At this time, no meta-analyses are available about the safety of using probiotics in elderly individuals. What we do have is a considerable number of studies involving elderly subjects, focusing on antibiotics-associated diarrhoea, constipation and reducing infections. The findings of 12 studies have been summarized in the systematic review by Rondanelli et al., the conclusions of which include that elderly people can safely use probiotics. In a recent study into the effect of Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) on the digestion of vulnerable elderly people of very advanced age (74-99 years) in care homes, no safety risks were identified.
In 2015, Van den Nieuwboer et al. published a meta-analysis about the use of probiotics in immunocompromised patients, defined as individuals infected with HIV, people with a severe illness, people who recently underwent surgery and people with an organ or autoimmune disease. 57 studies were analysed, involving a total of 2,563 patients. A great variety of probiotics was researched with an average daily dose of 2 × 109 CFU. The conclusion is that use of the studied probiotics strains in this patient group is considered safe.
Oral use of probiotics is safe for immunodeficient patients, such as HIV patients, donor organ recipients and patients with autoimmune diseases – that is also the conclusion of an opinion statement in Beneficial Microbes (2015).