelli, Stefania Cattaldo, Marco Candela, Laila Cattani, Stefania Mai, Roberta Vietti, Massimo Scacchi, Patrizia Brigidi, Cecilia Invitti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accumulating literature is providing evidence that the gut microbiota is involved in metabolic disorders, but the question of how to effectively modulate it to restore homeostasis, especially in the elderly, is still under debate. In this study, we profiled the intestinal microbiota of 20 elderly obese women (EO) at the baseline (T0), after 15 days of hypocaloric Mediterranean diet administered as part of a nutritional-metabolic rehabilitation program for obesity (T1), and after a further 15 days of the same diet supplemented with a probiotic mix (T2). Fecal samples were characterized by Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The EO microbiota showed the typical alterations found in obesity, namely, an increase in potential pro-inflammatory components (i.e., Collinsella) and a decrease in health-promoting, short-chain fatty acid producers (i.e., Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae members), with a tendency to reduced biodiversity. After 15 days of the rehabilitation program, weight decreased by (2.7 ± 1.5)% and the gut microbiota dysbiosis was partially reversed, with a decline of Collinsella and an increase in leanness-related taxa. During the next 15 days of diet and probiotics, weight dropped further by (1.2 ± 1.1)%, markers of oxidative stress improved, and Akkermansia, a mucin degrader with beneficial effects on host metabolism, increased significantly. These findings support the relevant role of a correct dietetic approach, even in the short term, to modulate the EO gut microbiota towards a metabolic health-related configuration, counteracting the increased risk of morbidity in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3011
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Elderly
  • Gut microbiota
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Obesity
  • Probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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